10/52: Cursive

I hate my handwriting.


Each week for a year, I’m going to be designing a shirt and releasing it on my Threadless store. This is the design for week 10.


After I finished 2nd grade, we moved from North Carolina to Illinois. The move went smoothly, with one notable exception. In North Carolina, they taught cursive in 3rd grade. In Illinois, they taught cursive in 2nd grade. I didn’t know how to write in cursive, yet I was required to write everything in cursive in my new school.

Mrs. Schmidt was nice and had a solution for this problem… I would learn cursive over the first two weeks of school. A couple times a day, I’d go over to a desk off to the side and do cursive worksheets. And it worked, kind of. I learned the basics of how to make the letterforms, but I never became comfortable. My cursive handwriting never became fluid or natural. It always looked like the writing of a 3rd grader.

Eventually, I moved on from elementary school and my teachers no longer cared if I wrote in cursive. I settled on my current style — mostly block printing with some cursive connectors thrown in for speed. I became more comfortable, but I hated my handwriting.

When I was young, having to write handwritten notes to people always stressed me out because I thought people would judge my juvenile writing. I still don’t write long notes in greeting cards because it makes me anxious. In high school and college, I actively destroyed my signature and made it messier because I thought it looked “older.”

I still don’t write long notes in greeting cards because it makes me anxious.

A few years ago, I discovered fountain pens — and better writing utensils. Writing with nice pens and pencils changed my writing. When I wrote with an extra fine nib, my handwriting became small and neat. And with a 1.1 mm stub nib, my handwriting was looser and more fluid. I still don’t love my handwriting, but I’m less embarrassed about writing notes to people.

This week’s shirt is Cursive. And it’s my handwriting. I used a limited edition Blackwing Volume 73 pencil — one with a really soft lead. And I wrote the word cursive in my sketchbook several hundred times.* I eventually found one I liked to scan and convert.

Cursive is available on my Threadless store in a range of lighter colors and several different styles and is discounted for the first week it's on sale.

* Seriously... hundreds of times.

A couple of my cursive options.

A couple of my cursive options.

Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. He's currently in the middle of a project to design a new shirt a week for an entire year. Follow Bob on TwitterInstagram and Micro.Blog.