Hand Lettering as a Creative Expression

I love handwriting. As a young girl I was captivated with the beauty of cursive writing and spent hours practicing my letters and writing my name. I wanted the letters to look perfect— just like the teacher’s. I found some paper with guide lines just like what I used in elementary school. After years of writing fast (taking notes in college, and so on), my penmanship has morphed into part print, part cursive, and many times rather sloppy. It was hard to write slowly on this paper, fitting in the guide lines, and trying to remember the correct way of writing each letter.


Much controversy exists today concerning time spent learning handwriting— especially cursive. There are many who feel it to be a waste of time since we mostly use technology for communication now. However, studies are being conducted with the results showing that handwriting improves brain function. The older I get, I am all for improving brain function!

This article in the New York Times explores why handwriting matters based on several recent studies. For a quick read, this article in Mashable shares “7 Ways Writing by Hand Can Save Your Brain.”

Recently Melinda and I have both become fascinated with hand lettering as a creative expression in our art. We checked out some books from the library and are learning the art of calligraphy. Though I sometimes use wedge shaped calligraphy markers (which are not as messy), using a dip pen and black ink makes me slow down and think through what I am doing (because I don’t want to get ink all over me and the table and places I don’t want it on the paper!)Learning-Calligraphy

Hand lettering is experiencing a revival in the crafting world as people desire to add hand lettering to cards, mixed media, art journaling, home decor, signs, chalk boards, weddings, and so much more. Do a search on Pinterest with the words ‘hand” and “lettering” and you will be amazed at the number of pins available to show you how to do it, various styles, and ideas to use. Even in advertising we see a renewed interest in vintage style lettering. I read about a young lady who spent a week refusing to use her keyboard to write text messages by only handwriting her messages to friends and family using calligraphy, taking a picture of the writing, and sending that as her “text”.

I want to share with you some amazing inspiration by a young man named Jake Weidmann who is the youngest Master Penman in the world. Watch the videos and check out his website to see more of his work.

Listen to his Tedx talk recorded in Denver.

Are you ready to grab your pen and paper and start lettering? You don’t have to become a Master Penman (unless you want to) but you can start improving your brain by improving your hand lettering skills. Practice, practice, practice!

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