Ink – Written by Hand (a short film about handwriting)

I’m grateful to my son, David, a designer, who regularly sends me links to interesting calligraphy-related items. Despite being a non-calligrapher, David has a knack of discovering calligraphic gems that I somehow remain oblivious to.

He recently pointed me in the direction of ‘Ink – Written by Hand,’ a short film about handwriting by filmmaker/cinematographer, Ryan Couldrey (watch the video above).

Screenshot 2015-10-07 11.19.17Ryan filmed Tanja Tiziana, a freelance photographer from Toronto, Canada, on her short journey to rediscover the written word. The resultant film is a beautifully-shot, nostalgic glimpse into the lost art of handwriting, which will appeal to anyone who has an interest in lettering.

During the film, Tanja states that since most children now own a smart phone or tablet, they are more likely to text a message than to pick up a pen and write it longhand.

“It’s wild to think that, as an art-form, (handwriting is) completely lost to a generation,” she concludes.

Personally, I have difficulty comprehending the possibility that future generations will not discover the joy of putting pen to paper. In a previous post, the demise of handwriting in schools, I attempted to remain optimistic about the future of children’s handwriting. But reluctantly, and resignedly, I have to accept that Tanja’s view is more realistic than mine… that one day handwriting will become extinct.

Hopefully, that day is a long way off!


Immediately after writing this post, I discovered a comment on a blog about handwriting. The comment reads as follows…

“It genuinely saddens me and a host of others that cursive/italics is no longer taught in a majority of schools. My mom, who has terrific penmanship, wrote a birthday card to my 16 year old daughter. Daughter texted me a photo of the card and asked me to translate it for her.”

Oh dear! Lets all hope that, in terms of the next generation, the daughter is the exception rather than the rule.


If you liked the video above, you will also enjoy ‘Ink Spills’ (extended interview clips) here.

Find out more about Ryan Couldrey, and watch some of his other short films, on his website.

And finally, for anyone who is interested, the nib that Tanja used to write the final credits is a Nikko G.


I need to learn "scratchy writing"

It happened again today… a call from a TV production company asking if I can produce some old-fashioned writing on parchment that would be featured in a commercial for a famous whisky brand.

“When do you need it?” I asked.

“What are you doing right this minute?” the woman replied, somewhat ambitiously.

It turns out that even if I had been idle ‘right that minute,’ my area of calligraphic expertise doesn’t encompass Copperplate, or “scratchy writing” as it’s normally described to me by the uninitiated. And scratchy writing is what she needed. It’s what they always need!

Over the past few years I’ve been asked countless times to be the calligraphic stunt-double for actors in TV programmes and commercials… or at least my hand has been asked. The undesirable rest of me will apparently remain off-camera.

But nobody ever wants a nice flourished Italic, my alphabet of choice. They always want Copperplate. And they always want it written authentically with a quill. And they always want it scratchy.

But despite my best efforts, I’m hopeless at writing in a scratchy fashion. And that’s why I’m still waiting for my fifteen minutes of calligraphic fame.

Or, at least, my hand is.

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