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Handwriting Between The Lines


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77 replies to this topic

#1 kenfraser

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 22:29

One subject which is constantly re-surfacing, is the use or non-use of horizontal lines in
handwriting as an aid to keeping the writing straight on the page.

Somehow, over the years, there has developed the idea that writing on ruled paper
indicates some kind of deficiency and unless handwriting is on blank paper whilst
maintaining straight lines, it’s to be looked down on, with a certain amount of derision.

In my own small way, I’d like to attempt to redress the balance and restore the use of
horizontal guidelines to their proper place.

There are many examples of guidelines having been commonplace in medieval times.
They weren’t thought of as ‘crutches’ to good writing to be removed as soon as possible
but were often considered an integral part of the overall design and appearance of
the finished text and, as such, were left in place on completion of the writing.

One technique which was particularly effective, was to handwrite between the lines
instead of on them. In this way, the lines were an aid to maintaining straight writing,
but instead of the lines interfering with the lettering as they were crossed by ascenders
and descenders, the effect was to frame the lettering and produce an attractive whole.

IMHO using lined paper in handwriting needn’t be a bad thing and you aren’t a lesser
person if you choose to do so! You are in good company as the Writing Masters of a
bygone age would testify!

This minuscule x-height in this example is about 3mm and the lines are 8mm apart.

caliken

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Edited by caliken, 08 December 2010 - 22:31.


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#2 kenfraser

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 23:01

This example of "in-between the lines" writing is in Dutch and dates from c1490.

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#3 Ted H

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 23:28

Thanks, Ken! That's a great idea.
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#4 WendyNC

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 23:35

Given my tendency to wobble my lines, I suspect this would be harder for me that trying to stay on the lines. It would probably be good practice.

Your example is lovely, as always.
I came here for the pictures and stayed for the conversation.

#5 kenfraser

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 23:45

Given my tendency to wobble my lines, I suspect this would be harder for me that trying to stay on the lines. It would probably be good practice.

WendyNC,

I suspect that you'd find it a lot easier than you imagine. I find that the eye registers the lines above and below the writing without actually seeing them (if you know what I mean!) and it's comparatively easy to stay within them.

Also, a slight occasional wobble in the writing is less noticable, as it's contained within the two straight lines.

Ken

Edited by caliken, 08 December 2010 - 23:45.


#6 ethernautrix

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 23:49

Rock on, Ken!

Someone noticed that I did that, pointed it out to me. I hadn't noticed myself.


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Pelikan Toledo by ethernautrix, on Flickr

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#7 Wickwack

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 00:05

Thanks for the tip - I'll try it. I have an unusual "talent" if you will ~ I can't write straight on blank paper unless it's turned at an angle with a corner pointed up and I write diagonally across it. Then I can write perfectly straight! Can anyone relate?
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#8 wykeite

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 00:08

Rock on, Ken!

Someone noticed that I did that, pointed it out to me. I hadn't noticed myself.


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Pelikan Toledo by ethernautrix, on Flickr


When I first saw your post the fact that you wrote between the lines jumped at me. I find it extremely attractive and pleasing to read.

I've been practising secretly with an abysmal lack of success :embarrassed_smile: .
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#9 TrevorML

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 01:32

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geez I LOVE your writing Lisa... it is soooo consistently beautiful and soooo easy to read... LOVE IT!!!Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

#10 HDoug

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 02:13

When I use lines, I usually write between them. It's kind of like lined Japanese stationery -- except it's horizontal and not vertical.

Doug

#11 WendyNC

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 02:38

Given my tendency to wobble my lines, I suspect this would be harder for me that trying to stay on the lines. It would probably be good practice.

WendyNC,

I suspect that you'd find it a lot easier than you imagine. I find that the eye registers the lines above and below the writing without actually seeing them (if you know what I mean!) and it's comparatively easy to stay within them.

Also, a slight occasional wobble in the writing is less noticable, as it's contained within the two straight lines.

