Wet Paint

Call Us


Stop In

1684 Grand Avenue

Saint Paul, MN 55105

Shopping cart - $0.00

Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

The Pencil Connection: Words & Illustration taught by Sherri Thornton

June 8 @ 10:00 am - 4:30 pm

Register Now | $147

Saturday, June 8th 10am-4:30 & Sunday, June 9th 12-4:30pm

FEE: $147.00

Location: Wet Paint’s Annual Sidewalk Sale is taking place June 7-9 so we’ve made special arrangements to hold this class  at Macalester College Art Department (Janet Wallace Fine arts Building) which is 2 blocks from Wet Paint.

Words and illustration go hand in hand to convey thoughts, insight and perspective in this weekend workshop with Tennessee artist/Calligrapher Sherri Thornton. Ideal for the letterer who enjoys watercolor or a watercolor painter who enjoys lettering.

We’ll use haiku, both contemporary and timeless poetry, as the vehicle to begin our study of an informal and approachable roman capitals alphabet (with a myriad of variations introduced in handouts).

Day one focuses on our lettering tool, the humble graphite pencils and water soluble graphite pencils, which will give us the confidence to approach these letters more casually and accessibly. Day two focuses on illustrating our words using watercolors.


Students will be introduced to pencils that have been vetted by the instructor to perform well with the pressure and release technique—which will give our lettering an understated, lovely quality not usually associated with pencil lettering. We will work with graphite and graphite wash pencils, to understand the unique characteristics these tools can impart to our lettering.

The second part of the workshop will focus on illustrating our words. A handout with simple mono-line drawings supplied by the instructor, or a simple drawing created by the student (that relate(s) to the subject matter within their haiku text) will be utilized to create a pencil-drawn illustration to give a lovely, light-as-air quality—using the same pressure and release technique applied to our roman alphabet. We will spend time harnessing this approach, so that participants feel comfortable and ready for the next stage—introducing watercolor to these illustrations—to give us a finished, distinctive piece of illustration to accompany our haiku in a completed piece of work (a lovely way to add an illustration to a journal).

sherri_headshotInstructor bio:

Sherri Thornton has had a lifelong love affair with the written word, which carries over into her passion for drawing, painting and designing with letterforms. After a fourteen year hiatus from teaching while working as a graphic designer in editorial and magazine print design (yes, it involved words and design, but missed out on the messy, playful and instinctual working by hand), she is happy to be back in the studio—exploring, creating and getting lost in a world of color, line and intuitive composition.

Sherri has a fine arts background, studied at the Norwich School of Design in Norwich, Norfolk, United Kingdom, and later returned to design school to pursue a graphic design degree and graduated with honors from the Art Institute of Charlotte in 2004.

Sherri has taught in the United States for art and lettering arts/calligraphy guilds across the US, Canada, England and Belgium. She has been on the faculty of numerous lettering arts conferences, including the Colleagues of Calligraphy’s 2003 International Assembly of Lettering Artists in St. John’s MN, and has also taught at international calligraphy conferences in Canada and the UK.

Cancellation Policy


June 8
10:00 am - 4:30 pm
Event Category:


Macalester College Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center
1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105 United States
+ Google Map