Few calligraphic hands are as timeless or beautiful as Engrosser’s Script. This historic American script combines a handful of principal strokes to create stunning letters in a way that is simple and systematic.
Learn to pen logical, consistent, and well-spaced letters and words. Combine these time-tested techniques into projects and participate in critique as both recipient and critic. Temper the hand and the eye through analyzing historic and modern sources. Discover the modular language of script and pursue it to fluency.
This course is designed to provide you with the ability to use Engrosser’s Script with confidence and enthusiasm. Modules consist of videos, essays, and diagrams covering all of the information needed to set you up with successful Engrosser’s Script. The syllabus for Engrosser’s Script I is outlined below.
Engrosser’s Script I — syllabus
What are the basics of Engrosser’s Script?
At its core, Engrosser’s Script is formed through the regular, systematic repetition of five basic shaded shapes and four simple hairlines. In this section, we cover the most rudimentary ES techniques and the first three of the Principal Shades. We discuss the concept and power of modularity and its value to us as students of this Art.
Are some shades harder than others?
Of the five Principal Shades, students often have their favorites and least-favorites. The shades covered in this section are used to make the round letters of Engrosser’s Script and are challenging in their own way. In this section we discuss the concept of “weight distribution” and its control over the legibility and fluidity of our script.
Can we make letters yet?
Everyone wants to pen the luscious shades of this beautiful script. The wet ink sitting on the page shines as it reflects the light from a nearby window. But shades are glued together by carefully crafted hairlines—the unsung heroes of Engrosser’s Script. In this section, we discuss the Connective Hairlines and the role they play in establishing consistent spacing.
Now that we have a tool bag of skills to pull from, our efforts in creating beautiful letterforms are as simple as learning the way to assemble them! In this section we cover our first two groups of minuscule forms: i, u, n, m and w, v, r, x
Not all letters are created with equal space.
A false sense of security might have settled upon us as we explored the simple letterforms in the previous section, but what do we do when things get complicated? This section deals with “intermediate letter assembly” and some of the spacing puzzles that comes with our third group of minuscule forms: o, c, e, a, s
What about the tall letters?
To this point, the Principal Shades we learned have been used just as we learned them. Now we must learn to deconstruct them for their parts and form logical approaches to more complicated shapes. The loops, namely, offer an excellent opportunity to see just how modular this Method really is. In this section, we tackle our final three groups of minuscule forms: t, d, p, then l, b, h, k, f, and finally, j, y, g, q, z.
I’m ready to craft my first words!
With the minuscule letters under our belt, we can begin to talk about how they must change and adapt when used within words. This section explores Interval Sequences and the tricky spacing puzzles that occur between letters we least expect.
What about the larger letters?
Majuscules! You’re right, we can’t forget them. After all, don’t you need a capital letter to start a sentence? In this section we cover the first three groups of majuscule forms: A, M, N, then, V, W, H, K, and finally, I, J.
Majuscules sure are tricky, but I’m finding my way through them!
Although majuscule forms seem to have less in common than the minuscules, there’s still system and similarity to be discovered. In this section, we continue to dive deeper into the capital letters with: P, B, R then, T, F, and finally, X, U, Y, Z.
Time to finish our alphabet!
Don’t worry, I saved some of the most difficult majuscule letterforms for last, but by this point, you’re finding a groove and making great improvements! In this section, we cover the final two groups of majuscules: S, L, G, and O, Q, C, E, D. At last, we’re ready to produce a majuscule exemplar!
What kinds of non-writing skills are useful?
Project management and planning strategies are a big part of actually using your calligraphy skills to make things for the real world. In this section, we cover how I approach projects and some good habits for you use in work of your own. By the end of this section, you’ll have completed your first project on finished paper and gone through the processes of ideating, drafting, critiquing, and revising!
Are there any finishing touches we need to add to this ES adventure?
This sections allows us to bring in a final set of forms for your consideration: the figures! By the end of this section, you’ll know how to form the figures 0-9 and use them to create a special invitation with your Engrosser’s Script!
What’s the next step for me?
A big theme of this course is the investigation of each student’s goals and dreams with this script. Through this section, we will discuss next steps, big picture concepts, and complete the Final Quiz!
As you can see, the curriculum above covers a lot of ground. Want to take a look at an actual lesson from the course? Take a peek at the lesson on the majuscule I and J.
Prerequisite: Intro to Calligraphy
The Engrosser’s Script Course is a Certificate Course. It is designed to be completed alongside classmates in a cohort-style experience.
With registration, you gain online access to the curriculum outlined above for one year from the date of your registration, and access to a Community Forum where you can share your work with other Dreamers.
(above) An ES specimen from the pen of E. A. Lupfer. Original, high-quality scans of samples like this are used as references throughout the course materials.
This course is released in weekly sections and takes roughly 13 weeks to complete. Students should expect to spend between 2-5 hours each week working through materials and practicing if they intend to complete the course in 13 weeks. Lessons consist of pre-recorded videos, diagrams, and essays.
To participate in the lessons of this course, you’ll need:
- An oblique pen holder.
- A pointed pen of your choice (Hunt 101, LPEF, etc.)
- An ink or writing fluid of your choice. (Walnut, Sumi, Iron Gall, etc.)
- Some paper that you can write on. (such as Neenah Classic Crest Papers)
- One sheet of Arches 90lb Hot Press paper (or similar) for projects.
- A ruler and pencil.
- Access to a printer.
- A computer with access to the internet.
Certificate Printing Fee
A printing and shipping fee of $40 USD (plus tax) will be issued to students who complete this course and pursue a Certificate of Merit. Non-US students are required to use a US-based shipping forwarding service of their choice to receive their shipments, which adds some extra cost.
You are responsible for the technical side of accessing DIS and will occasionally need to research and solve problems with your devices. You are the first line of defense in your own technical support. This course is accessible through smartphone or tablet, but a desktop computer is recommended for the best experience. Please understand that is a fully online course that requires you to interact with digital technology.