guide to handwriting books

Q&A: What Are French Handwriting Exercise Books?


An Introductory Guide To How To Use Each Book And Progress Your Handwriting

This is a guide to how to use the six-stages of French handwriting books from Clairefontaine. It will guide you through various stages, each of which help learn and refine the skills and techniques and the rules that Seyes paper uses.

Although Seyes paper is intended to be an integral part of the French eductional system, helping to teach children to learn cursive writing (joined-up writing), some or all of the system can be readily used by anyone wishing to teach people to write neatly and consistently. This is a guide we have put together to help explain what each stage of notebook is meant to help you achieve.

The aim of the series is to help you arrive at a point where you are comfortable using the full Seyes layout, which is based around an 8mm grid with 2mm rulings.

Stage 1

Aim: Forming lower case letters

These books are based around a 20mm spacing, with a 5mm ‘feint’ line. The idea is to focus on writing lower case letters, keeping the body of them within the 5mm line, learning to control your formation of letters and keep them to a consistent height. It also has slightly thicker lines to make it easier to focus on the basic element of controlling the height.
Write letters on the darker purple line making sure they touch but don’t exceed the blue line. Concentrate just on the body of the letters, ignoring any stem or tail (e.g. letters like ‘b’ or ‘q’).

Book – DL 5mm, code CF/3997

seyes handwriting book stage 1

Stage 2

Aim: Adding stems and tails

The line spacing is now reduced to 17mm, as you gain better control over your letters, and with two ‘feint’ blue lines. These are spaced at 3mm and 10mm, and the idea is now to start to form letters with stems and control the overall height – this means getting better control over letters like ‘b’ and ‘q’. The rulings have also become slightly feinter as you become more comfortable with the layout.
Write the body of the letters within the first feint line (now 3mm, so it requires a bit more accuracy), and allow the stems of the letters to go up to the second feint line (e.g. ‘b’ and ‘d’). With letters like ‘g’ and ‘p’ you drop the tail down to the feint line just below the bold line.

Book – DL 3mm I, code CF/3793

seyes handwriting book stage 2

Stage 3

Aim: Controlling the spacing across the page

This takes the Stage 2 layout and throws in vertical lines, at 10mm intervals. It’s intended for you to concentrate on individual letters without worrying about cursive writing. With a horizontal and vertical grid layout the page has become quite busy and by now you will be focusing on really gaining good control of your letters both horizontally and vertically.
Write as with stage 2, but this time form your letters inside each set of vertical lines to create a regular width to the letters.

Book – DL 3mm IV, code CF/3994

seyes handwriting book stage 3

Stage 4

Aim: Gaining better control

This takes the Stage 3 layout and forces you to up your game with the first elements of a standard seyes layout appearing. The overall line spacing is reduced to 14mm, with lines at 2mm and 8mm, with a vertical grid spaced at 8mm as well.
This layout is intended to really get you focusing on reducing the size of your writing down to the finished article, with a 2mm line being a tough requirement considering the starting point of 5mm in stage 1.

Book – DL 2mm IV, code CF/3999

seyes handwriting book stage 4

Stage 5

Aim: Adding cursive writing

The layout at this stage seems to take a step back, with an overall line spacing of 16mm and 4mm lines in between. The vertical lines are also spaced at 16mm creating a much more open grid. However the intention now is to focus on cursive writing, bringing together all the skills you have learnt on stages 1 to 4, but in a continuous written form. The vertical lines are intended to act as breaks and markers, helping you with spacing along the line. Just focus now on writing in a joined-up style across the page.

Book – Seyes 4mm 16/16, code CF/3795

seyes handwriting book stage 5

Stage 6

Aim: Refining

The last stage in this 6-book set is intended to be a final stepping stone to a full-on seyes layout. We now see an overall grid of 12mm with 3mm interval lines. It just follows that you now hone your skills of forming letters and cursive writing before moving on to a standard seyes ruling which will see you writing in 8mm grids with 2mm lines.

