Acorn Arts is proud to present guest artist

Yves Leterme
teaching the online class
T H O U G H T F U L  G E S T U R E S 
A safe guide to gestural writing

September 4th - October 9th, 2019



You may be one of the many calligraphers that wish to unbutton the straitjacket of formal penmanship in order to loosen up a bit and produce a more lively Italic which is still aesthetically pleasing. How could I possibly blame you? Straying away from formal Italic in favor of a more personal and dynamic script is a very contemporary and exciting thing to do, which is bound to give the calligrapher joy and satisfaction. However, it is my firm belief that in this pursuit the scribe is not making things easier for himself, though admittedly it may look that way.


First of all, - and there’s no way around it, I’m afraid - we need to build on a very sound and trustworthy foundation, i.e. formal Italic. Therefore, the first two weeks of this online class are totally devoted to a rehearsal, reacquaintance or strengthening of this hand, going over every single letter, pointing out possible mistakes, explaining about spacing, etc.


The Italic hand is so popular among calligraphers partly because it lends itself so wonderfully to all sorts of variations. It is impossible to list them all, let alone treat them all in this class. As I want to bring my students to this thing called ‘gestural writing’, I’m mostly interested in the variations that show the influence of speed upon the writing. What happens with the letters, the connections, the rhythm and the overall look of the script when the calligrapher speeds up? In week 3 and 4, we’ll investigate all of that without actually speeding up. We’ll search for variations in letterforms and joins, we’ll play with guidelines, size, slope and weight, we’ll explain about polyrhythm and consistency of style, but everything still in slow motion.


Once we are more familiar with the different ways we can alter the look of our Italic, we’ll bring speed into the game. We start with a series of exercises that focus on controlling the line quality while accelerating, followed by a repeat of some of the exercises of the previous weeks but now with speed and more daring. Again, plenty of time will be dedicated to analysis, explaining the secret workings of proper gestural writing.


All demos and exercises throughout the entire course are done with a broad-edged Speedball nib. The last week, however, contains some bonus videos in which I demo the gestural principles with a pointed brush and an EZA-pen.


Like with the Trajan online class, it’s my aim to offer a class that appeals to the advanced students as well as to an intermediate one. Even a beginner who’s willing to put in the time and effort, can come a long way.


Here are a few things that will be covered in the course:

- setting up (supplies, how to practice...)
- going letter by letter over a basic Italic hand
- proper spacing
- trouble shooting: most common mistakes
- a good number of lively variations on Italic without speeding up
- stretching and compressing letterforms and joins, bouncing letters
- exercises on line quality
- gestural variations on letters and words
- searching for harmony and contrast
- changes in rhythm, slope, weight, size etc...
​- inventing new scripts
- gestural capitals

Supply list

1.     Speedball nibs C2 and C3 (in perfect shape!)

2.     Black non-waterproof ink; Pelican, Waterman, Parker, Higgins, Noodler, Sumi… anything goes, except Winsor and Newton ink.

3.     White paper A3 size; layout paper and/or Canson croquis sketch paper are fine, but plain printing paper is equally fine – as long as the ink doesn’t bleed. Make sure the paper is transparent enough, as you want to see the guidelines through it.

General Information

Classes will run for 6 consecutive Wednesdays in September/October, 2019 beginning September 4th. 
New classes (instructional videos and handouts) are posted each Wednesday, but you do NOT need to be online at that time. All the videos can be watched at whatever time is convenient for you and as many times as you like. The videos will remain up for an additional three months after the last class in case make-up time is needed for viewing! There is homework suggested for this class, but not mandatory.  The Classroom Forum provides a wonderful place to share your designs with the other students and to learn from the critique on each other's work.

About the Instructor


Yves Leterme, a Belgian calligrapher based in the fair city of Bruges, started his lettering career in the early nineties. Mesmerized from the very beginning by the beauty, liveliness and versatility of informal, gestural writing, he spent countless hours analyzing and experimenting with this way of writing, deepening his understanding of it and honing his hand skills, either in the quiet privacy of his studio or in front of a classroom where he taught the popular topic for nearly twenty years to students from all over the world.

His vast teaching experience – he was also a high school teacher of classical languages for 25 years – helps him to present this slippery subject in a most accessible way, providing his students with a well-structured step-by-step approach and clear, technical instructions, making all the while sure that every participant, at no matter what level, is making progress.

Yves is not only a gifted teacher, but also a prolific practitioner of this artform. In his studio at home, he produces commissioned work as well as personal artwork. To see more of his art, follow him on Instagram and Facebook or visit his website:

Registration Information

Cost for the entire 6 weeks with individual attention and correction to each student’s work,
with 3 extra months of viewing is only $325 USD

Once you have registered with PayPal your information is forwarded to Harvest Crittenden of Acorn Arts. She receives your mailing address, email address, and confirmation of payment. Your PayPal receipt is your confirmation of a spot in the class. Once she has received it (it can take up to an hour for PayPal to forward it) a note of thanks and the explanation of when you’ll receive your user name and password is sent out. It is not an automated system so it may take a little while for the confirmation to go out but please be assured we are excited to have you in our Thoughtful Gestures class. We look forward to your participation.

Registration opens August 1, 2019.

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© HARVEST CRITTENDEN/ACORN ARTS 2019. 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