Workshop Nº11 Design de lettres: Italics

July 3, 2021


Address Confirmed at registration. Duration: 9am—6pm.
Note to French & European: This price is without taxes, more details on the bottom of the next page.

This event is no longer open to registration.

During this (bilingual) workshop, conducted by Jean François Porchez & Gina Serret, you will learn how using calligraphy as basis will provide you the skeleton to draw the ideal italics. Typical situations include matching italics of a roman typefaces or in context of lettering projects to understand better the structure of script faces. This workshop is open to everyone interested in typography, typefaces, lettering, calligraphy.

If Jean François Porchez speaks English et français, Gina Serret speaks English et français, y obviamente el español…, it’s in fact a multilingual workshop!


The ambition of this day is not to design a complete glyph set but to provide you with the necessary tools to better understand the italic letterforms and make you discover a working method to draw your own alphabets and your own lettering projects based on italics such script faces.

The day after you can register to Design de lettres: Roman. These two workshops are complementary, and allow you to acquire the basics necessary to understand typeface design.

[français] L’ambition de cette journée n’est pas de décliner un caractère complet mais de vous fournir les outils nécessaires pour mieux comprendre les formes typographiques et vous faire découvrir une méthode de travail pour dessiner vos propres italiques et vos propres lettrages basés sur l’italique, en particulier les scriptes.


Our approach is organized around the Chancery italic alphabet and is based on handwriting as a means of understanding typographic forms. This method is based on proven techniques during the five intensive weeks of the TypeParis program.

We will start with a little practice of calligraphy, to better visualize the skeleton of the italic letters as well as letter shapes contrast. Calligraphy outcome will be the basis of the typographic drawings on tracing paper. You will learn to stabilize shapes from your calligraphic practice in order to understand the relationships between shapes and counterforms.

Starting from these drawings, you will work on various “systems”, serifs and terminals, weight, contrast in order to define a coherent typographic style that can be declined on all the glyphs of an alphabet.

We will then explore several typographic variables from your drawings, such as creating a bold, light, high-contrast, condensed or sans serif italics.

In the late afternoon, we will address digitization issues such as point placement or spacing concepts. Nevertheless, to preserve the time of design, learning and friendly exchanges we did not plan to use a computer. The ambition is first of all to address the issues of letterform design in general, not the techniques related to specific software.


With the current available information, we do our best to observe the social distancing between the participants during our classes. We recommend to wash ands often as well wearing mask. Our instructors are vaccinated, and we ask the participants for a negative RT-PCR less than 72 hours old, or proof of vaccination against Covid-19. Attendees who doesn’t respect the rules will be not accepted. More information in our FAQ.

Supplied material

– Letterforms and calligraphy models
– 3 mm broad nib, pen holder, ink, goblets
– Pencils in HB, 3H
– Stabilo Stylist and pentel N50
– Adhesive
– Uncoated tabloid paper 90gr
– Tracing paper 90gr
(Bring your usual graphic designer material! A laptop isn’t required, but some of you may use it at some point with Illustrator or Glyphs)


Limited to 18 attendees:
– This workshop is intended for all graphic designers, designers, students or teachers who wish to discover letterforms drawing technics. No specific level required, from beginners to ultra pro.
– If you are not a designer but you have a strong desire to try to draw letters, and you already draw a little, you can also join us.
– This is a good overview of the working methods implemented at TypeParis. This is the ideal way to test your motivation before engaging in further training in letterform design.

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