Anyone who knows us knows that we're all over anything to do with ink and handwriting and slow writing, and so when Ryan Couldrey, a Toronto-based filmmaker, approached us with the possibility of helping him with his new short film on ink, of course we said yes. I think really I said yes on behalf of Jon, but you know, we got married, so two becomes one.

Ink - Written by Hand #inkdoc Ryan Couldrey
Ryan just released his film, titled "Ink - Written by Hand" and it's a wonderful story and commentary on handwriting featuring Tanja Tiziana, a freelance photographer also based out of Toronto, coincidentally also a favourite customer of ours here at Wonder Pens. You can see extra footage and details on Ryan's website The film follows Tanja through how she became interested in handwriting and her pens and inks and writing tools, and the meaning and significance of writing by hand these days. There are some beautiful shots of old postcards and that flowing script of earlier years, but also some close ups of Tanja's calligraphy in action that I admit to having paused and re-watched more than a few times. Ink - Written by Hand from Ryan Couldrey on Vimeo. Not long ago, handwriting was taken for granted as something anyone could generally do well. Today, children are taught how to type on tablets - putting pen to paper is an afterthought. INK follows Tanja Tiziana - a freelance photographer in Toronto, Canada - and her journey to rediscover the written word.

What I really love about this film, though, is that it's a thoughtful and thought-provoking narrative on the learning of handwriting and the process of words traveling from your mind to the paper in front of you. Along with the beauty of careful and practised handwriting, it's about the slowness and the patience and the tactile nature of writing. I loved the comment near the beginning about how pausing too long when you're in deep thought or you're trying to think of something while using a piece of technology will put your iPad or your phone to sleep - there really is almost such a rush and a need for instant gratification when using technology sometimes. Slowing down in an effort to enrich and deepen your thoughts and how you travel through life. I love that this film has taken the time to appreciate something like handwriting that may or may not be slowly disappearing, and to wonder about its place in the world. And, if you look closely, you may also recognize something familiar! Our old 906 shop appears briefly, with Jon playing a cameo. He looks as scruffy and handsome as always ;) To celebrate this film, Ryan has generously sponsored a giveaway - a chance to win: - a bottle of Noodler's Black, Tanja's ink of choice - SNOW, a copy of Ryan's feature-film adaptation of the hit graphic novel, and - a bottle of Noodler's Raven Black, their newest black ink, a Canadian exclusive To enter, watch the film, and leave a comment. Share your favourite part, a question you might have, something that was interesting for you to note. 1. Contest closes 11:59 EST July 13th. 2. The randomly selected winner will be announced July 14th, and have three days to contact us. 3. Shipping within Canada only. Good luck!
INKdoc by Ryan Couldrey

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July 07, 2015 — wonderpens



ปั๊มไลค์ said:

Like!! Great article post.Really thank you! Really Cool.

Gregory Furan

Gregory Furan said:

I was absolutely amazed watching the ink flow from Tanja’s pen. I exercise an uncial style of text writing, which I have observed morphing as I continue to work at it. I will watch the video again to try to figure out what nib she is using. Thank you all for making this excellent video available.


wonderpens said:

Thanks so much for watching! Tanja really is amazing, and I’ve watched this video more than several times myself. I loved hearing about your own calligraphic journey, and wish you good luck as you continue!

Chadwick Michna

Chadwick Michna said:

Hi, this is a nitty way to get a brand new IPHONE


BCDDiggler said:

To an extent this mirrors my “re-introduction” to handwriting. I wonder how many others have started to “slow down” and get back some of the artistry and texture in our lives.

Does she have more colours?

Chris McConnell

Chris McConnell said:

I’ve used fountain pens for day-to-day writing since high school, and I took up calligraphy with dip pens a few years ago. I love the way this film (and the outtakes) catch some of what’s so appealing about it for me. It’s not just the visual beauty of the finished product, which is secondary for me. It’s the beauty of the process, in so many physical ways. Certainly, calligraphy makes me slow down; I focus, I breathe differently, and I relax. There’s the contrast of smooth ink on the texture of paper. And there’s the way the writing itself, even when you look at it after the fact, conveys the sense of the movement that went into it: it can be slow or fast, careful or free, precise or loose. You can just look at it, and feel the movement that made it.

