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Thread: Matthew's handwriting

  1. #1
    Cute Little Poot
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    Wednesday, Apr 11 2012

    Matthew's handwriting

    I noticed something interesting about "Letter Update" the second time I read it: the unusual forms of 'a' and 'g'.

    Fig. 1: "Letter Update" with 'a' and 'g' highlighted (click to enlarge)

    There are two forms of lowercase 'g': the opentail form and the looptail form. The opentail form is used in most sans-serif fonts (such as Helvetica and Arial) and italic serif fonts, while the looptail form is more common in upright serif fonts (such as Times New Roman) but appears in Droid Sans.

    Fig. 2: Forms of 'g' in DejaVu Sans and Droid Sans

    Looptail 'g' has two bowls (enclosed areas) connected at a "neck" (or "link") and an "ear" protruding from the top or top-right of the top bowl.

    Fig. 3: Ear and neck in 'g' in Droid Sans

    By far, most handwriting uses opentail g, but "Letter Update" appears to simulate looptail g. In some places it comes close, but by about the third line it sort of settles down into a form resembling a cursive 'q', but with the end of the loop raised closer to x-height.

    Likewise, the letter 'a' has a 1-story form, looking like an 'o' with a short tail, seen in handwriting, in italic serif fonts, and in some geometric fonts such as Avant Garde and Lubalin Graph. It also has a 2-story form, sort of like an inverted, shrunken opentail 'g', seen in upright serif fonts, most sans-serif fonts.

    Fig. 4: Forms of 'a' in Comic Sans and Droid Sans

    Unlike most handwriting, "Letter Update" uses a 2-story 'a'. There's another handwritten 2-story 'a' that looks more like a handwritten numeral 2, as depicted in the Animaniacs episode "Cookies for Einstein", where "Acme" spelled backward is "Emca", or "Emc2" as Wakko Warner writes it with a 2-story 'a', inspiring Albert Einstein to state the equivalence of mass and energy.

    Interestingly enough, a Waluigi Time from around the same time uses the 1-story 'a' and opentail 'g' more commonly found in handwriting. Making "Waluigi's" handwriting distinct from "Matthew's" is a subtle touch that only font geeks will notice consciously but still sets the in-character work apart from out-of-character work.

    Fig. 5: Waluigi time

  2. #2
    now jennynuts Jeff Andonuts's Avatar
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    Monday, Mar 29 2010

    Re: Matthew's handwriting

    While setting apart in character work from OOC work is more than a reasonable explanation to change those particular letters, one can't help but noticing that his signature seems to use the more common 1-story 'a' rather than the less common 2-story 'a' seen in the rest of his handwriting.
    All in all this is quite a fun fact, and while we may not notice it consciously I can tell that I definitely noticed something off comparing both letters, but I couldn't tell what with simple sight.

  3. #3
    Administrator Forum Administrator TriforceBun's Avatar
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    Monday, Mar 1 2010
    Louisiana, USA

    Re: Matthew's handwriting

    Hah, this is quite an in-depth analysis! A little backstory for your trouble:

    When I was in the 8th grade or so, I got a little calligraphy set to try writing in a more interesting form. Practicing with it got me familiar with the "two-story" a and the slightly fancier g compared to the more simplistic versions I'd been using. The habit of writing a's and g's like that caught on from then onward, and that's always been part of my handwriting since.

    When I started BitF, most of the text was in uppercase, but when I did lowercase fonts, I typically used the simpler a and g instead of what I was used to because I felt it fit with the comic's childlike aspects more clearly. In fact, I've used it so much since then that I sometimes mix up a's and g's when writing normally now! But yeah, adjusting Waluigi's writing style to differentiate it was definitely a conscious decision.

    The little a's in my name came from me basically writing in a "print" version of cursive (my normal cursive doesn't look all that great). I liked the way it looked so I stuck with it.
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  4. #4
    Waddle Dee ff3girl's Avatar
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    Wednesday, Apr 14 2010

    Re: Matthew's handwriting

    This was fun to read!! I love hearing and reading nerdy rants about interesting things. x3 Matthew was just asking me something earlier tonight about another handwriting form for an upcoming comic. I like knowing how much thought he puts into things.

    (On another note, the fact that so much effort was put into analyzing Matthew's handwriting really shows that it's time for another comic to discuss... haha)

  5. #5
    Unexpect the unexpected Nintendo_Fan128's Avatar
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    Tuesday, Mar 16 2010

    Re: Matthew's handwriting

    Wow, I'd never have noticed this! You sure do have a nice eye for details :D

  6. #6
    Wakka-wakka-wakka YamiGekusu's Avatar
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    Thursday, Mar 4 2010
    The Mitten

    Re: Matthew's handwriting

    I wouldn't have caught all them details! *clap clap clap* This was a very good read, indeed.
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  7. #7
    hey sinnerman where you gonna run to Forum Veteran Eruedraith's Avatar
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    Saturday, May 15 2010
    Cast down with the smokers and the children

    Re: Matthew's handwriting


    Most impressive.

    Until further notice, you will be known as 'the handwriting guy'.

    Seriously, cool stuff.
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    He were not hanged. He would not answer aye or nay to his indictment; for if he denied the charge they'd hang him surely, and auction out his property. So he stand mute, and died Christian under the law. And so his sons will have his farm. It is the law, for he could not be con-demned a wizard without he answer the indictment, aye or nay... Great stones they lay upon his chest until he plead aye or nay. They say he give them but two words. "More weight," he says. And died.

  8. #8
    I literally hate figurative literals. itsameluigi1290's Avatar
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    Sunday, Mar 4 2012
    Nothing's Call

    Re: Matthew's handwriting

    That was very interesting. I never noticed that, either. Great job!

  9. #9
    Aim for the top. Madmachine's Avatar
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    Saturday, Oct 8 2011
    Shinbone Laboratories

    Re: Matthew's handwriting

    Eeenteresting. Ferry eenteresting.

    Ferry, ferry interesting.

    Vith a ferry faluable lesson on fonts, too!

    Sank you ferry much.

  10. #10
    Hey look it's Pac-man! Your day is now ruined. Cerd's Avatar
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    Friday, Mar 5 2010

    Re: Matthew's handwriting

    Wow, that's kinda make me wonder how my handwriting is. Nice job on the analysis!

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  11. #11
    Pagophilus groenlandicus Seal's Avatar
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    Friday, Mar 2 2012
    The Arctic

    Re: Matthew's handwriting

    Wow, that's really observant. I would never catch something like that. You have my respect.

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