Yan Natalya, Reporter
School notes, letters, diaries - all these regular writings moved from paper to electronic devices. Does that mean we are forgetting how to write by hand? Handwriting is rarely used in today's technological world full of spell-checks and easy-to-change fonts and font sizes. The calendar says that January 23 is National Handwriting Day. The Writing Instrument Manufacturers’ Association (WIMA) invented the holiday to alert the public of the importance of handwriting. How about the idea of putting your smartphone away and writing everything by hand for a day?
● Handwriting in Spotlight of Various Times
Society paid more attention to writing by hand before. In the Middle Ages, only noble families could educate children and calligraphy was studied on an equal basis with ethics and literature. The calligraphy of the last century was a compulsory school subject. However, the volume of written material increased steadily over the years. Before the spread of typeset printing, calligraphy techniques were especially important in European and Eastern cultures. Everyone could write, but not everyone could do it professionally. Book copyists tried to make their work not only legible, but also beautiful. They developed and mastered the identified fonts to the smallest detail.
● Connecting Link Beyond Time and Space
The first step in writing is using a tool. A metal nib helped increase in a culture of handwriting in due time, though another tool, the ballpoint pen, caused a decline later on.
- European Nibs: Just 60 years ago, a European grandmother still wrote letters to her family with a metal nib. Even earlier, people used a prototype of the nib - a quill, which remained as the main writing tool in the West for nearly a thousand years. A traditional goose quill symbolizes creative writing and poetry to this day. In writing with such a natural imperfect tool, one of the difficulties was acquiring the skill of holding it so that it does not spoil a paper with ink splatter. Metal nibs that came later, made writing easier, but scholars still spent years to perfect their writing skills. Now it is more popular with calligraphers than broad masses who prefer comfortable ballpoint pen.
- Eastern brushes: The brush is a traditional writing instrument in Oriental calligraphy. Bamboo, wood or horn body with animal hair can be crafted into a soft and flexible brush altogether. Chinese calligraphy gave roots to Korean and Japanese calligraphy. Korean Seoye expresses the structural beauty of Korean characters with a brush and black ink on a white page. Seoye is undoubtedly called a visual art for the harmony created between the ink's color, positioning of characters and vivid expression of lines which also allow the personality of the calligrapher to be seen. Today, a wide range of not only traditional brushes, but also brush pens, are available.
- Arabic reed pen: Arabian cursive is famous for its elegance and usage of decorative ornament. It is also the most mystic kind of calligraphy. The employment of calligraphy as ornament had a definite aesthetic appeal, but often also included an underlying talismanic component. This feature defines a variety of tools used to create. However, a unique tool for Arabian visual art is a reed pen, or “qalam” in Arabic. It is made from reeds chosen for their straight fibres. However, there is a lengthy process of curing the pen to make it ready for use by the calligrapher. The qalam was cut from between two nodes of the stem of a reed as thick as a finger, and then the reed segment was soaked and sun-dried. Nowadays calligraphers use specific markers with straight cut of writing part equally with authentic tools.
● Warning! You Can Be Read!
Show me your cursive, I will tell you who you are. Cursive is a fast handwriting method, which looks nicer than regular handwriting. Some people write cursive to sign letters and documents, others use cursive for any purpose. There is an interesting science called graphology, a science that analyzes handwriting to discover personality traits. Today, it is used for various purposes ranging from criminal investigation to health understanding. Some employers also use handwriting analysis to check the compatibility of potential employees. For example, steady handwriting points to strong-willed person. However, many other factors like size of letters, slant, pressure or how to dot the ‘i’ also matter.
● Routine beyond Fashion to Art
In the 21st century, aesthetics is a trend in all parts of life. Modern people tend to wear stylish clothing, make atmosphere in interior and learn photo composition to take pictures of food. The interest to letter culture increases again. This is a field where calligraphy adds aesthetics to creativity. People who are writing beautifully are admired. So online calligraphy courses are gaining popularity day by day. Handwritten letters, invitations, notes – each of them become a piece of art in the hands of anyone who pay some attention to it. Think of the feeling of receiving a paper letter written by hand in different colors, realizing the sender put their heart and soul into it. It is incomparable to email. Professional handwriting is actually for designers. A handwritten logo can be the main feature of company’s site or a great idea to decorate a book cover, jeans or tattoo. Moreover, nowadays designers have made a font that can also be digital, but a handwritten variant is nevertheless more attractive. Its value lays in mastering handwriting skills on one side and in an emotional message of writer and it’s a kind of say about soul behind the lines.
It is easier for modern people to type text on a computer than to write elegantly by hand. However, it was a human who invented a machine, not to replace the humanity but to be a helper. Let’s stay a human being after all, because only we can value and appreciate beauty around us. At least we should pay more attention to penmanship in our daily routine, especially since it has become a trend of our modern lifestyle.