Dylan Simpson

Dylan Simpson said:

I must say I really enjoyed this film a lot. As I 17 year old I can really identify with it and it certainly brought back my interest in calligraphy. After watching this I actually went out to the craft store and bought some inks and pens to practise with, hopefully I can be as good as Tanja when writing calligraphy. Thank you for this beautiful and inspiring film ?

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron)

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron) said:

It might’ve been the end of the video, but there were many other blank pages behind the credits waiting to be written on :)

B.Brittain-Marshall (@ritewhileucan)

B.Brittain-Marshall (@ritewhileucan) said:

As a huge advocate for the lost art of writing letters I am absolutely smitten with this film (would love to share on my blog too – hope that would be ok). I don’t use fountain pens or know much about them myself, so I appreciated Tanya sharing her knowledge on inks. There is something almost magical about putting pen to paper in this digital age. The audio of the scratching of the pen nib on paper is a delight.


Shanta said:

Lovely film. I like that little spritz of black ink that sprays her page of otherwise perfect calligraphy. And then she continues writing with flawless craftsmanship. For me that scene captures the difference between computers and fountain pens. There is no backspace key for fountain pens. Kudos for not cutting that out of the film.

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron)

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron) said:

We made this film for people to watch, so please share it any/every where :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


Andrea said:

The whole film is beautiful. I love the detail in the bricks in the beginning but my utter favourite moment is when the drop of ink runs back down into the bottle after she dips her pen. Perfect. (And you know I live in Canada by the proper use of the u in favourite!)


Andrea said:

I get a lot of random comments on my pens at work. I love coloured multis with black & red as we have to chart in tiny spaces but I got caught with my roll of fountain pens the other night. It is so uncommon now that it draws attention. I do have a fellow addict though who has a pocket full of restored vintage Montblancs that he lets me touch from time to time. He knows I will use the apppropriate reverence towards his collection which he uses all the time.

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron)

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron) said:

It’d probably be fair to say that the vast majority of Tanja’s writing happens on a keyboard or touch screen. And while I chose to zero in on her Hassie and her other analog photo gear, her professional digital kit is all top-of-the line Canon gear (I’m a Nikon and Sony guy, myself, heh).

As for people looking at things to nitpick, you can’t please everyone, so I usually aim to please myself and hope others can enjoy it as well. In this case, it looks like people did enjoy it :)

Brian Greiner

Brian Greiner said:

A lovely film. Thank you for the opportunity to watch it.
I come from a generation that was formally taught cursive handwriting. Despite all those years of exposure my handwriting was never good, and it has gotten worse over the decades. My style has become a mixture of printed and cursive forms, but often leans more to the printed (my university drafting courses influenced that).
It shocks me to hear that handwritten communication is dying out! Reminds me when I first heard that reading an analog clock is becoming a lost skill.

Geoff Bennett Speer

Geoff Bennett Speer said:

Very nicely done. Visual details from the doc brought to mind a struggle of my own … As a fountain pen crusader, I’ve been accused of being a Luddite, of copping a “retro pose,” of somehow “living in the past” by people who would rather eat a fountain pen than use one in place of an iPhone for even a day. Tanja has a beautiful home and workspace, and you can see many details that betray a love of old, classic and vintage things … a Hasselblad camera, the old-school cat clock on the wall, the mementos of the Empire State Building, a vintage desk lamp, etc … I would worry that a person already suspicious of handwriting as an art form and predisposed to dismissing it as an antiquarian affectation might unfairly home in on details such as these to justify his point. I think it’s important for calligraphers, FP users and proponents of the handwritten word to dispel this ridiculous stereotype!


Rebecca said:

I got into fountain pens thanks to an online knitting group with several pen enthusiasts. So that interaction of really-old-fashioned with technology both killing it and keeping it alive really speaks to me. Yeah, I could order a packet of socks cheap online in seconds without having to even move…or I could spend 20 hours and $20 of yarn to knit a single pair. I could type it out at 70 wpm, or I could ink up a pen and write it out longform. I choose the slow each time I pick up my needles, or a pen — or my spinning wheel! (Probably especially the spinning wheel.)

It really struck me when the credits came up and I realized that’s what she had been writing. Here’s this beautiful piece about someone bringing a dying art into her life…and what she’s creating was an ending. It was such a juxtaposition. Makes one really think about what we’re doing to keep this alive, and if people in general even want to maintain handwriting as a skill. (Me, I definitely want to, not just for myself but everyone. It is a different thought experience to write rather than type.)

