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Yves Leterme

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Homegrown Trajan Course - Yves Leterme

Supply List


  • Mechanical pencil (PL21)
    • I'm very happy with my Staedler Mars Technico, its drawing leads that don't break off and the sharpener that allows me to grind the lead into a very fine point, but any mechanical pencil will do. As for the hardness, HB is fine, and choose a thickness of 0.5 mm.
  • Red Pencil (S818)
    • Any red pencil that can be used for corrections is fine.
  • Ruler (S798)
    • The ruler used in my videos is a Westcott 12" Graph Ruler. They used to be called C-Thru rulers and may still be found under this name. Any ruler will do.
  • Compass
  • Broad edged nib (N02, N04, N09), pointed nib (N70, N77, N90, N113, N118, N120), straight pen holder (H63, H69, H105, H113)
    • Personally, I would do almost everything with a Speedball nib (C series), but for this you can use a Brause or a Mitchell nib as well. The size of the nib depends on the size of the letters you want to make. A Speedball C4 is perhaps the easiest to start with. If you prefer to build up the Trajans with a pointed nib, use whatever you have and see what works best for you
  • Broad edged brush (BR24, BR66)
    • Here we need to be more specific and demanding. You may already have a flat brush that works well. If so, keep treating it properly, don't use ink or acrylic, clean it out with soap regularly and thoroughly (watch my demo in the first lesson) - a good brush can last for many years.
      A few things to consider when you choose a brush to do the Trajans:
      • The most important thing in a flat brush is that it allows you to make a very thin line with its tip when you hold it upright at 90 degrees with the paper. In other words, the tip should not be fatter in the middle (residue of paint can cause this, so wash out your brush!) and all the bristles should be aligned to form one straight line.
      • Check also that none of the bristles is visibly damaged.
      • The bristles should spring back into (the right) shape after a stroke
      • The length of the bristles is also important. Too short makes the brush not flexible enough and it can't hold a lot of paint either. Too long makes the brush more difficult to handle.
    • Brushes come in different sizes. I suggest a brush of about 3/8" wide (12mm) with bristles appx. 3/4" long. A brush with smaller bristles than this makes it more difficult to write with. A larger brush is very interesting to have and experience with but it will take up too much paper for daily practice. If you have a good flat brush already, great, give it a go! If you are in the market for a new brush, here are some recommendations for beginning students:
      • Raphael Kaerell #10
      • Denis Beaux Arts' 98317 #12
      • W&N Cotman 666 with a light blue shaft.
        For more advanced students:
    • For more advanced students:
      • Daler & Rowney D88 size 3/4", which is half an inch wide and about twice as long. A very good brush, but as I said, the length of the bristles doesn't make it easier if you're a beginner. I'm sure there are other brushes that work equally well. I honestly think that a higher price doesn't necessarily give you a better brush. I'd go for a nylon brush for sure.
  • Optional
    • An Optivisor or magnifying lens to really see the details


  • Paint
    • Don't use watercolor or acrylic, but use gouache (e.g. W&N, Talens, Linel...) instead for the pen drawn and brush written capitals. (Click HERE for our selection of gouache)
    • Poster paint (e.g. Nicker) works perfect too, but only for the brush. For your practice, choose a color that contrasts enough with the paper. (S1022, S1023)
  • Ink (I08, I04, I123, I53-2.5)
    • Non-waterproof ink (Higgins Eternal, Pelikan, Waterman, Noodler's...), walnut ink, as long as it's not too thick and it flows nicely out of your nib. Use either paint or walnut ink for your brushwork.
  • Paper
    • For Built-up capitals (PS01, PS42)
      • As long as the ink doesn't bleed, the nib doesn't take up fibers too easily and the paper allows for hairlines, you're fine. Some papers are nicer to work on than others of course. I recommend paper with a bit of tooth for the pen drawn capitals - I love the texture of MBM Arches and Fabriano Roma, but Arches Text Wove and lots of watercolor serve our purpose as well.
    • For Brush Capitals (PS109)
      • You can brush letters on almost any surface, given the right medium, but since we're practicing here with a medium large brush and we'll use up a large amount of paper, we need something easy and cheap. I practiced for years on Mala paper from Ikea. You can find it in the children's section. Kraft paper also works well but if you can lay your hand on lining paper (or 'papier de fond'), that would be even better (but more expensive), since it's stronger and doesn't cockle (choose 800 grade). Lately, I also use the back of wall paper. I'm sure you can find some cheap rolls in a home-decorating shop nearby. Watch out that they're not pre-pasted though and that the surface is smooth.

PL21. Pentel GraphGear 500 Mechanical Pencils
PL21. Pentel GraphGear 500 Mechanical Pencil

This technical drafting pencil with an industrial design features a 4mm fixed sleeve for template work and technical drawings. Metallic-mesh grip for precision and control. Top click, stationary eraser and tip. Pencil includes one tube of HB lead.

Choose lead size: 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 0.9mm.
Barrel colors: 0.3 Brown, 0.5 Black, 0.7 Blue, 0.9 Gray
Refill leads are item PL22
Eraser Refills are item PL23

Your Price

S818. Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencils
These quality colored pencils feature a high strength lead
that won’t snap under normal writing pressure. Dense structure of pigments provides vivid colors that won’t smear or fade. Takes a fine point in any sharpener every time.
Good for lettering.