Book – Seyes 3mm 12/12, code CF/3796

seyes handwriting book stage 6
Taroko Design

An Interview with Steven from Taroko Design

Taroko Design

I have just finished my A5 Taroko dot notebook when it hit me…I don’t know a lot about the brand or the makers… Quick nosy Google search took me to their Etsy and Facebook page, but that did not satisfy my curiosity. The notebooks are incredibly popular (A5 dot is currently sold out), so I have set myself a mission to explore the brand, notebooks and paper in a 3-part blog 🙂

So we thought we would get Steven to share something of his background and love of stationery. I had a great time chatting and geeking out with him. Enjoy!

Interview with Steven Chang from Taroko Design

Tell me a little about your background.  What was the impulse to start making your own notebooks? We’re a small studio based in Taipei, Taiwan, and our story really started with the purchase of my first fountain pen, a Pilot Kakuno, several years back. With the fountain pen in hand, I was surprised at the difficulty of finding the right paper/notebook products in the market to use the fountain pen with. One thing lead to another (trying lots of different paper+pen combinations) and we’ve managed to secure three types of fountain pen friendly paper to make products with: Tomoegawa 52 and 68 gms, and our own Taroko Orchid paper at 80gsm. The mission is really to provide more choices to fountain pen users where most paper products cater to the rollerball/gel pen usages.

What’s the story behind your studio? After my earlier career in tech (product manager for notebooks and mobile phones), I decided to pursuit an industrial design degree. While taking the degree program, classmate at the time is my current studio partner Wenwen Liu. We decided to group up and start the studio a few months before graduation to keep the learning process going, by taking on projects as a team. Our past projects included graphic and floor plan design for photography exhibitions, souvenirs for tourist centers, and product branding and packaging. The creation of notebooks under the Taroko brand gives us the freedom of implementing our ideas (versus having to adhere to client design guidelines), as well as choosing the type of material that goes into our notebooks.

How did you come up with the brand name? Taroko is named after Taroko Gorge in my hometown of Hualien. Most people would think of Taiwan as an industrialized island packed with 20 million people, but there are still natural wonders on the eastern portion of the island. We will be incorporating elements from Taroko National Park into our notebooks in the future. 🙂 Here are some references on Taroko Gorge/National Park:

What would you be making if not notebooks? Leathercrafts. Love the experience of making things by hand that will age well with usage. An important lesson from design school days is to always make things with your hand, draw with pen and pencils, and suppress the urge to jump right into Photoshop or a 3D rendering program. So we are always cutting and binding paper during our prototyping stage.

What do you attribute the success and/or demand for stationery today to? The product has to deliver a kind of “experience” to the customer, from the weight of the notebook, suprisingly light to unexpected heft. The touch of the materials used, and the subtle feedback of the nib sliding across the paper. It is a difficult balance to hold between achieving that unique experience and manufacturing constraints in delivering products, but I believe that’s what most leading brands are striving to achieve.

What’s your favourite item of stationery in your personal collection? It’s a little folding hand knife I bought in Nishiki market in Tokyo, and I use it to sharpen pencils with. The knife is handcrafted by a Japanese artisan, and when I use it to sharpen pencils, it serves as a reminder of the trip, as well as liberate the aroma from the pencil wood.

And finally – what is your current paper+pen+ink combo? Tomoe River paper 68gsm (of course) with Pilot Justus 95 filled with Sailor Seasons Yama-dori (teal blue). The Pilot Justus 95, with its adjustable nib hardness, is perfect for when I need to write interchangeably between English and Chinese. And the Yama-dori gives a wonderful red sheen on Tomoe River paper.

Thanks to Steven for sparing his time to give this great interview. We wish you and Taroko Design best of luck.

Watch out for Part 2 of Taroko Trilogy – we’ll focus a bit more on their notebooks.

Part 3 will be all about Tomoe River paper. (Hint: it’s amazing!:) )

Taroko Design notebooks are available here.

Herbin Metallic Inks - Copper on dipping pen

J Herbin Metallic Inks

Herbin Metallic Inks

Something shiny arrived in the post and the whole office could not help but gather around like a flock of mesmerised birds. It's the J Herbin Metallic inks... Brace yourselves!

