Type@Cooper - Blackletter: From Textura to Fraktur

Blackletter: From Textura to Fraktur


with Julian Waters




Mon., Jun. 22 – Thu., Jun. 25, 2015
9:00AM – 4:00PM
location: On campus

This workshop will begin with both historical and contemporary interpretations of bold early Gothic Textura styles, and principles of consistency. Then onto variations and refinements, detail and playfulness as the style moves closer to the more intricate later Fraktur, including lowercase and capitals -- and with the capitals, crazy variations abound! We will work both small and large and focus on the dense and powerful textural qualities. The workshop will include paper cutting exercises to further explore graphic qualities and to reference woodcuts and early metal type. Blackletter is both simple and complex and its study can teach much about lettering in general, especially spacing. In Blackletter, it is "all about the white" as we dive into the Dark Side.

Students should bring for the first day of class:
  • Pilot parallel pen 6mm
  • Extra ink black cartridges
  • Speedball C0, C1, C2 pen nibs
  • Simple round wooden nib holder
  • Black non-waterproof ink, e.g. Higgins Eternal or 4001 Pelikan
  • 6H & #2 pencil
  • Eraser & pencil sharpener
  • X-acto knife
  • Extra x-acto blades
  • 18” ruler
  • Pad of translucent bond paper, e.g. Bienfang Graphics 360 or Borden & Reilly #37


Other materials will be suggested and can be easily purchased at one of the many art supplies stores a short walk from school. If you choose another brand of ink or paper, be sure that the ink will flow well, give sharp thins and that it will not bleed on the paper you’ve got. Other black inks tend to be problematic so please bring a recommended one. Similar problems may arise with other papers so please test for bleeding.

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Lecturer: Julian Waters

Blackletter: From Textura to Fraktur
An internationally acclaimed lettering designer with 40 years' experience, Julian Waters studied extensively with legendary calligrapher and type designer Hermann Zapf at RIT, starting in 1979. Zapf later chose Julian to take over his masterclasses there in 1990. Julian’s clients have included the U.S. Postal Service, National Geographic, and many agencies, design studios, institutions and memorials. His typefaces include Adobe Waters Titling Pro family and “ThJefferson” for Monticello. In the 1990s, he taught lettering and typography at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC.

In 2001, he was featured in the “Zapfest” exhibition in San Francisco. For more than 35 years, he has taught lettering workshops all over Canada, USA, Europe, UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan. He has taught several times at Cooper Union, NY, and Wells College, NY, including digital font design. He has received many awards and his work has been widely published. In 2014, he was the culminating speaker at the Legacies international calligraphy conference and a lecturer at the “Making Sense” symposium at Texas A&M University. Julian’s parents are the renowned calligrapher, illustrator, author and teacher Sheila Waters and the late bookbinder and international library conservation and preservation expert Peter Waters.



Venue