Contemporary Lettering with the Bent Nib

Class 5 in the Writing with a Bent Nib series explores the bent nib for contemporary scripts and mock brush lettering.

Contemporary Lettering Styles with the Bent Nib Pen

This is the fifth class in the Writing with a Bent Nib five-part series.
In the final class of the series, you’ll explore using these now-familiar bent nibs to create contemporary and inventive letterforms. By using pen lifts and pen manipulation, you’ll be surprised by the number of unique effects you can create with the A and B nibs.  Along with a variety of mock brush scripts, you’ll also learn how to use two different sizes of these nibs in the same composition. 
Bonus videos include footage of lettering artists Michael Clark and Chiara Riva creating their signature dynamic contemporary lettering styles.

Please note that each class in the series is sold separately or you can also purchase all five classes at a special bundle price!

The Contemporary class is over 4.25 hours in length. Scroll down to view curriculum and watch preview movies.

Alternative Techniques

Lettering artists who are familiar with traditional tools know that they can be manipulated in order to create desirable effects – and the same is true for the bent nibs! By using pen lifts and pen manipulation, you can create mock brush effects with the A and B nibs. In this section, you’ll learn a variety of basic strokes and then compare how textured paper can enhance the brush-like effect.

Contemporary B Nib

Mock-brush lettering with the round B nib begins with a casually written Italic script. As you learn to write words with a natural rhythm using pressure and pen lifts, you’ll work on adding entry and exit strokes, speed and pen angle changes, followed by a denser script with a larger nib. By bouncing the letters and using rough paper, the result is a casual, contemporary script that you can make your own.

Contemporary A Nib

Building on your skills, we'll move to the square A nib to create both a high-contrast script and an abstract alphabet with fewer rules. You can bounce letters on the baseline, vary the slope of the stem strokes, and introduce letter variations. These letters will work together to fit with those that have come before them. Drawing with the corner of the pen adds more possibilities, as well as opportunities for retouching.

Contemporary Alternatives

Continuing the idea of using the round and square nibs to get more creative and contemporary marks, in this section we'll look at using two different sized nibs in the same composition. You can also experiment with combinations of different nibs! Rare close-up footage of lettering master Michael Clark, as well as a bonus video from designer Chiara Riva, will give you different perspectives on these lettering techniques.

Why choose Courses from the Hasson Studio?

A superior quality, informative presentation is the highest priority in Randall’s Course offerings.
He has a focus on the WHY of his subject matter. Each course has detailed introductions with history and background, information on materials, and skill session videos geared towards your learning style. Short videos allow a more focused concentration, while longer presentations can give a greater overview for those who learn better that way.

Features of these Online Courses

Extended access allows you to learn at your own pace.
Classes are ready to begin as soon as your payment is processed.

  • Classes are prerecorded, allowing you to watch on your own schedule
  • Videos are recorded in High Definition video with multiple camera angles
  • Videos are paced for the artist; unnecessary pauses and wasted time are edited out.
  • Copious handouts, resources, or detailed materials videos are included with each course.
  •  4 years of extended access for individual courses; 5 years for multiple class bundles. 

We also recommend adding Randall's Live Sessions and Session Replays for a full year (10 sessions)
These sessions include presentations, projects, questions and answers, and the ability to interact with fellow students. Live Session Replays are posted so new students can catch the ones they missed, and a private Facebook Group allows you to comment, share your work, and get inspired. 

To learn more about this series, please visit the Writing with a Bent Nib page.

Nina Tran

Calligraphy Instructor

Hands down, Randy Hasson is one of my favorite teachers. His lessons are jam-packed with the technical how-tos, tips and tricks -- equipping students with the confidence to transition from one lesson to the next. Randy's deep knowledge and love for letters is evident in his lectures and captivating stories. The level of care and detail that he puts into his courses -- from handouts, to lectures, to study group sessions -- is further proof of his hard work and dedication to the success of his students.

Course Curriculum

Contemporary Lettering
Single Class Purchase


Contemporary Lettering Styles
(class 5 in a 5-part series)

Writing with a Bent Nib Series (5 Classes)
*Recommended Plan


Special bundle price
($100 savings)
Learn more about the Series

Writing with a Bent Nib Series (5 Classes)
Installment Plan


Six monthly payments
Total $420 ($80 savings)
Learn more about the Series


Randall Hasson

Randall M. Hasson is an artist, calligrapher, instructor and speaker who has appeared on the faculty of over 25 Arts, Lettering Arts, and Educational Conferences in the United States, Canada and England. He is the author of articles on a variety of Art or Lettering Art related subjects and has appeared as a mainstage presenter and/or teacher with lecture topics covering Public Art, Art History, the Painting Process, Collaborative Art Projects, and the History of Writing including the recent invention of the ADLaM Alphabet in West Africa.

In 2015, he co-edited of the 24th (Centennial) Edition of The Speedball Textbook. In addition to a series of online workshops called Writing with a Bent Nib, Randall is currently writing and designing his forthcoming book Teaching America How to Letter – The Speedball Story, a history of commercial lettering and American show card writing in the 1900’s.