• Guest Post - Margaret from Sincerely.Bo

Introduction to American Cursive Writing



For many of us, learning cursive was a rite of passage in grade school. However, it’s a skill that has gotten lost in the age of computers. Research shows there are real benefits to practicing cursive writing. Writing by hand helps our brains learn and recollect information better.


In this article, we’ll explore the history of American Cursive Writing and the supplies you’ll need to practice American Cursive at home.


What is American Cursive?

In the late nineteenth century, Austin Norman Palmer, an American penman, developed a style of penmanship that was easier to read and write than the Spencerian script (a traditional historical script). He published his first edition of Palmer’s Guide to Muscular Movement Writing in 1888. Throughout the 20th century, other penmen joined the growing trend toward this “new way” to write.


This style was adopted by the public throughout the U.S. and simply became known as “cursive”. In the modern days, the term cursive is referred to as handwriting that is flowing and joined. It is intended to be written with common writing tools such as fountain pen, pen, rollerballs pen, or pencils.


Why is handwriting important?

With the massive impact of computers and electronic methods of communication today, handwriting has been put aside. While it is true that during our hectic lives the sudden need to jot down notes, write a message on a piece of paper we do not know the fundamentals of posture, correct muscle use or even the proper letterform.


Penmanship is a way of relaxation. This applies whether it’s writing poetry, keeping a journal, maintaining a handwritten list of favourite recipes, or a gardening diary.


To quote Master Penman, Michael R. Sull, “…that action of emotion, of thought and decision that has recorded the history of mankind, revealed the genius of invention, and disclosed the inmost depth of the soulful heart.”


What you need to write in American Cursive

The following supplies will help you perfect your American Cursive writing technique.


1. Paper

It’s best to invest in a good, smooth paper for practice. Try using: Canson, Rhodia or any quality 24 lb. InkJet or laser bond paper.


2. Writing instrument

When it comes to the best writing instruments, it really depends on your personal preference. But there are a few things to consider when choosing a pen:

  • How comfortable is it in your hand?

  • The ink should flow smoothly on the paper.

  • Nib/tip/rollerball pen size: Broad, medium, fine and extra fine. For general writing, either medium or fine point will be fine.

If you can, visit a reputable pen store to try out a pen before you purchase it. If you live in Toronto, visit Wonder Pens or Paper Plus Cloth. Alternatively, you can shop online at Paper & Ink Arts or John Neal Books. Both stores are based in the U.S. but ship worldwide.


3. Exemplars

Although there are many free guide sheets out there, it’s highly recommended you do some research on exemplars. Unfortunately, there are incorrect scripts or the wrong style of exemplars on the market. And once you start practicing American cursive, it is hard to correct.


Learn American Cursive with Boomerang

With just a few economical supplies you could start your penmanship journey. Various workshops on American cursive are available through Boomerang regularly. They include:

  • Introduction to American Cursive 2 – The workshop focuses on short extended and looped lower case letters.

  • Intermediate American Cursive – Learn how to create upper case letters.

  • Advanced American Cursive – Expand your skills and practice the craft of American cursive writing full paragraphs.

  • Beyond Paper Projects – Once you have mastered cursive writing on paper, there are infinite projects where you can execute lettering including on a mirror, glasses, or wood.


About Margaret Wong

Margaret is the creator behind Sincerely.Bo, a Toronto based boutique design studio specializing in custom lettering and calligraphy. She provides calligraphy and hand engraving services for events, brands and workshops. Margaret is an active member at the IAMPETH (The International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting) and also a Certified American Cursive Penmanship Instructor (ACICP). She has a passion for teaching workshops and believes calligraphy is a very therapeutic form of art, which creates an opportunity to slow down and breathe as you move the pen across the page. Margaret is excited to share her passion with you! To see more of her work, check out Margaret’s website or visit her on Instagram.

Pursuing your hobbies or rediscovering your passions has never been easier. With Boomerang, older adults can register for over 250+ online workshops a month in areas of their interest. Express your creative side, learn to cook new dishes or get active in virtual yoga classes. Our online workshops are led by passionate hosts who help you explore your interests.

Explore online workshops with Boomerang


Pursuing your hobbies or rediscovering your passions has never been easier. With Boomerang, older adults can register for over 250+ online workshops a month in areas of their interest. Express your creative side, learn to cook new dishes or get active in virtual yoga classes. Our online workshops are led by passionate Hosts to help you explore your interests.

Sign up for your free Boomerang account today!

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.

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