Herbin Metallic ink - Copper animated

I was thinking about how to talk about these inks but figured that the best way to show them off was with a photo heavy review 🙂

I’m sure that many of you have fallen in love with J Herbin 1670 and Diamine Shimmering inks. While their gold and silver particles look amazing, they do not show too well on black paper. Our saviour, the J Herbin Metallic inks, fill this gap – they are pigment based calligraphy inks and work on both light and dark paper. However, I cannot stress enough that it is only suitable for dip and glass pens. Sorry, no fountain pens are allowed here!

You can get the inks individually as 30ml bottles or an assorted set of five smaller 10ml bottles. They are very easy to use – you do not need to dilute them or add Arabic gum. That said – they do need shaking… A lot of shaking 🙂

Let’s have a look at what you get in the set.

First, there’s the white. There are no white inks for fountain pens, so it’s great that J Herbin added this here even tho it’s not really metallic. White calligraphy ink will look ace on silver/gold/black or kraft paper. My only moan is, that is is not as opaque as the rest of metallic inks.

Iron ink is a little strange – it looks like a rusty water pipe 🙂 There is a nice mossy green sheen which sits on the top and shows well on bright white paper. A surprising win in my books.

Silver and gold inks are great – they are exactly what you want them to be. Perfect for addressing envelopes.  #incowrimo They will take your calligraphy to another level.

Last, but not least, copper is my favourite of the bunch 🙂 I prefer to call it rose gold 🙂 As I dipped glass pen and pulled it back out – everyone gazed with awe and let a little ‘oooh’ out. Wow factor guaranteed.

These new arrivals have brought a lot of attention around the office and have awoken the creative element in us all (no pun intended). You don’t need to be a first class calligrapher to have fun with these, just dip and go! J Herbin Metallic inks are unique and original. I’m finally glad I get to use my glass pen for something else other than sampling ink 🙂

Products featured in this post:

We also reviewed J Herbin Fluorescent inks. Check out the awesome photos here.

dot paper notebooks

Tips: 3 Reasons To Switch To Dot Paper

Have you ever wondered what the fuss about dot paper is about? As a dot paper convert of many years I thought I would share my feelings on dot paper and give my top 3 reasons to switch to dot paper. You should at least give this new-fangled paper style a go. You never know, it may even win you over and leave you wondering how you ever coped with lined or grid paper.

What is dot paper anyway?

First up, a quick explanation for anyone wondering what dot paper even is. If you imagine a sheet of paper with horizontal and vertical lines, and at the point each line crosses another you place a fine mark, or dot. Remove all the lines once you’re done and what you’re left with is a series of regular dots. In almost all cases this will be a dot every 5mm, forming a grid.

Dot paper

Top dot reason number 1 – It’s the best of all worlds

Have you ever wanted your cake and eaten it? Faced with a choice do you ever long to take both? Or all three? Dot paper is just that – it’s three papers rolled up in one.

I’ll assume that everyone know what lined or ruled paper is, and those regular horizontal lines are. Ideal for regular and repetitive writing, but just a bit annoying when you want to draw, or make a table, or stick something in your book.

dot paper is the best all all worlds

Grid paper is a bit more unusual but involves regular horizontal and vertical lines. I like grid paper but it makes for a lot of ink on the paper before you even started writing. The final result can be quite heavy and just too busy for my liking.

Plain paper is ideal for drawing or sketching, but with handwriting like mine you don’t want to be let loose on plain paper! My writing needs some guidance to keep it neat and tidy.

So faced with the need for a notebook that lets me write, create structures and draw I use dot paper. It really is the best of all three combined. The dots give enough of a framework to write neatly. They also allow me to make easy tables, and yet if I want to sketch something out they seem to fade into the background.

