Looking for inspiration/help on journal handwriting, artsy not practical
November 12, 2020 11:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm just beginning with keeping a log/journal for a lovecraftian horror themed game, and would love to make it look more interesting. I've tried looking for journal handwriting tips, but all of what I've found is based on clarity, or on making it more organized. The goal is to make it look interesting, and while my handwriting is not great right now, I'm going to be working on it for this project. Are there any sites that give examples and help with handwriting/formatting/embellishing for something like this that you can recommend?

For a little more detail, the game right now is the Arkham Horror Card Game (although I'll be doing something similar for a few other projects in the near future). You keep a log of events at the end of each chapter of the story.

I've got a lovely looking journal with browned frayed paper, and recently acquired a fountain pen, so the materials part I've got covered. However, the journal right now just looks like any other list of information I'd put together in real life. I want it to catch the eye, to have interesting looking titles, or layouts that don't look like to do lists. In the end it should look interesting even without caring about the information.

Any help is appreciated.
posted by markblasco to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Have you looked at the props from HPLHS? I've definitely used some of the fonts for blanks.

My other thought would be to look at university/museum collections of old manuscripts of the type you feel would be right. Is it 1920s pharmacy or a medieval? The Voynich?
posted by cobaltnine at 11:49 AM on November 12, 2020

You could create a “secret” code for certain entries and leave clues for others to decipher.
posted by Ideefixe at 12:01 PM on November 12, 2020

The book Draw Your Day is about sketch journaling, but it has a section on typography and uses elaborate lettering. If you'd just like some inspiration, you can see her as sdionbakerdesign on instagram as well.
posted by past unusual at 12:24 PM on November 12, 2020

The Palmer method would be a distinctive, period appropriate hand for your journal.


Copperplate is fancier and older (and more difficult to write) if you have a formal invitation or historic content planned.
posted by momus_window at 12:50 PM on November 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Just writing with a calligraphy nib will make your ordinary handwriting look interestingly old-fashioned.
posted by LizardBreath at 1:08 PM on November 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

r/calligraphy and r/fountainpens often have samples of interesting writing.
posted by bq at 6:27 PM on November 12, 2020

Little doodles in the margins of eldritch things, or pressed flowers, bugs, scraps of mysterious writings, rubbings of old carvings, twists of hair, feathers, mushroom spore prints...
posted by The otter lady at 6:36 PM on November 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Set-off block quotes - like in a newspaper where they have one quote in bigger print in a box to draw the eye, then the article flows around them. (Either good quotes from the table during play, or pulled from source material?)

Maps or diagrams - I suck at drawing and I find these much easier to throw in to an RPG log in a way that looks all right.

"Chapter" titles.
posted by february at 6:41 AM on November 13, 2020

I love looking at other people's notebooks, journals, and diaries.

For inspiration, I'd suggest checking out Guillermo del Toro and William Blake's notebooks.

Also, consider ink colors other than black and blue. I think a nice sepia fountain pen ink would work well with your distressed journal.
posted by cursed at 7:50 AM on November 13, 2020

The Postman's Knock has tutorials for various styles of calligraphy and hand lettering.
posted by Lexica at 12:28 PM on November 14, 2020

Between Palmer and Copperplate would be Spencerian. Take a look at Italic as well (scroll all the way down).

You might find some inspiration in naturalist field journals also.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:24 PM on November 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Here’s an actual scanned example (archive.org is pretty good for finding them).
posted by en forme de poire at 8:32 PM on November 14, 2020

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