CCOG for ART 218C Summer 2024

Course Number:
ART 218C
Course Title:
Calligraphy I: Carolingian and Uncial
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

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 Carolingian and Uncial scripts. 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 an understanding of Carolingian and Uncial scripts as a lens through which to observe hand lettering as a fine and graphic art.
  • Evaluate the art of handwritten letters.
  • Identify differences between historical styles of the Carolingian and Uncial scripts, with an awareness of the social and historical context in which they were developed.
  • Create works of calligraphy that demonstrate an introductory level of skill in the Carolingian and Uncial scripts.
  • Explain the evolution in Carolingian and Uncial 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 Carolingian and Uncial 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

  • Create works of calligraphy that concentrate on Carolingian and Uncial letterforms with an awareness of the inherent characteristics of these scripts.
  • Generate ideas/concepts with an awareness of the intended content of the work produced.
  • Use a basic skill set centered on working towards technical proficiency in Carolingian and Uncial letterforms.
  • Utilize basic vocabulary specific to calligraphy when participating in class critiques and discussions.
  • Assess and self-critique personal work to strategize creative solutions.
  • Develop personal work with an awareness of historical and contemporary artists working in Carolingian, Uncial, and other letterforms.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Participate in, and contribute to, class discussions and studio work sessions.
  • Develop conceptual ideas relating to Carolingian and Uncial letterforms through the practice of creative research and preparatory studies.
  • Create several original artworks in Carolingian and Uncial calligraphy (e.g. handmade book, broadside) demonstrating basic technical proficiency.
  •  Write short paper(s) to address aspects of Carolingian and Uncial script addressing relationship of form to content, history and development, self-assessment of work, self-reflection and critical responses.
  • Use basic vocabulary relating to calligraphy in class discussions, critiques and oral presentations.

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 in calligraphy as they relate to fine art, graphic design and book design
  • The historical development of the Latin Uncial script (400-600 AD) and Carolingian script (800 AD) and their use in manuscripts from the Dark Ages through the early Middle Ages and Renaissance
  • Text and visual expression
  • Audience


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


  • Application of calligraphic ideas relating to Carolingian and Uncial scripts, with awareness of historical and cultural contexts.
  • Critical analysis of Carolingian and Uncial letterforms using basic vocabulary
  • Basic technical skill in writing Carolingian and Uncial letterforms using appropriate materials and techniques.
  • Assemble an appropriately designed, well-crafted final project using Carolingian and/or Uncial calligraphy demonstrating a basic skill level.