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron)

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron) said:

The magic of editing ;)

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron)

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron) said:

No, thank you!

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron)

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron) said:

I have no idea which that is, but we’re going to be doing a quick follow up for all the nib nerds where Tanja shares what’s inside her writing kit :)


Rameish said:

Not in Canada so I don’t qualify. Having said that my favourite part is the bit about how writing with a pen helps you to focus and actually think as its hand made by you. The bane of today’s world is the email. Everyone responds but most are not even reading. When I open an email with about 20 people on the cclist I cringe and read. However when I do receive a letter, a handwritten letter, what a delight to read it no matter what the topic.


brcnmor said:

What an absolutely lovely film! Watched it this morning before going on my usual early a.m. bike ride and thought about how ink, paper and pens offer up a most delicious and sensuous pleasure. Bravo, Ryan Couldrey for recognizing this and to Wonder Pens, kudos for continuing to celebrate it.

Kevin Kult

Kevin Kult said:

A fantastic short! And what a spot on statement about how huried and impersonal our world has become through the use of technology as a replacement for hand written communication. Thank you for this film, I will look forward to more like it.


Billy said:

Loved the video. My favorite part was when she was on the store since it showed a warm interaction between people who share the same passion. My question is: What kind of pen was she using at 3:50?. I found interesting to know that even in our time we are able to share such a noble and artful practice.

PS: this is the exact pen I was referring to in my question:


Albert said:

Me too! I would really like to know which nib this dip pen is using!


pauljoynes said:

What a fantastic film. I love the fact that she didn’t get upset with the ink splatter.

Sameer Vasta

Sameer Vasta said:

I feel incredibly lucky and blessed watching this film. Tanja and I are penpals, and every time her beautiful script arrives in my postbox, I squeal with delight. Ryan has done a stunning job of portraying the amazing attention to detail Tanja has, as well as the serenity that comes from every stroke of her pen. (We’re also super lucky to be using Tanja’s script for our wedding website and invitations — her stuff is gorgeous! Thanks, Ryan, for showing the world the beauty of Tanja’s work, and of the the handwritten word, in general, in such a vivid, captivating way.)


Albert said:

I lost count how many times I rewatched this video, I enjoyed it very much. I am glad to see that I am not the only person who goes on the internet to watch other people`s handwriting :) Does anyone know what kind of nib Tanja was using in the video (the dip pen and thanks in advance!)?

Great job on the video, I hope you make more of these videos and make it into series!

Michelle Y

Michelle Y said:

Lovely film – it definitely got me itching to put pen to paper. I loved looking at the vintage postcards, which I collect too, as much for the handwriting as the images. I’m so happy you shared Ryan and Tanja’s work on the blog!

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron)

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron) said:

I’m more of a mechanical pencil guy, myself. Thanks for sharing!

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron)

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron) said:

She’s a bit of a natural, though she’ll forever contest that assertion – she’d only been practicing for a few months when we did most of the shooting, and just over a month when I’d asked her to do this with me :O

Mr Ahab

Mr Ahab said:

What a beautiful video. I especially liked the juxtaposition of the old school Kodak packages and the Hassy. There’s so much reverence and appreciation we should have for the “old” way things are done but this is often ignored or lost in the technology marketing machine. Thanks for creating something I can share with my kids when they get older!!


beachedlibrarian said:

What a beautiful little film! I love that the tone matches the subject so well: classic and elegant. I also loved when the pen caught and splattered ink, not just because Tanja’s “oops” face was included, but also because it’s a good reminder that things don’t have to be perfect (in fact, the splattered ink was quite beautiful). I also love that she spoke about connecting with others online via Instagram. It’s great that people are able to connect with others around the world and use each other as inspiration and as sources of knowledge. She mentioned journalling. I write in my journal nearly everyday and it’s a free for all in terms of chicken scratches and accidentally incomplete words. I almost wonder if I should be making more of an effort to write neatly (on occasion, anyway – sometimes the subject matter requires lightning fast, hacked writing just to get it our of my system).

Thanks so much for sharing this! It reminds me that I’d like to see if I can find classes (sadly, I don’t live in TO, otherwise I’d be coming to Wonderpens).


acksee said:

Glad I still go into meetings with a notebook and fountain pen! Don’t know if I take the most notes or just really like writing with a fountain pen.

