Yves Leterme Homegrown Trajans

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

Back by popular demand!

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. Characterized 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. 

Classes will run for 6 consecutive Wednesdays in November/December, 2018. Classes will be posted November 14th, November 21st, November 28th, December 5th, December 12th and December 19th, 2018. 

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. The lessons will remain posted for the entire duration of the class and we’ll leave them up for viewing for another few weeks until the end of January, 2019. That will make it easier for you to catch up, if you need a break. Yves keeps on critiquing your homework until the forum is closed, which will be at the end of December, 2018. 

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! 

These are some of the things that will be treated.

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.    Preparation and treatment of your flat brush

10.  Setting up the work space for brush lettering

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

12.  The basic strokes

13. Manipulation and pressure

14. The finer points of an elegant Trajan alphabet


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

Mechanical Pencil .05 or lead holder

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


IMG 2979 copy

About Yves

Formerly a teacher of Latin and Greek, Yves (°1959) became a fulltime calligrapher in 2010. He lives near Bruges, Belgium.

Practicing his art for more than 25 years, Yves has become an outstanding calligrapher and a popular instructor. He has traveled the world, teaching and showing his take on things. His style is characterized by a great sense of movement and finesse, which clearly shows in his gestural writing and built-up capitals as well as in his calligraphic paintings. Trajans, to him, are a means to improve the necessary hand skills and the eye for detail.

Teaching dead languages to teenagers and lively letters to adults proved useful 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 for this course is now closed.

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!

Please make sure to subscribe to the Acorn Arts newsletter for information about future classes. 

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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