Christopher Haanes - The Lost Arch: From Basics to Diversity - Feb 7, 14, 21

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John Neal Books is not hosting this class.

Class Title: The Lost Arch: From Basics to Diversity

Instructor: Christopher Haanes

Host: The Society of Scribes

Dates: February 7, 14, and 21, 2021

Time: 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time

Price: $100 (Society of Scribes members), $130 (non-members)

Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Format: Live online class. All live sessions will be recorded and available for students to view online until April 4, 2021.



Having just completed his first English-language instructional book, Norwegian calligrapher Christopher Haanes now treats us to a 3-week study on one of the basic elements of letterforms—the arch that branches from the stem—and shows how it holds the key to mastering multiple scripts. An ideal workshop for those wishing to journey beyond the exemplar.

The arch of a key letter such as n can be used as a key to unlocking the characteristics of an alphabet. We will look at the basic shape of letterforms—using the principle of “related shapes,” which Edward Johnston called “unity” or “family likeness”—and how these basic shapes can be used to breed diversity. Foundational, gothic, italic and civilité will be studied, along with other scripts.

  1. We will explore the simple underlying structure of The Foundational Hand, and how it relates to the broad edged pen.
  2. What happens when letters become gradually more condensed and heavy, and start to travel towards gothic?
  3. What happens to the letters when the basic arch changes from round to pointed, square or pointed oval?
  4. It is vital to stay focused on the related shapes of a given script, but what on earth is happening with the civilité? Throwing a curveball to see what happens.


Christopher Haanes (b. Cheltenham 1966) is a calligrapher, typographer, book designer. He studied at Roehampton Institute under Ann Camp. He gained Fellowship of the SSI in 1989. He has taught for more than 30 years, in more than 17 countries. He has published several books and articles, and his work is shown in many international publications. He is currently publishing his handbook, Calligraphy & Lettering, which took 10 years in the making.



Some or all of the following choice of papers:

  • Arches Text Wove (PS01-FS)
  • Zerkall (comes in 2 surfaces) (PS92)
  • Rives BFK (PS91, PS107)
  • Khadi Indian Handmade papers (these come in several different textures) (PS103)
  • Daler layout pads in A3 size are good for practicing (P32, P09)

Pens / Nibs / Brushes

  • Brause, Speedball and Hiro Tape nibs are recommended (N02, N09, N01)
  • Round pen holder (H46)
  • Pencil (2H,4H) (S142, PL38)
  • Pointed brush, for loading nib with ink (BR43)
  • Colored pencils (PL05)

Inks / Gouache

  • A good quality Chinese Stick Ink (IS29)
  • Ink Stone
  • Higgins Eternal (I08) is a cheaper substitute, but the Chinese stick ink is highly recommended
  • Colours are optional, Winsor and Newton gouache is recommended (WNG1)


  • T Square (S753)
  • Dividers
  • Compass
  • Scalpel blade (#22 for scraping)
  • Adjustable drawing board
  • Sandarac powder (mortar for grinding) (S123)
  • Ruler (S798)
  • Eraser (E09)
  • Old cloth
  • Water jar (S1005)
  • Guard sheet or cotton glove (as you prefer)
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