Cursive in the Crosswinds This Week

Pearls Before Lobster by Jann Alexander © 2014
Pearls Before Lobster, stunning in cursive letters, by Jann Alexander © 2014

Some themes emerged and merged this week, involving writing, cursive and sketching as nearly-lost arts:

Former Teacher


  • Pick up a pencil and sketch: Stop taking iPhone pictures and start sketching what you see (in another find from Jane Somers). Philosophers’ Mail makes a thought-provoking case for a return to a skill we once all used, pre-photography: drawing. Artist John Ruskin, circa mid-1800s, was a drawing proponent and camera opponent who believed everyone was an artist:

‘A man is born an artist as a hippopotamus is born a hippopotamus; and you can no more make yourself one than you can make yourself a giraffe.’



“I’m not a Luddite. I just think paper and pen is a superior technology”


  • And Kleon’s follow-up photo, sharing Magritte’s cursive, was so right: “Look at Magritte’s cursive! So boss.” Such style, from an era (unlike today) when cursive was the only option:
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Magritte’s cursive: “So boss.”


  • Researchers reminded us The Best Way to Remember Something is to Take Notes By Hand, in a story that appeared in Fast Company Design. Writing in longhand, while listening, requires us to process what we’re hearing and choose the critical bits to write down, perhaps in a hand like this:



“Sketching helps me see, think, and communicate more clearly. It facilitates dialogue with myself, and others. It produces wonderful records of the conversations for later. It adds emotion and context to my memory and fuels my imagination. It has simultaneously slowed me down, and sped me up. It’s made me a better designer. It’s enriched my life.”



Vanishing Austin_BBQ and More by Jann Alexander © 2010
BBQ and More by Jann Alexander © 2010

Why don’t you pick up your pen and write something in cursive today?



9 thoughts on “Cursive in the Crosswinds This Week

Add yours

  1. Yes. Sixty to ninety minutes every morning, with fountain pens (because they make writing a sensual experience, literally something that flows). It saves my life, over and over!


  2. Jann, I took my first drawing class last fall. In reading about drawing, I came upon this book and it’s a joy to read. Drawing increases mindfulness, and puts one in the “zone” which is very calming. I wanted to share this book with you. The Zen of Seeing/Drawing as Meditation, Frederick Franck. Are you familiar with it?


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