Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
ART 218B
Course Title:
Calligraphy I - Italic
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Covers beginning practical and creative uses of calligraphy, lettering principles, techniques and functions. Includes the traditions and historical development of letters with a focus on the Italic script. ART 218A, ART 218B, and ART 218C may be taken in any order. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Use an understanding of calligraphy as a lens through which to observe hand lettering as a fine and graphic art.
  • Critically evaluate, appreciate, assess and respect the art of handwritten letters.
  • Recognize differences between historical styles of the Italic script, with an awareness of the social and historical context in which they were developed.
  • Create works of calligraphy that demonstrate an introductory level skills in Italic script.

Course Activities and Design

  1. Create works of calligraphy that concentrate on the Italic script (majuscule and miniscule) with an awareness of the inherent characteristics of the letterforms.
  2. Generate ideas/concepts with an awareness of the intended content of the work produced.
  3. Develop a skill set centered on working towards technical proficiency.
  4. Utilize the necessary vocabulary specific to calligraphy when participating in class critiques and discussions.
  5. Begin to assess and self-critique personal work to strategize creative solutions.
  6. Begin to develop personal work with an awareness of historical and contemporary artists working in calligraphy.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Participate in, and contribute to, class discussions and studio work sessions.
  • Develop conceptual ideas through the practice of creative research and preparatory studies (i.e., sketches, drafts, mock?ups, dummies).
  • Create an original artwork (i.e., handmade book, broadside, camera?ready art for reproduction) for the final project and present an oral presentation that includes a description of the process involved in making the work.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. The historical development of Italic script (1450 AD), and its use in manuscripts from the Dark Ages through the early Middle Ages and Renaissance.
  2. Application, interpretation and redefinition of calligraphic ideas, drawing on historical and cultural contexts, while exploring personal expression and creative limits.
  3. Demonstration and critical analysis of handwritten letterforms, considering legibility, harmony of form and technical skill in writing.
  4. Art materials appropriate for calligraphy.
  5. Techniques employed in the lettering arts, including stenciling, paper embossing, color media, etc.
  6. The role of two-dimensional design concepts in calligraphy as they relate to fine art, graphic design and book design.
  7. The value of craft in art-making.
  8. Exploration of the relationship between form and content, and of how to synthesize idea and image using text and handwritten letters.
  9. Discussion of typeface design, and its roots in and relationship to evolved historical letterforms studied in class.

Competencies and Skills:

  1. Demonstrate skill in the use of broad?edged metal nibs, materials and techniques and write a historic script.
  2. Recognize and appraise the evolution in letter shape and structure due to the influence of writing tools and culture.
  3. Trace the development of the 26?letter Western alphabet (also known as the Roman Alphabet) during a particular period.
  4. Apply basic vocabulary necessary to discuss the formal, conceptual, historic and technical aspects of calligraphy.
  5. Examine the functions of different letterforms, currently as well as historically.
  6. Discriminate between various writing styles.
  7. Make technically proficient and creatively expressive works of calligraphy
  8. Assemble an appropriately designed, well?crafted final project which could include a book structure, broadside, or other work of art that incorporates the calligraphy studied that term.
  9. Transfer to a four?year college and continue a course of study in the field of fine art, graphic design or art history.