{how to improve your handwriting}

I’ve gotten a few requests recently to post about how to improve your handwriting, so that’s what I’m going to do!
*I’m going to apologize in advance for my pictures…I don’t know that I have the right lens to take photos of writing close up…
Improve Handwriting 1

It’s taken me quite a while to get this point, but I’ve come across a few tricks along the way.
Improve Handwriting 2

I have a sketchpad that I use right now to practice my calligraphy, but in the past I’ve kept my fair share of journals and notebooks that I use exclusively for practicing my handwriting. It’s important that you keep it all in one place, so you can see your progress and have one place to reference the different styles and techniques that work for you.
Improve Handwriting 3
The type of pens that work for you might be different than what I use, or what other people use. Definitely buy a few different types to find out what works best. I prefer to use the Sakura Micron pen number 5 with a 1/2 millimeter width for my fake calligraphy, and a Pilot G2 Fine Point Gel pen for everything else.
Improve Handwriting 4
I really think that it’s perfectly acceptable to find pictures of handwriting you like, and try to emulate it. I think you’ll find that some types will work for you, but with your own modifications based on your writing style. Just because you find a style of writing that you like doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the best style for you. Don’t be afraid to adjust letters and flourishes based on your own style and skill level.
Improve Handwriting 5
So this is kind of obvious, but the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to practice. Try different ways of holding your pen and forming your letters. Relax. Take your time. I might have nice handwriting, but it takes me a very long time to write anything.
Improve Handwriting 6
This might sound strange, but I literally have about twelve different handwriting styles that I rotate through on a regular basis. Your current handwriting just might not be the best base to work from. Like I said above, don’t be afraid to find inspiration and try a completely different style. You might be surprised.
So, I want to know, what have you done to try and improve your handwriting?

I feel the need to add a disclaimer to this post…
I know that I have nice handwriting. I’m not writing this to showcase my talent, but I know it’s only a matter of time before I get comments about how people want my handwriting and how they’ll never have handwriting as nice as mine, so I feel the need to tell you the following:

  • When I say you need to practice, it’s only because I’ve practiced. A lot. I’m the type of person who rewrote notes in college if I didn’t like the way that they looked. I waste paper all the time, because I’ll toss something out if I mess up, even if it’s just a personal note I’ve written to myself. Even post-it notes have to look perfect. I’m ridiculous and I know it. 
  • I grew up with nice handwriting. My mom and aunt both have extremely nice handwriting (my mom used to calligraphy), and it’s what I’ve always known. My brother even has nice handwriting, so I really think it has something to do with my genes…
  • Artistically, I’m not good at very many things. I can’t paint or draw or sculpt, or do anything with my hands, really. I’m even terrible at DIY projects. But handwriting and calligraphy is always something I’ve excelled at. It may sound incredibly obnoxious, but it’s a type of art for me. And I really do take it very seriously. So don’t feel down if your handwriting doesn’t match mine. I really put a lot more emphasis on it (for myself) than I probably should.
If you try this and post about it, I’d love to see it! Feel free to post a link to your post about it in the comments!
UPDATE 3/6/2013: My own “fake calligraphy” font is now for sale! You can see more information about it here.

Joelle is the Creative Director of Joelle Charming and author of Breathe Again. On any given afternoon, you’ll find her drinking champagne and binge watching episodes of the Vampire Diaries. She also finds it strange writing in the third person.
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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12615019893524085985 Kate

    I discovered your blog through a pin on your fake calligraphy post, and of course I tried that myself!I used it to address our Save the Dates. Here’s the link:
    I know I need more practice, but I was still pleased with the results! Thanks for all of your helpful tips!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13026708352209634748 Lindsay @ Trial By Sapphire

    So beautiful! You’re right. It seems like it takes patience and practice! None of us will ever know if our handwriting can look like yours if ever never try. :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11551901494476645551 Shelly { @ Quiet Luxury }

    I clearly need more practice than anything. In this age of emails/texting, my handwriting has taken a nose dive, lol. Great post.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16034170924016899732 Maggie B.

