Foundational Hand

A prerecorded, self-paced course with unlimited access.
Gemma Black, Instructor

Have you always wanted to learn how to write with a broad nib? Do you need to refresh your your calligraphic skills? Do the words "ductus" and "pen scale" seem like a foreign language? We've got you covered. This is a  perfect way to jump into the world of broad edge lettering. Students will be taken step-by-step through the process of using a broad nib, ink, guidelines, slope, using a ductus and lettering this beautiful contemporary hand based on Edward Johnston's teaching of the early 20th century. Gemma Black, a highly acclaimed international instructor, will lead you through the process. 

We will follow the path of Edward Johnston’s reinvigoration of the broad nib and those of his protégés. Like Johnston we will refer to the historical manuscripts he studied to understand the basis for his “foundational” hand as a training model. It is a hand from which to spring, a solid grounding for all broad nib work producing charismatic words with meaning and clarity.

It is never too late to connect not only with your hands but also with your head and your heart. It is the perfect experience.

This program is suitable for all who wish to firm up their broad nib skills, those who would like to experience the broad nib world and for any beginner who would like a very solid introduction to calligraphy.

These are just a few of the things that will be covered in the course




  • how to hold your pen, slant, guidelines, pen scale, reading a ductus and more.
  • setting up (supplies, how to practice…)
  • going letter by letter over a basic foundational hand
  • proper spacing
  • trouble shooting: most common mistakes
  • a formal and informal variation to use
  • analyzing a historic script
  • simple Roman capitals to use with foundational
  • a playful watercolor technique













The supply list for theĀ FoundationalĀ classĀ can be downloaded from the button below.

To assist you we have gathered the supplies into our Acorn Arts Amazon shop that you can access byĀ clicking here.


A private forum is provided as a place for students to share their work and their journey into the Foundational hand with fellow students.

The course offers unlimited access.



You can purchase a gift certificate for this class for the art lover in your life!

Since this course offers unlimited access at whatever pace and schedule that suits the student's life, this class makes a perfect gift.