The Speedball D Series Nib

The oval D nib for creating casual blunt-serifed vintage alphabets.

Class 4 in the Writing with a Bent Nib series by Randall M. Hasson

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The class starts as soon as your payment is processed. The class runs on YOUR schedule and does not expire!

The Speedball D Series Nib – Class Summary

The Speedball D nib, introduced in 1926, is an easy-to-use nib that creates subtle thick and thin lettering and a prominent “blunt” serif. Used for playful, vintage styles of lettering and the famous Metropolitan Poster style of the art deco era, this nib will be an easy adaptation for the calligrapher.

This is the fourth class in Randall’s Writing with a Bent Nib five-part series. Note that each class in the series is sold separately or you can also purchase all five classes at a special bundle price!

Students are invited to a private Facebook Group where you can get more information, ask questions, share your work, and meet your fellow students.

The duration of the B Series Nib class is 3.5 hours. Scroll down to view curriculum and watch preview movies.

A Bit of History & the Basic Strokes

The oval-style D nib is one of Randall’s favorites. The D nib derived from the popularity in the early 1900s for a casual style of lettering with a blunt serif. European poster artists such as Hans Rudy Erdt and Lucian Bernhard, as well as the American F. G. Cooper, used this style because the thicker blunt serif made posters more readable over long distances when compared to thin Roman serifs.

A Blunt-Serifed Alphabet – Lowercase

The D nib is perfect for creating this casual alphabet reminiscent of the show card styles of the 1920s. Calligraphers might find the D nib a little easier to use because the pen is kept on a consistent angle, just like you’re used to with a broad-edged pen. Randall used this style for the cover of his upcoming book, Teaching America How to Letter, the story of the Speedball Textbook.

A Blunt-Serifed Alphabet – Capitals

After the lowercase letters, the capital letters are also covered in-depth with lessons both by letter group and with the full alphabet. Then Randall invites you to explore his philosophy of writing in his Mahara Watercolor Journal, which he designed for Paper & Ink Arts. You’ll learn about the challenges of writing on a hand-sized textured surface, as well as adapting to writing without lines. 

Metropolitan Poster Alphabet

One of the most famous Ross George styles, Metropolitan Poster is an intriguing alphabet reminiscent of the 1930s. Building on your skills with the D nib, you’ll learn how to build up letters as well as add variations to this casual alphabet. Randall demonstrates the interaction of letters and proper spacing by writing a variety of words using Bister Inks on cold-press watercolor paper.

About Your Instructor

Randall M. Hasson is an artist, calligrapher, instructor and speaker who has appeared on the faculty of arts, lettering arts, and educational conferences in the United States, Canada and England. He owned and operated the Randall M. Hasson Gallery from 2000–2013 in San Diego, CA and Santa Fe, NM. He is the author of articles on a variety of art or lettering art related subjects and has appeared as a mainstage presenter and/or teacher with lecture topics covering public art, art history, the painting process, collaborative art projects, and the history of writing including the recent invention of the ADLaM alphabet in West Africa. 

In 2015, Randall co-edited the 24th (Centennial) Edition of The Speedball Textbook. He is currently writing and designing his forthcoming book Teaching America How to Letter – The Speedball Story, a history of commercial lettering and American show card writing in the early 1900s. It is due to be published by Letterform Archive in 2020.
Barbara Close

To learn more about this series, please visit the Writing with a Bent Nib page on our main site.

How it works

  • Classes are prerecorded with excellent HD video quality and audio so you can see every detail
  • Practice immediately after you check out – no waiting for the class to start!
  • Watch as often as you like, as long as you like. The class has no expiry date!
  • Replay a particular stroke or letter as many times as you like – even at different speeds!
  • Bite-sized lessons make it easy to pick up where you left off in the course or jump to a specific topic
  • Videos are tightly edited so as not to waste a second of your time!
  • Progress through the lessons at your own pace – you’ll never miss a homework deadline!
  • Download PDFs and exemplars directly from the classroom
  • Learn more on our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact us with questions
  • To learn more about this full series, please visit the Writing with a Bent Nib page on our main site.

“The Speedball Bent Nib is a new and unusual tool for me but I am really enjoying the journey. It is wonderful to learn about the history of these beautiful letterforms and to see just how versatile these nibs can be. The course content is wonderful and Randall is an amazing teacher!” 

Heather Victoria Held

Course Curriculum

How It Works

As soon as you enroll in this class, you will have immediate access to all the lessons in this class. You can watch the lessons at your own pace as your schedule allows. Because everything is captured on video, you can go back and replay a particular stroke or letter as many times as you like – even at different speeds! There’s no need to worry about being left behind, or missing something. 

You will also be invited to a private Facebook Group as well as a monthly Live Zoom session with Randall Hasson where you can get more information, ask questions, share your work, and meet your fellow students. 

Learn more about the other classes in the Writing with a Bent Nib series on our main website or on the Series sales page .

We believe these classes are a great value, but if you don’t agree (for whatever reason), we offer a 30-day 100% money-back guarantee.

Single Class


The Speedball D Series Nib
(class 4 in a 5-part series)

Writing with a Bent Nib Series (5 Classes)


Special bundle price ($100 savings).
Learn more about the Series

Writing with a Bent Nib Series (5 Classes)
Installment Plan


Six monthly payments. Total $420.
($80 savings)
Learn more about the Series

Julie Gray

“Great course! Not only for beginners, but as a good refresher for experienced copperplate calligraphers. Barbara makes everything clear, concise and professional. A nicely produced online class for everyone interested in pointed pen.”