Choose color:
Process Red
True Blue
White - recommended for Bob Hurforsd's IAMPETH 2018 class "Fun with Colored Pencils"

Your Price

S798. Westcott 12 inch GRAPH Ruler
Westcott 8ths Graph Beveled Transparent Ruler 2"x12". No. b-70

These handy 8ths graph rulers are transparent for visibility and beveled to accommodate work with ink. Edges are calibrated to 16ths to the inch with a zero-centering scale down the middle. Laminated for durability.

Now labeled Westcott instead of C-Thru.

Your Price

N09. Speedball C Calligraphy Nibs
American calligraphy nibs for Italic, Blackletter (Gothic, Old English), Uncial, Half Uncial, Foundational and many other hands or alphabets. C-0, C-1, C-2, C-3, C-4, C-5, C-6. C-0 is largest, C-6 is smallest. Best in larger sizes. C-2, C-3, & C-4 are popular for beginners' classes. They rust easily so let them dry thoroughly before storing them away. Speedball C Calligraphy Nibs.

For more information about Speedball C nibs, click here.

Your Price

N02. Brause Calligraphy Nibs
Sizes in millimeters (0.5, 0.75, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0). Oblique-cut.

Brause calligraphy nibs are popular with both professionals and beginners. Stiffer nibs with reservoir on top. High quality nibs from Germany. Order these if you have a heavy hand and apply strong pressure when you write. These chisel edged dip nibs are great for Blackletter (Gothic/Old English), Italic, and other hands.

Your Price $2.19

N04. Mitchell Nibs (Round Hand)
Mitchell Rexel Round Hand Nibs
Straight cut. Sizes 0(3.3mm), 1(3mm), 1-1/2(2.5mm),
2(2.3mm), 2-1/2(1.8mm), 3(1.4mm), 3-1/2(1mm),
4(0.9mm), 5(.75mm), 6(.6mm).

Flexible calligraphy nibs from England. Straight cut. Reservoirs are purchased separately. Though they are called Round Hand, these chisel edge nibs are good for many alphabets including Carolingian, Italic, Uncials, Gothic, Foundational Hand, and Roman Caps. Used by professional calligraphers with and without the reservoirs. Some beginners may have trouble with the flexibility. One of our most popular nibs for calligraphy. Give them a try.

See N05 for Left Hand Mitchell Nibs.

Your Price $1.45

N70. Brause 66EF Nib
EF66 Brause pointed-pen nib

A very popular and versatile nib for Copperplate and Modern Calligraphy. It is very flexible and can provide great contrast between thin and thick strokes. Moderate pressure will produce swells, and by pressing harder, bold strokes are possible. With its fine hairlines, the nib works for very small writing, to a 1/8-inch x-height. This nib is of consistent manufacture (defective nibs are rare). It tends to catch less on upstrokes than other extra-fine pointed nibs, making it more suitable for papers with some texture. This nib is well-suited for intermediate and advanced calligraphers, but it is not recommended for beginners. Because of its shape, it is also called Arrow Nib.

Linda Schneider's favorite pointed nib is the Brause 66EF. It is the one she uses most often; she says it is "tiny, but mighty." She notes how it writes longer on one dip than most larger nibs (it may be small, but it holds a lot of ink) and that its flexibility allows for especially nice thicks. With the Brause 66EF she can get the "tiniest of hairlines and beautiful swells."

The nib's shaft has a tight curvature and needs a specially adjusted oblique holder. These oblique penholders are available adjusted specifically for the Brause 66EF:
H115. Adjusted Turned Wood Oblique Holder
H96. Black Oblique Plastic Holder (Comfort-Grip)
H130. Blue Oblique Plastic Holder (Comfort-Grip)

The nib's tip can be clipped and polished to produce a narrow, very flexible, broad-edged nib (See page 35 of Bound & Lettered 12.3 for instructions).

See Tabellae Ansata issue 2.4 for an article that discuss the characteristics in detail of the various pointed nibs.

Your Price

N77. Hunt 101 Nib
Hunt 101 Imperial.

A very steady and durable nib, the Hunt 101 is a great choice for projects that require larger writing with x-heights above 1/4". It can be used on most paper surfaces, though it can have a tendency to catch on the upstroke when used on a rougher surface. The Hunt 101 requires firm and deliberate pressure to open swells, while its strength and steadiness makes it an ideal selection for student practice. Bronze finish.

For more information about Hunt pointed nibs, click here.

Your Price

N90. Brause Steno Nib 361
N90. Brause Blue Pumpkin (Steno 361).

The Brause Steno is also called Brause 361 or the Blue Pumpkin nib, from its rounded shape and blue color. It look likes and basically writes like the Hiro 40 (also called Blue Pumpkin), but the Brause Steno is stiffer, better made, and gives thinner hairlines and is more beginner friendly. Some calligraphers find it also holds more ink than Hiro 40 and that it works better with thicker inks like sumi and not as well with thinner inks like Pelikan 4001. The Brause Steno has moderate flex, and needs but a little pressure for shaded strokes. While suitable for Copperplate, it may be now used more often for Modern Calligraphy. Excluding the "G" pens, Brause Steno nibs last much longer than most other current pointed nibs.

This nib is in the JNB Pointed Nib Samplers (N154 & N117-1).

Quantity prices available at 10 & 50.

Your Price

N113. Nikko G Nib
N113. Nikko G Nib.

These nibs from Japan are hand cut, extremely smooth, and long-lasting. They are chrome plated and have a medium flex. Great for Spencerian. Smooth writing with no burrs or scratchiness. Highly recommended by Michael Sull.

Your Price

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