Hand writing and writing implements

There was some interesting dicussion on the radio the other day about which writing implements people use if and when they write by hand. This got me thinking about how little I write by hand these days – I do most of my writing on my computer. When I do write by hand I tend to use a pencil or a biro. When I was at secondary school though, I usually wrote with a fountain pen that had a ink reservoir which could be filled from an ink bottle with a level-type device. It’s a long time since I’ve seen or used a pen link that. At primary school I remember once being told off by a teacher for drawing a picture with a biro, which was totally unsuited for the task – a pencil was what I should have used, apparently.

These days the main things I write by hand, usually with a pencil, are shopping lists and notes in my diary or on my calendar (both of which are old fashioned paper ones). I also doddle on any scraps of paper that come my way, and occasionally write postcards, Christmas and birthday cards and even letters.

A sample of my handwriting (This is what my normal writing looks like.)

One writing-related skill I’d like to learn at some point is calligraphy – I’ve dabbled with it before but have yet to really get to grips with it.

If you write things by hand, what implements do you usually use? Can you and others read your handwriting?

18 thoughts on “Hand writing and writing implements

  1. I write more by hand than on a keyboard. This wasn’t true a year ago when I used to spend a lot of my computer time on forums discussing one thing or another. These days I mostly just read articles or watch videos on Youtube. So I write more by hand simply by default. Mostly notes and lists, but I also practice writing Chinese and that comprises a huge chunk of my writing by hand. I use a roller pen.

  2. I write mostly with a ballpoint pen, although, special letters get the fountain pen treatment. I tend to write letters and cards by hand, as well as notes and lists (for lists I use a pencil). For work, I’m mainly on the computer, but I write myself notes in my handy journal. I can read my handwriting and so can others (thankfully).

  3. I write with pencil or whatever pen is handy. My handwriting is indecipherable to anyone else, and I’ve long forgotten how to write in cursive, so I print. I have also forgotten how to write my signature in cursive, so I just do a scrawl.

  4. I rarely write more than short notes by hand these days. When I do write, it’s generally with whatever writing implement comes to hand first, which is usually a pen or a biro.

    My handwriting at its best is fairly neat, but most of the time it degenerates into a barely legible scrawl that even I have trouble deciphering.

    I have dabbled in calligraphy, though not seriously for quite some time. It’s high on my list of past interests to revisit.

  5. For utilitarian writing I use whatever I can put my hand on first, pencil or biro, but for writing at length I have a choice of fountain pens according to the writing style I want. At school we learned first ‘print script’ then copperplate, then I got a taste for italic so my hand is mixed and variable.

    I remember, long ago before computers, being slightly offended when a friend sent me a letter typed on a typewriter. It seemed too businesslike for a personal letter. How things change.

  6. I cannot write more than a few pages by hand. I try to concentrate in order to obtain something nice and regular (like Simon’s) but the result is often disappointing. I take a lot of notes at work, always with the same Parker ball-point pen chosen carefully. I like also to use pensils to write, because they are slower and thus help write better. For signing important papers, I use a Dupont which is a gift from a friend. As Magnus I am fond of Chinese calligraphy and writing Chinese in general. I also have since the age of 16 my own writing system with which I write personal notes when I get bored during meetings at work. I understand that a biro is ball-point pen of a certain brand (?). In French we would say “un bic”.

  7. Biro is a brand of ballpoint pen and the generic name for such writing implements in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Named after László Bíró (1899-1985), who invented the ballpoint pen in the 1930s.

  8. “If you write things by hand, what implements do you usually use?”

    Pen only, I never use a pencil for writing (I do draw with them).

    “Can you and others read your handwriting?”

    I can, others will be able to typically only if I knew when I wrote it that it would need to be readable to other people and therefore made an effort to make sure it was legible haha, otherwise no.


    P.S. Your handwriting is far neater than mine. I am very slightly jealous. Also, I really want a fountain pen but a decent one is expensive and a really nice one is very expensive, so 🙁

  9. I write by hand with a gel pen, like a G2, or a felt pen, like the Sharpie pen for anything that doesn’t have to be typed on the computer. I rarely ever use pencil, and I only write in printing when it’s important for something to be legible. Otherwise it’s in cursive.

    That all goes for any other language, too. I prefer to write by hand especially when using another language because it helps me remember better; still usually always in cursive.

    Unless I’m signing something or writing a story that I get excited about, it’s usually legible.

  10. I write using a sign pen. My penmanship is very nice and readable as I was trained by my English Teacher during grade school the strokes in order to have a very good handwriting.

  11. I normally use a Lamy 1.5mm Italic fountain pen: my handwriting style is a version of the Italic style. It is certainly legible — and had better be, as I teach this style to others (see my web-site)

  12. Although keyboarding is part of life, I also write by hand often and with many different tools. I especially enjoy ball point pens and pencils for writing with alternating pressure. Such tools can produce sensitive variations in line weight and shading (as in your beautiful sample above). Recently in a store I tried writing on a Boogie Board. Even fingernail writing was beautiful!

    By reading handwriting education authors, I have come to think of handwriting as a tool with varying capabilities. This can mean writing slowly and neatly, at a moderate speed, or as fast as possible, such as when taking notes during class. Usually my handwriting is legible to all, but when great speed is needed it seems appropriate to push legibility’s limits!

  13. I usually write either with a pencil or a ballpoint pen. Since I’m left-handed, the pencil has to have a hardness of H. Otherwise my hand would smudge my writing. I have never liked writing in cursive, and my handwriting is legible to others. When I don’t want others to understand my notes, I either write in Japanese katakana (but in the Finnish language) or a script I invented myself. Here’s a picture of my handwriting as well as a sample sentence in my script: http://i49.tinypic.com/2r7njly.jpg

    Simon, your handwriting really is beautiful.

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