Introduction to Japanese calligraphy – Shodo with Rie Takeda

Calligraphy and lettercutting Drawing

Ref: S2D11701

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About this course

Discover the essence of Japanese calligraphy. Learn basic brush movements, foundational strokes, techniques to create your calligraphy pieces, and how to conduct and apply your inner energy flow with brush and ink onto paper.

Course Description

Discover and experience the essence of Shodo, the art of Japanese calligraphy. Previous experience and particular knowledge on calligraphy or Japanese calligraphy is not necessary. Your tutor will be sharing her expertise, demonstrating and showing the art of Shodo with an original mindfulness based method. You will learn various techniques and brush movements. Specially designed exercises will help you learn to focus on bringing the balance of mind and body together, as well as your individual mindfulness process.

You will start with an introduction to the background and mindfulness aspects of the art form. You will be presented with various calligraphy styles, their characteristics and learn about the utensils and materials used.

The first stage of the course is to connect body and mind by releasing the tension from your body by some simple body movements. You will then learn how to create the ink by rubbing the ink stick, this is also releasing the tension from mind.

The second stage is to learn the basic brush movements through specially designed exercises. You will learn how to concentrate on your inner energy flow, conduct and apply it with brush and ink onto paper.

The third stage is to practise two foundational strokes, one is called side brushing and another is direct brushing in both horizontal and vertical directions. At this point, you will learn to combine conscious breathing and brush movements as well as synchronise the stroke and the inner energy flow at the same time.

The next stage is to create the calligraphy works with prepared templates. You will learn various basic techniques, the composition balance and energy movements of the characters. You will complete the work with your first name in Japanese lettering and the name stamp on the final piece.

The course ends with a presentation of your final works, with discussion about your work and process.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course the College will supply some materials including a Sumi ink stick, a Sumi ink stone, a bottle of Sumi ink liquid, 50 sheets of 33 x 24cm calligraphy paper thin (Hanshi paper), 2 sheets A3 calligraphy paper thick, a piece of Shikishi mounted board and a Japanese brush.

What students need to bring

  • Any calligraphy utensils/materials you may already have
  • Kitchen rolls
  • Examples of your calligraphy work, if you have ever tried and would like the tutor to see for feedback
  • Apron/smock
  • Any items you may have from the available to buy list

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Sumi ink stick, Sumi ink stone, Sumi ink liquid, brushes, calligraphy paper, portfolio to transport art works
Due to the use of Sumi ink, please wear darker clothing (nothing light or bright coloured). Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified.


Rie Takeda

Rie Takeda has worked as a professional calligrapher, artist and teacher for more than 20 years.
She started practicing calligraphy at the age of five under the supervision of her grandmother. Later she completed the master of the Gayu calligraphy school in Japan. She also trained her Sumie ink painting skill in the Okino school.

Rie gives workshops, courses and supervisions in the UK, Europe and Japan. Rie produces calligraphy works, Painted Poem series, collages, print designs and works on Body-Art. She also continuously is involved in various artistic projects and collaborations.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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