Handwriting! How's yours?

How’s your handwriting? Excellent? Sucks? Are you a calligrapher? Know anything about the history or teaching of it?

My handwriting is schizophrenic. All in one page it can be architect block, swoopy cursive, old person shaky, slanted or straight up and down!


I don’t remember?


I want to learn calligraphy, just because it’s awesome.

My handwriting depends on if I’m jotting something down, taking time to write it, or writing creatively.

Jotted notes are generally printed and illegible, because I’m not taking the time to write neatly.

More thoughtful notes are also printed, and pretty legible, but still kind of all-over the place.

When I’m writing creatively, I switch to cursive, and it slows me the hell down. It’s a lot more legible, and because I’m taking the time to think through what I’m writing, they’re a lot more coherent, too.


Me too. Cursive is the way to go if I need to be able to actually read what I’ve written. I think block printing just helps me commit to memory what I’m taking notes on.

It’s the pages of crazy switching around that I find amusing. My brain apparently shoots out in a lot different directions at times, what the hell?


Poorly executed block capitals. I’d rather type.


I can do calligraphy, with great effort since it’s really not designed for left-handers. The legibility of the rest of my writing depends on how tired I am.


That is my style as well, although I never really do real cursive anymore. My default writing is fast printing that connects most of the letters (pseudo-cursive): (from my desktop)

Or printing that has a lot of odd ligatures: (also from my desktop)

When I am writing for others, it is some form of neat printing (kinda random, though)

I did a lot of calligraphy when I was much younger – never the super fancy stuff, though. I need to dig out my pens and play again…

Edit: just noticed the line through the zed in Elizabeth… I think that I started doing that to distinguish them from twos (2) when doing math – I never got in the habit of putting a line through a seven (7) because that is what my capital F looks like.


At one time I tried my hand at more 19th century script styles; turns out my degree of inability exceeded my dedication to learning.


I had… not so great handwriting as a child.
I got somewhat better via formal instruction in the Rheinhart method, and my cursive was entirely functional.
Then, two things happened:

  1. I went to middle school and got to be trained by a serious professional calligrapher. My Blackletter was passable.
  2. I began to covet my father’s handwriting- he’s a old-school computer scientist, and had been through all the drafting classes that were required at the time.
    Around then my “7” became a Euro-7 (with the small cross on the stem). I got more precise. I thought (actively) about letter forms and what I wanted things to look like and why. Later, after seeing a history professor easily write a typographic “a” on a chalkboard, I changed that too.
    Currently, it depends somewhat upon what I’m writing with and on. So: my normal pen is a Uniball Signo 207 Ultra Micro 0.38mm, and that leads to small, crisp, precise lettering.
    The pen for “utility” writing usually has a G2 insert in it, my writing gets somewhat larger and more “open,” for lack of a better word.

I absolutely hate handwriting. I’m so out of practice that it’s losing its utility due to being unreadable.

I never had pretty handwriting, and I can’t read cursive at all, but my handwriting has gotten significantly worse since school now that I almost never have to do it anymore.

Also, in school I was very heavy handed. 0.7mm leads crumbled under my ham fist, so I always had a 0.9mm mechanical pencil on me.

Here’s a sample of my handwriting from just last week, FWIW


I always liked calligraphy. Never learned it despite buying pens several times, and my handwriting (both block and cursive - WHICH IS THE WORSE since I only use it for checks) is HORRIBLE.


I used to have very clean block lettering, and at least readable cursive.

Having spent so long typing on computers, though… nowadays, whenever I start writing something my mind gets impatient and wanders far ahead of where my hand is, resulting in horrible scawls with missing letters.


Mine is fairly decent, very nice if I try to be neat about it, or crap if I’m going fast or taking notes.

When I was a kid (maybe 8-13?) my father would sometimes make me write a page of o after o after o, l after l after l, practicing letter forms. I hated it, and thought he was a jackass.

The thing is, he did this himself also, to make his handwriting nicer. It wasn’t a punishment, and it improved my handwriting.

Years later, after a several years of dealing with a wrist injury that made even holding a pen very painful, I did something similar on my own. In part it was to find a way to hold a pen that didn’t cause pain, and also to make sure I could write legibly.


Terrible, it always has been. At least I don’t get a teacher complaining about it any more.


Yes, the first part of the story is nearly the same. But at the end I’m greatfull about it. And heading into doing just the same to a generation after me. For now he thinks he is learning me the letters he is learning. :wink: But don’t warn him, his time is coming.


The only “F” I’ve ever had on a report card was for penmanship in 5th grade. It hasn’t improved since then.

My grandma used to claim I was left-handed and forced to write with my right hand, but it seems unlikely, and if true, the conversion was fairly complete. Music has made me somewhat more ambidextrous than I would otherwise be, but I definitely favor the right hand.

When I take notes it’s in all-caps block letters, which is barely legible but that’s an improvement on my cursive.

Despite that, I have done a bit of calligraphy. And for a while I had a habit of journaling with a dip pen, writing carefully in much neater all-caps block letters.


I could probably pass for a doctor - in that respect, at least.


This is where the architect block print comes from in my writing. My pops was an architect starting out in the mid '60s and had that draftsman precision handwriting that looked like a machine had laid it down. I so wanted, and still want, to be able to write like that. Personal notes and cards get that treatment and usually aren’t too bad, they just look like somebody copying that style rather than actually writing in it. Also doing layout work on lumber my brain switches to this style.

My signature does match his exactly, but that’s just from forging so many school notes.

Might have just explained my handwriting right there.


I also failed penmanship frequently. Dragging your left hand across the paper as you write often results in unreadable smudges.

I have no memory of any teacher trying to force me to write right-handed*, but my brother who is a year and a half younger than I am was subjected to that. The result was that he couldn’t “choose” a hand until probably 7th grade. He’d write halfway across the page with his left hand and then switch the pen to his right and finish the line. Today he’s left-handed but decently ambidextrous. I am too, for certain things - that hand-switching is how I apply eyeliner. Left hand/left eye, right hand/right eye.

*I did have a college fencing instructor that really wanted me to at least drill right-handed, but I was loath to give up the only thing that really made me a decent fencer.


no left-to-right writing is for lefties. this leaves Hebrew, and it seems most asian writing is allowed to go top-to-bottom. But I don’t speak those languages :angry:

Like has been said, as long as I’m not going as fast as I can, and I’m writing not just for me but so other people can read it, I have a nice sort of flowing, lower-case printing that leaves nothing to the imagination w/r/t the graffiti writing career of my youth. My "a"s look like this typeface, but my "g"s are the other one, with the two circles with the connector and the serif on the top. if the writing implement has an edged tip, I rock the angles in a somewhat calligraphic way.