Writing is a conscious act. Although the actual production of each letter and word becomes practically automatic through frequent use and exposure, a skilled writer focuses most of his or her conscious attention on the subject matter rather than on the writing process itself. Because of this regular patterning and subconscious patterns, writing becomes as much a part of an individual’s personality and mannerisms than anything else.
For many years, handwriting analysis is the most important aspect of questioned document laboratory casework. It is Subjective. Each person writes differently, even within the same writer, handwriting differs, and it is the expert’s subjective opinion based on his knowledge that two writings were or were not created by the same individual.
Because writing necessitates a complicated set of abilities and is influenced by a variety of conditions, it is a core concept of forensic document examination that no two people write in the same way. A distinctive signature or extended text is never written in the same way twice.
Handwriting can be divided into two categories:
✍ Class Characteristics, and,
✍ Individual Characteristics.
The qualities of a class can range from those seen in huge groups of writers to those found considerably less frequently. All deviations from traditional Copybook form, such as slant variations, loops, terminal strokes, and so on, are considered individualities. All people’s writing will have both class characteristics and individual characteristics.
Among the features to be considered are elements of the writing such as abbreviation; alignment; arrangement, formatting, and positioning; capitalization; connectedness and disconnectedness; cross strokes and dots, diacritics and punctuation; direction of strokes; disguise; embellishments; formation; freedom of execution; handedness; legibility; line quality; method of production; pen hold and pen position; overall pressure and patterns of pressure emphasis; proportion; simplification; size; skill; slant or slope; spacing; speed; initial, connecting, and terminal strokes; system; tremor; type of writing; and range of variation.
Other features such as lifts, stops and hesitations of the writing instrument; patching and retouching; slow, drawn quality of the line; unnatural tremor; and guide lines of various forms should be evaluated when present.
Individual characteristics are variations from the taught writing system and, as a result, are powerful distinguishing features when comparing handwriting samples.
Individual Characteristics of Handwriting
Abbreviations: Experienced writers begin to simplify letters and words that they frequently write, whether intentionally or unconsciously. Signature simplification is an continuous process.
Embellishments: Certain writers use embellishment to enhance the pictorial quality of their writings, notably signatures. They’re scribbled flourishes. These embellishments are unique to the author.
The embellishment strokes can be seen in the beginning and finish of letters, as well as in the emphasizing line after signatures.
Hesitation: A forgery’s beginning and ending strokes display tremors or a lack of firmness, indicating hesitations. Vertical lines and curvatures might also show hesitations.
Pen Pressure: Pulsation or pressure in the longer looped forms such as the “g” and “y” is the most unusual habit. To begin with, there is an initial application of pressure; however, this pressure progressively decreases until it is applied again on the rising stroke.
Pen Pause: A halt or stop in the writing motion in which the writing instrument stays in touch with the writing surface is referred to as Pen Pause. In the case of forgeries, this is one of the distinctive characteristics of line quality.
Pen Lifts: when the writer removes the writing instrument off the paper, it causes an interruption in the stroke which is called as Pen lift. The pen lift in genuine handwriting is quite conspicuous, while in forgery they are often covered by retouching to give the impression that the writing is continuous.
Placings: Dot placement, crossing strokes, and punctuation mark placement all have distinct characteristics. The habit can be seen in a significant amount of writing. Even in genuine texts, the placement patterns may alter in a few rare cases.
Retouching: In authentic handwriting, retouching is used to complete, clarify, or create a pictorial impression in some letters. In fraudulent handwriting, however, retouching is used to mimic the shading pattern or hide pen lift or pen pause.
Size: With the passage of time, the relative sizes of letters and words become nearly fixed with the writer. The length, breadth, and size of individual letters’ curves are distinguishing characteristics. It is possible to detect counterfeit by comparing ratios.
Shading: Shading occurs when the writer applies the most pressure to their writing implement, whether on the upstroke or downstroke. In a piece of writing, shading might be continuous, gradual, or spontaneous. Shading differs from person to person in terms of occurrence, form, frequency, and intensity. It has a distinct characteristic. It’s nearly tough to duplicate. Retouching is used by the forger to approximate shading.
Slope: When attempting to disguise his handwriting, every forger attempts to alter the slant of his natural writing. When attempting to modify the slant, the text produces a poor pictorial appearance. Only in long letters are slopes measured or calculated. It’s a time-consuming and error-prone operation.
Starting and Ending Stroke: With a flourish of the pen in the air, experienced authors begin writing. The flourish continues when the pen touches the paper, creating a fine starting line. In counterfeit, the smooth and tapering stroke is missing. Instead, because it is drawn rather than written, the first stroke is as thick as the remainder of the text. The terminal tips of forgeries are blunt. The blunt ends of the strokes are particularly noticeable.
Some Important terms to describe formations of letters and parts have been described below which are convenient to clarify handwriting evidence.
A stroke Within a letter that follows the same as a preceding stroke is called as Retracing.
That Stroke in a letter that crosses over the top of staff stroke is known as Cap.
The first writing movement of a letter is known as Initial Stroke.
That part of a letter which drops below the baseline is know as Descender.
That part of letter which ties itself to the staff is known as Buckle or Knot.
That parts of a letter that touch the baseline is know as Foot.
The remaining parts of a letter after the initial/terminal strokes and upper/lower extensions are removed are known as Body.
The crescent or crown of a letter is known as Cusp.
The stroke which forms the final portion of letter is known as Terminal Stroke.
That part of a letter that rises above the Baseline.
Convex curved strokes found in certain letters.
A loop situated primarily below the baseline is known as Lower Loop.
The flat or sloping part of a letter is known as Shoulder.
A stroke forming the backbone of a letter is known as Staff Stroke or Stem.
A small angled appendage at the start or end of a stroke is known as Spur.
A gap within a letter when the writing instrument leaves the paper is known as Hiatus.
A circular movement whose center can be either open or closed is known as Eye or Eyelet.
A stroke that intersects the staff or main portion of a letter is known as Crossbar.
A curved stroke generally aligned in a vertical direction is known as Bow.
A curved or angular projection usually occurring in an Initial or Terminal Stroke is known as Hook.
A loop situated primarily above the baseline is known as Upper Loop.
A stroke joining two letters together is known as Connecting Stroke.
A curved stroke whose radius changes direction is known as Compound Curve.
A hollow or concavity between two raised portions of a letter is known as Trough.
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