Improving Handwriting

What skills to learn, what tools to get
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theanimal
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Improving Handwriting

Post by theanimal »

I'd like to improve my handwriting. I'm curious if anyone has gone about doing this? If so, are there any resources or exercises that you found that were worthwhile?

ertyu
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Re: Improving Handwriting

Post by ertyu »

I did this. A classmate of mine wrote very neatly so I just decided to write "more like him." Yes this was all there was to it. I didn't write exactly like him, but i did write neater. It's as simple as deciding "I'll write Y letter in Z way from now on" and then doing that

edited to add: now that i think about it, I was also in school, so I had a lot of practice writing in my newly chosen style. might be time for a couple moths of a longhand journaling habit
Last edited by ertyu on Wed Aug 03, 2022 11:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Sclass
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Re: Improving Handwriting

Post by Sclass »

I did this a long time ago when I wanted to stop writing like a kid. The first thing I did was change some of the symbols so they didn’t look like one another. For example my 2 looked like Z. It ultimately was a change in style but I didn’t notice it at the time.

The biggest change was I slowed down. I was always in such a hurry to write. At some point I realized I should be penning things down like a gothic monk writing calligraphy. Legibility improved.

horsewoman
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Re: Improving Handwriting

Post by horsewoman »

It's really a matter of paying attention for me.
Like @sclass, if I'm writing in a hurry, it's a mess. Sometimes I can't even decipher what an item in my shopping list is supposed to be...
When I'm taking care, I can write very neat and pretty.

So maybe try to find out which letters make the most mess and practice those?
In my case lower case b, h and k look alike if I'm not paying attention and I often turn around m and n, so it looks like uu and u.
It's a bad habit.

Dream of Freedom
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Re: Improving Handwriting

Post by Dream of Freedom »

;) Kind of, about 5 years ago I broke the third metacarpal in my right hand. So I was left-handed for a while and my handwriting was completely illegible at first. I got an adult coloring book and colored while watching Youtube. It helped. Stylistically my handwriting still needs work. :oops:

AxelHeyst
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Re: Improving Handwriting

Post by AxelHeyst »

+1 what they said:
.Practice without time stress. But stack functions, don't just repeat "the lazy brown dog..." Over and over. Personal journaling is the best imo.
.Find a pen you enjoy and paper you like. It's important to like, on a tactile level, the tools you're using. Don't just use some ground score bic and the inside of a wheaties box, in other words.
.improving one letter at a time is where it's at, I think. Find a lower case y you like. Then once that's habitual, find a nice h. Etc.

I suppose you could do some intensive handwriting improvement sessions, especially if you have large chunks of time to fill. I'd be interested in this, as on my list is to learn Spencerian and/or Italics with a dip pen. A few hours of intense focus with an instruction book for a week might catapult you to six months at one letter at a time.

Check out: a handwriting manual, by Alfred Fairbank. A classic on italic writing.

jacob
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Re: Improving Handwriting

Post by jacob »

Our school system taught cursive, which was very close to this(*), complete with the double lines.
Image
We were also graded on the neatness of our writing until the 9th grade. I didn't ever manage to get any grade other than an 8 (hundreds of papers), which is the average grade corresponding to a B. I hear some of the girls in the class got a 9 (B+). I don't know how.

Anyhoo, ... as the grading stopped and constraints were lifted from grade 10 on wards, I started printing A LOT more. Most of my letters now look like what comes out of a computer. The letter connections in cursive were retained only when it made sense instead of forcing it on every single letter.

This made my writing more legible. I can read it and I don't get complaints from others not being able to read it.

(*) My parents generation were also taught cursive... but a much "flatter" variation that is much faster and almost completely illegible.

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C40
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Re: Improving Handwriting

Post by C40 »

Get a book on Calligraphy (or find a good online source) and learn the correct ways to have your entire body positioned while writing. There are some very important arm and hand mechanics that 95% of people get completely wrong. No one is actually ever taught the correct way to hold a pen in normal life

Practice regularly. Also use physical writing for more things than you currently do. (Journal, list of things to do each day, exercise tracking, habits tracking, dream journal, garden plan and journal, spending, investment review, love letters for your wife (she might REALLY like these), writing down your thoughts when you're thinking through something, etc. etc.)

Experiment with different writing styles

Focus a lot on letter consistency. Especially on the tops and the bottoms of the letters going to the same point in terms of up/down (see how Jacob's picture has the extra dotted lines to help with this

If you happen to be left-handed, I know a good book. It's probably easier to find good resources online for right-hand writing mechanics

Also, use writing devices that work well. Ball point pens or anything that requires significant downward force to write are bad for your writing mechanics and also bad because of inconsistent ink flow and produce ugly writing. I've been into fountain pens for over a decade and the writing experience is far superior to nearly all other types of pens. They're also far more interesting and I write much more because I have them. A massive shift to throwaway ballpoint pens was one of the many failures of current modern society. And - using good paper can matter just as much as the pen. Basically, the more smooth and flat the better, and depending on the pen there are important characteristics related to how much it absorbs or does not absorb ink, but don't worry about that last part yet

rref
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Re: Improving Handwriting

Post by rref »

Practice your zigzags:

Image

Once you get a hang of them, you got italic h, i, n, m, u, v (and the foundation for all other letters).

theanimal
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Re: Improving Handwriting

Post by theanimal »

Thanks all for the comments and suggested resources. We were taught cursive in 2nd grade like Jacob but by 4th grade emphasis on cursive had waned as papers and the like were completed and printed from computers. Consequently, my middle three younger siblings were taught cursive, but the youngest 2 were not a dozen so years later. My handwriting eventually devolved to print. It is not too bad, but I wouldn't say it's good either.

From what I've seen here and elsewhere, it seems like one of the best practices is finding good examples of proper letter formation and then practicing individual letters. I'll try that for now and combine it with incorporating more writing in my daily life. To get a baseline, I started copying passages from the ERE book :) .

In looking around for resources, I found the Art of Manliness has a good article with a bunch of different books and suggestions.
https://www.artofmanliness.com/characte ... ndwriting/

AOM suggests this Spencerian Copybook Set from the 1800s which looks outstanding.

They also suggest a couple online resources (here and here). I haven't checked those out yet but will see what they're about and may incorporate them with some of these books.

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Sclass
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Re: Improving Handwriting

Post by Sclass »

rref wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 9:40 am
Practice your zigzags:
I like this tip. It seems like a pretty mechanical way to get things more consistent.

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