Cheryl Tefft - Decorated Letter 2 - May 23 through Aug 15

For more information, contact Cheryl Tefft: or 636-441-7225
Registration links are below.
John Neal Books is not hosting this class.

Decorated Letter 2
with Cheryl Tefft
May 23 through August 15, 2022

This class teaches you an EXTENSIVE variety of fun, generally easy decorative techniques to enhance calligraphy projects and other types of visual art. We will focus more on simplified drawing/painting/tracing than on lettering, so minimal calligraphy experience is needed. Both traditional and contemporary techniques are included.

Covers a variety of decorative techniques to enhance calligraphy projects, including blind embossing, acanthus leaves, Gothic/Romanesque/Renaissance decorative styles for capitals and borders, diaper patterns (nothing to do with babies!), and several contemporary decorated letter techniques.

PREREQUISITE: Any in-depth calligraphy class, the equivalent in independent study, OR a strong art background. 
NOTE: Decorated Letter 1 is NOT a prerequisite for this class.

Cost: $325 (US$)

Class will be presented live, with recordings available to all enrolled students for an extended time afterward

Class will be on Mondays, May 23 through August 15, 2022 (9 weekly lessons; no class on May 30, June 20, July 4 or July 11). You may enroll in either the afternoon session or the evening session (same dates for each session).

Afternoon session, noon to 2 pm Central Time (1 to 3 pm Eastern Time) beginning on Monday, May 23; information or enrollment through this link:

Evening session, 6:30 to 8:30 pm Central Time (7:30 to 9:30 pm Eastern Time) beginning on Monday, May 23; information or enrollment through this link:


NOTE regarding dip pens vs. cartridge pens:
You can use either dip pens or cartridge pens in this class (Parallel Pens are the type of cartridge pens specifically referenced); in fact, there will be little or no written calligraphy required in this class, as we will concentrate more on drawn/traced letters. If you don’t already know how to use dip pens, just stick with the tools you know.
DP: Applies to students who will be using dip pens in this class
PPApplies to students who will be using Parallel Pens in this class

General supplies:

  • Ruler, 18" (S271)
  • Paper towels
  • Painter's tape or artist’s tape (S412 or S931) (½" width suggested)
  • Light pad (S1013)
  • Sturdy container for rinse water (S1005)
  • Eraser (E06)
  • Distilled water 
  • Required for DP; optional but recommended for PP: Gum arabic; get the liquid kind (I84)
  • 2 Small dropper bottles with watertight caps (S1017)
  • Jumbo Dinky Dips (S853), at least two 4-jar sets recommended (8 jars total, with bases; 4-square sets suggested),
  • Labels for Jumbo Dinky Dips (¾" diameter round labels)
  • Clear tape (S1046) (for sealing labels after writing)
  • Exacto knife with pointed (#11) blade (S417)
  • File folder you can spare (1 or 2), or similar type of card stock, at least 8×10 inches
  • Favorite note-taking materials
  • Cleaning supplies for all of your brushes and tools (toothbrush, liquid soap, etc.)
  • Optional but highly recommended: 3-ring binder with page protectors, mostly for standard 8 ½ x 11" handouts
  • Optional: Magnifiers of some type if needed (portable and hands-free), such as reading glasses, or a desktop magnifier. In this class we will often be working with tiny details, so make sure you have a way to see them clearly.
  • Optional: palette with shallow wells for mixing colors, though you may find your large Dinky Dips sufficient as an alternative (S1091, S679, S1108, S120-30, S747, S1127, or S1094)
  • Optional: Pipette/eyedropper—you DON’T need this if your favorite gold ink/paint already comes in a bottle with a dropper (S705)
  • Optional: Pen rest 
  • Optional: Rubber jar opener, a flat, flexible piece of rubber used for persuading stuck equipment to un-stick without damage (always useful when dealing with tubes and jars, especially when paints are involved); available with kitchen supplies
  • Optional: Small cutting mat (S504)
  • Optional: Artist bridge (S925 or S896)

Writing/drawing/embossing tools:

  • Pencil (PL21)
  • Several Pigma Micron fine-point markers (black ink), size 005 and/or 01, and possibly size 02 (M17), or similar waterproof markers
  • Pigma Micron fine-point marker in RED ink, size 02 and/or 01(M21). Pigma Micron PN in red ink may also be helpful (M134). Similar waterproof markers may be substituted.
  • Paint pen or gel pen in opaque WHITE ink, as fine a point as possible (M61)
  • Embossing tool (ball stylus), preferably with one ball tip of about 1.8 mm diameter and another ball tip of about 3 mm diameter (S1038); DO NOT get anything with a tip smaller than approximately 1.6 mm diameter.
  • PP only: Parallel Pens (FP67) in your favorite size(s) for calligraphy; include at least one that is 3.8 mm or larger (6.0 mm size would be useful if you already have one, though you’ll also need a smaller one for more standard lettering).
  • DP only: Broad-edge dip pen nibs of your choice, in an assortment of sizes (N04-S10A)
  • DP only: Straight penholder(s) (H104, H111, H112, H113, H122, H138, H63, H77, or H78, or other straight holder(s) of your choice)
  • Optional: DP only: A few of your favorite pointed nibs IF you already know how to use them. For example: Brause EF66 (N70), Hiro 40 (N81), Hunt 101 (N77), Nikko G (N113), Zebra Comic G (N118), and/or Leonardt EF Principal (N120). NOTE: No need to buy them just for this class, but some of the stiffer nibs (such as Nikko G or Zebra G) may also be useful for other exercises in this class even if you’re not using them for script lettering styles.
  • Optional: DP only: Oblique penholder if you customarily use one for script styles, such as (H133, H129, or H114), or your favorite(s)
  • Optional: Ruling pen (N33)—there are several different designs of ruling pens available; this is the original kind (as we will be using it in this class)
  • Required OR optional: Soft drawing pencil, 2B or 4B suggested (PL38) (for making a kind of carbon paper; this is only needed if you don’t have Saral transfer paper)
  • Optional: Gel pens of your choice (M137, M137-S, M64, M138-S, M152-S)
  • Optional: Colored pencils (PL28, PL05) and/or watercolor pencils, basic set of colors of your choice
  • Optional: DP only: Automatic pens or Pratik pens, about ¾ inch (20 mm) wide or wider (N27 or N214)


