Calligraphy for Kids at College for Kids

Students demonstrate calligraphyAfter learning about the evolution of writing and the making of medieval manuscripts, students received their calligraphy pens on Day 2. We all take the letters of the alphabet for granted. Each letter of the alphabet has its own history. Calligraphy is a fine motor skill. Practice is key to becoming a better calligrapher! Students are encouraged to practice at home each day.

The upper right picture is an exquisite

example of calligraphic artwork.


Students share their calligraphy

Calligraphy is a serious, quiet, acquired skill. Classical music is played while students practice/are critiqued in the classroom. They began with rhythmic pen exercises to get used to their pens. Teacher Ida Martin Sorensen critiques each students’ work. The students are learning italic letterforms stroke by stroke with their broad edge felt tip pens. Middle school students are a PERFECT age to learn calligraphy.

The 24th edition Speedball Textbook was distributed on day 5 – it is full of letterform styles and project ideas, a keepsake book for certain. The Making of the St. John’s Bible DVD was shown on Day 6 – it is a contemporary illuminated manuscript made in the old masters way, using quills, vellum (skin), & handmade inks/paints. Donald Jackson, Scribe to the Queen of England, was the lead calligraphic artist. It took 15 years to complete & demonstrates the skills/artistic expression of 23 different scribes and illuminators.

A student practices calligraphy

The power of the written word will never go out of style. There is still a demand for hand lettering projects in spite of technology and computer fonts. Beautiful writing is the ultimate synthesis of words, art and the human connection!

This student is taking Calligraphy for Kids for a second year. During this session, she is working on Uncial letterform (using dip ink/pen) after learning italic letterform last year. She is hooked on calligraphy.



Ida Martin Sorensen has been teaching calligraphy at College for Kids for 25 years. She has studied extensively with internationally known calligrapher Sheila Waters who is 90 years old and still teaching. Ida is the founding president of Iowa Scribes calligraphy guild. She has exhibited work locally and regionally. Ida has done and continues to do private commissions and projects. Her clients include Governor Tom and Christie Vilsack, Mercy Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital, Downtown Rotary, private collections, and more. Many of her students continue to ‘write beautifully’ after their two-week session is over, which makes Ida very proud!


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