Elmo van Slingerland

C517 Drawn to Letters: A Dutch Approach

Five Day Class
Lettering, Drawing

This workshop is intended for enthusiasts who already have some experience with calligraphy/letter writing and would like to learn more about letter drawing. We are going to draw letters, but the calligraphy pen will never be far away. It is always there—physically, or in the back of your mind! Namely, our trusted calligraphy pen is always a good basis to fall back on.
We will discover what is possible with drawing letters through several interesting exercises: we will sketch, analyze these sketches, and further develop them. We use different materials, such as (calligraphy) pen, pencil, brush, gouache, and/or watercolor and we look at different applications. Do you make words on a sheet of watercolor paper, or do you make a drawing for reproduction?

Would you rather work out drawings for your own designed alphabet? That is all possible because although we can follow the same exercises in class, I would like to offer the possibility for each participant to follow his or her own path, as long as your letters are drawn by hand. Everyone is helped individually, at his or her level.

Supply List
  • Mechanical pencils: 2H and HB
  • 11" x 17" layout paper
  • Several sheets transparent paper (11" x 17")
  • Eraser
  • Ruler
  • Broad-edged nibs in different sizes (use a brand of your preference, but also a Speedball C2 and C3)
  • A pointed nib
  • Pen holder
  • Black and white gouache (and some other colors of your preference)
  • Bleed-proof white gouache
  • Watercolor (your choice of colors)
  • Several sheets of watercolor paper (your preference)
  • Pointed brushes: #2 (preferably Kolinsky sable hair or a good, cheaper alternative)
  • (Old) rough bristle brush
  • Mixing palette
  • Water jar
  • Black fine tip waterproof marker 0.25 mm
  • Larger black waterproof marker (±1.5 mm)
  • Black Tombow Fudenosuke brush pen (hard or soft tip)

Elmo van Slingerland was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He studied at the Rotterdamse Grafische School (school for printing and graphic arts) and finished his study of graphic and typographic design at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague. In 1986, Elmo attended a workshop in France with Claude Mediavilla and considers this his start on the path of calligraphy. He has taught workshops in different countries in Europe, as well as workshops in Australia, South Korea, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. Elmo has also taught a post-graduate course in type design at The Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague. After graduating from the Academy, he worked as a freelance type designer for DTL, as well as working as a graphic designer. He has exhibited calligraphy in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands and has also had work selected for several different publications.