Introduction to Foundational Calligraphy

A course by Leo Calderón
Graphic designer and calligrapher. Santiago, Chile.
On Domestika since 04/20/2016
, Graphic designer and calligrapher

Learn the basics of this style and discover its beauty by creating a calligraphic piece

  • 100% Positive reviews (1)
  • 59 students
  • Spanish with subtitles
Introduction to Foundational Calligraphy

Learn the basics of this style and discover its beauty by creating a calligraphic piece

  • Spanish with subtitles
  • 100% Positive reviews (1)
  • 59 students
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Audio: Spanish
  • Level: Beginner
  • 22 Lessons (4h 25m)
  • Available from the app
  • Spanish / English / Portuguese
  • Unlimited access forever

Considered the father of modern calligraphy, Edward Johnston is responsible for creating, in the early 20th century, a new kind of writing that became known as foundational hand calligraphy. A round calligraphic handwriting style with great power of attraction that combines aesthetics and functionality.

In this course, you'll learn how to design letters following the rules of the foundational hand and to create professional graphic compositions playing with colors, forms, scale variations, and white spaces. Through this course you'll have experienced graphic designer and calligraphist Leo Calderón as a guide. His experience using the letters as protagonists has led him to work on many projects for brands such as Visa, Heineken, Guess, Johnny Walker, and Vans, among others.

About this course

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Introduction
  • U2
    U2. Welcome to the world of the foundation
  • U3
    U3. Eddie, motivate us! - Foundational Alphabet from A to Z
  • U4
    U4. We don't let you down, Eddie - Ready for the project
  • FP
    FP Final project
See detail

You'll begin by getting to know Leo’s professional career as a calligraphist and his most important referents. Also, how he approaches and develops his projects, starting from his drafts and differents calligraphic styles, some of them gestural with a brush pen and ruling pen, to classics such as gothic and foundational hand.

In the second unit, you'll enter the universe of the foundational hand calligraphy. You’ll know its origins, history, and the legacy of the author. You'll learn the specifics of this calligraphic style and the basic techniques.

Through a detailed explanation, you'll see all the tools you need to start the practical exercises and other alternatives for your future projects: nibs, calligraphy markers, papers, calligraphy sheets, and fountain pen ink. Furthermore, Leo will teach you how to build your own calligraphy tool and will give you helpful tips to do the exercises.

Right away, you'll get your hands to work and start doing a series of exercises to form the basic letters: N and O. Later on, you'll learn advanced strokes to finally create your foundational hand alphabet, and also, how to do capital letters, numbers, signs, and symbols.

Finally, you'll get some key elements that will help you diagram and use colors in your project to enhance your composition.

What is this course's project?

You’ll create a calligraphic piece using all the techniques learned during the course. In your project, you'll play with different spaces, sizes, and colors, until you achieve a unique composition.

Who is it for?

Designers, typographers, amateur calligraphers and anyone who is curious about calligraphic techniques.

What you need

You won’t need any previous knowledge.

Regarding materials, you’ll need calligraphy nibs of different sizes, fountain pen ink, and calligraphy paper.


59 Students
1 Reviews
100% Positive ratings

Leo Calderón

A course by Leo Calderón

Graphic designer and calligrapher

Chilean-born Leo Calderón is a graphic designer with a specialization in typography from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, and also a professor in Design and Typography at the AIEP Professional Institute of Santiago de Chile (Chile). He believes that his strength is in calligraphy and lettering, both arts he perfected under the teachings of great mentors and many years of practice.

With over 8 years of experience in this trade, he has worked for internationally renowned brands such as Heineken, Visa, Ralph Lauren, Johnnie Walker, Vans and Guess. Also, he has participated in the Biennial of Latin American Typography, from 2014 to 2018, where he was recognized in the Emerging category for his typographical project Picarona.


  • U1


    • Presentation
    • Influences
    • What will we do in this course?
  • U2

    Welcome to the world of the foundation

    • Foundational Calligraphy History
    • Characteristics of Foundational Calligraphy
    • Let's prepare and take care of our tools
    • No grids, no party!
    • Initial strokes: sticks and curvitas
  • U3

    Eddie, motivate us! - Foundational Alphabet from A to Z

    • A letter as a puzzle
    • Curved sister letters
    • Diagonal sister letters
    • Demon Sister Letters
    • Capital letters and not die trying (part 1)
    • Capital letters and not die trying (part 2)
    • Numbers, signs and symbols (part 1)
    • Numbers, signs and symbols (part 2)
    • Continuous writing
  • U4

    We don't let you down, Eddie - Ready for the project

    • Choosing, diagramming, sketching our phrase
    • Gesture
    • You live in colors (part 1)
    • You live in colors (part 2)
    • Details and care
  • FP

    Final project

    • Introduction to foundational calligraphy

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need for completing a specific final project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the instructor and other users, thus creating a dynamic course community.

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Introduction to Foundational Calligraphy. A Calligraph, , T, and pograph course by Leo Calderón

Introduction to Foundational Calligraphy

A course by Leo Calderón
Graphic designer and calligrapher. Santiago, Chile.
On Domestika since 04/20/2016
  • 100% Positive reviews (1)
  • 59 students