Tom Sarmo – Creating Illuminated Letters and Decorative Borders!

Duration of Class: One Day (6 Hours) // Medium: Mixed (Pencil, pen,India ink, colored inks, and Acryla Gouache on toned paper) // Skill Level: All

Cost: $240-$270


In this fun class you’ll learn valuable methods to create uniquely illuminated initial letters, decorative borders, and fanciful marginalia—similar to illuminated medieval manuscripts! These exciting techniques can be used in designing your own paper products—greeting cards, bookmarks, postcards, scrap book pages, book illustrations, etc. The applications are endless! In addition, you’ll learn valuable approaches to color, so that your designs and artworks will be highly attractive and effective.

This Class is for: Anyone who wants to create beautifully illustrated letters and borders.


• Drawing and transferring lettering and designs
• Drawing illuminated and embellished initials
• Techniques for creating border designs
• Effective color-use techniques and easy color theory
• Design and letter refinement techniques
• Pen and ink techniques
• Toned paper techniques
• Gold leaf technique


click on thumbnails to see full image


Day 3 (8/4/19)

Class Size

Min # of students: 4
Max # of students: 20

Supply List

  • Pencils
  • Soft erasers
  • Strathmore or Kona brand Toned Tan or Toned Gray sketchbook (at least 5.5” x 8.5”)
  • White drawing paper
  • Tracing paper pad (9” x 12”)
  • Hunts Crow-Quill pen-nib no.102 and nib-holder and black India ink (OR Micron Pens size 01 and 03)
  • Colored waterproof inks (3/4 oz tube):
  • Yellow
  • Magenta
  • Cyan (or yellow, red, and blue)
  • Tube of Chinese White Acrylic Gouache (Acryla by Holbein is good, or any good quality Acrylic Gesso)
  • Speedball Mona Lisa Gold Leaf Kit
  • Fine point acrylic brushes (Winsor & Newton University Series #00, #3, #6 round)
  • Disposable paper palette (for mixing oils and acrylics)
  • Small water container
  • 7-well flower palette (or small plastic containers) for inks
  • Provided by Instructor:
  • A variety of media, resource packet, link and book information
  • More on this artist