handwriting

2021-09-11
2021-09-19

Despite my enthusiasm for fonts and fontmaking, I've never paid much attention to my own handwriting. Whenever I saw neat scripts or typography, it was in the context of an art piece, a historical artifact, or a digital production and never a personal potential. In spite of this separation, likely brought about by a habit of using keyboards and reading computer screens and associating handwriting with unwanted schoolwork, the actual act of writing has consistently been something enjoyable. So in the spirit of transforming an abstract good into a concrete good, this page will act as a record and an aid in my quest to write more beautifully.

As is usual in this age of the internet, this quest starts with a research into and acquisition of favorable tools.

Writing instrument. Up until recently, a pencil was personally considered to be the best instrument and the mechanical pencil its ultimate form. The lead creates soft and pleasant markings that can easily be erased. Educational processes also required the pencil. But searching for the best mechanical pencil unwittingly became a gateway into the world of pens.

Many people consider fountain pens to be the optimal writing tool as they provide ample pleasure, ease, cost-effectiveness, and an honest reflection of aptitude. The additional requirements of portability, quality, cost, and minimalist aesthetic then helped narrow the search down to the steel Kaweco Liliput fountain pen with a fine nib. (If not for the cost factor, a Schon DSGN Pocket Six would have been nice.) As a matter of preference, the pen also had to be fixed-point (constant stroke width) and transmit ink generously and confidently but not too thickly (hence the fine nib), all characteristics that contribute to minimalism and note-taking.

As for the ink, a dark, permanent black seems ideal. For now, this is the De Atramentis Document Black. But ink selection may change as practices become more sophisticated.

Recording medium. A paper notebook is the obvious choice, and apparently, specific types of paper are produced to work better with fountain pen inks. But since the type of paper is less critical than, say, its size, manipulability, or durability, an A5-sized Rhodia notebook was easily settled on.

Organisation & method. What to write? The intention is to maximise opportunities for writing and even take over previously digitally-bound duties when reasonable. Furthermore, this particular quest for calligraphic betterment proceeds alongside an adoption of the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology, so the frequent use of notebooks will play a central part.

A regular form of practice must also be instituted, but what that is is yet to be determined.

Goals. The ultimate goal is to habitualise a few styles of handwriting that anyone (but mostly the scribe) can consider beautiful. The main style will be print (ie. not cursive). A secondary style will either be cursive or a variation of the main style. A third style may turn out to be necessary for more decorative and ornamental purposes. The habitualisation must be such that, all styles are executable in contexts swift and slow, automatic and deliberate, larger and smaller. Ideally, the styles will simultaneously be unique and familiar, the former as a display of the writer's spirit and personality, and the latter in terms of a universal sense of proportion and taste.

For pragmatic purposes, intermediate or shorter-term goals should be considered. But to clearly define them, more knowledge of handwriting basics is needed. In saying that, the best approach may be to read through educational texts on this topic.

2021-09-11

A few weeks have passed since the acquisition of the first (and hopefully last) fountain pen. Ink and cartridge syringe as well.

A lot of scribbling, testing, and doodling in the "scratch"-designated Rhodia. Saturated a few pages with letters of the alphabet and then a couple more with random lines, words, and phrases. The Liliput's nib came too dry so the tip has been widened and the feed deepened. Ink flows very generously now and meets the paper perfectly.

In the corner of the desk sits another pristine Rhodia, yet to be populated with real schedule-keeping and GTD stuff.

Been scouring youtube and duckduckgo for instructions on how to improve handwriting and miscellaneous information about fountain pens. A reliable book or guide on handwriting should be chosen soon; under consideration are Sassoon-Briem and Getty-Dubay (but maybe not the latter, as it seems to impose a particular style). Parallel adoption of GTD means that finishing the GTD book must also be prioritised.

2021-09-13

Acquired a copy of Sassoon and Briem's Improve Your Handwriting. The objective is to read this book from cover to cover to gain both theoretical reinforcement and appropriate practice. The contents of the book will hopefully be enough to systematically parse through the current (non-)style and improve it, either piecewise or in total, according to personal taste.

2021-09-19

More scribbling and thinking -- not yet started on Sassoon-Briem. A fast style will likely be different from a slow deliberate style, but the two should still recognisably be siblings. Non-dominant (left) hand should also be trained for maximum use of instruments (including the body).

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