Once upon a time, there was a day when this whole young nation took great pride in their handwriting skills. All one needs to do is have a glance at the signers of the Declaration of Independence to see how the average signature was penned. Here below, you can see the famous signature of John Hancock.
John Hancock and nearly all of his compadres were penman. It was considered honorable, manly, intelligent and appropriate to work on one's "presentation of pen."
I [Rish] began my study and concentration on the art of the hand while I was yet in the 3rd grade. I sat toward the front of a row of students where a lad named Doug Powell did sit. And that's how it all began. One day when the we were asked to pass our papers forward, I noticed that Doug's paper was different from all the rest; the letters of his words were unique and caught my eye, as no one
else seemed to write like he did. So, I wondered how this could be . . . what did he do to make his writing so unusual? So, I watched Doug very closely and . . . thennnn . . . I saw his secret!!! Doug was taking his pencils and---rather than having them sharp---he was taking them and scribbling on a piece of paper until they were somewhat dull with a wide tip, and, hence, with that very dull pencil he would do his work; so his letters were wider and darker. I think that it was then, for the first time in my life, that I began to notice that being "different" had it's positivities. So, from that day to this, I keep myself VERY aware of my own hand . . . and the art of the use thereof, when it comes to penmanship.
HANDWRITING CAN BRING A BOOST TO SELF-ESTEEM!!! =0)
This paragraph is going to be a pep-talk to all you readers . . . who also could be writers. I want you to pay attention to your handwriting and what it can bring to you. Our handwriting---along with our diction in speaking, our walking, our posture, etc., etc.---are things that humans do every day . . . but yet, NEVER improve (for the most part). We speak with slurring our words or not pronouncing them correctly . . . or keep saying crutch words like "You know, you know . . . or "A . . . a . . . a," or "You know what I'm sayin?" over and over and over again . . . handwriting is the same. Most people stop improving about the 5th and 6th grade . . . and get worse from there. I want to bring your attention to your potentials . . . in EVERYTHING. You truly can improve on everything you do. I try earnestly to stay very close to my Heavenly Father in my life, and He taught me this very important lesson that is a foundational thought in each of my days. What is the thought? It is "That EVERYTHING we do . . . upon which we concentrate . . . we will improve" . . . and I will add, "perfect."
Now, a few words about what good handwriting can do for you . . . Through these many years, I have practiced and studied and worked on my handwriting with a goal to become among the best in the world. And, what's more . . . is that I have found that there have been many of fun benefits on the way. Over the years I found professors holding up my papers before the entire class and saying things like "If you can write like this, you don't have to type your reports." Or, "This is how your assignments should look." And, I've acquired jobs and/or interviews because of my handwriting . . . having the interviewer say, "I HAD to see who wrote this!" Even to the present day, there are---nearly every time I write anything---people will make a pleasant comment about my handwriting. Just in this past week, of the time when I wrote this paragraph, a banker said, "That is the nicest looking deposit slip I have ever seen . . . maybe I should show it around!!" Before that, a person said, That is the best signature that I have ever seen! Can you imagine that?! ". . . that she has ever seen?" That is quite the compliment, right? THIS is FUN STUFF here that I'm talkin' about . . . it's a real HOOT, and very cool to experience---as Larry the Cable Guy would say . . . "That's cool . . . "No matter who you are!!" So, today, I am a "Penmanship Expert" who wants to share my craft with all who will see this site. THAT is what's awesome about this world-wide web!!
Who would have thought that a simple writing utensil could provide such a very uplifting and powerfully good feeling to one's self-image and one's self-esteem, right? . . . Just to pick it up?!! It doesn't matter WHAT utensil I use . . . a pen or pencil or paint brush or felt pen . . . it doesn't matter; because the motor control from the brain to the hand is the same with anything with which I/[potentially YOU] may write.
With any of us of the human species, when we have worked hard to be able to do anything that few human beings can do . . . that is a warm fuzzy feeling. Over the years while growing up, I would take pieces of paper and just write the alphabet in different ways over and over and over again . . . perfecting each letter and hand motion . . . over and over again. What else am I going to do while waiting for a class to begin . . . or just biding some time? I have tried to make it a life-long habit to use every single moment I can to better myself . . . or help others better themselves in some way. So, instead of just sitting and waiting, I would practice my hand. It has become such a habit and a way of life that whether I am writing a grocery list or a letter or writing down some notes, I am always aware of every stroke I make with whatever device I may be using. Like a golfer and his swing, or a quarterback and his pass, it is something we try to make a work of art with each swing, toss or stroke. Every desired act focused on perfection is the same . . . in every aspect of life; i.e., McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy's tried to MAKE SURE that every hamburger patty is done the exact same way each time . . . electronic timers make sure that their fries and burgers, etc., etc., etc., are cooked exactly the same duration each time. So, I have practiced to make my handwriting process the same each stroke---depending on the style. In my personal journals of which I have thousands of pages, I have made a point to change handwriting styles each day . . . so that I would learn to write in many styles in many ways. It's all a matter of practicing CONSISTENCY to perfection.
And, it is SOOOO MUCH FUNNN, too!! And, unlike the pianist who needs a piano to perform, all I need is a pen or pencil . . . giggle. And, with just my carrying a pen and/or pencil AND my harmonica . . . and my writings in memory . . . I can be sure that I can make every spare moment productive . . . AND . . . I can entertain even a first grade class of energetic children . . . and keep them laughing and happy. =0) And . . . that's pretty cool for a grandpa of 29 precious children. =0)
PROCEDURAL STUDY: The BIRTH of RAPIDGRAPHY!!
