Capital Letter Breakdown

Capital Letter Breakdown with Gen Ramirez

Capital Letter Breakdown

Cost: $485.00

Sat. & Sun., March 7 & 8, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Capital letters are ancient wisdom in the modern age; a point where brush philosophy meets Béziers. They can adapt to any trend and come fresh from your font editor still reflecting their millennia-old sources. Understanding the origins of Roman capitals is essential for a successful type design. Awareness of the evolution of letter skeletons is established by an introduction to the letters in their natural environment and by writing them with the original tools: pen and brush.

In this two-day introductory workshop, students will explore the historical roots and anatomy of capital letters. Analyzing the stylistic properties and the structural elements of the Roman capitals gives us a deep understanding of the history and evolution of the Latin script. Importantly, it offers us solid resources to make well-founded creative decisions in the typeface design.

Students will construct letters by exploring their essential geometry and then gradually adding more complexity to their details. As drawings progress, students will have fun practicing variations of the model from the perspective of the legendary hands of Edward Catich, Rudolf Koch and Edward Johnston. And, for the bravest, enjoy experimenting freely with all features at will.

Finally, shifting to the world of mathematic curves to rationalize the practice sheets, organizing them systematically to work towards producing a beautiful and original digital alphabet.


Required Materials

  • 1/2" Flat Brush and any other flat brush you want to try. (We recommend W & N series 995)
  • Sumi Ink or tube of black gouache
  • Pencil, eraser, sharpener
  • several sizes of black markers
  • drafting tape
  • 12" ruler (or bigger)
  • laptop with any vector drawing application or font editor (i.e. Adobe Illustrator, Robofont, Glyphs, whatever you have.)

Registration will start on Wednesday, January 8th.

Course Code: 1340190

Instructor(s): Gen Ramírez

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.