A film by Ryan Couldrey featuring Tanja Tiziana and Wonder Pens.
Posts Tagged ‘penmanship’
Why Write is a sixteen minute Ted Talk from Master Penman Jake Weidmann waxing poetic about the love of penmanship and writing.
(Shoutout to Fountain Pen Physicist for the link as I hadn’t yet seen this!)
The recent article on the New York Times entitled What’s Lost As Handwriting Fades is too good to wait until the end of the week for a Link Love so I decided to go ahead an post the link today. Once again, scientists are coming up with studies proving that there’s some tricky cognitive stuff that goes on when we write things by hand and there is even some data that different parts of the brain are triggered depending on whether its printing or script (cursive) writing.
But we all knew this already, right?
NPR recently did a report about the value of cursive in child’s brain development. By their best calculations, all fine motor skill activities are valuable to brain development, be it printing, cursive or keyboarding. But the best option is for kids to be doing all sorts of fine motor activities.
This story, however, does not address the issue of legibility, speed of writing or not writing like a 6-year-old when you’re forty.
One of my favorite tourist and travel mementos are pencils. They are small and fit easily into my suitcase. Sadly, they are not as common to find as they once were. So I was tickled to see that the Book Arts & Special Collections at the San Francisco Public Library had a stamped pencils on the front desk.
When I asked the librarians if they would mind if I took one of the pencils to commemorate my visit, they held up a jar so that I could pick a “nice one.”
I visited the Book Arts & Special Collections to see calligraphy and original typography designs. Since a lot of the material is rare, original drawings or small run prints, there were signs everywhere, written in beautiful script, reminding visitors to use pencils only.
Even the folders and folios were beautifully handwritten in pencil. This folder was filled with hand lettering created by the head of the font group at Hallmark, Rick Cusick. Sadly, I was asked not to photograph any of the original work so this is as close as I can show you.
If you’re interested in calligraphy or the history of type design, I recommend visiting the Richard Harrison Collection of Calligraphy and Lettering.
Lots of people put pen (or pencil) to paper yesterday in celebration and support of National Handwriting Day. Did you? If not, that’s okay because in our little corner of the internet, everyday in Handwriting Day!
Keep on writing!
I hope everyone is having a day full of happy handwriting.If not, try handwriting your grocery list, copying down a favorite quote or poem or just jotting out a a few pangrams. If you do, leave a link in the comments so we can marvel at your penmanship — for better or worse.
Happy Handwriting Day!
In honor of Handwriting Day, I picked out my vintage penmanship shirt to wear today. Yep, I am that nerdy.
I stumbled upon this video from the inflammatory article published earlier this year about how much the presidential calligraphers earn each year. While they may make more money than most of us, the skills they have are unquestionable.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that I think this classic hand lettering skill should be preserved especially when its done for the President for State Dinners and other official events.I can’t imagine getting an invitation to dinner at the White House whipped out on someone’s ink jet printer, can you?
I spoke with a friend who works as a professional calligrapher (not at the White House) who said that the team that the team that work at the White House work under intense pressure, often having to letter 200+ place cards in a day or two for an official event. They also work with very strict expectations for the style of calligraphy they do. the whole office is staffed by one chief calligrapher and two deputy calligraphers — a total staff of three.
I think its worth whatever these folks are being paid. That being said, Politifact did their homework and the calligraphers salary is not so disproportionate to other staffers with uniquely specialized skills (the Social Secretary makes $118K).
In the video, you can see one of the calligraphers (a left-hander!) working on a certificate. He is a third generation White House employee. Watch the video for details.
Do you think the White House should continue to employ calligraphers?
The new American educational curriculum called the Common Core State Standards Initiative is being discussed in the news in part because cursive writing is no longer going to be required instruction. Handwriting instruction has been waning and many states have already chosen not to require it. A national chance in teaching strategies in the US will pretty much guarantee that the few remaining states teaching it, will abandon it as well.
I’m at a loss what to say. So much more is gained in learning penmanship beyond merely the skill to read and write the characters: motor skills, brain pathways, patience and so much more…
I won’t rant here, but there’s plenty of other people who have said it:
- Killing Cursive is Killing History (via The Huffington Post)
- Is Cursive’s Day in the Classroom Done? (via USA Today)
- Video: Tip of the Hat/Wag of the Finger: Campaign for Cursive (via Stephen Colbert)
Some links from the graphics (couldn’t find the Washington Post article):
- School Debate Cursive Handwriting Instruction (via Huffington Post)
- Core Standards In the States (via Core Standards)
- Can You Read This? It’s Cursive (via NYTimes)
- Is Cursive Writing Dead (via CBS News)
- The Importance of Teaching Handwriting in the 21st Century (via Zaner Bloser)
(graphic via Montessorium)
This week I watched a well-dressed, articulate co-worker scratch out some notes in her on-trend, black Moleskine with a G2. For all intents and purposes, her set-up rivals any of the pen and paper bloggers out there though she is not a pen geek. When I looked at the writing, I was shocked at how awkward and unrefined her writing was. I didn’t expect her to have text book-perfect handwriting but she is fashionable, intelligent lady and I had always assumed her penmanship would matched her outward appearance. Instead, her writing made me wonder if she was a serial killer.