Top dot reason number 2 – It’s innovative

Maybe I shouldn’t be swayed by fanciful things like fashion and design, but there is a part of my mind that does like to seek out something new, something different. Not accepting the status-quo led us to paper and pens and notebooks in the first place, so dot paper is just one little step further in the advancement, and it’s a good one. So switch to dot because…well, just because it is there and (sort of) new and will make you feel like progress is happening. There is a reason why you will find all the top manufacturers including dot paper in their line up.

dot paper innovative stationery

Top dot reason number 3 – It’s Bullet Journal friendly

Without getting bogged down in what Bullet Journaling is (see the official website here), I am keen on adapting elements of keeping a Bullet Journal to suit your own needs and style. You can read my explanation on this here on a previous post. The point being that dot paper is ideal because it lends itself so well to keeping a Bullet Journal. From using the dots to create boxes for to-do lists, through to adding tables and charts and logs, the flexible nature of dot paper is perfect. That’s why the official Bullet Journal uses dot paper.

dot paper for bullet journaling


dot paper flowchart

Ultimately it comes down to finding the right paper for what you need and what you like, but I switched over some years back and have never gone back. From Rhodia to Leuchtturm I have been through many dot paper journals and look forward to many more yet. Try one if you haven’t and see for yourself.

J Herbin Fluorescent inks on black paper under UV light

J Herbin Fluorescent inks

J Herbin Fluorescent inks on black paper under UV light

J Herbin Fluorescent calligraphy inks just came in and since I love everything neon I could not resist. Here is my review.

Hand on heart I know nothing about calligraphy. I would like to learn, but at this very moment it is what it is. There are all sorts of supplies you can pick up from art shops to try, watch a Youtube video or read about. I have done all that… Again, I feel like I need to stress that I am not a calligrapher of any sorts. Please excuse my poor attempts…

Bureau’s latest arrivals include calligraphy nibs, holders and inks. I’m attracted to neon stationery – it’s items like these that make me want to pick up a dip pen and have a go. There are five 10ml bottles in the J Herbin Fluorescent ink set – yellow, orange, green, pink and blue. Please do not ask me to pick a favourite, it would be impossible to choose. I love them all 🙂  J Herbin advertises these as suitable for both white and dark paper. Interesting! Fluorescent (neon) ink on black paper…hmmm…this needs to be tested and photographed under UV light.

J Herbin Fluorescent inks under UV light

This fluorescent ink is a lot thicker than other ink I have tried. Pigment is more noticeable in green and orange inks, but they all need a good shake. Once there is no sediment at the bottom of the bottle you will be good to go. All five fluorescent inks are an absolute joy to use, they stick to nibs and flow very well. For some reason blue ink seems gooier than the rest.

We did just couple of splats…and boy oh boy – this was the best part 🙂 I literally went around the office to grab every envelope, sticky note just to try them out.

One of the J Herbin nibs from the assorted sets is 036 Steno, also known as Blue Pumpkin flex nib. Flexing means that the nib widens under pressure therefore you control  the line variation. The first rule is to go easy on the upstrokes to create the thin line and press harder on downstrokes to create broader lines.  My writing looks really wobbly lol, but overall I am very impressed how much flex this nib can handle. Does flexing make my handwriting look better? I think so 😉

Elephants in the room – J Herbin Fluorescent inks are not suitable for fountain pens. Ink bottles need to be shaken vigorously before using. This ink is richly pigmented, so all writing supplies will have to be cleaned immediately after use. Trust me, it’s a lot easier to clean while the ink is still wet. They are slightly water resistant, I didn’t have enough time to test them thoroughly. Although, I think they will withstand some rain if you use them for addressing envelopes. #incowrimo

If I had to describe these Fluorescent inks in one word I would use fun 🙂

Products featured in this post:

Incowrimo 2017 Letter

Incowrimo 2017 – Writing Letters – Part 2

Incowrimo 2017 Letter

International Correspondence Writing Month. One a day. Every day. February. That's the tag line that got me interested last year 🙂 Are you ready to take on the challenge and put pen to paper?

You can read the first part of our series on Incowrimo 2017 here.

What to write always seems to be the hardest thing about Incowrimo. The good news is that it’s actually easier than you think. Reconnect with people – find something you have in common. Write about something nice 🙂 Be kind, ask questions, or just one 🙂 Keep it light.

