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On the topic of practise

When I feel a slight irk in things, I try to find out what the problem is. I mean, there usually is a problem when I feel an irk. I evaluate the problem, think about it a lot, think about a possible solution and then play with ways of solving it. I’ve noticed how improving things in a playful manner pays off a lot more than just “regular” improvement; for my personal satisfaction, it does.

An example. I didn’t like writing. With pen or pencil or whatever. Just plain writing. I just didn’t like it. It was a mess to read and I just couldn’t see myself in it: to put it simply, I hated it. I knew what the problem was. I hadn’t practised writing for myself for quite a while. Best I had were some notes on my desk. I knew that I had to change things, so I looked at the letter shapes the next time I was jotting down things in class. I tried to give them all a consistent size. I gave my ascenders serifs. I added ligatures (I’m a typophile) and special letter combinations and I had lots of fun doing that. You may consider that nerdy, but it was fun. A good two weeks of practice, most of it in class, had made my handwriting pretty neat. I am actually proud of it. I now write a lot, because it’s a heck of a lot of fun to write things that simply look so nice!

There is now an image of it that I drew, then photographed myself!

There is a point in this?

There is a point in this indeed. If something isn’t right, work on it. If solving it doesn’t work as well as you had hoped, try and make it fun. What I did was finally putting my typophile heart in it. I made sure I was working towards something that would be fun to look at, and above all, I made sure I liked to do it. What works for me could work for you.

One thing, though, that still bothers me about my handwriting: my numerals. Anyone has tips regarding numerals in handwriting?


  1. Scan some in so we can see your glorious penmanship. Possibly your signature as if you were writing a check...no reason...

  2. Hah! Yeah, splendid plan. I shall write a funny note or something and take a photo of it to show off. Good call.

  3. There you go, Scott. And everybody who wants to see it.

    I am noticing how badly this pen writes on this kind of paper at this size, but trust me when I say that in real life, it’s even better than this.

  4. Wow, does it take you long to write or do you have it down pretty fast now?
    My handwriting changes depending on what I’m writing with, what I’m writing on and what I’m writing about. I think I could probably fool a handwriting expert with three different writing samples of my own.

  5. It takes me a little bit longer than it used to, but I’m okay with that. It’s not slow at all, but the biggest difference lies in the kind of pen I use. I’ve found that pencil and ballpoint makes it easiest for me, whereas this Parker pen slowed me down, especially on this paper.

    Example: feather-and-ink on parchment makes my handwriting longer (as in, ascenders and descenders are swashier et al), whereas a .5 Staedtler pigment liner on absorbent note paper makes it all smaller and more compact. Of course, to stay on topic, if I practise all variations of possible writing, I’ll cultivate several defined and refined handwritings :)

  6. Rob, you seem to forget that italic script was devised for the sole purpose of making handwriting easier and quicker. It stems from the early renaissance when the Florentine (hence the name Italic) artisans, fueled by Cosimo de Medici’s knowledge hunger, were copying old books and notes. (Primarily from the Classic period.)

    While I suppose it is fun to recreate a Roman in your handwriting, it also defeats the purpose of handwriting: in adding serifs without the detail or accuracy of movable type, your handwriting will look needlessly cluttered.

    For some more examples of Roman handwriting, check out Underware’s Type Workshops.

  7. Hm. I know most of that history :) And yes, it is fun, and it might be too cluttered at this point, but I’m continuously improving it, as I should. Besides, I never really liked italic handwriting. Could be me, but I don’t.

    And the Type Workshops you mention are a gem. Stumbled upon them a while ago and really like them.

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(Rock out with Textile; it's what the cool people use!)