Thomas Hoyer - Ruling Pens: Beyond the Rules

This class is part of Legacies III.

John Neal Books is not hosting this class.

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Ruling Pens Beyond the Rules

Thomas Hoyer

2-Day Workshop


Lettering • Design

Students will learn my freestyle method of using the ruling pen. This kind of writing springs from the sensitive balance of speed and control, and produces uniquely lively, animated letterforms. Because the use of the ruling pen as a freestyle tool presupposes a solid mastery of letterforms and a sense of rhythm and texture, this class is intended for students who have had some previous calligraphic experience. We‘ll begin by learning how to use the ruling pen to write a simple italic script. By adding more and more “controlled momentum” to their strokes the participants will discover a unique variety of strokes and shapes possible with the ruling pen to create a wide range of different looking letters. As a finishing exercise each participant will choose a word or a short quote which (s)he wishes to design. The only rule of the exercise is: There is no rule. Your script will have no consistent baseline, no equal heights, widths or proportions in the single letters; no equal width of the stroke. Sounds like chaos but will look darn good!


  • Ruling pen (Thomas Hoyer Haff Ruling Pen), (N33) old drafting tool should do, too.),
  • Layout paper (e.g. Borden & Riley’s Boris Layout Pad Bright White Felt Marker Layout Pad) 14″ x 17″ (P09-50)
  • Ruler (S270)
  • Pencil (PL38)
  • ink in any color you like (please, no sumi). (I153) (I59)