When is a better time to talk about handwriting than National Handwriting Day?  It is obvious that I am a day late, but we can always stretch the day into a year long practice.

This is a post I have wanted to write for awhile, but because of numerous moves I have lost all sort of paper that I intended to retain over the course of the years.  While doing my end-of-the-year house cleaning, I discovered in surprised that some of the paper survived all these cross-continental moves.  I guess my case substantiates the importance of annual cleaning, right?

Looking at my own handwriting from years before is as strange as meeting someone with whom I have lost touch.  There is a degree of familiarity embodied a sense of nostalgia and astonishment.  It is rather weird that I can recount almost all the pens I have used in the following writing samples and changes in writing instrument and paper choices can be perceived.  Can I stay that the handwriting is becoming better or worse?  It is a bit of both.  While the form might be more mature, the level of neatness has suffered.  Another observation is the handwriting varied with the change of writing instrument.

Here is a gallery of my handwriting from 1999 to now:

Freshman year reading notes
(circa 1999, using a magenta Stabilo Fineliner)

sophomore year assignment II(circa 2000, using a Sensa ballpoint pen.  My roommate was more worried about the callous on my middle finger than me, so she purchased this pen thinking it would relieve and help with my deadly grip.  Well, poor Sensa pen, the silicone grip literally conformed to my grip, permanently.  I still cannot believe how neat my print used to be!)

sophomore year assignment(circa 2000, using an Omas fountain pen with fine nib.  Notice the part printing, part cursive tendency?  The print also looks more relaxed than the previous photo)

senior classnotes (circa 2002, this writing sample is taken from class notes.  Definitely messy, with a lot of shorthands. Not sure why the f’s are written with such a flare… beats me.   Written with a Uniball Deluxe Micro.)

honors thesis notes(circa 2002-3.  Mix of media.  Top part is written with a Bic gel pen and bottom with Omas.  No clue why I looped the a’s. )

grad school notes(circa 2006.  Part of in-class notes taken for a graduate course.  Cursive all the way.  Written with Uni-Ball DX in blue black)

grad school notes 1

(2007, another set of class notes that combines cursive and print.  Used Waterman Allure with a unknown blue cartridge)

grad school quiz(2007, handwriting on a quiz, a bit more slanted than usual)

grad school thesis notes(2011, notes for thesis.  Pelikan M205 Duo with a cursive italic nib, paired with Organics Studio Foggy Bottom.)

grad school thesis notes 1

(2012, part of the thesis revision.  Hi-Tec-C Coleto light blue.  Probably the neatest I can do nowadays)

grad school thesis

(2012, another thesis revision.  Hi-Tec-C Coleto purple.  You probably wonder why I even bother to print out the paper, since I cross out everything.  Compare to writing from 1999, it is significantly relaxed, less pressure applied, but also messier)
Have you ever looked back to see how your writing changes?  Is it a change of good or bad?

8 thoughts on “Changes in Hand Writing

  1. What an interesting post! I really like your handwriting Shangching, don't be too hard on yourself 🙂
    I remember that when I was in highschool I wrote in print, and very very very small. Then for the few years I attended Law School I had a large, messy print/cursive handwriting, mostly done with bic pens (I had to take notes of a lot of information very quickly). When I switched to Design I was already into fountain pens and I used them regularly for taking notes, my notebooks are very colorful from those years, and my handwriting more loose and neat since I was used to writing to light-speed and there wasn't so much to write about in these clases. I still switch from print to cursive whenever my mood strikes me, dunno why.


  2. Your Sensa sample looks so good. I don't think there are many people who can produce so good looking notes in a reasonable amount of time (i.e. fast enough to make notes during class, etc).


  3. Cool post. I can't say I would know where any examples of my past handwriting would be. I only started daily journaling 2 years ago so maybe in 10 years I could go back. Neat exercise though.


  4. Matthias, thank you for the compliment! I am unsure whether I can reproduce the writing in the Sensa sample nowadays. In fact, you can clearly feel the indentation and grooves on the back of the paper, that shows how hard I used to press down. Back in the days when I was more diligent, I would recopy and organize the class notes for a better looking copy. Do not know what happen to me now 😉


  5. I almost got kicked out of Latin class because my writing was too small. The Latin professor said that if I did not enlarge my writing, he would not grade my assignments. I think it was from that point that my writing became a bit unruly. It is very difficult to consciously wanting to write bigger, especially when you have small writing to begin with. Everything just looked very out of proportion.


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