Not only is January 23 Hancock’s birthday, but it is also National Handwriting Day! Handwriting is an important skill — gives the personal touch, gives kinesthetic learning a hand up when taking notes, and can elevate calligraphy to an everyday artistic endeavor.
I became a calligrapher in the Pacific Northwest, home of a legendary calligrapher, Lloyd Reynolds, who was appointed Oregon’s Calligrapher Laureate. Reynolds felt that art should be a part of our everyday life as well as hanging in museums. So, he emphasized handwriting and persuasively taught that calligraphers should have a beautiful personal handwriting as well as knowledge and skill for formal and artful lettering. So students who studied with him learned Italic as a historic alphabet and then went on to develop their own personal hand, using italic as the basic form.
Two of those students, Barbara Getty and Inga Dubay believed in his advice and developed a handwriting system based on Italic. You can read about that system on their website — www.handwritingsuccess.com. They have developed grade appropriate books and lessons for grades K–6 and for adults. Their purpose — improve handwriting, so that everyone can read your writing! And — because both the printing and the cursive is based on a beautiful alphabet, italic, your art becomes an everyday thing.
Getty and Dubay also give seminars emphasizing readable handwriting. In fact, they have given more than 168 handwriting seminars for medical professionals, emphasizing legible handwriting for patient treatment and safety.
Each year around Hancock’s birthday, they offer a free Handwriting Success Workshop for both children and adults in Portland, Oregon. Check it out on Facebook.
Celebrate John Hancock’s birthday. Write a note! Address an envelope in your beautiful calligraphy! Improve your everyday handwriting so that your love of beautiful writing is front and center.
And then — support the teaching of handwriting in our schools.
By Robyn Hall
Title lettering by Miranda Fuller