One of the great ways to individualize your leather journal is to create your own hand.
For those not familiar with calligraphy, a hand is like a typeface but for handwriting.
Instead of writing in Times New Roman, you probably write in South Australian Modern Cursive, even if your teacher never called it that. A hand is a consistent style of lettering.
Contrary to popular belief, your fingers can be trained to write in any hand with enough practice, even a standard computer font or fancy corporate logo lettering.
The video below shows a demonstration of drawing famous logos by hand using a manuscript pen, an oblique pen holder, and a pilot parallel pen. Pretty fascinating to watch!
Creating your own hand for your journal
Why create your own hand? Isn’t your personal handwriting good enough?
There are several reasons.
You might have sloppy handwriting that you can read, but others can’t. Creating a more legible hand could help your descendants read your thoughts.
If you have an interest in cryptography, creating your own hand can be combined with your interest in ciphers. For more about ciphers, check out this article. It has plenty of references you can use to create secret codes.
If you are creating an art journal, then creating your own font could give it a distinctive style from the rest of your work. Take a look at the style of letters that are used in some of the famous art journals out there – the letters are often very stylized.
So, how do you make your own font? The best (and most consistent) fonts start with some planning. Here are some questions that you might want to ask yourself while you’re developing your own font.
Serif or sans serif?
Serifs are the little pokey bits off the ends of letters in some fonts. They’re leftovers from when people used to write with quill pens. An example of a serif font is Times New Roman. Arial is a sans serif font.
What is the ratio of the hand?
A letter’s spacing is divided between the main body, an ascender, and a descender. If you look at the letters a, d, and q, you can see that the size of the letter a is the same size as the round part of the d and the q. This is the body. The line going above that point on the letter d is an ascender, while the line going down on the letter q is the descender. Playing with the relationship of the sizes of these parts is an important part of making a hand.
What’s the purpose of the hand?
If you’re writing for speed, you’ll need to find fast ways to write the letters. If you’re writing for beauty, you may want to add more loops and flourishes. In all cases, you should be able to read the result afterward.
What are your unique touches?
Are the P’s stylized like in Harry Potter? Are you dotting your i’s and j’s with little hearts? Does your b have crazy looping? You’ll want to get these touches in place before you practice your hand so you can be consistent.
We suggest that you start designing your fonts with a sheet of graph paper. This makes it easier to experiment with ratio and curves. Draw out the ideas that you have for your font and don’t be afraid to use your eraser. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time – after all, this is your personal font. Try many different letter shapes and angles until you find some letters that work for you. Then create a whole alphabet. Maybe even two if you want upper and lowercase letters.
Once you have your alphabet, now you have to memorize it. The only way to do that is to grab your leather journal practice your hand until it becomes natural. After a bit of practice, you will have built a hand of your own creation that expresses your unique form of lettering. Congratulations!
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Jake & Bella are both young professionals who reside in sunny Queensland, Australia. Jake is an executive within the medical tourism industry and Bella is a young PR & Journalism graduate. Both use journals and notebooks as part of their daily life, whether it's taking notes, creating concepts, planning projects or showing some gratitude. Both have a keen eye for what makes a high quality journal that's a pleasure to own and use. Visit the Our Team page for more info on this bother and sister duo.