John Burns

B202 Roamin’ Caps

Two and a Half Day Class

Unless you’re only writing out e. e. cummings poems, you’re going to need a great working knowledge of the structure of classical Roman caps. The goal of this class is to give you that knowledge. From there, you can start roamin’ through all of the variations that can make the use of caps exciting. In this 2.5 day class, you’ll learn:

  • Classical proportions of the majuscule (capital)* alphabet
  • How to analyze your own work, so that you’ll be able to confidently continue your calligraphic journey
  • How the spaces inside and around the letters are as important as the strokes themselves
  • Variations of proportions, weights, angles and finishing strokes to create alphabetic variations

This class is open to beginners and intermediate calligraphers who want a firm foundation for furthering the development of their craft. Attention will be given to each student at their level of development.

*To study the corresponding minuscule (lowercase) alphabet, please consider taking the “Foundational Hand” 2.5 day class by the same instructor, John Burns.

PS: Be ready to have some fun while we work.

Supply List
  • 9" x 12" bleed-proof, semi-transparent, layout paper (my preference: Canson Pro Layout Marker pad)
  • 2 sheets of 9" x 12" graph paper (any grid size)
  • A legal pad of paper
  • Black ink, non-permanent
  • Pilot Parallel pens: sizes 3.8 mm, 2.4 mm, 1.5 mm
  • Your favorite broad-edged pen nibs and holder
  • Black calligraphy marker (my favorite: Staedtler Calligraph Duo, with 3.5 mm and 2.0 mm points)
  • Black Zig Writer (bullet-nosed) marker
  • 4H pencil
  • 4B pencil
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Eraser (my favorite: Pentel Clic Eraser ZE22)
  • Tape (for securing paper)
  • Your favorite quotes or sayings, especially ones with a sense of humor
  • A portable drawing board or slant board that can accommodate a 9" x 12" sheet of paper
  • A T-square suitable for your drawing board

John Burns is an award-winning professional lettering artist. He has a BFA in graphic design from Carnegie-Mellon University, and has made a career of using calligraphy and drawn letters to create the brands for Goldfish Crackers, Sara Lee, Red Vines, Hampton Inn, and scores of others. John has taught courses in calligraphy, handlettering, corporate identity and graphic design at the Academy of Art University, and lettering classes at the DeYoung Museum School. This will be his second time teaching at an international calligraphy conference. John is a patient teacher who takes a “no tears” approach to learning good letterform fundamentals. You can view John’s professional lettering website at: