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Learning To See | Newsletter

For this month’s newsletter, I want to share with you a post from Paula Bonet, a Spanish artist I admire, reflecting on the topics of education and personal style.


When I decided to open La Madriguera and teach courses, back in 2017, a colleague told me: “But you won’t teach how to do it with watercolour graphite, right? That’s your hallmark.”

When I heard that, I remembered my grandmother cooking in the street with the neighbours during the town festival. I remembered how she liked to run the show, be aware of the fire in each pot, give orders, explain how everything was done. The ladies said how strange, because that was exactly how they cooked it at home, but they never managed to give it that good taste that hers has got. “Oh girl, I don’t know, you must do something wrong!” My grandmother answered.

One day I saw my grandmother taking a silver foil sachet out of her sleeve and put something into the boiler. I asked her what she was doing and she gave me a pinch that still hurts to make me shut up.

My colleague’s question struck me as just as silly as that pinch. How is anyone going to own anything? Why not to share what you know? Why remain so aware of the copy, or the others, if painting, if art in general, is something else? […]

The hallmark of someone —if that is what you care about— is in their gaze, in their intention, in the need they have to tell something. The copy, the “style” thing, the hiding of information when we are training—and also afterwards—, seems to me a supine stupidity.


I have been teaching independently for seven years. I tell my students that the purpose of learning a specific calligraphy or lettering style lies in learning to see by acquiring visual literacy, understanding the historical context and the structure behind each alphabet.I’m not interested in creating an army of calligraphers and letterers producing the same outcome, but a group of designers focused on learning about letterforms and ultimately, about themselves. With time and experience, the goal is finding your own voice by generating work that reflects your gaze, your interests, and most importantly, your intentions.

“We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are” Anaïs Nin

My mission is sharing knowledge, helping others to grow, branch out and flourish, and create emotion through my work. Above all, I have my own story to tell.

Below, you’ll find three personal projects, a commercial commission, my upcoming online Copperplate calligraphy course, and a list of resources to become a better creative and educator.Wishing you and your family much health.

Love, Maria xx


15th Anniversary | Lettering Animation

On September 28, 2006 I landed in Australia, and what an incredible ride it’s been!Feeling super grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way, and for all the funny, generous and talented people I have met and call now my friends. Than You Australia.


Charlie’s | Australiana Packaging illustrations

Botanical packaging illustrations for Charlie’s Mini Bikkie Bites Bush Finger Limes and Kakadu Plums.Client: Charlie’s Fine Food & CoArt direction and packaging design: Lauren Vilitati


Lettering Collection 2013–2021

I have compiled my lettering work for the last seven years into a beautiful black and white collection containing 10 pages of examples including Script, Blackletter, Monoline, San Serif, Modern, Art Nouveau, Stencil and typographic illustrations.Lettering CollectionBranding Assets


Hand-painted Skateboard Decks

In 2013 I designed a pair of decks for my partner and I sixth anniversary together. Rob used to skate and due to a knee injury, he now collects decks. We have more than 40 skateboards handing on one of our walls at home.Many moons have passed since our sixth anniversary, and in recent years I have created the habit of designing a pair of decks for our anniversaries. Each pair of skateboards reflect the emotions and state of affairs of our relationship. You can check past designs here:Six / SisNine / NouTen / DeuEleven / OnzeTwelve / DotzeThirteen / Tretze RationaleBlackletter was an obvious choice for this year’s anniversary: Small counters, very small letter/personal space.I’m happy to share that despite the intense conviviality of the last eighteen months, this global pandemic has only strengthened our 13-year relationship, which makes my heart sing.


Intro to Copperplate Calligraphy | Online Course

This 8-hour Intro to Copperplate calligraphy courses runs in a webinar format via Zoom. I record each session and you are able to review the videos later on, and for those of you living in a different time zone.November 20217, 14, 21 and 28— 9.30am to 11.30am AEDT / UTC+11— 4 consecutive Sundays— For beginner and intermediate students— Videos available to watch for 2 months— Materials list supplied— Personal class notes provided— Handouts sent in advance— Copperplate minuscule and capitals— No calligraphy experience required— Q&A session after each class— Personalised feedback to all students— 1 spot for a BIPOC student available— Every lesson is recorded and uploaded 3 hours after each class

Work out your Time Zone Conversion here.Book your spot


Intro to Copperplate Calligraphy | Online Course

After the last 20 months of challenges and restrictions in Victoria, I have decided to stop my in-person group workshops at Rotson Studios  from 2022 onwards. I am continuing with my in-person private calligraphy and lettering tuitions and my online courses, but not with the group classes at this point.These are my last group workshops at my studio in Melbourne:Intro to Copperplate Calligraphy WorkshopSaturday November 20From 10 to 2.30pmIntro to Copperplate CapitalsSaturday November 27 and December 4From 10 to 2.30pmIntro to BlackletterSaturday December 5From 10 to 2.30pmTHANK you very much for your ongoing understanding, YOU are supporting an independent artist and designer to keep on going, growing and becoming a better educator.


This article is part of my latest email newsletter called “November 2021: Learning to See“.