A Sharp Pencil and a Keen Eye with Amity Parks


Graphite Techniques for Calligraphers
 - All Skill Levels 

In this class, the humble pencil and its relatives become powerful tools in creating many effects from subtle to stunning. We will use pencils, erasers, graphite s4ticks/blocks, powdered graphite and their water-soluble cousins to explore the possibilities of this medium for creating refined works of art to quickly made drawings in our sketchbooks. Starting with basic drawing principles like line quality and shading, we will experiment with each tool to discover the marks it can produce. We will then move on to drawing letters and designing word groups, both formal and casual. The monochromatic drawn letterform forces us to slow down and relate more organically to the forms we are creating. You will find drawing letterforms with care and thoughtfulness to be so helpful in improving your design and lettering skills and in allowing for more refined and subtle attention to detail.

Further time will let us explore how to integrate our letters with their backgrounds into designs that will grab our viewer’s eye. Finally I’ll show you some of the tricks I’ve learned to save time and ensure success when working with this versatile medium.

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About the Instructor


Amity Parks is an artist and calligrapher living in Missoula, Montana. For some years she has been studying calligraphy in weeklong and private tuition classes with internationally renowned instructors. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Tulsa, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Montana. Her work has been featured in national and regional exhibits and publications. She has been a long-term active member and teacher in her local and state calligraphy guilds and travels within the US and internationally to teach workshops, including serving on the faculty for the International Lettering Arts Conference in 2014, 2015 & 2017, for the SSIW Conference in Melbourne, Australia and the Midwest Art and Lettering Retreat in 2016. She spends many hours in her studio on her personal and creative work, finding a balance between her teaching commitments, her business and her own busy family life. More information and artwork can be found on Facebook and at her website, www.amityparks.com.

Materials List

There is $10.00 supply fee for this class.

Supply list:

  • Mechanical Pencil- 0.5 and/or 0.3 and leads (I like the Pentel GraphGear 500)
  • A few drawing pencils in various hardness’ (6B, 4B, 2B, HB, 2H, 4H). And bring whatever pencils you have already in your toolkit.
  • Graphite stick (6B or 8B)
  • Water-soluble graphite crayon – Lyra 9B (Look for the water drop on the label)
  • Art Graf Black Carbon Water-Soluble Ink Block
  • Water-soluble graphite pencil (General’s Sketch and Wash or Faber-Castell Graphite Aquarelle 8B for example.)
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Small white eraser stick in holder: Preferably the Tombow Mono zero round, orGeneral Facts
  • Your favourite writing tools (larger sizes of nibs, ruling pens, automatic pens, brushes, etc) (You won’t need any ink…trust me)
  • Scissors, X-acto knife, blades and small pencil sharpener (no motors please)
  • Steel Ruler
  • Large soft flat brush for wetting paper and a small #1or #2 pointed brush.
  • Paper- Strathmore 400 series drawing paper (any size) or whatever similar you have at home. Few pages of any other papers you want to try.
  • Paper- Several pieces (11×17 or so) of budget watercolour paper (canson XL) or any heavyweight water friendly paper that you have already. Arches text wove, Arches MBM, and/or Arches watercolour papers are good quality water-friendly papers also.
  • Paper towels, water container, small spray bottle
  • A short quote or a few words you like to write (5-10 words or so)
  • Drawing Board/ padded surface to work on. (Masonite with a few sheets of paper taped to it.
  • Not required, but for your info: The sketchbook I use and recommend is the Moleskine 7.5” x 10” Plain Soft Cover Notebook.
  • To print this list click on the link below: