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Blackletter Calligraphy Bootcamp

  • CraftJam 33 West 17th Street, 2nd Floor New York, NY, 10011 United States (map)

Interested in picking up a unique style of calligraphy? Looking for an edgy way to elevate your writing? Join our Blackletter Calligraphy Workshop and dive into the historical world of book scripts. Blackletter is an eclectic genre of calligraphy styles,  and its simplicity makes it a perfect starting point for exploring the vast expanse of styles that can be written with calligraphic writing tools.

Blackletter is an all encompassing term used to describe a range of scripts that first appeared in the Middle Ages and continued to be used in northern Europe until the mid-20th century, in which the darkness of the letters overpowers the whiteness of the page. Writing in blackletter is a fantastic way to make everything from greeting cards to certificates and to do lists into fun and exciting pieces of art!


At the core of the development of any writing system are the tools that writers use to make letters. This workshop will focus on the single tool that has had the most significant impact on the letters we read every day: the broad-edged pen. By learning a simple yet bold and elegant blackletter (or “gothic”) alphabet, Jammers will learn how to use the broad-edged pen to create the sumptuous juxtaposition of thick and thin lines that makes calligraphic writing so beautiful, and how to come up with their own personalized blackletter style.

In this extensive Blackletter Bootcamp, students will learn:

  • The history of blackletter calligraphy

  • The tools used for this writing style

  • How to use a broad-edged pen to make bold, beautiful gothic letters

  • How to create the rich and dense texture of blackletter calligraphy

  • A greater appreciation of the beautiful letters we see every day and often take for granted

This class is beginner-friendly; no experience necessary! We will have all the supplies and materials ready for you. During in-class exercises you will get a grasp on how to space letters next to each other and learn to appreciate and create beautiful visual rhythms in your writing. You will also receive a Pilot Parallel Pen with a 6mm nib and two replacement ink cartridges so you’ll be fully equipped to write blackletter at home, at work, and anywhere you’d like to make a strong impression on friends, family, and coworkers. And in case you are left handed, lefties are welcome to attend class!

Ethan Cohen is a NYC-based calligrapher and typeface designer who currently works at Mucca, a branding studio in Brooklyn. Ethan studied typeface design at The Cooper Union's Type@Cooper Extended Program and serves on the Board of Governors of NYC's non-profit calligraphy organization, Society of Scribes. He is also a conservatory-trained guitarist and 5-string banjo player.

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