Calligraphy and lettercutting

Signwriters' skills – Roman lettering for beginners with Robin Abbey

Ref: S3D08768



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About this course

Learn key signwriters' skills derived from learning to paint Roman lettering, which can be applied to a wide range of disciplines and lettering styles. Using the traditional tools of the trade, gain a grasp of layout, letter spacing and brush technique.

Course Description

We will look at Roman letterforms, with a brief overview of their origins, diversity of use and derivatives. The objectives are to be able to form characters and whole words, using the traditional tools of the trade, understanding letter-spacing and layout.

By the end of the course you should have a good basic knowledge of brush techniques, a grasp of layout and a heightened awareness of signage in the built environment.


Timetable for courses more than one day in length

(The tutor may make slight variations)

Arrival Day

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, 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.

Course Materials


  • The course fee includes the cost of paper and water-based paints supplied for the course

What students need to bring

  • Nothing, other than an apron if you wish. The tutor will bring necessary tools and equipment to use on the course, including sable writing brushes, mahl sticks and palettes

Available to buy

  • White cartridge paper


Robin Abbey

Robin trained in letterpress at the Somerset College of Art, and learnt signwriting from various practitioners. He has given talks and and workshops in Scotland, and belongs to the Heritage Craft Association, Letterheads, and the Baskerville Society.


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

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