    Great post! I’m practicing right now – and I have a few perfect little notebooks at home to practice in too. Although I’m thinking of getting one of those blank sketchpads and I already have some lovely fine point faux sharpie pens!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13709514428143459069 Britt

    Your tips are great! I guess the saying practice makes perfect applies to everything!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06464790783735405390 Sarah

    This is great, Joelle. I think handwriting is so fascinating. Once in sixth grad my biology teacher said that if your writing is a mix of cursive and regular, it means you are creative, haha. Who knows, but it made me proud of my slightly irregular writing. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07177081269343759076 Treasure Tromp

    I think this is great. I feel like it has been forever since I have written a lot lately … thanks a lot computers

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17824757753466707096 Kiersten

    As for rewriting your notes…I do the exact same thing. My 2nd grade teacher felt it was a big enough problem that she called my parents in for a private meeting just to tell them about it. So you’re not crazy…well…either that, or we’re both crazy.
    <3 Kiersten

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17145458853187845886 Eliza :: Case Study

    Thank you for the tips! I like my handwriting, but I want to add some variety for gift tags/envelopes/etc. It’s on my summer bucket list to get to work on this – I’ll have to snag those pens you were talking about and see how they work for me! xo, eliza

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05163020614224110008 Allyson Butler

    I love this post! I am so not crazy about my handwriting…and I’m going to be a teacher – I will definitely have to take you up on some of this advice!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18002905706141198125 pinksuedeshoe

    My mom is a fantastic calligrapher, I grew up watching her use her ink pots and dip pens. Awesome. But I was terrible at handwriting, especially when I was in a hurry. One summer I remember my mom made me practice handwriting, good handwriting for an hour and a half a day. That was a turning point for my 11 year old self. At the beginning of the summer my handwriting was close to illegible, and at the end it was… well, normal 11 year old handwriting. I wish I still had that notebook though. Since then I’ve practiced writing a lot. I rewrote my notes, I trashed pages that had mistakes on them and I’d do it over. And tomorrow I am starting a new handwriting notebook. You’ve inspired me to stop making lists on my phone and write them out and make them look pretty. Thank you :)

  • http://www.amandabrendlephotography.com/blog Amanda B.

    What a great idea – I play around with handwriting a lot, and for some strange reason, it never occurred to me to start a notebook dedicated to just handwriting.. genius! Thanks for the tip! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00180366257297106375 Russell Sprout

    #1-Found your blog on pinterest and I LOVE it!
    #2-I had terrible handwriting growing up…until I moved to Japan and had to learn to write kanji-the direction you pull the pen and the order in which you write the lines (stroke order) are pivotal for the characters to be legible…Once I understood that all OUR letters could be broken down that same way, my handwriting changed dramatically…and now I am a teacher who gets compliments on her handwriting… Who knew?


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11858657768819820250 Kristie K.

    Thanks for the post. Love the idea of a journal. But you shouldn’t need to tell us things you aren’t good at. We all have strengths and weaknesses. You have lovely handwriting and I admire that you want to share your talents and encourage others. Thanks!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10873180551739027452 Samantha

    Do you have any suggestions or sites to look for styles? I have found some on pinterest but most are just some letters, not the whole alphabet. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11114687821358320401 Joelle :: Something Charming

    ”m the type of person who rewrote notes in college if I didn’t like the way that they looked.’ I did that too! And then went over all the headings and keywords with a glitter pen. Being a computer science student, I did get some mystified looks from people in my class who simply could not comprehend why anyone might want a pen that has glitter ink or smells like chocolate :D

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11114687821358320401 Joelle :: Something Charming

    i loved this post!! thank you so much for the tips! i especially love your cursive. what font did you use as inspiration? and if there is not a particular font is there any way you could share an example of the alphabet?? many thanks!!