My handwriting is not as neat as it could be and seeing her writing makes me think I should continue to focus on improving my writing. In this day and age where emails and text messages are the most common means of communication, handwriting can still color your perception. Or worse, could color someone else’s perception about you. I don’t think its a good career move to have handwriting that makes you look dangerous or unbalanced. Unless that’s the look you are going for.
There are some excellent books to help adults improve their writing. Check out my previous post on handwriting recommendations.
- Penmanship Workshop (on Thursday in Chicago!) (via Behind The Curtain)
Nock Co. Reviews and Previews:
- The Nock Co. Hightower 3+1 (via The Clicky Post)
- The Nock Co. Sassafras (via From The Pen Cup)
- The Nock Co. Lookout Pen Case (via Ed Jelley)
- William H. Gross Stamp Gallery Opening (via Smithsonian Postal Museum)
- A Personal Account of the Gross Stamp Gallery Opening (via Letter Writers Alliance)
- Ex Postal Facto Mail Art Call (via Letter Writers Alliance)
- The Pencil by Staedtler (via Pencil Talk)
- The Sonic Rachetta Pencil Sharpener (via Pencil Revolution)
- Les Crayons de la Maison Caran d’Ache Edition #2 (via Pencil Talk)
- Hi-Uni Mixed Grade Pencils (via Pencil Revolution)
- Pentel Sharp Carbon Black 0.5 mm Drafting Pencil Review (via Pen Addict)
- Helix Pencil Top Sharpener Combo (via Pencil Revolution)
- Bullet Pencils (via Woodclinched)
- KUM Tip Top Sharpener and Pencil Cap (via Pencil Revolution)
- Faber- Castell Castell 9000 4H Pencil Review (via A Penchant for Paper)
- New Pencil Blog (via My Pencil Draws Worlds)
- Vintage Pedigree 600 Red/Blue Pencils (via Economy Pens)
- Esterbrook Collection (via Fountain of Pens)
- Esterbrook 2314F Nib (via Fountain Pen Quest)
- Pelikan M450 Fountain Pen Review (via Write to Me Often)
- Pilot Acroball 1.0 black (via Economy Pens)
- Kaweco Fountain Pens (via Postcrossing)
- Lamy Vista F Fountain Pen (via Clicky Post)
- Sailor Fude de Mannen (brush style nib) (via Ink Of Me Fondly)
- Franklin-Christoph Model 27 Diamondline Fountain Pen (via From The Pen Cup)
- Pilot G2 0.38mm vs. Uni-ball Signo 207 Ultra Micro (via No Pen Intended)
- Care and Maintenance of Fountain Pens (via Rhodia Drive)
- Pilot Petit Pens (via From The Pen Cup)
- Kaweco AL-Sport (via Ed Jelley)
- Morning Glory Mach3 Rollerball 0.38mm (via Pen Addict)
- Pentel Slicci Metallic Violet 0.8 (via Economy Pens)
- Lamy Turquoise Ink (via The Pencil Case blog)
- Noodlers X-Feather (via Fountain Pen Quest)
- Noodlers Baystate Blue Ink Review (via Ed Jelley)
- Diamine/Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue Ink Review (via Informal Scribble)
- Private Reserve Invincible Black (via Fountain Pen Quest)
Paper and Notebooks:
- Carta Pura Notebooks (via These Beautiful Pens)
- Rhodia R Premium Notepad (via Pen Addict)
- Monologue Notebooks (via No Pen Intended)
- Raymay DaVinci Tomoe River Paper Refills (via Pen Addict)
- New goodies for mail and paper lovers (via Paper Pastries)
- Field Nuts: The Official Field Notes Appreciation Society (via Field Notes)
In the September 2013 issue of Martha Stewart Living, there was an article title “Is Handwriting Becoming Extinct?” written by Joanne Chen. The article dives more deeply into the psychological, brain development and creative benefits of writing than I would normally expect from a newsstand magazine usually focused on home decor and recipes. It discusses several scientific studies that researched the advantages of writing on cognitive development, memory and comprehension.
What we here all know, that writing helps us think, organize and remember (“I’m writing it down to remember it now”), is clearly a scientifically proven fact, one that we should help to nurture in ourselves and in others. Digital doesn’t solve everything and might be making up even more forgetful.