I have studied handwriting to the degree that I have tried to cover every aspect of it's process . . . i.e., the studying of the muscles of the hand and how they work . . . which strokes take the least energy, etc. etc.. Hence, from the knowledge acquired from this work/study, I have created a whole new and different way and style in which to write . . . the most wondrous and beautiful art-of-the-hand created since Edward Johnson's founding of Western Calligraphy in 1902; and if you don't believe me . . . soon I will be showing you, first, by example...and then, step by step how the style works and how it is done. =0) I will address this new discovery and how it also benefits those who may have arthritis in their hands...because it is designed so that the hand moves as little as possible to accomplish this beautiful art of hand . . . but, for now, I will just tell you it's name . . . the name I have given it is "RAPIDGRAPHY." Why? Because I can take any pencil or pen and write as fast [or as RAPID'ly] as most people . . . only, my writing will be as beautiful as Calligraphy . . . hence the name, RAPIDgraphy; and I don't need any specially tipped pen.
As well, in my studies of the arts of the hand, I have become a graphologist [as you would suppose, graphology is the study of handwriting analysis]. I will write more about Graphology and Handwriting Analysis later on.
Handwriting skills may seem quite unimportant and trivial to most, but, it is for me---when I write---just as it was in the days of John Hancock, to possess such a skill as this . . . to develop a gift of beautiful handwriting makes me feel and relate to such positive feelings as "honorable, manly, intelligent, unique, creative, inventive, controlled and appreciated" . . . I say this so that any reader who would like to feel similarly . . . then, develop your handwriting skills. You will find that compliments never get old, or you never feel like you've heard..."Your handwriting is amazing!"...or "That is the most beautiful signature I have ever seen!" too many times =0). It is, indeed, a good feeling of accomplishment when---though I know there are probably many out there whom I've not met or seen---yet, to this day, I have never met, personally, another soul who is an equal at the skill and/or who gives the "attentions" that I give to my handwriting. So, I'm here to share . . . and, perhaps encourage you to improve in yours. =0)
PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION OF MY WEBSITE:
Now, let me reiterate briefly what I've said above . . . because it is important[ at least to the handwriting "interestee"]; it has been my observations over the years of having a gander at the writing of the human family at different grade levels (having been a teacher and counselor in those grades), that it's my professional opinion that most people stop their progress in their penmanship skills at about the 5th to 6th grade level. From those grades onward---for most of humankind---penmanship does not get any better . . . and in fact, probably gets much worse as they get older. WHY?! Because the process of handwriting---after you learn the basic alphabet and then place that alphabet into a D'Nealian type cursive form---becomes a rote and necessary procedure . . . performed mindlessly by habit. Whereas the old saying is that "Practice makes perfect!" This is only a true statement as long as your mind concentrates on what it is you are practicing; which is not the case [usually] in penmanship. It is the one thing that people do every day of their life . . . and, because they are oblivious to what they are doing (i.e., they write without thought as to precision and accuracy) . . . they never improve; UNLESS . . . unless, as I have said . . . they concentrate on what they are doing, stoke by stroke, line by line . . . IF they/you do this, THEN you will improve with each thing that you write . . . bit by bit, letter by letter, line by line . . . . =0)
I have chosen the cloudy background because---you will have to admit---nearly always, when you are writing, you are thinking of something else (i.e., "What do I need from the store?," or . . . "What and how you are going to say what you are writing?" etc., etc.. and so your head is---a bit---in the "clouds" so to speak) and, that is principally why we don't improve, no matter how often we write. I have found that IF we are going to improve in ANYTHING, we first MUST FOCUS on what that thing is!
So, ON WITH THE FIRST LESSON; t
THE BASICS & KEYS TO ATTRACTIVE HANDWRITING:
The secrets to developing the skill to have attractive handwriting is quite simple; in my opinion it rests on five basic principles/rules;
1. always create even heights of both the lower case [also called minuscule] and the upper case (also called majuscule) letters;
2. always create exact parallels of all vertical---or near vertical---lines . . . as in the "d's" and "b's" and "l's" and "t's.";
3. create an even spacing both between each letter, and also between each word;
4. write in a straight line; and
5. after you choose in which style you are going to write, be consistent in how you make each type of letter, i.e., make all "g's" the same way, all "b's" the same way, etc., etc.. I will give examples of these basic rules as we go along.
1. EVEN HEIGHTS:
Now I will describe briefly what I mean by each of these handwriting principles; EVEN HEIGHTS pretty well describes for itself what that means . . . but I learned lonnnnggggg ago, "Never ASSUME that you are being understood . . . teach so that you KNOW you are understood . . . by starting from the very basics . . . and illustrating/demonstrating each step up from there . . . OR, check for feedback from the 'understandee' and ask them if they understand!" This rule applies to EVERYTHING from parenting to teaching one how to play guitar, to teaching one how to write, you can't teach if you move faster than the student can understand. So, with that said, let us start from the basic page upon which most of us started to learn to write. Below you will see a sheet you probably recognize . . . one often used by first and second graders who are just getting started in the writing process . . . because the same principles are the same, no matter how old you are, right?
(to be continued . . . hey, if you are enjoying this subject matter, let me know at )