Calligraphy Workshops

I am happy to teach in-person or online; locally, nationally, or internationally; call (513-207-2737) or to discuss the workshop(s) of your choice, availability, and pricing.

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Workshops with Lettering Artist Holly Monroe

italic lettering

Italic—Basics & Beyond

Broad-Edged Pen

Acquire a firm foundation for your italic lettering by studying and practicing the lower case (Day 1) and upper case letter forms (Day 2). Holly will guide you through troubleshooting your letter forms as well as spacing as you learn to form words. Go beyond the basics with variations that will give your italic hand personality and flair. Some flourishing hints included. A digital presentation will inspire you with beautiful visuals of this beloved lettering style. Handouts included. 2-day.

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Italic swash capitals

Italic—Swash Capitals & Double Capitals

Broad-Edged Pen

After taking a basic Italic workshop, you are ready to master Swash Capitals and Double Caps. These exquisite letters will enhance your Italic and take you to the next level. In Session 1, learn how to gracefully extend and swash and/or flourish the appropriate strokes. Session 2, learn how to best double stroke your capitals, adding greater presence to each letter. Other delightful tips to embellish your letters will be shared throughout the workshop. Handouts and digital presentation, included. 1-day or 2 half-days.

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Fantastic Flourishes

Broad-Edged Pen

The elegance of the flourish is what many individuals love about calligraphic artwork. Come explore the beauty of a variety of different types of flourishes as we analyze, dissect and execute them on ascenders, descenders and capitals. You will form them free and contemporary, controlled and refined. Learn to add decorative enhancements to your flourishes. Also covered will be the tasteful placement of the flourish within the art. After careful practice, you will try your hand at completing a finished piece with the incorporation of flourishes. Choose Italic or Copperplate. 1-2 days.

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uncial letters

Uncial Letters

Broad-Edged Pen

Learn the graceful Uncial letter forms of this treasured style which was popular in monasteries throughout the 4th to 12th centuries. Well known from the Book of Kells, it can be modernized and used in many ways. In this workshop, you are invited to learn how to hold the pen, correctly size the lines for spacing and practice the basic letter forms with chiseled calligraphy markers on lined paper. (3-hr mini). If you prefer a 1- to 2-day workshop, it will include working with dip pens, variations to the basic letter forms and a finished project. Handouts and digital presentation, included. 3-hr. or 1-2 day.

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Engrosser’s Script

Engrosser’s Script

Pointed Pen

Learn or improve your Engrosser’s Script! After a digital presentation inspires you to reach for your limitless calligraphic potential, an introduction to specialized tools and materials will be discussed and demonstrated. This will include the oblique penholder, nibs, unique inks/paints, and fine art papers. Day 1, we will focus on the basic strokes of the lower case letter and turn them into letters. Day 2, the common strokes of capitals will be analyzed and practiced, placing them into their proper letterforms. Based on the Zanerian Manual letterforms. Holly’s father, Cliff, attended the Zanerian College and passed his insights down to her. Handouts and digital presentation, included. Students will receive a folder of beautiful handouts. 2-day.

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Pointed Pen Pizazz

Stylizing your Pointed Pen Lettering

Calligraphers have been looking for new ways to stylize their beautiful letters for years. Just notice the variations on greeting cards, logos and other print publications. Modern calligraphy has taken the country by storm! Based on a review of Engrosser’s Script/Copperplate, take your pointed pen script to a new level. Learn a variety of unique variations and alternative letter forms that will give your letters a cutting edge look. Enhance your framed artwork, greeting cards, invitations, envelopes, stationary, monograms, logos and framed creations by changing up the basics. Handouts and digital presentation, included. 3-hr. or 1-day.

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Pointed Pen Flourishing

Pointed Pen Flourishing

Pointed Pen

Flourishing is the soul of beauty in the curve, and the arrangement of curves. It is a decorative art that can be used to embellish letterforms or illustrations. Multiple flourishes can also be organized to create fanciful images, with a contrast between light and heavy lines. Refresher on tools, ink, papers that work with pointed pen.

  1. Practice the pointed pen strokes that make up various flourishes;
  2. Learn how to combine strokes to make compound flourishes;
  3. Learn Elements & Ornaments to add to a flourish which bring ‘bling’;
  4. Flourish an image.

Handouts and digital presentation, included. 3-hr. or 1-day.

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Contemporary Decorated Letter

The Contemporary Decorated Letter

The Decorated Letter has always been a beautiful cornerstone in a calligrapher’s repertoire of skills. In this class, the student’s scope of the decorated letter will be broadened as simple to complex styles will be covered. You will examine and learn from the historical letters, breaking down these old letterforms, looking for components that we can contemporize, ultimately creating letters that will fit our times. A rich collection of digital examples will inspire you while discussion of design elements, colors, materials, simple methods of gold powder and leaf plus tools, will assist you on your way to producing exquisite alphabetica. Lastly, enjoy several practical exercises that will spark your imagination and help you to design letters based on skills and ideas that are uniquely yours. 2-day.