I would love to share a link to the article but I could not find it on the Martha Stewart web site. Maybe when the October issue is published, they will post the article on their site. In the meantime, the September issue is on newsstands (the article is on page 158) as well as being available from the iTunes newsstand for $3.99. The issue is the How-To edition with lots of organizational tips which might appeal to you as well.
- Life as an Addicted Cursive Writer by Alice Jenkins (via A Penchant For Paper)
- A Word or Two on Penmanship (via East West Everywhere)
- The Dying Art of Handwriting (via Time)
- Green Pen Comparison (via A Penchant for Paper)
- Schmidt P8126 Rollerball Refills (via Pen Addict)
- Schmidt Easy Flow 9000 Rollerball Refills (via Clicky Post)
- Pilot Capless Fountain Pen (via The Pencil Case Blog)
- Pilot Juice 0.38 Dark Red (via No Pen Intended)
- Pilot Hi-Tec C Knock Review (via Pen Addict)
- Inside the pen, ink and nib selection process (via JustDaveyB)
- Pilot Prera Fountain Pen Review (via The Pencil Case Blog)
- Diamine Red Dragon Ink Review (via Pen Addict)
- Pilot Iroshizuku Tsukiyo (Moonlight) Ink Review (via Ink of Me Fondly)
- Noodler’s Sequoia Ink Review (via Ed Jelley)
- Pelikan Edelstein Onyx Ink Review (via Pen Addict)
- The $425 Pencil (via Pencil Revolution)
- Some Special Pencils (via The Pencil Case Blog)
- Blackwing Pencils in the Hollywood Reporter (via Pencil Talk)
- KUM Automatic Long Point Sharpener (via Informal Scribble)
- General Pencil Co Kimberely Review (via A Penchant for Paper)
- Another Ode to the Blackwing (via Pencil Revolution)
Paper and Notebooks:
- Analyzing Paper Weight (via Notebook Stories)
- Sir Isaac Newtons Notebooks (via Notebook Stories)
- One Star Leather Goods Notebook Wallet (via Clicky Post)
- Anderson Pen Co Proper Pads (via Inkdependence)
- Dusting Off Erasers (via Huckberry)
About every few months, someone publishes a story about the death of handwriting or some variation on this theme. Today’s grim reaper is the BBC with a video article about North Carolina Congresswoman Pat Hurley, who is drafting a bill to mandate handwriting be taught in primary school. A professor of linguistics provides counterpoint describing handwriting as “nostalgic”.
The whole video raised my hackles especially because neither camp mentioned the hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills that are developed as a result of writing. Not to mention that handwriting in the joined-up version helps to speed up writing so that students (and later adults) can more quickly capture thoughts and ideas on paper.
On the whole, I think the story was a bit of sensationalist, shoddy journalism and I’m going to be all grr-argh! for the rest of the day as a result.
Argue, agree or debate at will.
Today is National Handwriting Day, at least here in the US, though I don’t think too many people celebrate it with as much fanfare and enthusiasm as I do.
The date of January 23 was selected because it is also the birthday of John Hancock, best known for his legible-but-large signature on the US Declaration of Independence. So, in spite of continued cutbacks in funding for teaching handwriting in schools in the US, I still want to recognize the day with much fanfare and ballyhoo.
I went in search of handwritten examples of Handwriting Day enthusiasm and found some fun examples from friends old and new. I also enlisted the help of some of my more talented co-workers.
According to WTVY in Dothan, AL it is also Pie Day (according to the Pie Council — who knew we even had one) and Measure Your Feet Day. Now you know.
Lloyd Reynold’s recorded twenty 30-minute instructional videos in 1968 and again eight years later in color to demonstrate and instruct on italic calligraphy and handwriting. At the 5-minute mark of the first episode, the demonstrations begin. Its a little slow but its over 8.5 hours of free calligraphy lessons, if its something you are interested in learning.
(via Reed College)
This is what happens when I don’t do a Link Love for over two weeks: it becomes epic! Sorry its so long but I didn’t want anything to get overlooked or skipped.
