I currently have bad handwriting and even though I have been writing every day for years I still have very poor handwriting, it is sometimes un-legible. So I thought I should improve my handwriting with practice and then get up to speed so I can write neatly but fast. So I would like to make my handwriting in a different style if I am putting effort into it. Can anyone suggest what style to go for and how to learn it? I am only using a ballpoint pen but i am willing to learn any style if it is different and interesting.

  • 5
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about penmanship.
    – hildred
    Sep 9, 2015 at 6:17
  • calligraphy is fun, but it is designed for a writing implement with a shaped nib.
    – hildred
    Sep 9, 2015 at 6:21
  • @hildred I need something practical yet good looking. Sep 9, 2015 at 6:27
  • The challenge of relearning penmanship is that you have to relearn it. the techniques of calligraphy are stringent enough that they can be learned as a separate craft, so that your poor techniques do not carry over. once learned you can move to a simplified variant which is still good looking and quite practical, but there is a lot of work getting there.
    – hildred
    Sep 9, 2015 at 6:39
  • This was actually answered on Graphic Design; see if anything there is useful: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/51925/… Sep 9, 2015 at 10:16

4 Answers 4


Handwriting relies a lot on muscle-memory, and so concentration will be required to modify it. I was in a similar situation to you, and needed to change my handwriting style from lumpy, awful cursive to something more legible and, frankly, good looking.

A great resource for helping you focus on your handwriting and develop a specific style is "How To Architect", specifically the playlist “How to write like an architect.” You may not want to write like an architect, but it will at least give you some tips as well as the hope that you can succeed at whatever style you choose.

Handwriting is a personal thing. I took the following actions to improve my own handwriting, and succeeded. You can look at this like a step-by-step or you can pick and choose what to work on.

  1. Decide on printing vs cursive. This depends on you. I hated my cursive and so developed a print style that I could write with speed.

  2. Practice drawing vertical lines, horizontal lines, and circles. You need to retrain your hand. I spent five minutes a day for about a week drawing kindergarten-level shapes. Think of it as a warm-up exercise. It also helps you clear your mind, in much the same way that Sumi-e artists use the time spent preparing the ink and the paper to clear their mind.

  3. Decide on your letterforms. Here is where you get to play around. Draw several different A’s, B’s, and so on. Pick the ones you like and make a cheat sheet for easy reference. I particularly hated my uppercase B’s and all my S’s. I picked their appearance and then…

  4. Fill sheets and sheets of paper with the new letterforms. This goes faster than you think, but involves commitment. You’re essentially re-training your hand with feedback from your eye. I literally spent six hours on a Saturday working on this. Sound grueling? Yes it was, but I also have very fond memories of time well-spent (and this was fifteen years ago). Since you’re posting this in the Writing site, you should have no problem playing with words.

  5. Give yourself feedback, and address persistent problems. My uppercase B’s took a very long time to change. I had to simplify the process and work first on writing a 3 rapidly and then adding the vertical later. Feedback is always about honest course correction. Don’t get angry or frustrated and give yourself credit for the work you’ve accomplished. Writing well is a lovely experience.

Regarding writing utensils, consider both the pen and the paper as partners in the process. Think about the pleasure that comes from a smooth glide on a fine sheet of paper. If that’s too abstract, think about how easily the ink flows, the quality of the line, and how quickly it dries. With paper, consider its grain, its tooth, its weight, and its brightness. Your choice of pen/paper will affect the speed at which you write.

Ultimately, handwriting can be an art-form or a utility. Both have their pleasures and both require effort to succeed.


With a little help of a school teacher of my friends :

What can cause your bad handwriting ?

Mostly the fact that you are used to writing letters in a certain way and it's hard to change that way. For example some kids write with the hand over the writing line instead of under the line, which does not further a beautiful handwriting, but once it becomes a habit, trying to change the way the hand is placed will make, for a moment, an even worst result. Then it becomes easier and more precise. You have to be prepared that with this kind of effort your handwriting does not improve immediately.

There are frequent eye issues that can make bad handwriting, when your eyes do not focus well. You do not feel tired, and you do not have a feeling of bad vision, but if your hand doesn't want to draw the perfect line you have in mind, you might check your vision. (It can be solved with a light reeducation)

Ball pens are the easiest way to write. You don't have to focus on the letters to write something readable. Try a feather pen or even that kind of glass pens (I'm not sure about the English name). You have to use an inker, but they are easier to use than metalic ones.

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How can you change your handwriting ?

If you're writing with cursive, try to write with stick letters (not beautiful, but far more readable, and if your handwriting is very bad, it will make it more pleasant). If you're writing with stick letters, try cursive. Changing the way you form letters will force you to focus on each of them.

Try to change your pen, for the same reason.

Take your time to make beautiful letters, you will speed up later.

You can become a teacher, too, little kids saying they can't read every time ONE of your letters is not perfect is a pretty good exercise to focus on your handwriting! That's a joke, of course, but without any joke, writing very big letters on a board can help you too. Defects are more visible on a big scale. Try to figure out which ones of your letters are ugly and which ones are not. Change the worst first.


I never had legible handwriting until the year I spent teaching. I didn't feel I could help my students until I helped myself.

I believe this is the book I used --it was a huge and immediate help. It's oriented towards adults retraining themselves --just like you --not kids learning for the first time, and it has a step-by-step approach.



From the perspective of someone who:

  • recently learned to write with the left hand as well as right
  • once upon a time did a little martial arts:

Slow down.

Relax your arm and hand muscles.

As months pass, you can start increasing the speed. You will probably do it too early, so notice any drops in quality. And back up. If you are doing it "quickly but with errors" you are teaching yourself (your muscle memory) to make errors.

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