Tim Parris

Tim Parris said:

Tanja’s comments about watching someone writing really spoke to me. Especially also watching her constantly practicing her handwriting. (I did notice all those letter “k” on the practice sheet!) I journal, but can’t get my handwriting to the same quality and care that she achieves. It really inspires me to be better.


Amanda said:

Lovely video. I found the part where Tanja said that “it is an art form that is lost” very powerful especially as I had just had a conversation with my nephews about writing, which neither can do and both informed me that their are fonts for that, and then they went back to their iPads. I take such joy from writing and completely agree with Tanja when she referred to writing as a time to reflect and take a moment; that is what I do every day when I write in my journal. A very lovely film about the beauty of writing. Film has also increased my interest in trying a dip pen, the flow of the ink as the pen moved across the page was beautiful.

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron)

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron) said:

I can’t say what her faves are, but I can tell you that the nib she used to write the credits at the end was a Nikko G nib.

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron)

Ryan C | #INKdoc guy (@RyTron) said:

Thanks Amanda! I’ve got terrible handwriting myself, but after we started filming I went out to Wonderpens and got myself a basic nib and holder.

Doesn’t mean my handwriting’s improved, though ;)


D A said:

k’s leg is a graceful testament to the fine motor skill required to redress an un-inked stroke.


Andrew said:

I feel like it is a requirement for Med School. :)

Ryan Couldrey (@RyTron)

Ryan Couldrey (@RyTron) said:

Thanks for sharing! New tech can mix and mingle with the old just fine in the right hands :)

Ryan Couldrey (@RyTron)

Ryan Couldrey (@RyTron) said:

These comments are fantastic everyone! Love the insight you’re providing. When you work on something for so long it’s easy to lose sight of why you started it in the first place. Your thoughts are a reminder of the “why” :)

Keep’em rollin’ in, I’m watching, obviously :D


amietsai said:

I was really inspired by Tanjas calligraphy and I wonder what her favorite nibs are. Beautifully done!

Ryan Couldrey (@RyTron)

Ryan Couldrey (@RyTron) said:

Ha! Glad you sought them out Salty :)


jarekanderson said:

Great short film. I didn’t do an exact count, but I thought there was an interesting balance in everything that moves in this film; many things have become automated (elevator doors, even the elevators, cars, photography) against those that have not, but may have become passé (the writing, postcards, maybe even shopping in a store((but I do love wonderpens))). I also liked the contrast describing putting ‘old lettering’ in a new store. And how the table itself is a checkerboard. Maybe I’m rambling on, but this film also made me think of how we use the new technologies to capture the old, or at least try to capture the essence through a recording (photograph of calligraphy, sound file of the piano, video footage of anything). And if we’re being technical, isn’t that what writing was designed to do? Be a reproduction of one’s thoughts or observations.

It’s also interesting that there’s a niche revival in so many areas of the ‘old’ way of doing things. I watched this film over the Internet at a coffee shop, on a smartphone. The first thing I did was fumble for my pen and journal to do some writing. Then I tapped this out on a smart phone. Maybe we’re craving more in terms of sensational stimulation than what the digital age is capable of delivering. Maybe not.

Anyway this film made me think a lot. Thanks for that. And excellent production.

Ryan Couldrey (@RyTron)

Ryan Couldrey (@RyTron) said:

I definitely wasn’t aware of that! Will pass this on to Tanja :)

Mar'yana Svarnyk

Mar'yana Svarnyk said:

I really liked how the imperfections or “difficulties” – little mistakes are not hidden, but shown. Love the shot of ink flowing down the side of the bottle after dipping the pen. Indeed, the sound too of the writing too.

Ryan Couldrey (@RyTron)

Ryan Couldrey (@RyTron) said:

Thank you for the kind words!

Ryan Couldrey (@RyTron)

Ryan Couldrey (@RyTron) said:

Tanja is a professional photographer with nice DSLR gear, but she also has a very nice and curated collection of old photo equipment as well. It all works!


michelle said:

I loved the film. I’d like to tell Ryan and Tania that my work place, the Toronto Reference Library has one of the largest collections of vintage postcards that we have collected that I have ever seen. Tania, have you visited? Feel free to message me and I’d be glad to give you a tour. I find these fascinating myself and visit in my spare time to just get lost! Please enter me, would love to win, Thanks Jon and Liz!

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