I would like to open by first saying that the number and quality of entries we received was beyond our wildest expectations. We sifted through 150 submissions from fountain pen users across the globe, and had an incredibly difficult time selecting winners. I'm neither a statistician nor a handwriting expert, but I'd guess that at least 90% of the entries would be counted in the top percentile of handwriting globally. They were, almost without exception, jaw dropping-ly good. Even entries with passages remarking on how they knew their handwriting wasn't good enough to win were among the best examples of penmanship I've ever seen. Even if you entered and didn't win, by my standards, you have fantastic handwriting.
Reading the passages everyone chose was an absolute pleasure. Many selections were among my favorite passages from every writer from Douglas Adams to Shakespeare, quotes from a wide variety of contemporary and historical figures, poems, and bible verses. More unique selections included a handful of legal documents, short treatises on the topics of handwriting and fountain pens, and a dozen other kinds of passage that are escaping me at the moment. This was maybe my favorite part of adjudicating this competition, and while we did not allow it to influence our judgement, we appreciate the effort contestants took to make their submissions interesting.
Now, without further ado, the winners:
Best Print: Tim Ramos
The criteria print submissions were judged by were general aesthetic appeal, consistency of forms, uniqueness, and legibility, and Tim hit it out of the park on every count. A truly exemplary example of everything print should be, and an image I might just hold on to in case someone ever asks what shading is. Some of my favorite runners-up in this category were Patricia Golpe, Gaurav Palikhe, Jessica Oram, Sabrina Lin, and Sharon Townsend.
Best Cursive: Ged Alangui
This was by far the most difficult category to judge. We used a 10 point rating system to find the most promising entries in each category, and even with the artificially inflated standards required when adjudicating such a competition, cursive had almost 20 entries which earned a 10 or higher. This incredible specimen was one of 3 marked 11/10, and with good reason. The line variation, consistency of forms, tasteful flourishes, and fantastic legibility (for those familiar with cursive) were out of this world, and earned this entry its spot at the top. Some of my favorite runners-up in this category were Celia Pennington, Herman, Emeka Bassey, Winjoy Mathew Antony, Elizabeth Levi, Blase Marie, Janet Faught and Nikki Glasgow.
Best In Show: Klarissa Maria
In the process of finding a winner for Best in Show, we realized there were at least a dozen entrants who were in the final round of entries for both cursive and print, and decided it would make sense to award Best in Show to one of these versatile writers with some of the best handwriting of both kinds. We chose Klarissa's entries for the beautiful script seen in both, which stood out for many of the same reasons the winners in each category did, but would be remiss to not mention the exceptional presentation. I'm a product photographer at Pen Boutique, among other roles, and these pictures would rank among my best. Some of my favorite two-trick ponies include Ged Alangui, Phillip Barlow, Sabrina Lin, Nikki Glasgow, Nina Stinehour, Janet Faught, and Blaise Marie.
15 and Under
For privacy reasons, we're not disclosing the names and entries of the 15 and Under winners, but rest assured it was a competitive category with dozens of entries that were often competitive with their adult counterparts. It's good to know that even in this digital age the art of handwriting is still alive with the next generation. If you're a 15 and Under winner, we'll reach out by email to make sure you get your prize.
These are entries that stood out for various reasons that I figured deserved to be shared, even if they were not winners
(By Nikki Glasgow)
(By Jenny Stinehour)
(By Emma Pellerito)
(By Louis Lemoine)
(By Mohd Bilbeisi)
(By Rona Siegel)
(By Sharon Townsend)
I'd like to thank everyone who entered, and encourage even those who didn't to participate next year, as this will hopefully become an annual occurrence.