Cheryl Tefft - Decorated Letter I - May 3-July 26

To register, click here.

Contact Cheryl at or 636-441-7225 
John Neal Books is not hosting this class.

Decorated Letter 1

Taught by Cheryl Tefft


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.

We will learn at least one new technique each lesson. Topics to be covered include drop shadows, borders, stand-alone ornaments, two-tone letters, double-stroke letters, leaf-and-vine designs, Lombardic capitals, Celtic knots, Sickels lettering style (a simple blocky style), traditional white vine, and Ottonian capitals.

Cost: $360 (US$)

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

Class will be on Mondays, May 3-July 26, 2021, 6:30-8:30 pm CDT (Chicago time zone)  (10 weeks; no class May 24, May 31, or July 5)

Dip pens vs. cartridge pens:

You can do any of the calligraphy techniques covered in this class with either dip pens or cartridge pens (specifically Parallel Pens); if you already know how to use dip pens, that’s what I’d recommend in general (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

PP: Applies to students who will be using Parallel Pens in this class

General supplies

  • Ruler, 18” (S271)
  • Protractor (S632)
  • 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 
  • Gum arabic; get the liquid kind (I84)
  • 2 Small plastic dropper bottles with watertight caps (S897-2)
  • Jumbo Dinky Dips (S853), at least two 4-jar sets (8 jars total, with bases; 4-square sets suggested)
  • Clear tape (S1046)
  • Optional: Pen rest (S1123)
  • Optional: Rolling ruler (S385)
  • Optional: French curves (S1065)
  • 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 (M17)
  • Pigma Micron fine-point marker in RED ink, size 02 or 01 (M21)
  • Embossing tool: S478)
  • PP only: Parallel Pens (FP67) both 3.8 mm and 2.4 mm sizes, and (optional) preferably also in 6.0 mm size.
  • DP only: Broad-edge dip pen nibs (N04-S10A)
  • DP only: Straight penholder(s) (H104 or H113 or H78) or other straight holder(s) of your choice)
  • Optional: DP only: A variety of your favorite pointed nibs.
  • Brause EF66 (N70)
  • Hiro 40, (N81)
  • Hunt 101 (N77)
  • Nikko G (N113)
  • Zebra Comic G (N118)
  • Leonardt EF Principal (N120)
  • Optional: DP only: Oblique penholder, (H133) (H129)(H97, have adjusted for NIKKO)(H114)
  • Optional: Scroll nibs, either DP or PP style:

-- DP only: Scroll nibs, dip pen style—there are several options here:

(1) N11-S6 is a set of 6 different sizes of scroll nibs in the Mitchell brand, or they can be purchased individually (N11), OR

(2) The Automatic brand (designed for making larger letters) now has scroll-pen options in several sizes (N27-SCROLL)

-- PP only: Scroll nibs, non-dip pen style—there are three options here: Scroll nibs are available to fit Manuscript cartridge pens (FP103 or FP103-D), OR (FP134 or FP134-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)
  • Optional: Colored pencils (PL05) and/or watercolor pencils (PL06), colors of your choice



  • Coliro watercolor (S1000), Arabic Gold color (required), plus (Optional) any other colors you want.(S999 or S1016).
  • Watercolors, assorted colors (S609)
  • 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 (2) a medium blue(3)green (Permanent Green Deep, Winsor Green, Viridian (4) black (Ivory Black preferred); and (5) white (Zinc White preferred). You might also want (totally optional) a strong purple
  • PP only: Usual ink to go in Parallel Pen (FP69 or FP70): at least one bright color you like in a medium-dark shade, plus black
  • Optional: DP only: Any other inks you like to use besides gouache (such as walnut ink (S449), 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 (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 (P21) or 8½ x 11" (P22); Rhodia pad (P56 or P55) 
  • Watercolor paper for projects, at least two large sheets or the equivalent in pads of paper – white or off-white, something very smooth (but not slick) and non-bleeding, such as Arches Hot Press (PS42 or PS47), or Stonehenge (PS110) (PA101)
  • Optional: Any other paper you like for calligraphy/art projects, in colors other than white or off-white, such as: Nideggan (PS93), Canson Mi-Teintes (PS61), Strathmore ArtAgain Assorted Color pad (P84), black watercolor paper, such as Strathmore ArtAgain (P58), or John Neal Deluxe Black Paper (P81)
  • Optional: Layout paper (P09-50)

Reference Books

  • REQUIRED: The Bible of Illuminated Letters, by Margaret Morgan (B2787)
  • 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) 
  • Optional:Illuminating the Word: The Making of the Saint John’s Bible, (B3780), the Saint John’s Bible (B2679)


$7.50 $5.90
$10.59 $9.53
$16.50 $8.25
$0.75 $0.65
$2.95 $2.50
$37.90 $36.01
$11.03 $8.50
$15.98 $11.95
$6.60 $5.94
$5.12 $4.55
$24.99 $22.49
$79.95 $59.96