Carl Rohrs

C514 The Circle Keeps Expanding

Five Day Class
Lettering, History

Influences come from all corners of the writing universe and work that crosses disciplines, styles, and mediums. Everything we see is a source of inspiration to be mixed with the movement of our own hands to create new ways of working. This class will be about the ever-expanding discoveries of unusual, individual, and sublime artists all making incredible communication markings and and letting their lines influence ours.

From ancient Rome to Victorian-era Japan to 1920s Germany to mid-century New York, (among many other surprises) and the many eccentric artists working in those times and places, we will have their help in building each of our new signatures of style. Inspiration in your fat workbooks, taken from the wonderland of traditional and eccentric lettering from throughout the history of the Latin alphabet, will introduce you to new avenues for your own exploration. From Griffo to Griffin, Koch to Korger to Killian to Cusick, Menhart to Mouse, Masami Teraoka to Madeleine Dinkel, Spurius Ruga to Rudo Spemann, Hoyer to Hokusai, your connections to the surprising innovators of the ancient and recent past will be strengthened, and bridges to the past and your own wild future will be built by the hands-on experience in modern calligraphy techniques with flat pens and flat and pointed brushes. The class workbook will be the biggest yet.

Supply List
  • A large-ish pen: Horizon (folded brass flat pen) 5/16" or 3/8" or similar (Coits or Hiros), OR Automatic, size 3A, 4, or 4A, OR Pilot Parallel pen, 6 mm size (blue cap)
  • Favorite pens you already have
  • Flat brush, 1/2" Winsor & Newton 995, plus any other brushes you already have
  • Non-waterproof ink
  • 1 or 2 tubes of gouache (Winsor & Newton indigo or Prussian blue have the greatest power)
  • Pentel Color Brush, plus any other brushes you want to try or already have (Winsor & Newton Series 7 or similar, Asian, Lebenzon, etc.)
  • Large paper with a bit of texture; I like Strathmore Charcoal pad 300 series, yellow cover (Canson Charcoal is NOT good for pen work; it bleeds. Strathmore doesn’t. Diploma Parchment is great.)
  • Pencil and/or a colored pencil or two (Prismacolors are the best)
  • Ruler
  • Optional: Graphic white out (Pro–White) and/or light or bright colors of gouache and colored paper, IF you wish to write in reverse
  • Optional: ruling pen

Carl Rohrs has been a lettering artist and signpainter in Santa Cruz, California since 1977. He has taught lettering, typography and graphic design at Cabrillo College since 1984, as well as at workshops and conferences since 1986 in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan, and South Africa. Carl was the editor of Alphabet, the journal of the Friends of Calligraphy from 1989 – 1992 and resumed the job in 2015, where he continues to the present day. He is the designer and co-editor of the 25th edition of the Speedball Textbook, 2021.