Cursive handwriting - is yours any good?

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Can you write in cursive?

Yes - I usually write in joined up/cursive.
53
64%
Yes - but I prefer to print / write in block.
17
20%
No - but I can read it.
3
4%
No - I have trouble reading it.
9
11%
Other
1
1%
 
Total votes: 83

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PeterTaylor
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Re: Cursive handwriting - is yours any good?

Post by PeterTaylor »

I've been a professional calligrapher for nearly 40 years and even had books published on the subject, but my normal cursive handwriting is only neat if I write slowly—it quickly degenerates with speed to be almost unreadable for jottings and lists. For me, calligraphy is a totally different skill and is drawing letters individually to be as close as I can get to an 'ideal shape', no matter how many pen strokes it takes for each letter.

It just so happens that calligraphers base their scripts on the same basic letter shapes that were in use hundreds of years ago, and these same letter shapes are also adapted for handwriting. It’s like saying a ship and a truck both use a diesel engine, but they are different forms of transport, and the driving method is different for each.

One of the fun things calligraphers do is develop an alphabet to match the stamp design, colour and topic. One of the best calligraphers doing this has been Alan Blackman whose work can be seen on


https://www.pinterest.com/pin/388083692860373569/

This is an example by Jean Wilson from one of my books:
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Envelope-Jean-Wilson-SR-web.jpg
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GYDAM
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Re: Cursive handwriting - is yours any good?

Post by GYDAM »

That work by Alan Blackman (as seen in the link provided) is brilliant!!
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Re: Cursive handwriting - is yours any good?

Post by FairyFoot »

Wow, those envelopes (on the pinterest link) are quite impressive. Maybe I need to up my envelope game! I like mail-art, but sometimes feel a bit foolish doing it myself...
I am a Penpaller and Stamp User. I send therefore I receive. I muse on letters and stamps at correspondencefan.blogspot.co.uk. I have a forum, A World of Snail Mail. I need to collect "Welt der Briefe" stamps from Deutsche Post.
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Re: Cursive handwriting - is yours any good?

Post by FairyFoot »

PeterTaylor wrote: 09 Aug 2022 13:44 I've been a professional calligrapher for nearly 40 years and even had books published on the subject, but my normal cursive handwriting is only neat if I write slowly—it quickly degenerates with speed to be almost unreadable for jottings and lists. For me, calligraphy is a totally different skill and is drawing letters individually to be as close as I can get to an 'ideal shape', no matter how many pen strokes it takes for each letter.

..
Apparently today (or your yesterday) is World Calligraphy Day. 10th August!
I am a Penpaller and Stamp User. I send therefore I receive. I muse on letters and stamps at correspondencefan.blogspot.co.uk. I have a forum, A World of Snail Mail. I need to collect "Welt der Briefe" stamps from Deutsche Post.
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GYDAM
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Re: Cursive handwriting - is yours any good?

Post by GYDAM »

Derwent & Tamar Ass Co 2.jpg
I do volunteer "archiving" work for a group of Anglican churches in the Launceston area, specifically in relation to the records of churches that have (recently) been sold or closed down. It's a fascinating "job" because some of these records go back to the mid-1800s. I came across this 1928 envelope the other day - somebody had already torn the stamp off - hand-addressed in a beautiful writing style. Wyena is between Lilydale and Scottsdale, in NE Tasmania.
Derwent & Tamar Ass Co 1.jpg
The insurance renewal receipt was still inside the envelope!

Cheers, Gordon
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PeterTaylor
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Re: Cursive handwriting - is yours any good?

Post by PeterTaylor »

OOps -- missed World Calligraphy Day.

Up until perhaps the 1980s, most people wrote something by hand every day and read something handwritten in one of a huge number of different styles—each style dependent on the writer’s age, upbringing and geographic location: letters from elderly relatives, communications from businesses and organisations around the globe, job applications with the ability to write neatly often judged favourably in the selection process. Payment for goods and services was made by handwritten cheque/check.

Today in the 2020s, far fewer people are used to writing and reading cursive handwriting. Sadly, when the author of a children’s book signs their name and writes a message in a copy, the kid or even adult will often complain that they can’t read ‘joined up writing’, even when it’s elegant. They mainly read typed communications and text, and ‘printed’ writing – unjoined letters.

As people who still write cursive and want it read, we have to be aware of what most people think of as ‘normal’ letter shapes in the country or state where it's sent...incase they consider it looks strange. So strange, they don’t want to read it.

A true story...
I live in Australia where, a few years ago, a lady approached me to give her handwriting lessons. At our first meeting, I asked her to write a sentence for me in her everyday script. It was beautiful, but she was Spanish and at university in Brisbane to learn accountancy.

The Australian lecturers, who were probably young, claimed it took too long to decipher her handwriting, or they couldn’t read it...and they wouldn’t mark her work.

Her unfamiliar letter shapes were based on the Copperplate writing style, first used in the 18th century and widely written until the early 1900s—loops, flourishes and swirls on capitals, and with distinctive ‘b’, ‘p’, ‘r’ and ‘s’ shapes similar to these:
Handwriting-Ginger-web.jpg
You did instantly realise this note was from 'Ginger', didn't you?

An envelope from a different person...tricky to read, for some...capital 'T' or 'J' or 'I' ? Weird capital 'S'. Stafford Fleights or Heights?
Handwriting-Ginger002-web.jpg
Obviously, what she wrote was what they taught in Spanish schools, but Australians have been taught to read and write plainer scripts. For a significant time, schools here have taught letter shapes based on Italic calligraphy, like this:
Handwriting-Ginger007-web.jpg
The lady was told that if she didn’t change her handwriting style, she would fail her exams and lose her visa to study and stay in the country.

Good thing she didn't enjoy herself as a calligrapher!
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Re: Cursive handwriting - is yours any good?

Post by FairyFoot »

Maybe the flourishes on the capital letters are a bit much for me, but the rest of the writing... fine.

A friend went to a boarding school run by monks and they taught him Copperplate. He also writes in block print, but I find that hard on the eyes... it doesn't seem to flow. Though I don't mind if some words are in block print especially if needing to be precise or noticeable (say, on an envelope, writing the town/city & country in block).
I am a Penpaller and Stamp User. I send therefore I receive. I muse on letters and stamps at correspondencefan.blogspot.co.uk. I have a forum, A World of Snail Mail. I need to collect "Welt der Briefe" stamps from Deutsche Post.
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Re: Cursive handwriting - is yours any good?

Post by 60366 »

Examples of some absolutely beautiful cursive hand writing on stampless covers.
Both addressed to Paul Frederick August, Grand Duke of Oldenburg.
One was mailed Hamburg 7th December 1852 the other was mailed Frankfurt 4th January 1853.
The Frankfurt cover, instead of listing his titles wrote etc. etc. etc.
37120281-BF20-489E-978E-438B639247BD.jpeg
E9B99DE2-13ED-4936-8500-20A0A10ECE0E.jpeg
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