The Wonder of Versals with Gemma Black


 Compound Letterforms

Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced.

Come and explore exquisite versal forms from every genre. In this workshop we will touch on the basic versal, the versal history then experience chronological examples from the Grandval Bible through to Irene Wellington, the more contemporary and beyond. Traditional techniques will be learnt along with new and more gestural versal forms.

The outcome of this class will give you sound structural knowledge of letterforms, show possibilities of what can and can’t be done. Leaving you more confident in working with both traditional and contemporary versals.

Out of stock


About the Instructor

G E M M A  is an artist and calligraphic-designer. In 1991 she received a Winston Churchill Fellowship to study in Europe that allowed her to research, observe and learn the practice of calligraphy. She is an Honoured Fellow and Fellow of the prestigious Calligraphy & Lettering Arts Society, UK. For over 25 years Gemma has taught extensively for calligraphy, bookbinding, art & craft organizations around Australia including the Australian National University.

She has in the past joined the faculty at international lettering-art conferences in Italy, Germany, the USA, Canada and the UK. Her work is housed in private and public collections including the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK, the European Parliament and Parliament House Canberra.

Gemma enjoys a variety of art techniques that involve mostly calligraphy, simple book structures, decorative paper techniques, abstract watercolour painting and grounds for calligraphy. Gemma lives in Tasmania, Australia.



Materials List

Please bring all your usual calligraphy supplies and creature comforts. Make sure you include:


Set of square edged nibs. I HIGHLY recommend Brause nibs. Small sizes required ¾mm & 1mm & 1.5mm only. Please have them ready beforehand to make sure they are in good working order. 


  • Practice pad paper approx. A3 (double letter size).
  • 2 x Fine Art sheets in neutral colours (tan, cream, ivory, white, etc.)
  • 1 x Fine art sheets black or charcoal

Fold and slice all of these into quarters for ease of carrying.

  • Tracing film/paper – a couple of letter size sheets

& Ink

Some non-waterproof black ink – ink stick and stone recommended.

Any gouache or water colours you already have (plus mixing supplies) plus some white ink or gouache: Dr Ph Martin’s Pen White HIGHLY recommended.

Plus throw in an eraser, ruler, lead pencils, 2 x small water jar, tissues or rag, notebook/visual diary, blu-tac/white putty and a compass (pair of compasses).

To print this list click on the link below: