Robbie Saslow - Simple and Semitic

This class is part of Legacies III.

John Neal Books is not hosting this class.

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Simple and Semitic
Robbie Saslow

1-Day Workshop

Beginner – Intermediate


Come explore the beauty of the Hebrew Alef-bet! This one-day workshop will emphasize the calligraphic aspects of Hebrew, and how it is both similar to and different from English, a distant cousin. Participants will learn the 27 beautiful and simply-crafted letterforms of the Hebrew alphabet, along with variations to create a style that is uniquely their own. No knowledge of Hebrew is necessary.



  • I will provide practice sheets with sample letters, strokes, or exercises on them. These handouts are pre-ruled for a letter height of 4-5 pen widths, and will pair well with the 3.8 mm Parallel Pen (see outline 2a below). You can write directly on the handouts (you will have to print them out, preferably on bleed-proof copier paper) or work on separate paper.
  • You may want to have other paper on hand to “graduate” to, and I recommend pencil ruling it before class begins with guidelines based on your preferred pen nib. Make your GUIDES AND THE SPACE BETWEEN LINES 4-5 pen widths. If you are new to this and need some guidance, please contact me.
  • A good pad or ream, either COMPLETELY blank, or with a square grid. Some suggestions:
  • Borden and Riley “Paris Paper for Pens” #234, 11×17 or 14 x 17. (P40)
  • Calligraphy practice pads or bond layout pads (P25) (P32)
  • Grid paper or calligraphy pads with grids (Avoid paper with slanted or diagonal lines, as these are designed for Italic calligraphy, not Hebrew!) (P22)
  • Bleed-proof copier paper


  • My top recommendation to start is a Pilot Parallel Pen, size 3.8 (green cap). Be sure to get some refill cartridges! The handouts I will give are ideal with this size pen or something similar in size (3-4 mm). (FP67) (FP69) (FP70)
  • Bring other pens you like working with, such as Brause, Mitchell, Speedball, (N02) (N04) (N09) even crisp new calligraphy markers will work.


  • If you are using a Parallel Pen (see above), you will not need special ink or paint. If you use a dip pen, you will.

INK: Some good practice ink is enough. Examples include: Higgins Eternal, Higgins Sepia, Walnut ink, Sumi ink, etc. (I08) (I121) (I53) (I145) (I70)

  • PAINT: If you like working with gouache or acrylics or watercolors, be sure to have a water can, mixing palette, mixing brushes and some paper towels at hand. (S1005) (S679) (BR43)


  • Metal ruler or T-square big enough to rule lines across the paper you have (please pre-rule a bunch beforehand). (S623) (S271)
  • Pencil (#2 or harder)(PL38), eraser (E13), notepad/notebook