Creative modern brush calligraphy with Kirsten Burke

Calligraphy and lettercutting

Ref: SWE12135

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Places available

About this course

Master the skills of modern brush calligraphy. Create artworks using colour blending with inks and metallics, and a range of different embellishing skills – highlighting, shadowing, stippling, foiling and embossing with heatguns and laminators.

Course Description

Brush calligraphy is the most expressive, artistic form of calligraphy. Learn how to create your own compositions using modern brush lettering, combined with a variety of different embellishing techniques using brushpens and paintbrushes. The tutor will reveal the basic rules that govern calligraphy and brush lettering, and guide you in which rules to follow, and which ones you can bend and play with in order to create stunning, modern compositions that dance around the page.

You will look at balance and how to adjust letterforms to create atmosphere, using alphabet families, and then learn different ways to work with colour: dipping, washes and blending, by combining inks and metallics. Lastly, the tutor will show you a range of different embellishing techniques, from simple highlighting, shadowing and stippling to more extravagant foiling and embossing techniques, using powders and gum, and foil sheets with heat guns and laminators.

At the end of the class, you will create your own stunning artwork, using your favourite techniques to bring your work to life. Everything you need is provided, so join the tutor as she teaches you her secrets of modern brush calligraphy.

The tutor will use demonstrations to inspire you whilst you follow a carefully structured lesson plan to guide you throughout the day. There will be lots of one-to-one tuition to help you master the skills you need. Working over templates during the workshop means that you will build muscle memory, as well as creating gorgeous art cards to motivate you along the way. Expressive and creative brush lettering is the fun-loving cousin of traditional calligraphy. It offers a way of turning lettering into a visual representation of what the words of a poem or song might say.


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 tutor will supply all of the materials, including: a wide selection of felt and fibre tip brushpens, a water brush, a paintbrush, metallic paints, foiling sheets and gum, inks and pencils

Available to buy

  • Available from tutor:
  • Brush pens, metallic paints, books, kits, inks
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Kirsten Burke

Kirsten Burke is one of the UK's leading contemporary lettering artists. She gained a BA Hons in Graphic Design and a Postgrad in Calligraphy from Roehampton. She has had four books published and sold 10 million greeting cards. Her work is exhibited in numerous museums nationwide, including a 13 metre mural for Shakespeare's Globe.


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

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or a Diploma in Art and Contemporary Crafts (10 three-day study blocks, over two years). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.

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