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calligraphy in gold

Simple Gold Methods

Simple Decorative Gold Methods for Calligraphers and Artists

Join Holly as she leads you through a variety of simple gold and gold leaf methods to enhance your calligraphy projects, whether traditional or contemporary. Each one works a little differently and it is good to know a variety of methods, for the various surfaces on which you may want to apply gold leaf. Group may chose all or several from the following pre-made bases—Gold Size, Instacoll, Liquid Gesso, Illuminator’s Bole, Gum Ammoniac. Gold Powder and gold gouache will also be demonstrated. 1-day.

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accentuating calligraphy with gold detail

All that Glitters is Gold

Cennini Gesso & Gold Leaf

Whatever your skill level, adding a touch of gold always sets your work apart. We will make traditional gesso (which gives you the finest detail) and learn how to lay gold leaf and burnish it. Several simple methods of applying gold will also be taught—Acrylic Gloss Medium, Gold Size and 24k Gold Powder/Shell Gold. Completing your designs on fine art papers and vellum will be a focus. Specialty supplies are needed for this class—23k gold leaf, burnishers, gilding cushion, etc. 2-day.

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lettering on calfskin

Lettering on Calfskin

Calfskin aka vellum is one of the most delightful surfaces for a calligrapher to letter on. It is commonly called parchment, a skin prepared for writing. Many medieval manuscripts survive today because of the durability of these skins. Calf, sheep, deer, goat (and others) are used for the making of broadsides and books. In this workshop, you will learn how to prepare, letter on, mount and frame CALFSKIN. Enjoy a hands-on experience that will prepare you for making your own long-lasting and unique calligraphic masterpieces. Handouts and digital presentation, included. 3-hr. or 1-day.

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creative design

Creative Design and Clever You

Holly shares her creative design process in this workshop through a lively interactive digital presentation. From collecting ‘information and boundaries’ on her Client Contract form to narrowing down a multitude of creative options—with the help of her Brain Drain sheets—all of this influences and jumpstarts your calligraphic design. We will discuss the Elements and Principals of design and then, through a series of unique and stimulating exercises, Holly will help you focus on your strengths while creating a number of clever pencil layouts. As time allows (day 2), we can take them to the final. Packet of colorful and informative handouts. 1- or 2-day.

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calligraphy as spiritual discipline

Calligraphy as a Spiritual Discipline

Joining God and Self, Word and Image with expressive calligraphy gives you the ability to deepen your personal spiritual growth as well as touch the lives of others…bringing encouragement and hope. Learn to practice your passion for calligraphy to create unique, life-giving designs, emphasizing words and phrases and learning how to help them stand out. Sketch, color work, collage. 1- or 2-day.

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Family Tree Lettering

Lettering Your Lineage

Contemporary & Traditional Family Trees

You have gathered your treasured family history and want to design an impressive original to display it. This is a class that will help you to do just that. We will begin our workshop by exploring a smorgasbord of Family Tree examples, contemporary and traditional, lettered by Holly Monroe and others. Included in the layouts are wreath, tree, round, shield charts and books with clever ways to show your family history. In addition, we will closely analyze the traditional ascendant/descendant chart and the circular chart. You will learn creative ways to place titles, illustrations and photographs on these layouts. The remainder of the class will be focused on your personal family history layout. You will choose ideas from the earlier examples and begin to carefully organize your lineage onto your selected paper. Genealogical research will be briefly discussed and a digital presentation will been shown. Handouts.
2-day class will get you started; a 5-day class allows more time to complete lineage.

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Holly’s Presentations

Custom Workshops

Digital Lectures/Presentations

Looking for an inspiring, educational presentation for a group? Consider a visual lecture on the art of calligraphy and illumination, tailored to your group. Typically 1-3 hours, length is adjustable. Available in person (your location), or online via Zoom. Descriptions available upon request. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • A Modern Book of Hours—the making of a handmade book on calfskin with gold leaf and its 44 Editions through delivering it to the Bookbinder. 1 hr 50 min.
  • The Business of Calligraphy—an interactive 3 hour visual presentation that covers many aspects of running a successful calligraphy business. Great for an afternoon/evening guild or art club program. Discussion can follow.
  • Purposeful Calligraphy—The Life & Lettering of my father, Clifford Mansley, Sr. From the engrossing era, Cliff studied at the Zanerian College, and created designs from age 20-88. His designs were used for good in our society. 1 hr+
  • Decorated Letters—Historical and contemporary calligraphic works of art that focus on decorated letters. 1 or 2 hrs
  • Vibrant Calligraphy—Beautiful examples of the world of calligraphy, showing the work of a variety of lettering artists. 1 hr

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Calligraphy Cruise

Cruise the World While Enhancing Your Calligraphy Skills

if you would like to get on our mailing list for future cruises.

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Guilds, Clubs, or Groups

6-20 people
( to discuss the workshop(s) of your choice, availability & pricing.)

Custom Workshops

Have a special interest or need? Custom workshops are always available and welcomed; .


Past Workshops

International Calligraphy Conferences:

39th (2021), Legacies III,
23rd (2003), Celebration, Columbus, OH
19th (1999), PenUltima, Edmonton, AB
18th (1998), Discoveries, San Diego, CA
16th (1996), Soundings, Seattle, WA


Demonstrations & Presentations

Have been offered at museums, schools, universities, clubs, homes, churches, art shows, galleries, etc. Too many to list!