  • Coliro watercolor paints (S1000), Arabic Gold color (required), plus (optional) any other colors you want. Don’t forget a storage box if you’re buying them outside of a set (S999).
  • Watercolors (NON-metallic): a basic set of assorted translucent colors, either pan or tube (S609, FP107, S994, S1049 or S1050); if you get tube colors you will also need a basic palette (as listed under “general supplies”)
  • Winsor Newton gouache (WNG1, WNG2, WNG3 or WNG4) or another brand of gouache if you prefer—you will need some gouache in each of the following colors (all color names listed are from the Winsor Newton line): (1) a strong red (such as Primary Red or Alizarin Crimson) (2) a medium blue (my favorite is Ultramarine, or you could use something like Primary Blue) (3) green (such as Permanent Green Deep, Winsor Green, Viridian) (4) black (Ivory Black preferred); and (5) white (Zinc White suggested). You might also want (totally optional) a strong purple (such as Brilliant Purple), yellow (such as Primary Yellow) and maybe a little brown (such as VanDyke Brown).
  • PP only: Usual ink to go in Parallel Pen (FP69 or FP70): at least one bright color you like in a medium-dark shade
  • Optional: DP only: Any other inks you like to use besides gouache (such as walnut ink (highly recommended; crystal form recommended over bottled ink: S449), or Pelikan 4001 ink (I04)
  • Optional: Additional metallic watercolors/inks/gouaches beyond what is listed above as being required (S1000)


  • Small pointed brush, size 0 or a little smaller (my favorite size for what we will be doing is size 000, a.k.a. 3/0); you might find it helpful to have a range of sizes from 0 to 0000 (BR26, BR26-S4)
  • 4 (or more) small brushes for mixing and loading ink/paint; cheap rough-haired flat brushes about ¼" wide are ideal (BR43)


  • Grid paper, at least 8½ x 11" in size (P21, P22, P56 or P55) 
  • Optional: Any other practice paper you prefer, with guidelines added as appropriate
  • Watercolor paper for projects, at least two large sheets or the equivalent in pads of paper (8×10” or larger) – white or off-white, smooth (but not slick) and non-bleeding, medium to heavy weight, such as Arches Hot Press (90# or 140#) (PS42 or PS47), Stonehenge (PA110, PS110), or Strathmore (PA26). My favorite paper for strictly drawing/painting projects (which we will do a lot of in this class) is Arches Text Wove (PS01, PS01-PKT, PS01-FS, or PA03). I recommend having several different types/weights of watercolor paper available, as different techniques will work better with different papers; a sample pack may be helpful (PA101 or PS87-SA).
  • Optional: Any other paper you like for calligraphy/art projects, perhaps in colors other than white or off-white, or papers with rougher or more interesting textures (such as cold-press or rough-press versions of other watercolor papers), such as: Canson Mi-Teintes (PS61), Strathmore ArtAgain Assorted Color pad (P84), Arches Cold Press (PS41, PS48), Canson Ingres (PS05), Frankfurt (PS04 or PS108), Stillman & Bern (PS112, PA112, or PA112-S), black watercolor paper, such as Strathmore ArtAgain (P58), or John Neal Deluxe Black Paper (P81)
  • Optional: Layout paper (P09-50)
  • Optional but highly recommended: Saral transfer paper (similar to carbon paper)—you don’t need much (unless working on a larger-sized project) since it can be reused indefinitely; graphite is the most useful color, and white is helpful with dark papers (S654 or S612).

Reference Books:

  • REQUIRED: The Bible of Illuminated Letters by Margaret Morgan (B2787)
  • Optional but highly recommended: The Illuminated Alphabet with calligraphy by Timothy Noad and text by Patricia Seligman
  • Optional but highly recommended: Decorated Lettering, by Jan Pickett (B4090)
  • Optional: Ames Compendium of Practical and Ornamental Penmanship by Daniel T. Ames (B368)
  • Optional but highly recommended: The Zanerian Manual of Alphabets and Engrossing (B145; not currently in print, but you may be put on the JNB list to be notified if reprinted) 
  • Optional: Illuminating the Word: The Making of the Saint John’s Bible, by Christopher Calderhead (B3780), and the Saint John’s Bible (B2679, B2706, B2707, B2708, B2709, B2710, and B2711)
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