with Yves Leterme, Instructor

A pre-recorded, self-paced course with unlimited access



[This is a pre-recorded version of the original class. Please note that there is no teacher feedback for this version.]

A Safe Guide to Gestural Writing

You may be one of the many calligraphers that wish to unbutton the straitjacket of formal penmanship in order to loosen up a bit and produce a more lively Italic which is still aesthetically pleasing. How could I possibly blame you? Straying away from formal Italic in favor of a more personal and dynamic script is a very contemporary and exciting thing to do, which is bound to give the calligrapher joy and satisfaction. However, it is my firm belief that in this pursuit the scribe is not making things easier for himself, though admittedly it may look that way. First of all, – and there’s no way around it, I’m afraid – we need to build on a very sound and trustworthy foundation, i.e. formal Italic. Therefore, the first two sessions of this online class are totally devoted to a rehearsal, reacquaintance or strengthening of this hand, going over every single letter, pointing out possible mistakes, explaining about spacing, etc. 


The Italic hand is so popular among calligraphers partly because it lends itself so wonderfully to all sorts of variations. It is impossible to list them all, let alone treat them all in this class. As I want to bring my students to this thing called ‘gestural writing’, I’m mostly interested in the variations that show the influence of speed upon the writing process. What happens with the letters, the connections, the rhythm and the overall look of the script when the calligrapher speeds up? In sessions 3 and 4, we’ll investigate all of that without actually speeding up. We’ll search for variations in letterforms and joins, we’ll play with guidelines, size, slope and weight, we’ll explain about polyrhythm and consistency of style, but everything still in slow motion.

Once we are more familiar with the different ways we can alter the look of our Italic, we’ll bring speed into the game. We start with a series of exercises that focus on controlling the line quality while accelerating, followed by a repeat of some of the exercises of the previous sessions but now with speed and more daring. Again, plenty of time will be dedicated to analysis, explaining the secret workings of proper gestural writing.

All demos and exercises throughout the entire course are done with a broad-edged Speedball nib. The last session, however, contains some bonus videos in which I demo the gestural principles with a pointed brush and an EZA-pen.

Like with the Trajan online class, it’s my aim to offer a class that appeals to the advanced students as well as to an intermediate one. Even a beginner who’s willing to put in the time and effort, can come a long way.




To assist you, we have gathered the supplies into our Acorn Arts Amazon shop that you can access by





This course offers unlimited access. Learn at your own pace, on your own schedule.

Please note that there are no discounts available for past students of this course.




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.

Email [email protected] with inquiries.

Here are some of the things that will be covered in the course:



  • setting up (supplies, how to practice…)
  • going letter by letter over a basic Italic hand
  • troubleshooting: most common mistakes
  • a good number of lively variations on Italic without speeding up
  • stretching and compressing letterforms and joins, bouncing letters
  • exercises on line quality
  • gestural variations on letters and words
  • changes in rhythm, slope, weight, size etc…
  • inventing new scripts
  • gestural capitals

Leonie Popp

The explanations, demonstrations and corrections were excellent, as was the technological side of things, so user-friendly!

Karen Roberts

A wonderful class with detailed instruction that is as close as you can get to an in-person class.


Renée Alexander

Yves is a brilliant teacher; inspiring, very generous, entertaining, technically proficient and extremely hard working.