A special treat for stationery geeks, the extraordinary Paul Antonio, scribe

paul antonio scribe

Today’s post is for the stationery geeks and anyone who yearns for the scratchy sound of pen on paper and whose heart beats a little faster when they receive a beautiful hand written letter. Have you noticed how little you are actually writing nowadays? Everything is moving onto a touch screen or keypad. Soon I’m going to have to remind my children what a fountain pen is, the idea of writing a whole letter in one will probably have them rolling around the kitchen in hysterics.

Recently as part of the day job, I interviewed Paul Antonio, a scribe of 30 years who writes with exquisite style on beautiful card and paper for lots of luxury brands. He does heaps of place cards and invitations ( he’s written Anna Wintour’s name more times than he can remember) but also writes on store windows and has even ‘aged’ the signature of a young model to apply to a handbag range.


Watching him work was such a thrill because he is brilliant at what he does (which is why he is in such high demand). He wrote out my name at the end of the interview with one long, flowing movement that was so moving to watch it very nearly made me cry. Not surprisingly he has wise words to say about how important writing by hand is, so here’s a tiny edit of what Paul said concerning the joy of writing by hand…

“Our character comes out in our handwriting. Graphologists, can study our personality from it. When you write, it helps you to think in a very different way. It slows your thoughts down, slows your breathing down, it’s a bit like meditation. if you try writing really fast with an ink pen, it just doesn’t work! So it puts you in a state of mind where you’re thinking more clearly, you’re not rushing things. And that’s something almost magical in today’s busy world. When you watch parents teach their children to write, it’s a really quite wonderful bonding moment.”


And why some of us are a bit geeky about writing and stationery…

“Our sense of passion, love and yearning for beautiful handwritten stationery goes back to when lettering first started.  Our society developed because of writing and writing is a seminal part of being a human being. As we learnt how to write, it helped us to develop and grow as a race because of our ability to put our thoughts down in words, to record them.”

So if you are feeling a bit wound up and digitally imprisoned, can I suggest you quietly pick up a fountain pen, find yourself some nice, thick paper and start writing. It’s cheaper than therapy…(although not by much if you visit Liberty’s stationery department….)

To see more of Paul’s amazing work, follow him on instagram -Paul Antonio Attong @pascribe. The interview in full is here




  • Monix says:

    Paul is a complete legend and a true master. I am beyond envious that you interviewed him.
    I read a survey undertaken by the BBC that it is forecast that within 2 generations most children will only be able to write their name- nothing else. Is that not sad? And if you think that’s a bit fanciful how many of your close friends’ handwriting do you recognise?

  • Amanda says:

    Oh Mon, that is a tragic statistic, I can feel a campaign coming on….And Paul is a wonderful person, this week I want to be a scribe….Ax

  • Belinda says:

    I treated myself to a new pen (actually a rollerball that takes normal ink cartridges) only last Friday. I adore it already. I do have a much battered (and beloved) Cross fountain pen that I am using more too (I bought new ink for that at the same time).

    If children really won’t be able to write anything but their names in 2 generations then we are nearing the end of days and this civilisation….

    (cheerful today, that’s me!)

  • Katie says:

    Don’t panic. As a primary teacher we still teach handwriting in all classes and children write the majority of their work buy hand. They use laptops and tablets but unless there is a special need where a computer would support learning, children write more than they word process. We also allow the use of fountain pens in my primary school; as along as children are able to manage them practically (i.e. they do not use a leaky pen as an excuse to wash their hands every 10 seconds….) We also make sure they are are not intimidated by fountain pens as I was a primary school. There are a range of traditional fibre tip pens for them use so they can find a favourite. It is not all doom and gloom in schools.

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