- January is National Handwriting Month (via Letter Writers Alliance)
- January 23rd is National Handwriting Day (via Detroit Free Press)
- Why email will never replace the handwritten letter (via Forbes)
- Pentel Handwriting Day Contest (via Economy Pens)
- Don’t Buy Torr pens (via Pen Addict)
- TWSBI Mini Black EF review (via Informal Scribble)
- Fine Fountain Pens for Everyday Use (via JetPens)
- Pilot Razor Point II Review (via Economy Pens)
- Sloane Crosley’s Yearly Date with the Planner (via Notebook Stories and NYTimes)
- Updates on product issues from Rhodia (via Rhodia Drive)
- Handmade Planners and Journals (via Etsy)
- Ted Baker Brogue Notebooks (via Notebook Stories)
- Using Field Notes to organize stamps (via Felt & Wire)
- Dodo Book of the Big Move (follow-up to the handmade moving journal)
- Trying out the Moleskine Sketchbook (via Notebook Stories)
- Evernote Smart Moleskine Review (via Leigh Reyes)
- Mara-Mi 12-month Notebook Set (via Office Supplies Junkie)
- The glories of SimpleNote and some alternatives (via Shawn Blanc)
- A month with the iPad Mini (via Minimal Mac)
When is a signature not a signature? According to the Smithsonian, when the President of the United States needs to sign things, he employs an Autopen, a device that reproduces his signature with an actual pen. So, its his signature… but not.
The device is a descendant of a creation used as far back as the Jefferson White House, though Jefferson’s device served quite a different purpose.
Read more at the Smithsonian.
Wearables and Accessories:
- Leather Goods for stylishly hauling your goods (via Hard Graft)
- Chewbacca Messenger Bag (via HiConsumption, thanks to Ivan)
- Derwent Colored Pencil Cufflinks (via Aveling Artworks)
- Death Before Decaf Coffee Mug (via Svpply, thanks to Jessica Hische)
Pens and Ink:
- Papermate Ink Joy Ink Blob issues (via Gourmet Pens)
- Diamine Music Set of Inks (via PensPaperToo)
- Top Ten Pens (via Leigh Reyes)
- NoVa C Push Pen for Pilot Hi-Tec C (via Kickstarter)
- The Ames’ Guide to Self-Instruction in Practical and Artistic Penmanship downloadable PDF (via IAMPETH)
- The Palmer Method of Business Writing, 1935 Edition downloadable PDF (via IAMPETH)
- Stationery and the Revival of Handwriting (via Stationery Show UK)
- Bureau Stationery Awards (via Bureau Direct)
- How to tip in any country (via Tipster)
- February is the second annual Month of Letters (via LetterMo)
Pens and Pencils
- Fountain Pen Basics (via Pentrace)
- Monteverde Prima & Field Notes Traveling Salesman Review (via From The Pen Cup)
- Platinum Preppy Eyedropper Conversion (via Missive Maven)
- Pentel Libretto Pen and Pencil Set (via Economy Pens)
- Pentel Pulaman Disposable “Fountain” Pen (via A Penchant For Paper)
- A.S. Manhattaner’s “Kitty In the City” Fountain Pen Re-Review, similar to a Sailor Clear Candy Fountain Pen (via From The Pen Cup)
Paper and Notebooks
- 2013 Calendar Round-Up (via Oh, Hello Friend)
- Palomino Luxury Notebook Review (via Inktronics)
- Field Notes Expedition Edition Smearing Issues: be sure to read the comments (via Pencil Revolution)
Digital: Apps for iOS
- Evernote Hello App (via iTunes Store)
- Mailroom App (via Cafe Cartolina Blog)
- Paper App’s Awesome Color Mixing (via Fast Company)
- Adobe Ideas App (via Adobe)
- Is Handwriting Worth Saving (via Rhodia Drive)
My dear friend Wayne pulled this from his collection of ephemera to tickle my fancy. It is a very old edition of The Palmer Method of Business Writing, a technique taught well into the twentieth century, not just to would-be office workers but also to children in school.
“You cannot fail, if you study the instructions and follow them.” Words to live by, in writing and in life as well.
(video of hand-lettered cards with the lyrics to Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues from Leandro Senna. It looks like it was lettered with an assortment of Pigma Micron and Faber-Castell PITT artist pens)
- Interchangeable Lamy Nibs (via East West Everywhere)
- Why Lamy Al-Star/Safari/Vista is a good First Fountain Pen (via Inktronics)
- An Economy TWSBI? (via FPGeeks)
- Five Best Budget Pens (via Lifehacker)
- Vintage Sanford American Pencils (via Pencil Revolution)
- Mechanical pencil to wood pencil hardness equivalents (via JetPens)
- Why Handwriting Matters an excerpt from The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting by Philip Hensher (via The Guardian)
- A Letter Can Mean So Much (via Baker City Herald)
- Pair fashion with stationery (via William Arthur Sartorial Stationery)
Updated: Fixed the Wired and Rhodia links. Sorry for the snafu! (10/10/12)
I realize this particular article might have been more timely last week, I hadn’t realized until I had time to read it fully that it dealt specifically with the liberal use of capital letters in the Declaration of Independence, specifically the flourished “original” document with the signatures at the bottom including John Hancock’s enormous flourish.
In the end, the author’s case is that we should not lose cursive handwriting and the ability to write it and read it in this era moving ever more forcefully into the digital age.
(via The New Yorker)
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