I always mention pen and ink combo and then decorate remaining space with doodles, ink splats, stamps, washi tape, stickers, etc.

Plan your incowrimo – it’s perfectly fine to start with few quick thank you notes, postcards, Valentine’s card and slowly build up to letters.

Incrowrimo 2017 postcard ideas

In this second part of our letter writing series, we will be looking at paper and filling those envelopes.

My recommendation for a more sophisticated writing experience are the Original Crown Mill sets. Each box comes with enough stationery to get you through a month of incowrimo, easy.  The laid paper in these sets are the reason why this feels luxurious. Ordinary copier paper is no match for the ribbed texture here which looks and feels more personal. That is the tone we want for Incowrimo 🙂

The Crown Mill comes in two different sets. The gold box comes with cream coloured materials. Silver box contains white paper and envelopes.

Incowrimo 2017 letter on a desk

When I talk about writing letters I have to mention Triomphe. It is a brand of pads and envelopes by Clairefontaine – famous for its glassy smooth 90gsm bright white paper. These pads have plain paper in them and come with a ruled cheat sheet which will magically help you write in neat, straight lines. Simply genius 🙂 Envelopes are lined with white paper and the seal is diamond shaped which makes them perfect contestants for wax seals. They certainly do look classy and are fantastic value for money.

We had these pads reviewed by the wonderful Azizah on her blog. Have a look – there are some fantastic photos which will inspire you 🙂 Perfect incowrimo cue.

My go-to is Rhodia R pad. Some may consider it as a budget option because it is just a pad. Don’t be fooled – it is gorgeous 90gsm buttery smooth ivory paper. We sell them in plain or lined paper. I pick lined over plain because when writing, I can anchor the letters to the lines and find it makes my handwriting look neater. Certain fountain pen inks ‘shine’ on ivory paper, others look great on bright white paper. My top 3 inks for ivory paper are KWZ Honey, Diamine Syrah and J Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre. Pages tear out easily, one by one, and it does look rather smart 🙂

Incowrimo 2017 letters with clips and washi tape

Last year we were part of Letters Live 2016 which was a spectacular event, defo check out for a spark of inspiration and get on for further information.

Next week we’ll be helping you out with some ideas and creations we’ve been prepping for our own contribution to Incowrimo 2017 🙂 See you soon!

Incowrimo 2017 letters and ink
Bullet Journal with Incowrimo calendar

Incowrimo 2017 – Writing Letters – Part 1

Bullet Journal with Incowrimo calendar

February, the shortest month of the year is almost here... For many stationery geeks this is the time when we sit down and write one letter a day to someone. INternational COrrespondence WRIting MOnth aka Incowrimo here we go...

In the beginning it was a simple idea – write more letters. Vintage social media beats email/text every time. It is without a doubt more romantic and personal.

February was picked because it is the shortest month of the year. So if you commit, you will only need to write 28 (29 during leap year) letters, cards, postcards, notes, post-its, napkins…

Who you write to is up to you, of course. This is a fantastic way to reconnect with old friends and family. Write to loved ones, write to strangers…or write to us if you like 🙂

To start off Incowrimo, I make a list of 28 souls 🙂 Next step is my favourite one – grab all the stationery which I can find around the house/office and start brainstorming 🙂 The usual ingredients are: envelopes, paper, cards, postcards and stamps. Extras like shimmering inks, washi tape, wax seals, stamps are the cherries on top.

Bullet Journal with Incowrimo calendar

In part one of this letter writing series, we will be looking at envelopes.

Envelopes are the first thing that your recipient will see, so I try to make them stand out.

Colour usually does the trick – your bank would not send you statements in pink envelopes 🙂 Silver and gold envelopes catch the eye and say “you are special.” Plain envelopes are okay – Decorate! Why not recycle any old ones too?  Incowrimo is prime time to open that stationery drawer grab the cute stuff which is too good for use in your journals.

