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The Foundational Hand - Historical Hands (Part 1)

With Eleanor Winters

Starting Date : 20 August 2023

Fees : HK$ 740 or US$ 95

Workshop Description

Historical Hands


In keeping with our commitment to calligraphy education, the Gentle Penman is pleased to announce a new series of short workshops, which will serve as an introduction to a selection of styles of traditional calligraphy over the past 2000 years.


The workshops will focus on broad-edged pen hands (scripts) with an emphasis on the basics: pen angle, letter proportions and "family groups" in order that students can build on these fundamentals to develop an understanding of our craft.  These workshops will be relatively short, two 2-hour sessions for each hand, emphasizing basic skills rather than design and layout. Our purpose is to create a foundation for further study.


With the exception of the first workshop, The Foundational Hand, we will offer these workshops in historical sequence.  The next workshop will be Roman Capitals (to be scheduled for this autumn); subsequent workshops will include Uncial, Carolingian, Gothic, etc.  Students are welcome to sign up for individual workshops or take advantage of the full series of Historical Hands.

The Foundational Hand

The Foundational Hand is a style of writing associated with Edward Johnston, one of the fathers of contemporaty calligraphy.  As a calligrapher and teacher, Johnston considered Foundational to be a "beginner script," suitable for learning to use the broad-edged pen.  As such, we have chosen it for the first hand in our new series:  Historical Scripts.  In a sense it is out of sequence -- the aim being to study calligraphy as it evolved since the Roman era and developed over 2000 years.  But since Foundational will give students a wonderful basis for all the scripts to follow, we are starting our program with this 20th century style of calligraphy.


Foundational is much more than simply a beginner script; it is elegant, versatile, and very legible.  We will examine the basic strokes and minuscule letters, and how the contrast between vertical and rounded shapes makes this script both dynamic and visually accessible, both in large format calligraphy and in small writing.


The aim of this brief introduction to Foundational is to offer students a jumping off point for studying and practicing this script, by concentrating on the basics, learning to create consistent forms and developing an understanding of the concept of positive and negative space.

We would like to invite beginners to take advantage of a short workshop, Introduction to the Broad-Edged pen, which will be offered two days prior to the Foundational workshop, in order to learn about tools and materials and prepare you for the basic pen skills you will need for this series of broad-edged pen Historical Hands.

Note to Students

  • This is a live online workshop via Zoom (please make sure you have a Zoom account to access the workshop)

  • All live sessions will be recorded and available for 60 days following the final class.

  • All recordings expires on Friday, 27 October, 2023 at 12:00 pm Hong Kong Standard Time.

  • Student can submit homework to the discussion corner for Eleanor to critique.

  • Recommended supply list, handouts, zoom links and recordings are available on the workshop page three weeks (or as soon as practicable) before the first session. Click here for user guide on how to access your workshop page.

  • All workshop dates and times are according to the Hong Kong Standard Time.

  • Click here for the recommended workshop supplies.

Workshop Schedule

Lesson 1

Sunday, 20 August, 2023

21:00 pm - 23:00 pm (Hong Kong Standard Time)

Lesson 2

Sunday, 27 August, 2023

21:00 pm - 23:00 pm (Hong Kong Standard Time)

Refund Policy

All sales are final and fees paid for the online workshop are non-refundable.

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