Copperplate Calligraphy Online Course

copperplate the swelling line

Copperplate: The Swelling Line

Copperplate calligraphy online course. Explore a formal, but unique style of copperplate, while learning the secrets of the swelling line. This technique produces a script which has life and elegance.

Who is the course for?

If you’ve been struggling with copperplate, having problems handling the pointed pen, not sure about adding the weighted strokes, and trying to get the correct shapes; then this course is for you. If you are more experienced and now feel confident with all the basics, then this course is also for you.

It will help you concentrate on detail and identify and correct common problems. Whatever your experience, you will learn a different way of approaching copperplate: one that employs the swelling line and concentrates on all those small details needed to write this beautiful script.

What will you achieve?

In this course, you will learn about tools and materials and how to get started. There are detailed explanations and demonstrations of each lowercase and capital letter, followed by everything you need to know about joining letters and putting them together to make words.


"Rachel is delightful. Thoroughly enjoyed her as an instructor. I really appreciate how she shared all her knowledge, as well as time spent individually critiquing the students."

Anonymous from workshop for Washington Calligraphers’ Guild, USA in 2019

"Rachel is an excellent teacher – kind, patient, great pacing. One of my calligraphy role models."

Anonymous from workshop for Washington Calligraphers’ Guild, USA in 2019

"Rachel is so supportive and kind. She makes everyone feel welcome, from beginner to advanced."

Anonymous from workshop for Washington Calligraphers’ Guild, USA in 2019

"Rachel is gracious and lovely – just like her copperplate!"

Anonymous from workshop for Washington Calligraphers’ Guild, USA in 2019

"Rachel’s soft-spoken voice is easy to follow and listen to. I love her style."

Anonymous from workshop for Washington Calligraphers’ Guild, USA in 2019

"Rachel is very patient and encouraging."

Anonymous from workshop for Washington Calligraphers’ Guild, USA in 2019

Breakdown of the Course


  • Tools: A look at nibs, paper, and ink.
  • The straight pen holder, and the importance of the position of the pen in the hand.
  • A look at the guidelines sheet, angle of script, x-height, capital height, and length of ascenders and descenders.
  • What is the swelling line?
  • Starting strokes.

Lowercase Letters


  • Oval shapes: a, c, e, o and d, g, q.
  • The ‘n’ shape: h, m, n, p, u and y.
  • The ‘blob’! b, v, w and r. 
  • Straight shapes: f, i, j, k, l and t.
  • Exceptions: s, x and z.
  • Numerals, ampersands, and punctuation.

Capital Letters

  • B, P and R.
  • A, M and N.
  • F and T
  • D and L.
  • C, E and G.
  • H, K, V and W.
  • I and J.
  • O and Q.
  • U and Y.
  • S, X and Z.

Joining Letters and Writing Words

  • An explanation of joining strokes.
  • Bottom-finishing stroke letter joins, including those to an ascender.
  • Joining from b, v, w and o.
  • Joining from an s.
  • Joining from the two r shapes.
  • Writing double letters.
  • The open loop.
  • Letter, word, and line spacing.
  • Writing words.

You don’t need many things to start writing copperplate. To help you find what you need, here is what I use: layout paper for practice, a free-flowing ink, a straight pen holder, and pointed nibs.

What you will get when you enrol on this course

You will receive almost three hours of videos which are divided into four parts. There is an introduction on how to get started, followed by instruction in writing all the lowercase letters, the capitals, and finally joining letters and writing words. You can download PDFs of a guidelines sheet, the lowercase and capital letters, and numerals. There will be a private Facebook group just for those who are taking this course, where you can post work and get feedback from me.


  • Almost 3 hours of high quality video.
  • An introduction on how to get started.
  • Instruction for writing lowercase letters.
  • Instruction for writing uppercase letters.
  • Instruction for joining letters and writing words.
  • A PDF guideline sheet.
  • Lowercase, capital and numeral PDF sheets.
  • Access to a private Facebook group. 

The benefits of an online course

One of the positive outcomes of the global pandemic has been online learning. It has meant that people from all over the world can learn from a tutor whose workshops they might otherwise be unable to take. In taking this course you will have a better view of the demonstrations than you would in class when typically, students would gather around my table.

The videos have lifetime access so you can watch them as many times as you like and stop and start at any stage. The content is incredibly detailed and offers more than I could cover in the average in-person workshop, and you can do it all in the comfort of your own home. However, I do hope that someday you might attend a workshop as there is nothing quite like learning together in the same room.

Personal sign off …

rachel yallop calligrapher lettering designer

I am passionate about copperplate and want to share my knowledge of the script with you. I first learned it in 1995, though I started my calligraphic journey in 1981. I’m a firm believer that the swelling line approach gives life and elegance to copperplate, and I want to pass on my techniques to help you master this beautiful script.

The purchase of my book, A Simple Copperplate Manual, will add more detail and enable further knowledge of the subject. You will find it in my website shop.


“This technique produces a script which has life and elegance”

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