Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
ART 220A
Course Title:
Calligraphy II - Roman Capitals and Humanist Bookhand
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Reviews the calligraphic scripts studied in the ART 218 sequence and refines the forms. Covers complex layout and design issues. Develops intermediate to advanced techniques with the use of mixed media and working at a larger scale to develop personal aesthetic and vision. Includes creative problem-solving activities the professional calligrapher is likely to encounter on the job. ART 220A, ART 220B, and ART 220C may be taken in any order. Prerequisites: ART 218A, ART 218B, and ART 218C or instructor permission. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Use an intermediate to advanced understanding of calligraphy as a lens through which to observe hand lettering as a fine and graphic art.
  • Use in-depth level of critical evaluation, appreciation, assessment and respect for the art of handwritten letters encountered in fine and graphic arts.
  • Recognize differences between historical styles of Roman Capitals and Humanist Bookhand, with an awareness of the social and historical context in which they were developed.
  • Create works of calligraphy that demonstrate an intermediate to advanced level of skill in Roman Capitals and Humanist Bookhand lettering and in lettering design.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

The student will:•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).•plan and create calligraphic pieces in response to a stated assignment, and write an Artist Statement to reflect the artwork. The Artist Statement includes a description of the creative process involved in the piece.•design "camera-ready" calligraphic pieces.•prepare a research paper on a topic that reflects the historical context of the currently studied script.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

•The historical development of the Roman alphabet, including the influence of both cultural and technological factors on the development of letter styles.•The historical development of the Carolingian and uncial scripts in the Middle Ages, and their use in medieval illuminated manuscripts.•Application, interpretation and redefinition of calligraphic ideas, drawing on historical and cultural contexts, while exploring personal expression and creative limits.•The role of 2D design in calligraphy, and letterforms' role in graphic design.•Demonstration and critical analysis of handwritten letterforms, considering legibility, harmony of form and technical skill in writing.•Art materials appropriate for calligraphy.•Techniques employed in the lettering arts, including gilding, illumination, rubrication, and pen-making (quill and reed).•Two-dimensional design concepts as they relate to fine art, graphic design and book design.•The value of craft in art-making.•Exploration of the relationship between form and content, and of how to synthesize idea and image using text and handwritten letters.•Discussion of typeface design, and its roots in and relationship to evolved historical letterforms studied in class.•Strategies for developing ideas.•Strategies for problem solving in page layout and composition.Competencies and Skills: The successful student should be able to:•demonstrate skill in the use of a variety of lettering tools, materials and techniques.•write several historic scripts and contemporary variations, which may include the following: Roman majuscules, brush-written Rustics, Uncial, Italic, Humanist Bookhand, Lombardic and Carolingian Versals, Gothic Blackletter, Gothicized Italic, Modern Foundational and Neuland.•recognize and appraise the evolution in letter shape and structure due to the influence of writing tools and culture.•trace the development of the Roman alphabet during a particular period.•apply vocabulary necessary to discuss the formal, conceptual, historic and technical aspects of calligraphy.•examine the functions of different letterforms, currently as well as historically.•discriminate between various writing styles.•make interesting, challenging, expressive, appropriately crafted works of calligraphy.•produce "camera-ready" calligraphy for a variety of print technologies.•transfer to a four-year college and continue a course of study in the field of fine art, graphic design or art history.