Randall M. Hasson

C505 The Personality of the Letterform

Five Day Class

In this workshop, we will focus on creating a unique, individual alphabet by exploring the textural appearance of writing systems. Each student will choose an alphabet or system they aren’t able to read, which could be ancient, archaic or modern. We’ll then analyze the forms, break them down, and put them back together in new individually artistic ways. We’ll experiment with a variety of tools to see how the forms might change, and in the end, we’ll give our letterforms a personality of their own. Some of these results will be legible words or text, and other results can be representations of letterform that may or may not be legible. Experimentation and invention are the key words here and the intent will be to develop the calligraphic marks based on the personality of the participant.

All of these techniques and experiments can be done in a large watercolor journal. For our journal techniques, we will use the Mahara watercolor journal as our ground for experimentation. The journal is optional, and a variety of surfaces or grounds can be explored, including heavy watercolor papers which you might already have. Because of drying time, students are encouraged to work on both.

We’ll use acrylic paints and mediums to explore textural painting effects. Participants working in a journal will create textures from early experimental letterforms as the class progresses, and others will be able to focus more primarily on loose sheets of paper or on canvas.

Supply List
  • Large “handmade” watercolor book: Mahara Journal (pre-order from Paper and Ink Arts), and/or heavy cold press watercolor paper (240 – 300 gsm)
  • Dip pens
  • Broad edged nibs
  • Speedball B nibs
  • Acrylic inks
  • Walnut inks
  • Paint palette
  • Water jar
  • Permanent calligraphic markers such as Zig Memory System or Sakura Calligrapher
  • Permanent liner such as Micron or fine sharpies, and/or permanent brush-pens
  • Flat wash brushes
Detailed explanations, options and suggestions will be sent prior to class.

Known for his large paintings combining imagery and calligraphic text, RANDALL M. HASSON is an artist, calligrapher, instructor and speaker who has appeared on the faculty of national and international arts, lettering arts, and educational conferences since 1998. He has appeared as a mainstage presenter and/or teacher with lecture topics covering public art, art history, the painting process, collaborative art projects, and the history of writing including the recent invention of the ADLaM alphabet which originated in western Africa. He is the co-editor of the 24th (centennial) edition of the Speedball Textbook, and is currently writing a history titled the Speedball Story: Teaching America How to Letter, due to be published in 2022.