Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Font from My Own Hand

When I was little, I always wanted to be the kind of girl whose handwriting was girly. Other girls could produce these wonderful fat bubble letters with curliques and flourishes--my handwriting was all crabby and awkward, primarily since my fat little hand couldn't seem to move nearly as fast as my fat little mind. It was pretty neat--I mean, I did get a lot of practice and all, what with regularly writing 60-page animal-rescue adventures stories, but no, it was nothing special.

Which doesn't mean that my handwriting doesn't deserve to be memorialized. Because oh, it totally does.

I've seen off and on the odd program that makes fonts from your own handwriting, but it always cost a pittance to use, and you know how I feel about that. But all this weekend I've been playing with a new beta from fontcapture, and although I'm not going to write my next seminar paper in my brand new Julie Handwriting Font or anything, it is fun for playing with:
It's freaky, because the font is created very simply, from a worksheet that you print out, fill out, scan back into your computer, and then upload to the site, but this font looks EXACTLY like my handwriting. Exactly. Dead on.

Matt's font doesn't look as much like his actual handwriting, in my opinion (I'm pretty sure that when he writes, his lowercase letters are just smaller versions of his capital letters--hoo-ah, public school!), but can you believe he was stupid enough to provide me with the means to produce a font that mimics his handwriting even this closely?Mwa-ha-ha! Don't tell him, but I'm likely to use this font to write out little contracts to myself that promise me things, or letters of guilt and apology, etc.

We even got our Willow into the act. It was a challenge, because the grid in which you're supposed to write each letter is a little on the small side for a five-year-old's fine motor skills to easily handle, so some of her letters are cut off at the top or bottom. If I ever wanted to use her handwriting font to do more than just goof around, I'd likely have her fill out several of these worksheets (she loves them), then cut and paste between them in Photoshop to make the most workable choice for each letter. We're just goofing, though, and besides, there's something else big on her mind these days. To wit:

It actually does look pretty much like her handwriting, although I don't know what's going on with the spacing between words.

So I'm thinking that these handwriting fonts would be super-cool for scrapbooking. I also have a plan to go home over the holidays and collect the handwriting fonts for all my relatives, because it just seems like a kind of cool keepsake to have. I

It seems kind of creepy, though, in some ways, to collect my family's handwriting as fonts on my computer. Handwriting is so individual and personal, it's like collecting their hair or something.

Of course, not all of my relatives have hair, but they do all have handwriting.


Anonymous said...

what a great post. technology!
it started me thinking of my students. some who write in all caps so i have to get them to make the "caps" larger so they don't loose points. or me, who won't use any caps when writing informally on the web or those students (my majority) whose first language is oral and there is no written portion; no books, no notes to pass in class, no love letters... all of their language is verbal and history/tradition is passed on through the tongue. cheers!

Matt said...