Copybook – Is It Essential to Know?

Knowing the copybook model before an analysis could be performed has been a hallmark of handwriting assessment. There are many situations where that knowledge is not possible. Yet, analyses are made. How? Why is it essential to know? That question is examined in this paper with doubt as to its requirement.


Action follows being. That phrase will be key to this paper as it symbolizes handwriting analysis and how analysts “see the action (writing) as describing the source (writer)”.

The purpose of this paper is simply to challenge the need to know copybook. There are a number of arguments for this approach and few to continue the “need to know”.

The scientific basis of handwriting

The Universe is scientifically based. No one can deny that given educational awareness. That being true, all acts within the Universe must also be scientifically based including the act of writing. The act of writing is controlled by the brain, which must also be subject to scientific laws some or all of which we may or may not yet be aware. But they do exist just like Einstein’s energy law, which existed eons ago but only recently in time was it developed and proven.

A person’s brain is developed by DNA instruction, as is the whole body. This means each person’s brain is genetically disposed and unique………just like handwriting. In turn, it can be intimated that handwriting is essentially genetically derived. Further, this would imply that the tendency to revert to the inherent “genetic” execution of handwriting would be strong even with specific instructions like copybooks. Familial similarities in handwriting also supports the concept that handwriting is essentially inherent in construction.

The concept that handwriting is scientifically based is virtually unchallengeable given the insight recognition that all things in the Universe are related in some manner and that every consequence has a cause the nature of which can be examined.

Twenty-five year profiles

Our family consists of two boys, now 30 and 28. Ever since they could scribble, a sample of their writings through the years has been kept. The basic similarities in movements in each case is remarkable. For instance, the two basic movements, a straight line or curve, remains predominant in each case. Spacing used between the words and lines is also similar. Size has decreased over time, which is normal for people, in general, even with the aged. The pressure used in each case has also remained quite similar with the youngest slightly less than the older. And, this occurred BEFORE copybook was taught.

When copybook was taught an attempt was made to match the system but, of course, no one could exactly match it. Subsequently, over time, a reversion began to appear.

It was quite interesting during the time period of learning and attending conferences that all of the children’s handwritings were posted on the wall for parents to observe. Although all were taught ONE method, each display could be seen to be different with some very different. So, already, the imposition of a system could not be maintained.

All this goes to indicate that an “inner system” controlled by the brain was operating in each child’s case and logic dictates it to be genetic in design. Deviation, in this and every other case, never occurred because copybook was NEVER accomplished, only the general design of letters. Reverting to questioned document principles, temporarily, one cannot copy another’s writing perfectly. In this case, copybook is what is being attempted to simulate and, therefore, cannot be perfectly simulated. Therefore, each person’s display in some manner is different and must originate in the brain, which is DNA generated.

Only two possible movements

Adding more to the insight that handwriting is scientifically based is the realization that there are only two possible movements when writing or printing or anything else for that matter: a straight line or a curve. All writing/printing has parts that are one or the other. Just look around at the environment in which you are located at this time and all that you see will be either straight or curved. A Universal principle. A scientific principle. This principle is analogous to the zero and one principle of computers.

So, what does this have to do with handwriting? Well, the brain being genetically based and the execution of handwriting being brain-based there can only be two possible handwriting/printing movements: a straight line or a curve. The tendency of one or the other will be expressed predominantly as the writing develops since the writer basically has no knowledge of what has been set forth in this paper but is subconsciously exhibiting his or her nature/personality by way of a genetically disposed brain.

All this leads to the conclusion for this section that copybook or no copybook, a person’s handwriting is controlled not by copybook but by genetic forces primarily. Copybook, in and of itself, has but a minute influence on the analysis of the handwriting except, as stated previously, to indicate the initial design of letters never to have been exactly duplicated in the first place.

Copybook as a standard?

Any copybook amounts to one person’s idea of size, proportion, width, slant and more. One person’s, basically. Were these measurements, proportions, slant, and more the result of statistical studies as to what method would be best? Most efficient? Was there peer review? Doubtful. This is somewhat analogous to taking one sample from a large population and dictating this to be the best, most efficient and the standard for comparing and assessing personalities from “this day forward”. This, it is believed to be very presumptuous.

