ECS Ruling Pen Techniques

ECS Ruling Pen Techniques with Rachel Yallop -Sep 23 & 30,2023 9am-11:30 am

To Register: Eventbrite

When and where

Sat, Sep 23, 2023 9:00 AM – Sat, Sep 30, 2023 11:30 AM MDT



Workshop Description

The ruling pen is a very versatile tool: learn to produce everything from explosive to subtle marks and letterforms with a master. The ruling pen is a very versatile tool not least because it comes in more than one form: the folded, the pointed, and the Cola pen. Even then there are different shapes within these groups which affect the marks made. Unlike many of the tools we use that have specific purposes, the ruling pen requires the writer to determine what it will ultimately produce. It is capable of everything from explosive to subtle, and traditional to contemporary.

In this workshop we will:

  • Look at the various tools and make a Cola pen.
  • The ruling pen, of whichever sort, makes a unique line. Pen manipulation and the position in the hand, which forms a large part of this, will be demonstrated.
  • Looking at the marks made, how to achieve the spatter effect and instruction on how to enhance lines through touch-up.
  • Designing letters in skeletal form and practicing both formal and informal letter shapes, we can create the ultimate contrast from writing large multi-lined, textural letters, to the more restrained built-up capitals, word design, or a combination of all these things.

Key Details


  • Saturday September 23, 2023
  • Saturday September 30, 2023


  • 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM (Mountain Time)


  • This is an online workshop hosted on Zoom
  • The Zoom link will be shared with participants via email a week before the workshop begins

All sessions will be recorded and available for participants until December 31, 2023.

Please note that there will be a maximum of 95 participants for this workshop.

Materials List

  • Old, new, or borrowed ruling pens: pointed, folded, cola, or even ruling writers. The more there are to experiment with the better.
  • We will make a Cola pen. For this you need: an empty drink can (eg. coke or lager), scissors and a craft knife to cut can, masking or parcel tape, a nail file/emery board, an old pencil to use as a handle for the pen.
  • Lots of paper! Basically, more paper than you think you could ever use! Layout paper for working out letter designs, cartridge/drawing paper for practice, also some watercolour/textured paper and black paper for writing in white on black.
  • Ink. You will need quite a lot of this too, but a full pot should be enough! I use Pelikan 4001.
  • White gouache if you would like to try writing in white on black. I use Schmincke Calligraphy gouache or Dr Martin’s Bleed Proof White.
  • A water jar, brush, and palette for mixing the gouache. If you have any small, narrow pots/old ink pot with lids, these can be great for storing mixed gouache and are the right dimensions for dipping in the pen.
  • A piece of felt or some kitchen roll to make a padded layer under paper.
  • Pencil.
  • Handouts will be e-mailed to participants a week before the event

About the Instructor

Rachel Yallop is a calligrapher and lettering designer based out of the UK. Since 1988 she has been teaching a wide variety of calligraphic disciplines in art schools, and at conferences and workshops both in the UK and internationally.




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