‘Ordinary copybooks seem to have followed a highly doubtful tradition of engraver’s letters — which cannot really be copied in writing, even by an adult pen’ wrote Edward Johnston some 100 years ago.
Looking at contemporary copy books or ‘writing work books’ as they now like to call them, little has changed. Continue reading
To think of teaching children regular handwriting before any cursive or running script is introduced appears commonsensical. But implementing such an idea in the Western education system is difficult. Continue reading
Sheila Waters in the Foundations of Calligraphy writes: ‘At the beginning of the twentieth century, Edward Johnston was the major discoverer of the lost art of how formal bookhands of ancient illuminated manuscripts had been written: Continue reading
Jan Tschichold (1902-1974) spent 8 years working in Munich and teaching at the printers school. When the Nazis took control of Germany in 1933, Tschichold, who was considered avant–garde, accused of cultural Bolshevism and arrested. Soon after publishing The New Typography in 1928, Continue reading
The alphabetic order doesn’t have any apparent logic; it’s origin is a mystery.
The best explanation for the fact that b follows a and c, b is found in Continue reading
I was re-reading Type Now by the typographer Fred Smeijers, where I came across some of his calligraphic studies. Continue reading
When examining manuscript books, often, one of their most striking qualities is sharpness. Scribes used sharp nibs and primed paper Continue reading
This landscape (山水圖) by Gong Xian (龔賢 1619–1689) is made in the scholarly style of Chinese painting known as ‘Literati Painting’ Continue reading
The text we know today as Formal Penmanship was written by Edward Johnston during the last fifteen years of his life and left unfinished. It was later edited by Heather Child from his notes and finally appeared in a posthumous volume in 1971. Continue reading
Quills and dip pens write wonderful sharp thick and thin strokes and are easy to use on one’s own writing desk. But no one sane — however passionate about handwriting — would, for example, walk into a meeting, dip pen and ink in hand. Continue reading