Cursive ‘a’

Thank you, thank you, thank you Rachel Hazel (aka thetravellingbookbinder) for your latest inspiration.  It is just what I needed today. I had hit a slump and didn’t know what to do with myself, until I recalled Rachel’s blog post from a few days ago on making an alphabet sketchbook.

This is such an uncomplicated project that it almost seems too easy … and yet it is just the thing to jog you out of a malaise. The idea is to take your book and some ink and just start writing the same letter across the page. Rachel suggests using a stick and some ink, which I duly did. I used two products: Ecoline Liquid Watercolour by Royal Talens, in Deep Grey; and Noodlers Ink in Squeteague. The stick I picked up in our garden.

Two liquid media that I used for my alphabet book.

I am working into a Japanese accordion book which has just been waiting for such a project. I think that I bought it nearly 10 years ago.

The process of writing is quite absorbing. After a while it is hard to recognise the letter, the shape instead comes to the fore. It feels a bit like that thing you do when you repeat a common word over and over until it ceases to mean anything and dissolves into a jumble of sounds.

This is my favourite page so far. I made a whole lot of random marks on the page and only let it partially dry before working back into it.

As you can see from my photos I didn’t stop at one page. At my current rate expect that this will probably end up as the book of ‘cursive a’.

Only part way through and I can’t see it stopping anytime soon.

I suggest that you take a look at the fantastic images on Rachel’s blog. She at least has managed to get past the letter ‘a’ and shares some very beautiful pages and a short flip through of her book as well.


    1. I hadn’t thought of it that way.πŸ˜„ It’s definitely one of those exercises in setting a boundary, that forces you to try out all sorts of things. One thing that did surprise me was the difference between pages written one at a time and where I wrote across two pages at a time. The first photo was written one page at a time and the second photo of pages was written across both pages at the same time.

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  1. Great idea. I have been playing around with different lettering (not calligraphy per se) thanks to the recent Sketchbook revival virtual workshops. Thanks for another great idea for isolation art!



  2. Wow, I love this. It’s beautiful. I have an interest in handwriting and I think I might try this. Reminds me of knitting, visually, and how it is repetitive and meditative to do (I would think) and I know it is to look at.



    1. I certainly got completely lost in the process in doing this. Rachel does suggest that writing in a cursive rather than printing encourages the flow, both in writing and flow state. As I commented to Emma, the variations seem extensive. I prepared more pages yesterday with the leftover watery ink. I look forward to seeing how those pages will develop. I am also considering whether I should try Capital A on the reverse side – of the frisson of danger!

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      1. When I decided to re-learn to write in cursive (I wrote some posts about it a while back)
        I did sheets and sheets of practice writing. Now I still practice but I write down TV dialogue or eavesdropping at the cafe or the like. I have notebooks of these. And I get a lot of Little Vines inspirations from them. I find myself getting lost in just shaping the letters.


      2. I think these posts were before I started following your blog. I have read them with great interest as my handwriting is stuck from when I decided as a teenager to make it ‘different’ from the cursive I was taught. It’s oddly upright and sort of rounded. I might have been better off letting it remain more like I was taught.

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      3. I had always had scrawly messy handwriting and felt self-conscious about it, and I decided to make a change, as the posts say. Glad I did, I like my writing now, and I have discovered I enjoy doing it, trying to make it look nice, and even and so on. It is relaxing to handwrite, it is an activity in of itself, and it’s given me a new interest in lettering which I am beginning to play around with.


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