Cheryl Tefft - Mastering Dip Pens - Feb/Mar; Aug/Sept

For more information, contact Cheryl Tefft:
(Registration links below)
John Neal Books is not hosting this class.

Mastering Dip Pens
Taught by Cheryl Tefft

February/March 2022 Session:
Saturdays, February 5 through March 12, 2022, 1:00-3:00 pm Central Time (2:00-4:00 pm Eastern Time) (6 lessons)
To register, click HERE.

August/September 2022 Session:
Wednesdays, August 17 through September 28, 2022, 12:00-2:00 pm Central Time (1:00-3:00 pm Eastern Time) (6 lessons; no class on Sept 7)
To register, click HERE.


Have you been using calligraphy markers or cartridge pens to study and practice your calligraphy, and found dip pens (the favored tools of professionals) to be intimidating or frustrating? This class will help you move toward wielding those dip pens with ease and confidence much faster than you could on your own!

In this class you will be using the broad-edge lettering style(s) you have already learned and simply concentrating on becoming comfortable with using a different kind of writing tool and different inks. (NOTE: This course is #3 of 4 in a series designed for complete beginners. This course covers broad-edge dip pens only; pointed pen use is covered in the instructor’s next course: Beginning Copperplate)

Cost: $220 (US$)

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

Required items:

  • Winsor Newton gouache (WNG1, WNG2, or WNG3). Get at least one color you really like that will show up well on white paper (additional colors optional)
  • Gum arabic; get the liquid kind (I84)
  • 4 (or more) small brushes for mixing and loading ink (BR43)
  • Dinky dip set (S934)
  • Ruler, 18” long (S271)
  • 2 Small plastic dropper bottles (S897-1/2)—get two of these bottles
  • Distilled water
  • Protractor (S632)
  • Jumbo Dinky Dips (S853), at least two 4-jar sets for holding inks (8 jars total, with bases; 4-square sets suggested); extra jars (S856) or sets optional 
  • Clear tape (such as Scotch tape) (S1046), for protecting labels
  • Pencil, preferably mechanical (PL21)
  • Eraser, preferably a white one that can be used with precision, such as Pentel Clic (E06) or Tombow Mono Zero (E22)
  • Watercolor paper for projects, one or two large sheets recommended (pads of it are okay for smaller projects)--white or off-white, something very smooth (but not slick) and non-bleeding, such as Arches Hot Press, any weight (PS42 or PS47, and/or PA42), or Stonehenge Hot Press (PS110 and/or PA110); be sure to get Hot Press rather than Cold Press if the paper comes in both varieties.
  • Envelopes  (PA79)
  • Dedicated cover sheet: Recommend using a piece of card stock in a distinctive light color
  • Painter's tape or artist’s tape (S412 or S931)(½” width suggested, though ¾” is okay too)
  • Black watercolor paper, smooth and non-bleeding, such as Strathmore ArtAgain (P58), or John Neal Deluxe Black Paper (it comes lined [P87] or unlined [P81])—for experimentation with metallic inks
  • FineTec (also called Coliro) watercolors (S1000); Get a pan of the Arabic Gold color (for lettering in gold), plus (optional) any other colors you want. I also recommend that if you aren’t buying a pre-selected set of FineTec colors, get a storage box to hold the paint pans you have selected (S999 or S1016).
  • Mitchell/Rexel roundhand square (right hand) nibs, 10-nib set, with 2 reservoirs (N04-S10A); [Note for lefties: You may wish to substitute the same set, cut for left-handers (N05-S10A), though some lefties prefer the right-hand nibs, which are actually cut straight across.]
  • Straight penholders; only one is required, though I recommend that you get at least 2 total. Any kind is fine (such as H104, H111, H113, H138, H78, H79, or H81).
  • Non-bleeding paper for practice: either grid paper (such as Rhodia grid pad [P55 or P56] or John Neal grid pad [P21 or P22]), OR blank paper for reproducing guidelines for practice (such as a blank Rhodia pad [P53]), OR both graph and blank paper (recommended).
  • Note-taking materials of your choice

Optional items:

  • 3-ring binder with page protectors, mostly for standard 8 ½ x 11” handout
  • Samples of a variety of smooth “good” papers, mostly white/off-white, for testing with your new tools/inks (PA101)
  • Pen rest 
  • Rubber jar opener, a flat, flexible piece of rubber used for persuading stuck equipment to un-stick without damage; available with kitchen supplies
  • Layout paper (P09-50),perhaps 10 sheets, for help with project layouts and learning new styles
  • Nib containers (such as S1074 or S231), enough to have separate compartments for each variety/size of nibs you use (I sometimes use 7-day pill containers), plus small labels for the compartments; I recommend using containers that are visually different (in color or shape) for broad-edge nibs vs. pointed nibs, if you have both—make sure the compartments are big enough to hold the nibs!
  • Thin lint-free rags (old cotton t-shirts work well)—I don’t use them myself, but some people prefer these to paper towels for using as pen wipes
  • Pigma Micron fine-point marker (black ink), size 005 or 01 (M17); recommended for writing labels

Additional writing fluids, as follows: (NOTE: Check your labels—acrylic or waterproof inks NOT recommended for this class!)

  • Walnut ink (crystals recommended over bottled form): S449 (very popular; if you only get one optional writing fluid, get this one)
  • Bister inks (I157 or I157-S4 or I157-S or K132): similar to walnut ink, but more color options
  • Stick ink (with ink stone): my top two recommendations would probably be Eiraku Ink Stick or IS29 [Chinese Ink Stick – Dense Black], then IS06 [Skakyozumi Ink Stick 02409] or IS11 [Seiryutai Ink Stick 30213]) (NOTE: If you get an ink stick, you MUST also obtain an ink stone in order to use!) (IS19)
  • Pelikan 4001 ink, your choice of colors (I04)
  • Watercolors (for lettering, tubes are preferred to pans); (WNWC1, WNWC2, WNWC3, and/or WNWC4); for this class, gouache is preferable to watercolor if you can get it; except for metallic colors, you do NOT need watercolors for this class if you can get gouache instead.
  • Ph. Martin’s Pen White ink (I108) (first choice), OR Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White (I38) (second choice)
  • Adjustable (slant) drawing board 
  • Light pad (such as S1013)
  • (For corrections): Double-edge razor blades
  • (For corrections): Exacto knife (or similar) with straight (#11) blade (S417); may also want curved (#10) blade (S129)
  • (For corrections): Spoon-shaped burnisher (S661 or S1038)
  • (For corrections): Small sheet of glassine paper, which looks like wax paper (PA94-SQ is fine though it is a larger quantity than you need)
  • (For corrections): Erasing shield, for protecting areas of a project while doing corrections nearby
  • (For corrections): Dusting brush: a wide, flat, usually horizontal brush for removing eraser crumbs without smudging (a bench brush is similar but larger and thicker)
  • (Highly recommended, for corrections): A sturdy electric eraser—extremely useful for tough corrections; no need to buy this until you see how it’s used
  • (For corrections, and to help with bleeding paper): Gum sandarac, finely ground (S123); you don’t need much—put some in a small bag made of a small square of clean lightweight porous fabric closed with a rubber band or thread.
  • (Highly recommended, for corrections): Clean-up tool, used in crafting ceramics

Suggested books (Optional, but highly recommended):

  • The Speedball Textbook (B4346)
  • Foundations of Calligraphy by Sheila Waters (B2769)
  • Especially if you will also be studying copperplate: The Zanerian Manual of Alphabets and Engrossing (B145)
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