Watercolour and brush calligraphy with Kirsten Burke

Ref: SSW31984

Location: West Dean
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About this course

This course is a short weekend with a timetable variation: 10am-5pm on Saturday and 9am-4pm on Sunday.

Learn to combine two beautiful forms of expression by dipping your brush into the world of watercolour calligraphy! You'll use a pointed brush to apply paint, instead of inks, blending colours to create calligraphic artworks that are free flowing and artistic.

Course Description

Your journey begins with the basics of brush calligraphy — understanding the art of brush strokes and the flow of watercolours, and getting acquainted with various calligraphy styles.

As you progress, you'll discover the magic of combining vibrant hues with the graceful strokes of calligraphy, creating letters that dance on the page. This course isn't just about technique; it's a celebration of creativity and self-expression.

You'll explore different themes and experiment with colours, learning how to evoke emotions through your creations. You will cover blending, working with washes, degrees of transparency, ombré effects and building up the depth of colour within your calligraphy - all using the humble paintbrush!

You will learn:

The foundations of brush calligraphy and how to control the brush aswell as gain an understanding of alphabets and how to alter the style of your lettering.

The principals of colour mixing, colour terms, and using colour effectively.

How to use colour theory to create balanced lettering compositions.

How to create background washes and ombre effects, water control and exploring different effects.

Friendly and informative, you will be guided by your tutor step by step, so that you are able to build up your skills quickly and easily, design a fantastic composition, with informed colour choices.


Timetable for 2 day, short weekend courses

Saturday, session one: 10am-1pm & 2-5pm. Please arrive by 9.45am.

Sunday, session two: 9am-1pm & 2-4pm.

Lunch and tea/coffee is included.

Course Materials


  • On this course the tutor will supply all of the materials including all necessary paints and brushes for your artwork.

What students need to bring

  • A favourite phrase of 10 words or fewer
  • An apron to protect your clothes if you wish

Available to buy

  • Available from tutor:
  • A selection of additional materials, kits and workbooks

Additional information

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 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.