Intro to Illumination

6 Mondays, Oct 30; Nov 6, 13, 20; Dec 4, 11; 2023
No class on Nov 27th due to the Thanksgiving holiday hubbub 🙂
7:00 to 9:00 p.m. EST
Live online instruction via Zoom. Classes will be recorded.

This is a nuts-and-bolts class on illumination. If you’ve always admired illuminated pages and never thought you could create one, this class is for you.

We will focus on the tools of the trade, building understanding and proficiency, moving through a series of exercises gaining in complexity over the six classes. Students are taught the ‘how’ so they can apply these skills to whatever style of illumination they want to create.

Some of the subjects we explore:
Proper equipment and set-up
Versals (Large decorated letters)
Gouache (an opaque watercolor)
Drawing with pointed nibs
Creating a border
Creating creatures
Correcting mistakes
Knotted designs

Homework is designed to practice these skills leading students to be able to look at historical examples and create their own interpretation of a design.

New policy: Students are welcome to repeat a class they have already taken–at no charge. There is so much information given in the class that the ability to repeat and work with others, offers a great opportunity to develop one’s skills.

Again, there is no cost to repeating-if a student would like to pay it forward, a donation of any size to the scholarship fund is always welcome. 


To purchase this class and supplies there are three options. If anything is confusing, please call: 860-550-3002

Handouts will be provided digitally to students. Student will acquire necessary supplies, links and resources are available on the Google doc listed above.
Class fee: $150

Includes everything needed for the 6 week class
Class fee $150, Supplies and packet of handouts $108; Shipping $20
To Purchase Class and All Supplies: $278
Packets will be shipped October 3rd.

If you have some supplies, but need others, purchase the Option 1 Class, then order needed supplies or handouts from Debby.
Class fee: $150

For option 3, supply order and handouts will be handled separately from Class. Copy the order form at the supply link above, identify the items you need, email me a copy and I will invoice you for what supplies you need. Payment for the supplies can be made with credit card, Venmo, PayPal or check.
Packets will be shipped October 3rd.

Payment options include Venmo, Paypal, check and Etsy.

PayPal: Send money to   The account will come up as Calligraphy Design Studio. Add a note that clarifies Illumination.

Credit Card: I can email you an invoice that allows you to pay with a credit card even if you don’t have a PayPal account.

Venmo: Debby-Calligraphy. Last 4 digits of cell: 3002
Add a note that clarifies Illumination.

Check: Payable to: Debby Reelitz
Mail to: 24 Silkey Road, North Granby CT 06060
Add a note that clarifies Illumination

Etsy shop: dreelitz CLASS ONLY

Etsy shop: dreelitz CLASS & ALL SUPPLIES

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: Please contact me before registering to determine shipping logistics, cost, timing, etc. Etsy tacks on considerable fees for international purchases so we work to avoid those.


The class will be recorded and made available to students.

TIME: Each 2-hour class is a diverse combination of learning about the art of illumination, learning skills, seeing samples, student lettering and creating projects. There will also be an assignment each week to practice the skill that was introduced. This return to illumination is a great way to create the fine motor skills necessary for illumination.

Each class also builds on the class before and does not repeat the same information.


Happy to answer:

Samples of Student Work

Emily: This is a passage that was adapted from one of my favorite books, and that was read at my wedding. I used calm colors that reminded me of earth and space along with a fanciful design to reflect the imagery in the words. 

Lavell: The line layout mirrors that used by G M Hopkins in his manuscript copy; he was quite fastidious in his layout, even though he asks that we read his poems aloud: “take breath and read it with the ears, as I always wish to be read, and my verse becomes all right” – 
The font for the printed words is “Poor Richard”

Sue: “I am one of Debby’s faithful students who thinks she is the best teacher she has ever had!!!!”

A sample of where a student took the illumination skills and principles and applied them to the Adinkra symbols from Ghana.

Wendy-Marie: I was so inspired by Debby’s class on Illumination that I made this as a birthday gift for a friend, using all the techniques and samples she shared with us.”