Check carefully that you have the correct address and also write a return address – you never know, one letter can be the beginning of beautiful pen-pal friendship 🙂

Make sure you use some kind of waterproof ink – this goes especially for fountain pen users in UK where we get a lot of rain. Iron Galls should do the trick, if you don’t have such inks, hack it with clear tape over the address or use clear wax to make it waterproof 🙂

I participated in Incowrimo 2016 while I was working on improving my handwriting. Those two go hand in hand and it was really rewarding to put all those hours of practice to some good use. Commiting to do something for a month became a lot easier as soon as I put my mobile away. Go offline and take time to unwind. Sit down, surround yourself with stationery, put nice music on and focus on someone and then just write… It is a very happy place, trust me 🙂 What are the chances that you will start a new hobby after writing 28 letters?

One last piece of advice. If you think that 28 letters is a lot and you will struggle, set yourself some kind of reward – a beautiful pen or new ink works for me every time 🙂

If you would like to join and pledge to write one letter/card/note a day please head over to

In Part 2 of Writing Letters for Incowrimo we’ll focus a bit more on what goes in the envelope… (Hint: It’s paper!)


Grand Finale

Five weeks in.

We have finished the alphabet with the last set of letters (v w x z). Good news is, that these don’t have to be joined, so yeey! Joining is the hardest…

Over all it was a great lesson! Perfectionist in me had to stand down for a bit as we have focused on all the positive changes we have made in past 5 weeks. It is really difficult to sum up how it went and how I feel right now.

To be completely honest with you, I did run out of juice towards the end. I did break the routine once when the in-laws came to visit and it was very hard to resume after that. I was annoyed with myself and that showed on the crooked strokes. As soon as I got back to my zen (new pen, juicy ink…) my handwriting got better.

I know, that everyone is looking for some quick fix/guide. Here is the thing: Unfortunately there are no quick tips when it comes to handwriting.


It is a lot of hard work…unless you have someone with you to point you to the right direction you could end up doing the same thing over and over again (by this I mean the same mistakes). Repetition is not necessarily improvement.

Here are few pointers that worked for me:

  • Be smart, set your goals.
  • Be realistic.
  • Slow down, write bigger.
  • Don’t write with fingers.
  • Do drills and focus. Rhythm will come (and this comes from someone who has none, trust me)
  • Find the style you like and implement it into your own handwriting.
  • Invent your own style.
  • Stationery helps.
  • Use lined paper-stay on the line.
  • Get Lamy Safari fountain pen or Lamy Al-Star. It will help with the correct grip.
  • Use colours.

My goal was to have a neat handwriting and to slow down. Check and check 🙂

Now when I look at it (with my trained eye) I see the script, strokes and then it hits me…this is how I write now 🙂 and it is the best handwriting I have ever done 😉


Mishka (^_~)



28 days later

Handwriting course week 4

Handwriting practice with two Palomino pencils. 602 on the left and Pearl on the right. I will need to sharpen them again :)
Handwriting practice with two Palomino pencils. 602 on the left and Pearl on the right. I will need to sharpen them again 🙂

Drills and letter practice continues…first Rhodia A4 pad is finished – that’s 80 sheets of paper. WoW!

Fourth lesson was similar to third one. We did go over more drills and letters. When I think about it, the only ones left out are letters v, w, x, z. And capitals… I am very frustrated because of letters e and f :/ It would be a lot easier to write them with loops. E is square, pointy and weird. F doesn’t look so bad, but connecting is impossible. Writing word fun is not fun at all.

Nevertheless, have to keep writing and using Angular Italic style just about everywhere 😉

Fragile in Italic style going out with Bureau mail
Fragile in Italic style going out with Bureau mail

I had a little test-go at italic nibs again. Turns out, that I really have no idea how to hold the pen. In order to get the line variation it needs to be under strict 45 degree angle. One day…I will return to my Lamy2000, but it will take a lot of practice to get the grip. This picture shows how Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo’s metallic sheen (small “lion”) and J Herbin Vert Olive’s shading. Both amazing 🙂 Honestly, using all these different pens and inks does help!

