Lorna Mulligan - Loosening Up With Calligraphy & Paint

This class is part of Legacies III.

John Neal Books is not hosting this class.

Please add item LEG2021 to your shopping cart for supply orders for Legacies III classes.

Loosening Up With Calligraphy & Paint

Lorna Mulligan

2-Day Workshop

All Skill Levels Welcome



The desire for more spontaneity and freedom in our calligraphic creations and painted backgrounds does not necessarily imply an “anything goes” approach. More successful artworks often depend upon various elements all coming together nicely to create unity: line, colour, movement and composition. Working with subtle nuances and strong contrasts, we will balance the two opposing energies of chaos and structure to find ways of expressing our individual concepts. Through guided exercises and exploration, we will develop a series of small paintings, a simply assembled artist’s book and then go on to create one larger piece, incorporating our textual elements along with our imagery as we progress. Far from an illustrative approach, where one might add the calligraphy as a final touch, we will consider our written words as an integral part of the visual process and composition. Starting with the usual cropping of our artwork in order to “find” the best composition, we will go on to focus on making our images work together as a whole, right from our initial concept. This workshop is for those who want to develop confidence, explore meaningful content and acquire a greater artistic freedom with their calligraphic artwork.


  • Calligraphy Supplies – any calligraphy tools you like writing with including automatic pens, ruling pen, cola pen, etc. Also, any unusual or found tools you work with. (N22) (N27) (N148) 
  • Brushes – your usual paint brushes, including a mid-sized pointed brush and flat brush (or hake), also a flat brush for lettering (synthetic hairs) and a Chinese brush. You should have a mix of good brushes and some old, scrappy ones as well. (BR60)
  • Inks – sumi (good quality) (I70)
  • Coloured Acrylic inks (at least 3 transparent colours of different values, ex. warm yellow, deep dark brown, beautiful blue or deep red, any brand…). Choose colours that you like to work with, not necessarily the bright primary colours. Your colours should be quite vivid and rich. (I27) (I13)
  • Paints – watercolour or gouache (your favourite colours in tubes or a small portable palette) (WNG1) (WNWC1) 
  • Black and White gouache (in tubes) or Dr. Martin’s Bleed-proof White (I38) (WNG1)
  • Fineline applicator (S820) (S1035)
  • Large white plate for mixing colours (S679)
  • Drawing materials – pencils (4B and 8B), (PL38)
  • eraser (E13)
  • ruler (S270)
  • A selection of a few water-soluble pencils or drawing sticks you wish to work with (example: watercolour pencils, water soluble graphite or carbon, etc) These are great for mark making.
  • A few coloured pencils or felt markers (I like to have a selection of black and dark coloured felt pens, like Pigma Micron and Staedtler Triplus, giving me a choice of waterproof or not) (PL38) (M17)
  • Extras – Masking tape – the green one (I don’t like the green, but it does work well) (S931)
  • Two containers for water (yogurt containers are fine) (S1005)
  • Any sketchpad or book for taking notes and for any composition sketches, etc. (P100)
  • Paper towels or rags, something to cover the tabletop
  • Scissors and/or x-acto knife (S417) and small cutting board (S504)
  • Small spray bottle or atomizer (S836)
  • Paper – Arches Text Wove (4 or 5 half sheets, for exercises) plus, have more paper and other options if you work quickly and want to try other papers (Somerset, Stonehenge) (PS00) (PS01)
  • Two full sheets of Watercolour Paper (140lb, Cold Press, 100% cotton) like Arches, Fabriano, W&N, etc. One sheet will be for the small series and the other for our large painting. (PS00) (PS47) (PS110)
  • Important: Your Text – 10 to 100 words, from a sentence to a paragraph (your words or someone else’s – think copyright…) The theme to be explored in this workshop is: CONTRASTS (light/darkness, chaos/structure, summer/winter, earth/sky, warmth/coolness, organic/geometric, etc ) – your choice. Try to have your text be meaningful to you, it will help contribute to a sense of connectedness, always important in artwork!