The first school writing project I remember is writing on paper with lines on the bottom and drawing a picture on top. I felt comfortable in this Kindergarten learning space. This picture writing felt natural oddly just as it does for my son. Like me, this picture writing is a comfort for him. As I moved up in grades picture writing was less and less accepted as if pictures were training wheels for the writing. From this point on, writing was torture. I lost any love or connection to it.
Fast forward twelve years. I am in college taking my first typography course in my declared graphic design major. My professor starts with a plain (sans serif without feet) letter capital E and asks us to sketch this letter form first in pencil, then opaque black paint altered with opaque white paint looking deeply at the form and counter form balance for six hours at a time. At first, the letter and exercise seemed pointless but after hours of pure seeing moving between black and white, a light went on in the dormant tunnel of my educational history. A plain letter isn’t plain. It has visual characteristics and nuances. Did you know that the white space between the top and middle stroke of a capital plain letter E is smaller than the bottom but looks equal? As I advanced in typography, I furthered the E’s journey to include weight, scale and space changes thus changing my relationship to language forever.