Ken


Fair enough. I just gave it a go, with the sorta-kinda italic on which I've been working. I can see how it operates--but I need much bigger spaces!
I came here for the pictures and stayed for the conversation.

#12 Katu

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 05:39

This is very interesting indeed. As some of you may have seen, I am actively working on my handwriting. I will definitely have to look into this as well, as it seems an intriguing method of utilizing ruled paper that I had not seen before. I will definitely experiment with this, and I thank you Ken, for sharing it! :thumbup:
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#13 Katu

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 06:10

Thought I would share my experiment. I went ahead and used my printer to print out a sheet of wide ruled paper (I don't keep any on hand) and gave this a go. Like Ken suggested, it really isn't as hard as one may think. I went ahead and gave this a shot on narrow ruled paper after the wide ruled test, and even that is surprisingly legible. I may adopt this into my everyday writing, because I am quite pleased with the aesthetic result.

Thank you very much for posting this Ken! I like it a lot!

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PS: Ignore the stupid grammar and spelling errors. As I always do when I am trying something new, I tend to ignore both of those. When I do notice them, I tend not to bother correcting. It is, after all, an experiment, not a personal correspondence or otherwise.

PPS: As I noticed when I wrote it my narrow ruled journal this evening, it also makes my handwriting smaller, which tends to fit more per line/page. Added bonus!!

Edit: Added PPS, changed pic to off site host, to be kinder to FPN server space :)

Edited by Katu, 09 December 2010 - 06:49.

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#14 kenfraser

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 10:21

Katu,

I like this very much! The line width looks about right to me and the contrasting colours are very effective. :thumbup:

Ken

Edited by caliken, 09 December 2010 - 10:23.


#15 openionated

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 18:27

Over the years as I've looked at ads for various journals and day-planners, I've liked the way the handwritten notes were displayed on the page. I never realized until this post that the "between the lines" technique is used in some of the better photos for the ads. Definitely going to spend some time working on this. Thanks for posting this Ken!

#16 plc123

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 19:01

Thanks for starting this post! I have been using the Gold Fibre retro writing pad because I like the format; however, I disliked the wide rule, that is, until I tried this method! Now my notes look much neater, and not like they are sinking to the bottom of the large space between the lines! It makes everything easier to read, too. Amazing.

#17 ethernautrix

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 21:25

When I first saw your post the fact that you wrote between the lines jumped at me. I find it extremely attractive and pleasing to read.

I've been practising secretly with an abysmal lack of success :embarrassed_smile: .


Ah, it was you. Thanks for pointing it out, wykeite. Keep practicing! I'm sure you'll be pleased eventually.

Thank you, Trevor!

Katu, your handwriting is very neat! And that red is pretty.

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#18 Katu

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 23:27

Katu, your handwriting is very neat! And that red is pretty.


Thanks :)

The red is Noodler's Dragon's Napalm. I had coveted this ink for the longest time, until my parents' bought it for me as a birthday present. It is a very fun color to write with, and the ink behaves well for a Noodler's
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#19 physicsgirl

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 20:48

Okay I tried it out:
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The ink scan looks a bit more purple on my monitor that I see in person (incase anyone was curious). Pinkly is a very hot pink color.
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#20 wallylynn

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Posted 15 December 2010 - 23:19

So, I went through some of my notes. I noticed that for the most part, I write on the line.

Except at work. At work I use grid/graph paper (self printed on the backs of scrap) and there I write between the lines. I don't know if it's subliminal from using grids and I'm subconsciously centering everything, or if it's just a coincidence that my float over the bottom line matches the distance from the top line simply because it's the size I'm most comfortable writing at. Probably both. I found 1/4in too big, and 1/6 in too small, 1/5 in was just right when I was making the grids. I guess instead of centering my writing, I centered the lines to fit my writing!

I also noticed there's a difference when I'm printing vs. cursive. Print is more centered, cursive more on the line.

P.S. Thanks, Ken, for posting in my Line Spacing thread too.






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