Calligraphy – italic hand with Mary Noble

Ref: S2D30069

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About this course

Explore the possibilities of this ever-popular Italic hand at your own level. Beginners start from scratch; experienced or rusty can enjoy improving or refreshing skills.

Course Description

This course is for all levels, starting where you are individually, aiming to move you on to greater things with your italic calligraphy, both in letterforms and in layout and design.

Looking first at the ancestral heritage to understand the core features of this popular and timeless script, with a brief explanation of script analysis, we will quickly get down to writing in earnest.

Beginners will start with step-by-step instructions, focusing on getting good letterforms, then letter and word spacing.

If you have experience of italic calligraphy, you will write a page as a warm-up to focus on your writing rhythm, speed and consistency and to analyse your strengths and weaknesses with the tutor. You will then work to improve your formal hand.

If you are confident with your formal hand, there are options of exercises to explore many italic variations of weight, speed, expansion and compression, softness and sharpness, as well as the more familiar flourishing. And more advanced students can explore gestural freedom.

To make the most of your writing, the final sessions will work with a short quotation, with careful attention to design and layout, aiming to complete a piece with a pleasing composition. Calligraphy at its best is its own embellishment; show off your beautiful writing by arranging it well on the page, so you have something you can take home proudly.

On the first evening session, the tutor will give a general introduction to the course, looking at the historical precedents to today's calligraphic scripts, admiring examples of modern calligraphers' work, and then checking out equipment and what will be needed, so you can be ready to work in the morning.


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

What students need to bring

  • Short quotations (10 words, approximately, but more if you’re experienced) to write out
  • Pencil, ruler, sharpener, eraser, kitchen roll
  • Any calligraphy equipment/materials you may already have
  • Examples of your calligraphy work, if you have some experience, and would like the tutor to assess how to move forward

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A4 Layout pads, WM Mitchell nibs and penholders, various inks.
  • Available from tutor:
  • The tutor will also have Brause nibs and Sumi ink for purchase.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots, if specified.


Mary Noble

Mary's graphic design training led her on to study calligraphy to advanced level, becoming Fellow of the two national Calligraphy Societies, SSI and CLAS, and her work is displayed in many of their exhibition catalogues. She's been teaching for 30 years and has published several books focusing on beginners.


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

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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 advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). 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.