Fractur is definitely street wise. It has its place in graffiti culture as well as on bottles of booze and rock’n roll record covers.


But it has a much more royal upper class background; there is a fraktur with clear batarde traits used for a page made for the German parliament (Reichstag) from 1500. The Emperor Maximillian I ordered a wonderful fractura type for a missal (prayer book) in 1514. It is most likely from the pen of Leonard Wagner from Augsburg.


Fractura letters are the most lively of the gothic styles. The rather stiff textura quadrata (which was the type of writing that Gutenberg modelled his first types on) was influenced by calligraphic batarde, which was written with more speed and which often had more impulsive strokes and flourishes. It follows a similar story-line to other scripts and how they interact. Formal gets influenced by informal, order gets influenced by more chaotic trends that then get formalised. And so on and so forth.


For calligraphers the fractura offers spirit, life and movement. Its name implies fractured and broken, referring to the way some strokes may break midway, but also how letters may be both round and straight. It is to calligraphy the way syncopation, polyrhythm (not straight 4/4 beats) and improvisation is to music. If it had a soundtrack it could be both Bach and Charlie Parker. 


This workshop will have its main focus on Fractura gothic, including minuscules and the wonderfully elaborate capital letters. It is open for all levels of students, but some broad edged pen experience is helpful.

Online workshop. Thursdays 24th Feb.–!7th March (four session

R E  G I  S T R A T I O N    C L O S E D

More general info here