The Speedball B Series Nib

Class 3 in the Writing with a Bent Nib series explores the easy-to-use Speedball B nib for creative styles of uniform-width lettering.

The Speedball B-Nib (Round)

This is the third class in the Writing with a Bent Nib five-part series. 
This class explores the smooth and easy-to-use Speedball B nib, the second of the Speedball nibs introduced in 1916. Much imitated by competitors, it was put to use quickly in show card writing, and endures as an indespensible lettering tool today. 

The B nib is a lettering favorite that can be used for creative styles of uniform-width lettering, including expressive scripts, architectural styles and art deco era lettering, as well as traditional calligraphic hands.  

Note that each class in the series is sold separately or you can also purchase all five classes at special bundle price ($400) OR pay in six monthly installments. 

The duration of this B-Nib class is over 4.5 hours. Scroll down to view curriculum and watch preview movies.

A Bit of History & the Basic Strokes

The B nib is one of the easiest and most pleasurable nibs to use. In this section, you will learn about the origins of the Speedball B nib and practice the basic strokes that this nib can produce. Then we’ll focus on the lettering of the German poster artists of the early 1900s, including Ludwig Hohlwein, who, as one of the leading poster artists in the world at that time, created elegant letterforms.

How to Develop an Alphabet

Ludwig Hohlwein’s lettering provides many possibilities for the lettering artist today. In this section you will learn the process of creating an alphabet from a limited number of letters, based on their common shapes, from one of his posters. We will extrapolate the missing letters to create a unique alphabet – and yes, you can apply this technique to any other poster that inspires you!

Uncial Alphabets

If you’ve written an historic Uncial form with a broad-edged pen, you’ll notice we are beginning with a style that you already know. Using the B nib, you’ll morph this alphabet into new shapes as you create more unique letterforms. Using various sizes of the smooth B nib, you’ll render light and dense versions of these unique Uncial styles – made all the more fun with colorful Bister inks! 

Vanitie Roman Alphabet

Ross George introduced some masterful lettering plates when he created Vanitie Roman in 1925. Using two different sizes of B nibs, this alphabet has a triple stroke feature on its stem strokes. It is a fun and challenging alphabet, and Randall breaks down each letter into its component parts and provides detailed diagrams on their construction. Vanitie Roman first appeared in the 9th edition of The Speedball Textbook.

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.
  •  2 years of extended access for individual courses; 3 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.

"I have been studying with Randall Hasson for many years, and his ‘Writing with a Bent Nib’ series not only revived my interest in lettering with the Speedball bent nibs, but the B series has become my favorite, thanks to his detailed, clear explanation of how it works, it’s history and the many characteristics that can be explored. The lessons are short, easy to follow, and are geared towards any level, be it beginner or advanced. I highly recommend any class Randall teaches."

Julie Gray
Calligrapher, Instructor

Course Curriculum

Speedball B Series Nib
Single Class Purchase


The Speedball B Series Nib
(class 3 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.