Type@Cooper - Ghosts of Calligraphy & Type

Ghosts of Calligraphy & Type


with Carl Rohrs




Sat., Oct. 31 – Sun., Nov. 01, 2015
10:00AM – 5:00PM
location: Letterform Archive Reading Room

Contemporary calligraphy is a combination of thought, touch, technique -- and inspiration. So, we’ll be exploring some of the specific, specialized techniques for making modern letterforms with flat pen, flat brush, pointed brush and ruling pen. At the same time there will be a thorough and loving introduction to the work of my favorite 20th Century calligraphers and script type designers. The class workbooks will virtually be a massive gathering of their unusual letters, the writing and sketches that led to some of the most distinctive type of the 20th century, which will supply us with a forest of inspiration for using the moves that will be covered.

We will be interpreting and stealing from the following gentlemen -- Ray DaBoll, Walter Brudi, Roger Excoffon, Albert Kapr, Rudolf Koch, Alfred Linz, Oldrich Menhart, Herbert Post, Helmut Salden, George Salter, Ernst Schneidler, Villu Toots, Georg Trump, Axel Bertram and more. Most of them were type designers, most of them were teachers, all of them were calligraphers of startling originality. Take it from someone who loves to be startled. These men came up with new ways of using hands centuries-old as well as their own completely original styles that have been hiding from you for 50 years and more -- some that retain the marvelous feeling of their time and some that look as fresh as today. We’ll combine things we like from their work with those modern calligraphy moves to expand our own repertoire of styles and flavor, and help us find our own unique paths to our writing and ultimately, perhaps to our own unique typefaces.  What we want to do is use some of the most original and powerful writing from the nooks and crannies of the twentieth century to help us to discover our own vision and style in the twenty-first.

This workshop is limited to 12 students.

Required Materials:
  • Pilot Parallel Pen, 6mm size (blue cap) OR a folded brass pen, 1/4", 5/16” or 3/8”: Horizon (from PaperInkArts.com) or similar, plus any other pens you already have
  • flat brush, 1/2” W&N 995, plus any other brushes you already have
  • Pentel Color Brush, plus any other brushes you want to try or already have, such as Winsor & Newton Series 7 or similar brush (Asian, Lebenzon, etc.)
  • black non-waterproof ink such as Higgins Eternal or Pelican 2001
  • a tube or two of gouache
  • large paper with a bit of texture — Strathmore Charcoal 300 Series (yellow cover) is great for pen and brush
  • pencil and/or colored pencils (Prismacolors are the best)
  • ruler
  • any kind of flat palette
  • small water jar
  • a rag or paper towels
  • Optional: any kind of ruling pen
  • Optional: Graphic white-out (Pro–White or Dr. Martin's Bleedproof White) &/or light or bright colors of gouache and colored paper if you wish to write in reverse: Canson, Ingres or other laid surface charcoal suggested


The workbooks will be almost 200 pages of great lettering resources, with much of the material unavailable elsewhere.





Instructor: Carl Rohrs

Ghosts of Calligraphy & Type
Carl Rohrs has been a commercial lettering artist and sign painter in Santa Cruz, CA since 1977. Teacher of Lettering & Typography and Graphic Design at Cabrillo College since ‘84, and U.C. Santa Cruz Extension. Teacher of modern calligraphy — and occasionally sign-painting and gilding — at workshops and conferences since ‘86 all over the US and Europe, as well as Japan, Australia and South Africa. Studied with Father Edward Catich, Hermann Zapf, Karlgeorg Hoefer among many others. Team teaching partners have included Julian Waters, Georgia Deaver, Susan Skarsgard and sign legend Mark Oatis. Former and current editor of Alphabet, the Journal of the Friends of Calligraphy.



Venue