The fact is copybook was/is nothing more than a guide of how to design a general concept of a letter. Were garlands part of it? No. Were angularities part of it? No. Were thread connections part of it? No. But, as the obvious shows, individual preferences prevail. How can that happen? Not by copybook!! Additionally, as indicated previously, no one can duplicate copybook perfectly and at the child level of learning individuality already is seen. Did children learn to measure the oft-stated 3 mm for every space before writing? Never. So, where does the individuality come from? The obvious answer is the inherent DNA-created-brain making copybook superfluous as a standard. It is more essential to understand the elements, assess their impact, and make conclusions.

Further, and for example, consider the often-published middle zone standard size of 3 mm. Where did that come from? Did it actually measure to exactly 3 mm, if measured at all? Doubtful. If measured, how was it measured? Vertically or including the slant as it should be done? Was there peer review? Did the 3 mm “standard” amount to anything more than someone’s idea with no basis? To all those questions there are no real answers nor any reason to require copybook..

The reality of current analytical work

Do all analysts check for copybook before an analysis? Do most? Do any? The probable answer to those questions is that many or most don’t and some never unless there’s a special case. The writer belongs to the latter case and, for informative purposes and not boastfulness, for over 20 years have been given testimony on accuracy including those of other languages.

Copybook determination is virtually impossible when assessing samples from companies for personnel selection. Given a sample at random to test one’s expertise happens often. Who knows what the copybook might have been? How could one take hours or weeks to trace and verify the copybook used by the writer before the analysis? One could guess but not really know. These, and countless other, circumstances prevail in the industry with no chance of acquiring copybook knowledge 100% of the time. Therefore, the probability is that all analysts have at some point analyzed a display without knowing the copybook. One can assume it was Palmer or some other copybook but the reality is that the analyst really does not know.

What you see is what you get

At the time of any writing the person displays a brain pattern reflecting THAT period of time. It is not anywhere near copybook even though it may look similar. How can we assess the deviation from a “forced-to-learn” copybook when it has never really been learned and always been deviated naturally by children? To be completely accurate, one would need to know how much a child ALREADY deviated from copybook at the time of learning. This is virtually impossible.

An arcade writing at 50 years old simply indicates the characteristics for the arcade writer. An angular writer from Germany at 50 years old simply indicates the characteristics for the angular writer. It does not matter what the copybook was because what the writer’s display reflects is THAT person at THAT time. The “standard”, to keep the explanation simple, should be the accumulated experience of the analyst to assess a high-level display from a low-level display with all other element interactions. How the elements are used by the writer reflects the person’s brain at that time. Remember, people are aware of “what” they write but not “how” they write. The “how” is automatic and originates not from an immediate, conscious, purposeful, deliberate, development of every detail during the writing process but is rather an unconscious act evolved over a lengthy period of time and is an inherent, DNA-brain expression of that person’s nature.

A person’s handwriting is a unique set of INESCAPABLE elements such as size, pressure, speed, spacing and much more. They are measurable and, in fact, measurements are what one “sees” when observing handwriting. Those measurements are transformed by the observer’s handwriting-analysis-educated brain into a synthesized analysis. Were those measurements precisely traceable to copybook? Never. No, they are unique displays of one person only due to the DNA-created brain. Therefore, copybook served as a guide and is not necessary to know as a comparative base-point of development.

A paper by Jack Cammarata
Handwriting Analysis Inc
15740 Rockford Road, Ste 220
Plymouth, MN 55446, USA

May 1999

Mr. Cammarata is president of Handwriting Analysis Inc, in Plymouth, MN, and has been involved with all aspects of handwriting analysis specializing in personality profiling for 31 years and question document examination (forgeries) for 12 years. He is a strong proponent of measurement use for handwriting analysis.

HeÂ’s a graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI earning a Bachelor of Science degree and spent 37 years in many facets of engineering mostly biomedical. He is now retired involved exclusively in handwriting analysis and research work.

Mr. Cammarata studied 5 years with noted analyst, Pedro Velasco. He is certified by Mr. Velasco, the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation, the American Association of Handwriting Analysts, and is a member of the National Association of Document Examiners.

He resides in Plymouth, Minnesota with his wife, Mary. They have two boys.

Author: Jacob Cammarata
Article Source:
Digital Camera Information