Sharpen Your Skills
Do you love long hand, decorative lettering, calligraphy or, like me, just writing with pencils? Then today is our day to celebrate our love of letters! I've recently fallen in absolute love with Blackwing pencils so I was very happy when they contacted my to create a hand-lettered piece for National Handwriting Day. Balckwing's campaign theme this year is aptly named "Sharpen Your Skills," which is fitting for their fantastic pencils! But what skill? Why are we still using pencils when we have computers and phones to type?
Is handwriting important?
I will be first to admit that I love creating art, typography and patterns on my computer. But where do all those ideas start? With a good sharp pencil and paper of course! In an age of digital media, online learning and text messages, there is a lack of handwriting in school, work and everyday life, and it's killing a lot of essential motor function, language skills and creativity.
Learning handwriting and cursive isn't only important for being able to read old documents, manuscripts and letters from loved ones. Starting at an early age, learning and using handwriting is important for eye-hand coordination and neurological functions. It can improve memory skills and has even been shown to improve self-esteem. Handwriting also helps us learn to write, read, use proper grammar and to have better spelling (I can attest to this improvement in my own spelling). Those who have poor handwriting often spend more time struggling to produce letters rather than focusing on the content of their writing, which can lead to lower grades for many students (I can also attest to this from years of teaching). This may be a surprise to you, as I create legible script for a living, but my every-day handwriting can be illegible and atrocious. I used to play with my handwriting and write all my letters in cursive, but as I get older and busier, creating legible letters often seems a waste of valuable time. Not to mention, we are trained to type as quickly as possible in our digital age and our spelling and grammar can be quite inaccurate since spell checker fixes our mistakes. Fortuantely, my lettering and calligraphy has brought my focus back to slowing down my every-day scribbles into more thoughtful letter forms and has improved my spelling and memory of ideas and events I pencil into my calendar.
Endless Creative Possibilities
Using a pencil and paper can be a much more freeing and creative outlet than using computers or phones. While many of us can feel intimidated by a blank page, the limitlessness of a clean sheet of paper and lack of distractions around the page offers an opportunity to let your mind put down all of it's ideas and images. Expression through lettering and script can be therapeutic and engaging to your creative side on and off the paper. You may use this skill as a way to relax after a long day, a tool to express your opinion or emotions or even to create an art piece for your home that brings you joy at your creative accomplishment. The history of handwriting and calligraphy is quite interesting and sheds light on the importance of creative personal expression through pen and pencil to paper. But more on that later another time ; )
Are you a lover of longhand? How has it helped you? Let us know in the comments and happy lettering!
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