Offhand Flourishing

Self-Study Program

Offhand Flourishing — Learn to flourish

Skillful Offhand Flourishing demonstrates free and graceful control of the pen. By utilizing a unique offhand pen grasp in combination with whole-arm movement, we can calligraphically produce beautiful representations of the natural world.

Learn to produce rapid, beautiful, and easy designs in three different categories: birds, quills, and ornament. These categories represent a foundational understanding of historic American flourishing and allow students to employ simple designs in combination with their existing pen skills.

The Curriculum

This Offhand Flourishing Program consists of three courses:

  1. Intro to Calligraphy — prerequisite, 2 weeks
  2. Intro to Pointed Pen — prerequisite, 1 week
  3. Offhand Flourishing I — primary course, 5 weeks

This program is designed to provide you with the ability to use Offhand Flourishing with confidence and enthusiasm. Modules consist of videos, essays, and diagrams covering all of the information needed to set you up for successful Offhand Flourishing. The syllabus for Offhand Flourishing I is outlined below:

Offhand Flourishing I — syllabus

Section 1. Getting Started

What is Offhand Flourishing?

Before getting started into the how, we must first explore the what. In this section, we will take a look at definitions, history, and the principles of successful flourishing so that our subsequent efforts can be goal-oriented.

Section 2. Flourishing Principals

What are the basics of Offhand Flourishing?

Without clearly defining some principal techniques, Offhand Flourishing can seem like a daunting discipline to study. In this section, I will cover a few different modular elements that you can practice on their own. In turn, we will learn to repeatedly apply these elements into more and more complex designs. This entire course is built upon these principal techniques, so I will cover them in depth.

Section 3. The Bird

What’s up with these birds?

Birds are symbols of grace and beauty. They are emblematic of desirable qualities in penmanship and thus are a staple of the offhand flourisher’s repertoire. In this section, we will deconstruct some common birds and reduce them into their basic components. Great care is taken to provide you with a strong sense of what makes flourished birds beautiful and where they commonly devolve. At the end of this section, you will have the necessary skills to produce a rapid, simple bird in less than 60 seconds.

Section 4. The Quill

What’s so special about a quill?

Like birds, the quill has a soft spot in the heart of penmen. The flight feathers of various birds have been used as writing implements by scribes throughout history. The quill is to the penman what the hammer is to the carpenter: a totem of the profession and an iconic representation of the connective link between our hand and our Art. In this section, we will discuss simple quill designs and work to pair them with our birds into more complex designs.

Section 5. Ornament

How can I use Offhand Flourishing to ornament my other works?

Offhand Flourishing does not need to be pictorial to be beautiful. One such way that this discipline is used by penmen is in the filling of spaces surrounding text and script. In this section, we will learn a number of filling designs that can be used in conjunction with our birds and quills, but also in connection to calligraphic lettering. Some previous lettering experience will be helpful to some, but I will provide lettering templates for you to flourish around as well, so it is not required.

Section 6. Applied Flourishing

How can I use my new Offhand Flourishing skills?

My goal in producing this course is to encourage contemporary penmen and calligraphers to use their flourishing enthusiastically in their artwork, correspondence, and scrapbooks. In this section, we will tackle three small projects that can be given to friends, family, or tucked away as records of your progress in the Art.

Course Details

The Offhand Flourishing Program is a Self-Study Program. It is designed to be completed without instructor or peer feedback on a student’s own schedule.

With registration, you gain online access to the curriculum outlined above (plus the two prerequisite courses!) for one year from the date of your registration, and access to a general Community Forum where you can share your work with other Self-study Dreamers (if you choose.)

Offhand Flourishing

(above) A specimen combining flourishing and script by John A. Wesco in 1906. Original, high-quality scans of samples like this are used as references throughout the course materials.

Program Duration

This program is released as a progression of three courses and takes roughly 8 weeks to complete. Sections drip at one week intervals starting with Intro to Calligraphy. Students should expect to spend between 2-5 hours each week working through materials and practicing if they intend to complete the program in 8 weeks.

Required Materials

To participate in the lessons of this program, you’ll need:

Expectations of Students

As this School of Penmanship has grown, I’ve shifted my priorities from obtaining the maximum number of registrations to finding the highest quality students. I want to help you become an amazing flourisher. Regardless of where you are in your own story, I want you to want to be great, too.

Technology Notice

Lastly, you are responsible for the technical side of accessing DIS through your chosen device. This program is accessible through smartphone or tablet, but those devices occasionally have issues with the super-high-resolution images that I have included. I recommend using a desktop computer to interact with your course materials.

You are the first line of defense in your own technical support. I’ll be paying close attention to issues on my end that break things for all users, but you are expected to understand how to research and solve problems with your own devices. If you’re the kind of person who regularly says “I don’t do technology”, make sure that you understand that these are online courses delivered through digital means. You will be interfacing with digital technology every time you interact with the course.

David’s tenacious love for learning is evident in the way that he teaches. He not only teaches you what he sees—he shows you how you can see for yourself.

Nina Tran, Calligraphy Instructor in Los Angeles, CA.

Registration Details

Registration will open on August 15th, 2022. It will remain open and students can enroll at any time for as long as the program is offered. Registration grants access to the Offhand Flourishing I course and the required prerequisites.

Tuition

Tuition for the Offhand Flourishing Program is $225 USD plus tax.

Tuition is billed in full at time of registration. Please familiarize yourself with the DIS Terms of Use before purchasing. Feel free to reach out with any questions.