If you are subscribed to our weekly email, then you probably know that we are now stocking and selling Palomino pencils. I am so chuffed to have this pencil, you can’t even imagine 😉 There are now more and more of practice sheets done with it. I took Pearl to the class and I had to retrieve it several times from my peeps who simply couldn’t put it down. Of course, I had to ask my tutor if it’s OK to write with pencil rather than with pen, and yey! She has approved Palomino. The…truth…is…that…I…would…ditch…my…fountain…pen…for…this…pencil :O

To shine some light on Palomino items…there are 3 different pencils (602, Pearl, Palomino), spare erasers and sharpeners. Sharpener is an absolute must because these pencils go down quickly. 602 pencil is the firmest one, meant for writing. Pearl is softer pencil, meant for both writing and drawing. Palomino is the the softest one meant for sketching. My favourite is the Pearl. Yes, I am a shallow person who shops by the looks. I just love how soft it is, doing flicks is super enjoyable 🙂 As you can see on the top picture, the difference between 602 and Pearl is barely visible, but Pearl feels softer and glides across the page like a silver surfer.

Best advice: keep your pens close, pencils even closer 🙂

Neat trick: Use tracing paper 🙂 If you find a style that you like, see if you can copy it or trace it.

Shopping list:
Palomino Pearl Pencil
Palomino KUM sharpener
Rhodia A4 lined
Triomphe Pad A4

We won’t have a class next week due to half term holidays, so I have decided to catch up with my letter writing. Put all that practice on nice letter writing Triomphe paper 🙂 Keep in touch!

Mishka (^_~)

Click here to read the next chapter of my Handwriting course


You know nothing John Snow

Handwriting course week 3

Everything I know is about to change….that’s why I have picked this title.

Just when I’m starting to get comfortable with all the drills, letters and connections we took a 180-degree turn.

Things are about to get ugly in order to get better. My tutor handed out the printouts of different writing styles and let people choose. I got just one piece of paper…with….s-p-e-n-c-e-r-i-a-n-s-t-y-l-e!!!!! 😮 (If you don’t know what Spencerian is I urge you, look it up!) Luckily, it was just a joke! She wasn’t messing around when I got second piece of paper with Angular Italic writing style – apparently that is the one I HAVE TO GO FOR. Why? Why? I honestly don’t know…perhaps so I can use my custom grind Lamy 2000 fountain pen? That is not the reason, but it’s what I keep telling myself 😉

I used to do something similar last summer in my Leuchtturm dot notebook – looking at these letters now I had no idea what I was doing 🙂 Here is an example of how not to connect letters…

my old notebooks, full of wrong letters 🙂

What happens next? No more 1-hour drills. Just warm up and start writing, every line counts. My goal is to think, breathe, write in Angular Italic. When I’m not writing, I am doing virtual flicks with my hand…Building awareness and consciousness just like muscle memory. Surprising, isn’t it? Everything I write down from now on has to be 100%. That is the hard part, to concentrate on every stroke. Writing sentences, seems so far away :))))))) perhaps in next life! So far I can do letters: l,i,t,u,y,n,m,h,b 🙂

If you follow my story, you know that I bought Seyes handwriting book. These are great when your writing is all over the place. Clairefontaine is fountain pen friendly paper of superb quality. Problem is, that you can’t just get one and start writing because they do not come with a guide. You are in for a surprise when you open the book, so many lines! So complicated! These lines are supposed to help you keep the size of your letters consistent. Here is what I have picked up on Instagram this week. A neat little “how to use French grid aka Seyes paper” :

platignum pen
Seyes – French grid

Lower case bodies go up to the first line
dt loops go up to the second line
Capitals and bfhkl loops go up to the third line
Hoops of fgjpqy (z) go down two lines

Best advice: my initial goal of slowing down has transformed into never rush any writing. I am also staying away from hoops and loops for now.

Shopping list: if you see a nice Italic letter S, please do let me know 😉

So many questions this week…Will I be able to use 1.1mm nib again? How will I implement this new style into everyday writing? I honestly cannot wait to see what the next lesson will bring.

Mishka (^_~)

Click here to read the next chapter of my Handwriting course