Handwritten E-mail–what a lovely idea! Pilot, maker of traditional pens, is working on it. It isn’t perfected yet–this is still beta testing–but they have a beautiful goal. I suggest you watch the demo video first:
The demo shows cursive handwriting easily edited and masterfully connected. Not so. I’m known for my calligraphy and its influence on my everyday handwriting. You wouldn’t guess that from this sample:
So I tried printing.
It took four scans to get this much clarity and to realize that the adjustment feature does exist. You click on each letter before you save the font.
My attempt to write larger and more clearly improved the spacing between letters, but the lines overlapped because the leading (space between lines) doesn’t change. My “y” was missing, so that one was especially awkward and it turned out too thin.
It was time-consuming and not satisfying in its results, but it was fun to try on a lazy Saturday morning. I made it an artist’s date. If you want to try it, go ahead and read their instructions, then follow my additional tips for you:
- Print several copies of the template. Sure, you’re more likely to get it right the first time because you have these tips–and if you nail it, you’ll have extra ones to share with a friend.
- Use a thick marker.
- Print neatly, with large open spaces wherever spaces should be.
- Be as consistent in size and pen stroke as possible.
- Be consistent in your letter placement baseline. If I tried this again, I’d mark baselines on one copy of the template and place that under the one I’m writing on.
- Skip the Webcam upload. Use a scanner. (I would have tried the digital camera method as well if I could find my camera’s USB cord.)
- Adjust each letter by clicking on it, and move the slider bar to the left, making each letter slightly thinner.
- If a letter appears to be missing, use the slider bar to find it. It’s usually there, only hiding.
- Use the eraser for any extra marks that mysteriously appear. That’s what happened with my lower case O in sample 2.
- Fill sparingly. Maybe a stylus or an Etch-a-Sketch artist could manage this, but on a trackpad, I got only ugly pixelated lines, especially on diagonals.
- Starting over a couple of times isn’t a bad strategy.
After you send your handwritten e-mail, this message appears:
Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011. All Rights Reserved.
Images from Pilot Handwriting and samples of my own experiments.
Disclosure: I have no relationship with Pilot, but only discovered this through my usual online serendipity.