I love teaching because I really enjoy working with people creatively. I’d like to feel that I help them unlock creativity that they might not have recognised, and while teaching I also become inspired by having to think about things from a different perspective.
My calligraphy teaching nearly always brings in one or other aspect of art and design and we use proper art materials and I teach art principles from the very beginning – you could call it “art by stealth”.
I have now been teaching calligraphy since 1984!
I’ve taught internationally at summer schools and these courses are usually quite intensive and goal-orientated, but very satisfying. My one-day workshops are currently concentrating on introducing avant-garde lettering artists (Ben Shahn, Burgert) and analysing their work in order to produce a piece inspired by them. This opens new avenues of creativity.
Many people have been on my Drawing Words and Writing Pictures in which we look at modern lettering combined with illustration, geared towards people who think they can’t draw!
I have recently begun a studio group called Red Letter Days. The idea is that people sign on for three sessions at a time, with their own agenda, be it calligraphy (beginners welcome), gilding, bookbinding or a request for a set project. This is on every second Wednesday and consists of whole or half days in my studio near Oxford. For more details and to see the scope of my workshops, do have a look at http://www.linkerrdesign.co.uk/wp2/
I believe that the best starting-out place for beginners is Uncials because it is very accessible and introduces penmanship. Gothic teaches regular downstrokes, patterns, texture and spacing and fun can be had with my Gothic Birds. Once a student has become comfortable with those two alphabets it is time to concentrate on either Foundational or Italic. I always choose Italic because of its versatility and timelessness, and in my own work I explore polyrhythmic design, but of course in the beginning the aim is uniformity!