Yves Leterme Homegrown Trajans

Acorn Arts is proud to present guest artist
Yves Leterme
Homegrown Trajans
an online class on the Roman Inscriptional Capital 

The Romans built for eternity. Even after two millennia, the Capitalis Monumentalis, as featured on the famous inscription at the base of the Trajan column (hence its nickname ‘Trajan’), has lost nothing of its solemn majesty and striking beauty. characterzied by ideal proportions in form and weight and by graceful lines and serifs, this mother of all capitals has been studied, admired, followed and tweaked by generations of 
calligraphers, typographers and letter carvers alike.

A study of the Trajans is highly recommended for anyone who’s serious about calligraphy; it not only provides a sound foundation to build upon, it also sharpens the eye, improves the hand skills and makes one more sensitive to all the tiny details that make up the difference. As a result, all your writing will benefit from the time you spend on the Trajans.

Therefore, apart from the fun and deep satisfaction these capitals bring, there are plenty of reasons for me to present this online course in which I intend to approach and tame that beautiful but fierce Trajan horse, armed only with a pencil, a nib and a flat brush.

Daunting as it may seem, the class is aimed not only at intermediate and advanced students, but it's also open to beginners. Calligraphers, typography students, letter carvers,... anyone who follows the detailed instructions will be able to draw well proportioned and refined Trajans by the end of the course. Making elegant Trajans with the flat brush, however, requires more time and skill, but the instructional videos, showing every single stroke and letter in detail, will provide you with a sound base to start from or will take you to the next level. 

Does it sound like something you want to put on top of your New Year's Resolutions list? Terrific idea!  

Classes will run for 6 consecutive Wednesdays in February/March, 2018. New classes will be posted February 7th, February 14th, February 21st, February 28th, March 7th and March 14th, 2018. 

New classes are posted once per week. Each Wednesday there will be new worksheets available for you to download with the instructional videos. You may watch the videos at any time that is convenient for you, as many times as you like during the weeks the course runs, there is no need to be in class at an exact time. The lessons will remain posted for the entire class, so if you need to miss a week you will be able to make it up. Lessons will remain up for an additional three weeks after the last class if make-up time is needed. 

Merely watching the videos, alas, won't develop the skills to do it yourself. At the end of every lesson, some useful homework will be suggested, that you can post on the Classroom Forum, accessible only to the participants. On that platform you can connect with your fellow classmates, see how they're doing, but also signal problems and ask for clarifications. I'll be happy to help out with additional comments and demo's where needed. It's like you're in class, except that you can enter and leave when you want without asking permission or missing anything - school life as it should have been! 

The course includes:

1.    A concise history of the Capitalis Monumentalis

2.    Additional notes on the (short) supply list: tools, paper, media

3.    The right proportions of the skeleton Trajans

4.    A sound method to draw Trajan letters without fail

5.    The distribution of weight within the letters

6.    The art of making elegant serifs

7.    The rules of spacing between letters and words

8.    Built-up Trajans with a broad edged and pointed nib

9.    Pen drawn variations on Trajan capitals.

10.  Preparation and treatment of your flat brush

11.  Setting up the work space for brush lettering

12.  Starting out: how to mix paint, load and hold the brush, etc.

13.  The basic strokes

14.  Manipulation and pressure

15.  Detailed explanation of every single letter

16.  The finer points of an elegant Trajan alphabet


The short list of suggested materials needed for this class, are as follows:

Mechanical Pencil .05

Red Pencil

Broad Edge Nib and Pointed Nib with a Straight Penholder

Broad Edge Brush

Gouache or Poster Paint






Optional: Optivisor or Magnifier

To download a pdf of some recommended brands for the class, please CLICK HERE

John Neal Bookseller has graciously agreed to carry the supplies for us and ships worldwide. Here is a link to the supplies on his website: JNB CLICK HERE


About Yves 

Formerly a teacher of Latin and Greek, Yves Leterme became a fulltime calligrapher in 2010. He lives in Bruges, Belgium.

Practicing his art for more than 25 years, Yves ranks among the most outstanding calligraphers of our time. He quickly became a popular teacher, taught and influenced many calligraphers all around the globe. His style is characterized by a great sense of movement and detail, which clearly shows in his gestural writing and built-up capitals as well as in his calligraphic paintings.

Teaching dead but tough languages to teenagers and vivid but equally tough letters to adults for many years built up experience in developing a methodical approach to complex matters. The very thing he did with the language of the Romans, he now undertakes with their letters: passing on their wonderful legacy and making it available to a large audience.


You can visit his website www.yvesletermeletters.com and follow him on FB and Instagram @yves_leterme.    

Registration is now closed. Please make sure to subscribe to the Acorn Arts newsletter for information about future classes. 

Your PayPal receipt serves as your receipt for the Acorn Arts Classroom and will show Harvest Crittenden, Acorn Arts. Your receipt will also show the class name you have registered for.  Students are logged in, in the order in which they register. Once you have registered, information will be sent to students the week before the class begins with information about logging into the classroom, your user name and password, and other necessary information. Nothing is sent prior to this so hang on to your receipt. 


The email address and name that you use to register via PayPal is the address and name that we use for the class. If you would like to use a different email address or name for the class please let Acorn Arts know ASAP when you register or you may miss important emails. Students sometimes forget to do this and it delays your entry into the classroom. We want to make sure you have full access to the classroom and forum.

Thanks so much. Hope to see you there in the virtual classroom! 

© HARVEST CRITTENDEN/ACORN ARTS 2018 All rights reserved. The calligraphy, illustrations and illumination contained within these pages are original and covered under copyright law. Reproduction in any form without expressed written permission is prohibited.