Annie Cicale

Annie Cicale

5 Days
$25 Supply Fee

Instructor Bio

The world of books and writing has captivated Annie Cicale since she was a child. After a short career as a chemical engineer, she turned to the visual arts, specializing in painting, printmaking and drawing. The visual qualities of writing became her subject matter when she discovered the expressive power of calligraphic forms, incorporating both abstract and illustrative imagery in her paintings.

Annie has an MFA in graphic design and teaches calligraphy, drawing and painting for calligraphy guilds throughout the United States and Canada, and at most of the international conferences. Her travels to Europe and Asia have inspired her to keep non-traditional travel journals, and have lit the fire for further travel, documented, of course, with books of text, drawings and detritus. Her work has been published in many of the calligraphic anthologies as well as Letter Arts Review and Bound & Lettered. She is the author of The Art and Craft of Hand Lettering, a 2011 publication of Bloomin Books.

Instructor Website

Class Description

The budding scribe is tempted by the expressive qualities of letters as they start out on their life-long path of studying fine writing. Many students are terrified of Roman letters because somewhere along the way they have heard they are “difficult.”

We will diffuse that fear by beginning with an analysis of traditional proportion systems and then experiment with some modern variations. Adjusting speed and proportion can give an infinite variety of forms. Spacing Romans well is critical, and we will explore ways to make it become second nature. Annie will guide you as you explore approaches to these forms through both controlled and spontaneous exercises.

After working with these basic Roman letter shapes, we’ll work with ways of expanding your vocabulary of scripts through both analytical and intuitive exercises. By working with a variety of tools, you’ll find variations and individuality.

These studies will be pushed even further into more personal expressions, working with various media. We’ll begin with writing, progress to drawing, and end with painterly pieces. Each of you may choose a different path of study, and we all might end up in different places! We’ll document our initial studies in journal form and progress to the grandest pieces we can muster.

Supply List

Drawing board if you use one. Flying? You might want to just work on the table top.
T-square and triangle, or rolling ruler
Masking or drafting tape
Pencils, various hardnesses (2B, HB, 2H, etc.)
Soft eraser, such as Magic Rub
Water container
Ink rags or tissues
Old toothbrush for cleaning pens
Dividers (A tool I find indispensible for measurement is a pair of dividers, sold at engineering and better art supply stores. A small one is best, but make sure it has a wheel, it holds your measurements better.)
Dip pens in assorted sizes, whatever you are comfortable with, such as Brause, Mitchell (Rexel) or Speedball. Mid-sizes, such as 1.5–4.0 mm
Monoline pens, such as Speedball ‘B’ series, about a B-2 and/or B-3 (Brause makes a similar ‘ornamental’ nib) OR a Pigma or Rollerball pen
2-3 pen holders, ones that feel good in your hand
Non-waterproof ink, such as Moon Palace, Higgins Eternal or walnut ink
One tube of gouache, any color
Flat palette such as a plastic tub lid (Use the bottom for your water container.)
1/2 inch Winsor Newton 995 watercolor brush, the one with a clear handle
Inexpensive drawing paper or layout bond, 11×14” or larger, for brush practice. Smaller sizes will work for pen studies. John Neal’s Gilbert bond is terrific.
A few sheets of non-repro graph paper, 11×17”
A few scraps of your favorite good paper (optional but delightful) such as Arches Text Laid or Wove, Arches 90# HP, Canson or Strathmore Charcoal. A packet of good paper will be provided as part of your lab fee.
Tracing paper for rough drafts

Writing with Color (optional)
Designer’s gouache in assorted colors (red, yellow, blue, white)
Old brushes for mixing gouache
Gum arabic

The tools listed here are generic, and depending on the group’s interests and experience, some may not be used. Bring what you can and we’ll cope with those tools.

The $25 supply fee includes photocopies, a folder to hold them, a couple sheets of Arches Text Wove (cut to size), other paper (cut to size), bottle of walnut ink, book sewing thread and needles.


Annie Cicale Annie Cicale Annie Cicale

Class Catalog

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