A blend of prerecorded and live classes for the best of both worlds
Artist, Calligrapher, Former Workshops Chair (WOC), President: Society for Calligraphy and Handwriting
www.calligraphysociety.org, Instagram @lisaltsang
One of the silver linings of the pandemic is the evolution of how calligraphy instruction is delivered to calligraphy guilds and study groups. Although screen fatigue is a real concern for some learners, many calligraphy students have discovered the benefits of online learning to complement in-person workshops. My hybrid workshops were developed to engage students in a format that combines the best of both worlds.
I have found that shorter periods on Zoom and the ability to follow along with a detailed course, working on your own schedule, suits most people very well. These pre-recorded classes are produced in smaller sections to help reduce screen fatigue and are easier to fit into ones' busy schedule. They also allow more time to concentrate on a particular skill compared to a weekend workshop, where the instructor must move on to the next topic. And finally, having a longer period of time than just two days to work on a skill keeps you engaged, especially when the next session may be coming up!
If this makes sense to you, keep scrolling for more details on how it works!
My biggest Fan (top left)
Small group workshops (from 10 to 20 participants) work well with any of these individual courses.
Feel free to forward this webpage link to your guild's workshop coordinator, or Contact Randall for scheduling and details.
The poster artists of Europe created a burst of energy in hand lettering at the turn of the 20th century. American show card artists also created their own unique and playful lettering styles. This section highlights those characteristics that contributed to this vintage look and feel.
Rennie Mackintosh. London Underground. Neuland. Copperplate Gothic. The Speedball A nib was developed in 1915 to hand letter these at smaller sizes. This section introduces the bent nib and teaches hand-lettered styles that will expand your repertoire beyond the traditional broad-edged calligraphy nib.
The Speedball D is an easy-to-use nib that creates subtle thick and thin lettering and a prominent “blunt” serif. Used for playful, vintage styles of lettering and the famous Metropolitan Poster style of the art deco era, this nib will be an easy adaptation for the calligrapher.
This section explores the bent nib for contemporary versions of various mock brush styles using the A and B nibs. Contemporary lettering artist Michael Clark’s stunning array of work is featured, along with a bonus video from Chiara Riva.
"The online hybrid workshops with Randy Hasson are an ideal program for calligraphy guilds. The Pittsburgh guild offered a 6-week program from his Writing with a Bent Nib series. It included a live intro and closing by Randy, access to pre-recorded high-resolution videos, and also we set up a weekly Zoom study group. It was great to combine multiple of ways of learning: Randy’s historical knowledge, his humor, fine detailed video demonstrations, and community building for our members. It was a lot of fun and we learned a great deal about an often overlooked era of vintage penmanship."
Q: Some larger guilds may enroll more than that and can go up to 99 w/o an extra cost for their Zoom account. Some teachers are suggesting 20 -25 and some are going up to 35. A few have much larger groups. Can the guild decide what number to cap enrollment?
The answer is yes. Actually my course platform can go up to 300 participants for a LIve class. Expanding the group larger will lack some or all of the ability for personal interaction or community, which, frankly, is just fine with many participants. The upside is that SO many more can participate, not only from the guild but from all over the world. In this scenario where there are larger groups, I ask for a moderator simply to monitor chat and questions that might come up as I am making a presentation.
Q: When a guild fills a workshop, there is usually an excess of income over the break-even point that helps cover other guild expenses. Our workshops are a source of income if they do well and help cover the cost of workshops that don’t fill so we don’t have to cancel. On the other hand, when we chose to do a hybrid class with you, one benefit was we would have no loss…so it was low risk when we didn’t know what the enrollment would be.
Guilds have come to find that many members like online courses and want to continue with them (even after quarantines are ended) for a variety of reasons: they don't have to pack, travel, and they have a wider variety of choices online to attend. I think it is vital in our Calligraphic world that the guilds have the ability to create revenue and to support various endeavors including bringing along new students, scholarship programs, and other various outreaches. I am convinced that the best way for all concerned is with a synergistic approach.
I work with a per-participant pricing structure that allows for a guild to retain a portion or percentage of the workshop fees, and, since there is (little or) no overhead, it is a pure source of revenue for the guild. There is no “break even” with this model. Participants can potentially come from all over the world. Obviously the higher the number of participants, the greater the revenue for both guild and instructor. These revenues, with the per-participant model, begin at person one, and the percentage stays consistent and predictable whether there are 10 participants or 100, for both the sponsoring organization and the instructor.
I am convinced that pricing in the online workshop model should ALWAYS be per-participant. Many guilds have been sticking to the only model with which they are familiar: What is your day rate, and how many enrollees (and at what $$ amount) do we need to break even? This model was created, and makes sense, if you have overhead such as room rental, flights, hotels and so on. With an online model we have none of these, therefore sharing the course fees per-person always guarantees that the instructor will be fairly compensated and the guild will always have revenue. It also means that I, as an instructor, am participating with you in making this a successfully attended workshop, because my income depends on participation; it is not independent of the guild being financially successful as with a traditional day-rate model.
ALSO REMEMBER: from an instructor’s point of view, a traditional in-person workshop has limitations as to class size. This means that whatever the room holds is how many people can participate. Most times this is 15 – 20 people. (This limitation, along with associated overhead, is what sometimes causes workshops to lose money). An online class has no such limitations. There can be double or triple the attendees. Therefore, if we keep to a day-rate model, the instructor has just lost the opportunity to realize revenue from teaching 20 or 40 or 60 extra people that they might have had the opportunity to teach in the future. Because of this, some adjustment has to be made, and while both guilds and instructors have various formulas for compensation in these cases, the clearest, simplest, and most effective model is a per-person fee structure.
For example, with a guild sponsored event with 10 to 20 participants, a pre-recorded course of mine might cost $100. I also add $25 for the hours and presentations involved in the live Zoom sessions. The guild could then add some amount (say $25 or $35) to that number, and for a total of $150 or $160 course fee per participant, the guild would realize $250 - $700, with no prospect of losing money on the workshop, and with no setup nor any overhead – in essence I do all the work on my end. For larger groups, the only difference would be the need of a moderator (usually volunteer), and with the greater numbers, the per-participant revenue would correspondigly benefit the guild even more.
Study at your own pace while you connect with friends, share artwork, and be inspired through social media and Randall's monthly live sessions. Collaborate with friends by setting up your own small group for a hybrid workshop.