Gray Scale: Exploring Graphite Lettering from Small and Delicate to Big and Bold — Amity Parks

Amity Parks
2.5 days
Intermediate to Advanced
$8 materials fee

Instructor Bio
Amity Parks is an artist and calligrapher living in Missoula, Montana. She has spent many years studying calligraphy in weeklong and private tuition classes with internationally renowned instructors. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Tulsa and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Montana. Her work has been featured in national and regional exhibits and publications. She has been a long-term active member and teacher in her local and state calligraphy guilds and travels within the US and internationally to teach workshops, including serving on the faculty for the International Lettering Arts Conference in 2014 and 2015; SSIW in Melbourne, Australia; and the Midwest Art and Lettering Retreat in 2016. She spends many hours in her studio on her personal and creative work, finding a balance between her teaching commitments, her business, and her own busy family life. More information and artwork can be found on Facebook and at her website,

Class Description

Using only the humble pencil and its other graphite cousins allows us to practice ways of creating dynamic layouts even within the limited grayscale palette. By exploring the most striking of contrasts – scale – we will challenge ourselves to create powerful layouts focused on the relationship between large and small design elements.
Beginning with a series of exercises we will study a range of pencil lettering techniques, from formal drawn Roman capitals to a variety of more modern and casual hands. We’ll then explore some non-traditional graphite techniques that allow for bold, large scale lettering designs. Finally, we’ll combine these two elements in a variety of layout and design exercises that will lead us to the creation of works that reflect both the delicate beauty and dynamic contrasts possible within the graphite family.

Supply List

• Mechanical Pencil, 0.5 or 0.3 and leads (my favorite is the 0.3 Pentel Graph Gear 500)
• Drawing pencils, various hardness, whatever you already have (6B, 4B, 2B, HB, 2H, 4H)
• Graphite sticks and/or woodless graphite pencils (6B or 9B)
• Water-soluble graphite stick; Lyra or Art Graf with the water drop on the label, 6B or 9B
• Art Graf Black Carbon Water-Soluble Ink Block
• Kneaded eraser and white eraser
• White eraser stick, Tombow Mono zero round or Paper Mate Tuff Stuff
• Your favorite writing tools, including large tools for writing; nibs, ruling/folded pens, automatic pens, flat and round brushes, etc.
• Blending Stump
• X-ACTO knife with blades
• Cutting mat
• Scissors
• Small pencil sharpener (no motors)
• Glue stick
• Double stick tape
• Steel ruler
• C-thru ruler
• Large bristle brush for wetting paper (1-3)
• Mid-weight drawing paper; Strathmore 400 series drawing paper (around 11×17) or whatever similar you have at home, plus a few pages of any other papers you want to try
• Heavier papers: several pieces of water-friendly heavier papers, Fabriano or Arches watercolor paper, and any cheaper watercolor (Canson XL) or other heavyweight paper that you have
• Clear Con-Tact Paper
• Paper towels
• Baby wipes
• Water container
• Small spray bottle
• Short quote, few words, and texts you would like to write (5-10 words)
• Drawing board or padded surface to work on

  • Note: Not required, but for your info: The sketchbook I use and recommend is the Moleskine 7.5 x 10 plain, soft cover notebook.