In the last twenty years or so, many schools in the United States have chosen to stop teaching the practice of cursive writing. Meanwhile, the trend of Hand Lettering – full of flourishes and cursive loops – has made a huge comeback. You can see the influence of it in everything from advertising to home decor.
Although the ancient Romans used a kind of script that began to incorporate something like cursive writing, it wasn’t until the 1700’s that the cursive form of writing called Italic became popular. Italic writing was elegant and it was during this time that elegant writing became a status symbol. Penmanship schools became common and many people studied to be professional penmen or master scribes. These penmen were used during the beginning of the United States and were responsible for creating many documents like the Declaration of Independence.
By the 1930’s and 1940’s typewriters were in such common use that some schools had already began to no longer teach penmanship classes. Once we reached the age of the personal computer and now in the age of texting – the focus on penmanship and cursive has all but disappeared.
However, once something is gone the appeal seems to grow stronger and small groups of trendsetters start up the practice again. You may have noticed in the last five years or so that hand lettered artwork has become extremely popular. Even more interesting is that people are now taking classes on lettering and learning a combination of print and cursive once again. The hand lettering of today is often ornate, but simple block hand lettering is popular, too. Like other old versions of things (think vinyl recorded music vs. mp3) the hand drawn letters have a warmer and more unique aesthetic. Once again “master scribes” are in demand.
Getting Started Lettering
- Tutorials: If you want to start working on your lettering there are lots of how-to videos on the internet that can help you.
- Tools: Although you don’t need any special pens to practice writing, we asked our resident letter artist, Kari from the Gresham store what pens she recommends and she said the Tombow Dual Brush Markers are pretty much all she uses. The Tombow Dual Brush Markers have two tips and are blendable.
- Practice: Tombow created a lettering guide you can download and print here. Use this to help you practice. After all…