Text and Texture - Balsa Stick Calligraphy - online class with Yukimi Annand - October 12, 13

To register, click here. 

This class is not hosted by John Neal Books.

Have you ever made marks with balsa sticks? I love the feeling of holding this tool in my hand and of the sound of the tool making contact on paper. I have been experimenting different ways to create calligraphic marks and textures with them and I would like to share my experience with anyone who in interested in making calligraphic marks.

This workshop will start with stamping exercises with Sumi ink and a balsa stick on paper. With this simple exercise, we will experiment to put our soul into marks with rhythm and movement. Then we will slide, twist and taper the stick to make more dynamic marks. We will develop own letterform with those strokes and play with a word and write text to make calligraphic textures. While working on all exercises, we will focus on the form, contrast, point of emphasis, balance and unity. 

Basically we will work on black and white, but use of colors and work with resisting mediums will be presented. A simple accordion book structure will also be presented to create a book with the balsa stick calligraphic marks in further experiment.

Yukimi Annand these 12th & 13th October.

Material list:

  • Sumi ink (Fueki bokuju green bottle or Moon Palace green cap recommended) (I22-2) (I70)
  • White gouache and a mixing brush (optional) (WNG1) (BR43)
  • Water containers, pipettes, small dishes and middle size (about 10cm) plates (S1005) (S141) (S747)
  • Ruler, pencil and eraser (S270) (S142) (E34)
  • Rag or paper towel (S817)


  • 11” x 17” or 11” x 14” (about A3 size) Charcoal or drawing paper about 30 sheets for exercises (If you wish to do exercises on good paper, cut them in similar size.) (P100) (P68)
  • One full sheet (40"x25.5". 120gsm) of Arches MBM/Arches text wove paper, 1-2 sheets of Rives BFK white (19 ½” x 25 ½”, 250gms) paper, or any other good quality watercolor/print-making paper (PS104) (PS91)
  • 1 sheet of Gray and/or neutral color ingres paper (optional)  (PS05)
  • Paper shipping cost (PS00)
  • Craft or balsa sticks: I cut 1/16” thickness Basswood with cutter knife. The sizes don’t have to be exact. The thickness can be 2mm (3/32”)

  • Two or three small size sticks, 20mm x 40mm x1.5mm (3/4”x1 1/2” x 1/16”)
    One or two middle size sticks, 30mm x 55mm x 1.5mm (1 1/4” x 2” x 1/16”)
    One or two large size board, 80~100cm x 70cm x 1.5mm (3~4” x 2 1/2” x 1/16”)
    If it is difficult to get balsa boards/sticks, you may cut hard cardboard.
  • Fine sand paper (small size like 2”x2” will be more than enough)
  • Your chosen text: 10 to 20 words

  • Optional:
  • Automatic pen #5 or #6 (N27) (N214)
  • Good quality flat brushes you already have (1/2” to 3”) (BR01) (BR69)
  • Watercolor or acrylic ink (any brand): two or three your favorite colors or colors related to your text(I153) (I28)
  • 2” inexpensive soft flat brush
  • Japanese Washi paper
  • Fluid matte medium
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