Learn Calligraphy from Lloyd Reynolds, the Teacher of Steve Jobs’ Own Famously Inspiring Calligraphy Teacher

The sto­ry has, over time, solid­i­fied into one of the columns of Steve Jobs lore: in the ear­ly 1970s, the man who would found Apple left for Reed Col­lege. But before long, not want­i­ng to spend any more of his par­ents’ mon­ey on tuition (and per­haps not tem­pera­men­tal­ly com­pat­i­ble with the struc­ture of high­er edu­ca­tion any­way), he offi­cial­ly dropped out, couch-surfed through friends’ pads, lived on free meals ladled out by Hare Krish­nas, con­tin­ued to audit a vari­ety of class­es, and gen­er­al­ly lived the pro­to­type tech­no-neo-hip­pie lifestyle Sil­i­con Val­ley has con­tin­ued relent­less­ly to refine.

Per­haps the least like­ly of those class­es was one on cal­lig­ra­phy, taught by Trap­pist monk and cal­lig­ra­ph­er Robert Pal­ladi­no. More than thir­ty years lat­er, deliv­er­ing a now-famous Stan­ford com­mence­ment speech, Jobs recalled his time in the cal­lig­ra­phy class: “None of this had even a hope of any prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tion in my life. But 10 years lat­er, when we were design­ing the first Mac­in­tosh com­put­er, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first com­put­er with beau­ti­ful typog­ra­phy.”

And what of the cal­lig­ra­phy teacher who made that pos­si­ble? “Pal­ladi­no, who died in late Feb­ru­ary at 83, joined the Trap­pist order of monks in New Mex­i­co in 1950, accord­ing to a 2003 pro­file in Reed Mag­a­zine,” writes the Wash­ing­ton Post’s Niraj Chok­shi. “Just 17 at the time, his hand­writ­ing attract­ed the atten­tion of the monastery scribe, who worked with him on his art. Five years lat­er, Pal­ladi­no moved to Lafayette, Ore., where local artists brought news of a skilled ama­teur to Lloyd Reynolds, an icon in the field and the cre­ator of Reed’s cal­lig­ra­phy pro­gram.”

Now you, too, can receive instruc­tion from Reynolds, who in 1968 starred in a series on the Ore­gon Edu­ca­tion Tele­vi­sion Ser­vice’s pro­gram Men Who Teach, shoot­ing twen­ty half-hour broad­casts on ital­ic cal­lig­ra­phy and hand­writ­ing. Eight years lat­er — about the time Jobs co-found­ed Apple with Steve Woz­ni­ak — he re-shot the series in col­or, and you can watch that ver­sion almost in its entire­ty with the playlist at the top of the post. (Reed has also made some relat­ed instruc­tion­al mate­ri­als avail­able.) You may feel the temp­ta­tion to turn all of Reynolds’ lessons on the art of writ­ing toward your goal of becom­ing the next Steve Jobs. But try to resist that impulse and appre­ci­ate it for its own nature, which Jobs him­self described as “beau­ti­ful, his­tor­i­cal, artis­ti­cal­ly sub­tle in a way that sci­ence can’t cap­ture.”

We’ll add these vin­tage lessons to our col­lec­tion, 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Steve Jobs on Life: “Stay Hun­gry, Stay Fool­ish”

Steve Jobs Nar­rates the First “Think Dif­fer­ent” Ad (Nev­er Aired)

Steve Jobs Mus­es on What’s Wrong with Amer­i­can Edu­ca­tion, 1995

The Art of Hand­writ­ing as Prac­ticed by Famous Artists: Geor­gia O’Keeffe, Jack­son Pol­lock, Mar­cel Duchamp, Willem de Koon­ing & More

Font Based on Sig­mund Freud’s Hand­writ­ing Com­ing Cour­tesy of Suc­cess­ful Kick­starter Cam­paign

One of World’s Old­est Books Print­ed in Mul­ti-Col­or Now Opened & Dig­i­tized for the First Time

Dis­cov­er What Shakespeare’s Hand­writ­ing Looked Like, and How It Solved a Mys­tery of Author­ship

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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