Wednesday, April 27, 2016

#AtoZChallenge, W is for Writing by Hand

I didn't start out life with very good handwriting skills. It seemed to take years of practice for me to even master the basics, with many after-school hours spent practicing and practicing. I just couldn't "get it," how to make the perfect letters my teachers seemed to insist upon. Then one miraculous day I wrote my name and it looked good! I think I was in the fifth grade, and the teacher finally said, "Well done!" I remember feeling proud and happy that I could write with a pen "like a grown-up."

Over the years my handwriting has gone from "just like the book" to wild and messy (note taking in college), then on to small and neat when I was writing my first manuscripts, to where I am today: large and scrawly and sometimes so chaotic even i can't read it.

Whatever stage my handwriting is at, though, I've always regarded writing by hand an important part of the creative process, especially when it comes to writing the first drafts of my manuscripts. And I can't imagine for the life of me typing a journal entry. But when it comes to art journaling (as in today's page above) I think my letters need some improvement. Just sayin'.

The other day I was at an art group meeting when the woman I was sitting next to suddenly started to add some beautiful calligraphy to her sketch. It was amazing to watch her form an elegant caption in colored ink to her drawing of some sunflowers. In seconds her drawing went from "very nice" to "Wow! I wish I could do that!"

I expressed my admiration and she laughed, saying anyone could do what she was doing. She explained that calligraphy was really just another form of drawing. With a little practice, she said, it was easy to get the hang of it. 

As soon as the #A-ZChallenge is over I'm going to purchase a book on lettering and calligraphy and see if I can make some gorgeous loopy letters myself. I think it's going to add an entirely new dimension to all my artwork. Something I've always envied about Asian painting is the nice vertical line of calligraphy often added along the side of the picture, usually a poem or affirmation of some kind. I don't think I'll go as far as learning Chinese, but it would be great to add my own line or two in a creative font (and one that I can actually read!).

So that's the goal: ruled paper, big pencil, lots of erasers--definitely entering my  second childhood!

Tip of the Day: If learning calligraphy seems like yet another item to add to an already top-heavy to-do list, a quick and easy method can be to print out some nice fonts from your computer onto labels or decorative paper and then paste them into your journal. Nobody said journaling had be to hard. Keep it fun, and I'll see you tomorrow!


Deb Atwood said...

What a beautiful page! Like you, I write the first draft by hand. There's something so connected about the feeling you get from the mind, eye, and hand working together.

Valerie Storey said...

Thank you, Deb! Yes, writing by hand really helps me to clarify my thoughts in a way typing never does. I'm looking forward to experimenting with calligraphy--using handwriting as an art form. Always like to learn something new.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Handwriting can be beautiful. I hate the idea that schools are removing cursive writing from the curriculum. How sad to think people will no long actually write in the way we learned in school.

Your journal pages are beautiful!

Mary Montague Sikes
Notes Along the Way
The Artful Way

Valerie Storey said...

Thank you, Mary! I honestly think the current ban on cursive writing in schools is going to be temporary. I know a lot of parents still want their children to learn, so I'm hopeful it will come back--maybe stronger than ever when people realize how artistic and individual handwriting can be. Appreciate you stopping by!