Manuscript Kufic Course

Course contents

The script we will be learning is Manuscript Kufic, the original Qur’anic script which developed under the Umeyyads and reached its apogee under the Abbasids, but fell into disuse nearly a millenium ago. In particular, we’ll be working with the variant illustrated by the page above, which I consider to be the most accomplished. The style and script grammar will based on this manuscript. The course allows each student their own pace, and covers the following:

  • Learning and practicing isolated lettershapes;
  • Learning how letters connect and practicing with words and short texts;
  • Technical skills: Working with colour, constructing the traditionally proportioned text boxes, drafting a page;
  • Putting it all together in one finished page, including diacritics and punctuation;
  • Learning alternative letter forms to create a variant on this style, and if time allows, finishing one more page in this variant.

Zahra Kazani’s testimonial: “Joumana’s course was very enjoyable. She is patient, kind, and accommodating in her teaching style. She is also knowledgeable about the script and its constructions. In addition to demonstrating the letter forms, Joumana also provides handouts that you can take with you to practice after the course. Highly recommend if you’re looking to try it out!”

Course fee

£200 for a class of 3-4 people over 3 days (including all class materials, and a pair of pens + a jar of historical ink to take home). A private course is possible for £300 over 2 days only.


My studio on Wallis Road, behind Hackney Wick Overground station. (Detailed directions will be emailed upon signing up.) Parking is also available in the area.


Nothing — all is provided. But you’re welcome to bring your own texts if you wish (short sentences and paragraphs).

I’m ready, sign me up!

Please fill and send me the short form below to register your interest.


Going Wild: A Foraging Course! (of sorts)

Given the interest raised by my art foraging, I am setting up a course! I say “course” but it’s really a day out, finding and trying out natural materials we might use to make marks on paper. For instance, can a carved twig be as good as a reed pen, and if so which wood works best? Can we find durable sources of ink or paint in our local environment? (Spoiler: yes.) What else can we use with a bit of ingenuity and much experimenting?

The day will be only loosely structured, starting around 12 but open-ended. We will forage respectfully and with no expectations, as nature is in constant change and I really can’t predict what we will find. But during breaks I will share some useful theory (for instance the difference between ink, dye and paint), practical advice and easy recipes for you to try at home. I will bring a small mortar as well as knives and whatever else could be useful to test materials in the field (some will have to be taken home for that as we can’t boil things on the spot).

It’s possible a bit of food foraging will slip in there. Nature decides.

The (first?) outing will take place on saturday August 4, in Epping Forest. We will meet at 12 noon just outside Theydon Bois station and go from there. (More details on what to bring etc in the signup email). Be prepared for a day out that will involve a picnic lunch and may include such things as mud, nettles, and having to go behind a tree.

Still excited? Great, so am I! Sign up below (the cost is a modest £15) and/or email me if you have any questions:

Creative Kufic Calligraphy Course

The next session of my course is officially announced! Read details below, but sign up on the Arab British Centre website.


March 22, 29, April 5, 12, 19, 26 (Wednesdays 18:00 – 20:00)

Final Project Sunday 30 April, 14:00 – 18:00

6 Weeks + 4 hours final project = 16 Hours

Course Fee: £210

Course description:

In this non-traditional calligraphy course, we will not use reed pens and repetitive copying. Instead, we will return to the original source of Arabic calligraphy, the Kufi family of styles, and study it with a modern design approach. Kufi was the first Arabic script to be consciously made beautiful, an unlike the later round scripts with their strict rules, it can be constantly reinvented and is not tied to any given tool or medium. Students, then, can benefit from the same creative freedom that the earliest calligraphers enjoyed, and find their own approach to the art of Arabic calligraphy.

We will learn the essence of the letters and how it expresses itself in different styles; spacing, proportions and the uniquely Arabic concept of kashida; compositional approaches including the highly specialized Square Kufic. Each of these design notions will be accompanied by a practical exercise to anchor the theory and allow students to learn from each other. The course will culminate in a final project where the student chooses a word or phrase and creates their own composition for it. Examples of final projects are shown above.

For general and specific FAQs, please see here.