CCOG for ART 218B Spring 2024

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

Course Description

Covers beginning practical and creative uses of Italic calligraphy, lettering principles, techniques and functions. Includes the traditions and historical development of Italic letters. ART 218A, ART 218B, and ART 218C may be taken in any order. Recommended: (RD 115 and WR 115) or IRW 115 or equivalent placement. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Use a basic understanding of Italic script as a lens through which to observe hand lettering as a fine and graphic art.
  • Evaluate the art of handwritten Italic letters.
  • Identify 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 skill in Italic script using a variety of lettering tools, materials and techniques.
  • Explain the evolution in Italic letter shape and structure due to the influence of writing tools and culture.
  • Apply basic vocabulary to discuss the formal, conceptual, historic and technical aspects of Italic calligraphy.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

The study of Visual Arts is essential to the development of the individual and one’s meaningful participation in society. At the heart of artistic practice is the ability to organize experience and recognize its meaning. The creation of artwork and appreciation of aesthetics is a source of great pleasure and also a valuable means to effective visual communication. Participating in Visual Arts is an important way for individuals to connect to the past and respond to the present with a stronger sense of engagement with culture and society.

Course Activities and Design

Course Activities and Design

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

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Participate in, and contribute to, class discussions and studio work sessions using basic calligraphy and design vocabulary.
  • Develop conceptual ideas relating to Italic letterforms through the practice of creative research and preparatory sketches.
  • Create several original artworks in Italic script (e.g. handmade book, broadside) demonstrating a basic skill level.
  • Present an oral presentation of the process involved in making the work.
  • Write short paper(s) to address aspects of Italic script with respect to standards and practices, self-assessment of work, self-reflection and cultural context
  • Assess and self-critique personal work to strategize creative solutions.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  •  The value of craft in art-making.
  • Idea and design using text and handwritten letters.


  • Two-dimensional design concepts as they relate to fine art, graphic design and book design.
  • The role of 2D design in calligraphy, and letterforms' role in graphic design.
  •  The historical development of Italic script (1450 AD), and its use in manuscripts from the Dark Ages through the early Middle Ages and Renaissance.


  • Tradition and personal expression
  • Letter formation and structure and its relation to writing technology and culture


  • Application of calligraphic ideas relating to Italic letterforms, with awareness of historical and cultural contexts.
  • Critical analysis of Italic letterforms
  • Basic technical skill in writing Italic letterforms using appropriate materials and techniques.
  • Apply basic vocabulary to discuss the formal, conceptual, historic and technical aspects of these letterforms.
  • Assemble an appropriately designed, well-crafted final project using Italic letterforms.