In the digital age with all of the typing and texting, it can feel like an odd and rare experience picking up a pen and writing. The art form, the structure, cursive? Forget about it! Finding the focus to write a Thank You card that doesn’t look like it was written by a 3rd grader can be tricky. The beautiful artform of handwriting is long lost and forgotten, unless we decide to make it a priority for it be otherwise. Remember when you were young and you took pride in writing a beautiful note or letter to a friend, when you could spend an hour perfecting your autograph and you’d certainly never turn in a paper with sloppy writing. As we get older, that perfectionism is lost a bit, it’s easier to text it. Or that’s the thought at least. Even with the convenience of technology, there’s nothing like receiving a beautiful handwritten note, from a close friend or even a casual acquaintance. It shows thought, effort and arguably, more connection than a “hello,” from an email.
In addition to improving your handwriting as an adult, it can be particularly difficult for children to get into the rhythm of using their pen and perfecting their strokes. Handwriting exercises for kids are plentiful and can be made fun, especially when the adult participates with them!
if you’re ready to improve your handwriting, there’s plenty of handwriting exercises for you, your kids, or students to try if you want to feel confident writing a letter, paper, etc. Pick up a pen, go shopping for a fancy new journal, pour yourself a cup of tea and practice some of these great handwriting exercises to get your writing looking beautiful!
You’ll want to have the proper paper to help you with height, spacing and consistency. Pick up a journal or a pack of lined penmanship paper. For kids, having a journal that’s their own that they can get excited about using, that’s special and unique to their personality will make the handwriting exercises feel fun, as opposed to an obligation. The same can go for adults! Writing is a beautiful thing that promotes creativity and self confidence, the approach to practicing should be the same.
Drills for Improving Handwriting
If you’ve already learned how to write, having to “relearn,” and break habits that you’ve already formed can be daunting, the tip to follow is; GO BACK TO THE BASICS. How to hold a pen properly, adjusting and correcting your grip and basic control of the pen is the root of beautiful penmanship. Handwriting drills aren’t exactly crazy and exciting, but they are efficient.
Drill #1: Fil a page with parallel lines. Simple, straight (that’s the key) parallel lines. This will keep your letters from tilting and tipping in different directions, which makes your writing look messy. By improving the steadiness of your vertical lines the foundation of your letters will look clean!
Drill #2: After filling a few pages with vertical lines, switch to horizontal lines. Same as above, steadiness and control with your pen. Try to fit three lines, stacked in one row. This will help you maintain control and improve your ability to fit lines and letters into small spaces.
Drill #3: This exercise requires a little more control and patience. To get the curving of your letters to look controlled, you’ll practice creating three curved loops that are connected. It’ll look like a “C” stacked on top of each other three times. You’ll do two sides mirroring each other. Practice all of the above drills for at least a minute each. The speed, repetition and consistency will help improve your overall handwriting.
Daily Handwriting Exercises
Once you’ve gone through your drills and tried a variety of ways to perfect the individual lines. Now, you can get into daily exercises that will get your writing in tip top shape.
- Exercise #1: Identify the primary shapes in your writing. Write a standard paragraph and identify what letters and shapes you’re writing most frequently. Do you letter blend together? Are they slanting a certain angle? Is there one loop that you consistently miss when writing the full word? Is your writing fluid or stiff?
- Exercise #2: Check for Alignment. Is the whole paragraph leaning in one direction, or only certain words? Are the similarities in the individual words sharing common letters?
- Exercise #3: Check for spacing. There should be enough space between each word to fit the letter “O.” Less space makes handwriting difficult to read, whereas too much space looks sloppy and chops the sentences awkwardly. If your letters look cramped you’ll sacrifice style and legibility.
- Exercise #4: Identify Pressure and Quality- are your letters and sentences heavy, or is the ink light? Finding the perfect pressure so that your writing isn’t too faint to read, but not so heavy that the writing is smearing ink all over the page will help your handwriting and letters look neat.
- Exercise #5: Determine the main issue. Whether it’s spacing, alignment, cursive, etc. When you know the root of the problem you can find more specific exercises to help overcome it!
- 6. Exercise #6: Study Handwriting Styles for Inspiration. Perhaps your handwriting is just fine but you’re looking for a little oomph and spunk, or perhaps trying out something more classic for a special invitation. There are several Pinterest boards, books, and YouTube videos that help stoke the creative fire to try new handwriting styles. Do some digging!
Books on Improving Your Handwriting
Handwriting is complex and having a guide that you can reference is a helpful tool if you’re struggling with simple exercises. Below is a list of great reference guides and reading materials for you to use at home.
- Fix it Write by Nan Jay Barchowsky
- Better Handwriting by Rosemary Sassoon
- Write Now: The Complete Program For Better Handwriting by Barbara Getty
- The Italic Way to Beautiful Handwriting: Cursive and Calligraphic by Fred Eager
- Spencerian Penmanship by Platt Rogers Spencer
Handwriting Books for Kids
- Wacky Sentences Handwriting WorkbooK: Practice Writing in Cursive (Third and Fourth Grade) by Julie Harper
- Cursive Handwriting Workbook for Girls by Julie Harper
- Handwriting: Printing, Grades Preschool and Up (Brighter Child Workbooks) by Brighter Child
- Pick Up Your Pen: The Art of Handwriting by Monica Dengo
- D’Nealian Handwriting Little Books, Lowercase by GOOD YEAR BOOKS
Handwriting Style Books
If you’re looking for style tips for a special note or occasion, taking a calligraphy class, or watching a tutorial can be a helpful tool that you’ll carry with you for a long time. We all have a flar of our own naturally, but writing is an artform and you can learn different styles to evoke certain emotions in your art, invitations and so on. You can also invest in a few great books that have different styles to play around with! Your handwriting should have a personality of it’s one, once the basic tools are mastered. Check out these style reference guides:
- Creative Lettering: Techniques & Tips from Top Artists by Jenny Doh
- The Scrapbooker’s Handwriting Workshop: 20 Unique Fonts to Practice and Play With by Crystal Jeffrey Rieger
- The Art of Whimsical Lettering by Joanne Sharpe
- Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy: A Step-by-Step Manual (Lettering, Calligraphy, Typography) by Eleanor Winters
- Brush Lettering Sentiments and Adornments by Ken Brown and Priscilla Hauser
- The Calligrapher’s Handbook by Heather Child
- Love Your Handwriting (Creating Keepsakes) by Creating Keepsakes
- The ABCs of Handwriting Analysis: The Complete Guide to Techniques and Interpretations by Claude Santoy Ph.D.
Now that you’ve gotten the basics and form down, you can focus on sharing your beautiful work. Never underestimate the power of a handwritten letter or card. You can also weave in your new handwriting into scrapbooking, using it on your tablet for photos and creative digital projects, or stenciling your favorite quote in your office or bedroom. The art of beautiful handwriting isn’t dead! Take the time to study and practice everyday so that you don’t get rusty and your writing will only improve with time and consistency!