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Blackletter Variations: From Textura to Fraktur (Day 1 of 2)

  • Edina Art Center 4701 West 64th Street Minneapolis, MN, 55435 United States (map)

Presented by internationally renowned lettering designer Julian Waters

Note that this is a two-day class that meets 9:30 am - 4:30 pm, October 15 and 16, 2017. Register using the link below.

We will start with historical and contemporary simple Textura writing and principles of consistency. A simple paper cut exercise may be included, time permitting. We will gradually modify the writing, creating variations and progress more refinement, detail and playfulness as the style moves closer to Fraktur, more detail and freer writing. Good historical models will be shown but students will learn the tools to make their own personal variations. Julian will teach his own personal “hybrid” approach which blends aspects of both the earlier rectilinear Textura and the later more organic Fraktur in one. Modifications will include advanced techniques of pen angle rotation, pressure variation, cornering, building up, etc.

Students will receive a sourcebook prepared by Julian.

Supply List

Black non-waterproof ink, e.g.Higgins Eternal or 4001 Pelican.
Walnut ink is also okay if you have some.
Gouache and Chinese stick ink are optional. Do not use waterproof inks. Speedball C0, C1, C2 nibs
Largest Brause, Mitchell etc.nibs if you have them
Simple round wooden nib holders
Large Pilot Parallel Pin - 6mm (optional)
Large poster pen, e.g. Horizon, around 1/2” wide for really large work (wide flat brush is optional if you are comfortable with it)
Pencil, eraser, ruler, tape, etc.
Pad of thin translucent bound paper, e.g. Bienfang Graphics 360 or Borden & Riley #37
Grid paper is okay as long as it doesn’t bleed.
Bring other papers if you like as long as the ink flows well, gives sharps and thins and will not bleed.
Lap board or sloped table top travel desk if possible. Slope helps control ink flow.
Sharp X-Acto Knife, tracing paper, removable tape, back of paper pad or cutting board
White and dark colored paper for paper cutting

About Julian


Julian Waters began studying with the legendary late Hermann Zapf in 1979, at the annual RIT 2-week master classes. In 1985, Zapf recommended to RIT that Julian succeed him. His lettering and design clients have included the US Postal Service, National Geographic and many agencies, design studios, institutions and memorials. His award-winning typefaces include the Adobe Waters Titling Pro Family and THJefferson for the use of Jefferson’s museum home at Monticello. For several decades he has taught lettering workshops in Canada, the US, Europe, UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan.

He has taught a variety of courses at Cooper Union (New York) and Wells College, (Aurora, NY), including experimental lettering and computer font design. Julian Waters has received many awards and his work has been widely published. In 2014, he gave the culminating lecture at the “Legacies” International Calligraphy Conference and a major lecture at the “Making Sense” symposium at Texas A&M University. Julian’s parents are the internationally renowned calligrapher/teacher Sheila Waters and the late bookbinder and international library conservation and preservation expert, Peter Waters. In 2016, Sheila and Julian produced the book Waters Rising: Letters from Florence about the 1966 Florence Flood and Peter Waters and his leadership role in saving the 110,000+ rare damaged books at the National Library and how it changed the whole field of library book conservation.