Exploring Different Handwriting Styles For Beginners

Handwriting has a long and fascinating history, with styles varying widely by region and era throughout ancient times. In the 1700s, handwriting was largely tied to factors such as social class, profession, and gender, with each having a distinct writing style. Penmanship has since evolved considerably, with the development of standardized systems like Spencerian script, the Palmer Method, and Zaner-Bloser. The invention of new writing tools like the fountain pen also helped shape modern handwriting. Today, most schools teach either print or cursive handwriting. Many different handwriting styles exist for beginners to explore, including cursive, print, calligraphy, and brush lettering.

According to https://www.ignitepost.com/blog/a-brief-history-of-handwriting, in the 1700s handwriting was largely tied to factors such as social class, profession, and gender, with each having a distinct writing style. Styles varied widely by region, however, so in the late eighth century Charlemagne tasked an English monk with standardizing the craft according to https://www.history.com/news/a-brief-history-of-penmanship-on-national-handwriting-day.


Cursive, also known as script or longhand, is a flowing style of handwriting where the letters are connected together in a continuous stroke. According to research by the National Education Association, cursive helps train the brain for functional specialization and improves memory and fine motor skills (source). Cursive letters often have unique forms and joins not found in print writing. Writing in cursive is faster for many people compared to print writing, as the hand moves fluidly from letter to letter.

To write in cursive, the letters are made in a smooth, linked stroke. Unlike printed letters, many cursive letters are formed differently, such as the cursive lowercase versions of f, g, j, q, y, and z. Learning cursive requires practicing the specific connections between letters, such as the join from t to h. With practice, cursive writing becomes automatic and develops its own rhythmic flow.

Cursive remains a popular style of handwriting taught in many schools around the world. Many find cursive more aesthetically pleasing than print. Historical documents like the Declaration of Independence were originally written in cursive, giving cursive a powerful tradition. Overall, cursive writing is an artistic, flowing handwriting style valued for its elegance and efficiency.


Print handwriting, also known as manuscript writing, involves writing individual letters in a non-connected style. Print letters use distinct forms and shapes for each letter, making them easily distinguishable from one another. Print writing emerged as a simplified alternative to cursive and has become the most common style taught in schools today.

In print writing, letters are written without joining strokes together. Letters like “a” and “s” look very different from their cursive counterparts. Spacing between words is larger and easier to read. Print writing is generally considered easier for children to learn, with more distinct shapes and no connections between letters to memorize. It promotes legibility and aids reading comprehension.

Many believe print also helps build fine motor skills as students learn to control a pencil or pen to draw each letter precisely. Print writing’s characteristic start-and-stop motion engages different parts of the brain compared to cursive’s continuous flow. According to research from Vanderbilt University, printing each letter produces activation in the left fusiform gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, and posterior parietal cortex regions of the brain associated with fine motor control.

While cursive may have benefits for memory and speed, print writing caters towards clarity and legibility at an early age. As students develop fluency, print handwriting allows them to focus on content rather than letter formation. It provides a strong foundation that makes adding cursive strokes later much easier.


Calligraphy is an elegant style of writing by hand that is known for its beautiful flowing letterforms. Calligraphy can be traced back to 5th century China, where calligraphers wrote using brushes with ink on paper or silk. The art of calligraphy spread to Japan and Islamic cultures, among others, and it became popular in Europe during medieval times. Modern calligraphy has evolved to include many styles, from blackletter to modern pointed pen scripts. Though calligraphy is often associated with special occasions or formal invitations, it can be used in many creative ways from logos and fonts to artwork.

Today, calligraphy enjoys widespread popularity as an artform and hobby. Many people find calligraphy relaxing and appreciate its artistic possibilities. Some calligraphers develop their own personal styles. Calligraphy provides a way to slow down and thoughtfully form letters, unlike hurried handwriting or typing. It requires patience, practice and control to master the angle and pressure in forming letters and words. Good calligraphy exemplifies harmony, proportion, balance and consistency of strokes (1).

While traditional calligraphy is done with ink and pen on paper, modern calligraphy has evolved to include brush pens, chalk, pencil and mixed media. There are many different calligraphy styles for beginners and experts to explore, such as cursive script, pointed pen, brush lettering and more. Pop culture trends have also sparked new interest in calligraphy and hand lettering (2).

Brush Lettering

Brush lettering is a fun and creative style of handwriting that uses a brush pen to produce thick and thin letters. It emerged from the world of sign painting and has become popular for wedding invitations, greeting cards, artwork, bullet journals, and more.

Unlike regular handwriting which typically uses ballpoint pens, brush lettering utilizes brushes or brush pens that allow for variation in letter width. This creates a naturally bouncy, artistic look. The brush glides across the paper, with downward strokes producing thicker lines and pressure lifts creating thinner upstrokes.

Brush lettering differs from calligraphy in that it has a more casual, modern vibe without strict adherence to set alphabets. It focuses more on capturing the rhythm and flow of natural handwriting rather than perfect uniformity. This makes it a great style for beginners looking to add some flair to their writing without intensive technique practice.

To get started with brush lettering, beginners will need a brush pen – markers with flexible nylon or felt tips that bend and spread out when pressed down. Good starter brush pens include the Tombow Fudenosuke and Pentel Pocket Brush pens. Using drill sheets is a great way to practice basic strokes and letters. Key skills involve learning to vary pressure, keep joins smooth, and master techniques like bounce lettering and thin upstrokes. With regular practice, beginners can develop fluid, artistic brush lettering skills.

Some helpful resources for brush lettering beginners include:


Choosing a Style

When selecting a handwriting style, there are several factors to consider:

Legibility – Some styles like cursive can be harder to read for those not familiar with it. A more printed style may be more universally legible. Check that your style is clear and easy to decipher (source).

Personality – Your handwriting can say a lot about your personality. Flowing cursive can give an elegant impression, while printed letters may seem more formal. Choose a style that aligns with how you want to present yourself (source).

Purpose – Consider what you will primarily be using the handwriting for. A style like calligraphy is ideal for artwork and invitations but not for lengthy documents. Make sure the style suits your intended purpose.

Difficulty – Finding the right balance between challenge and frustration is key. Pushing your skills is good, but don’t choose an overly complex style if it will hinder legibility and flow.

With practice and experimentation, you can develop a handwriting style that is unique, legible, and reflective of your personality.

Improving Handwriting

Improving your handwriting takes practice and patience. Here are some tips to help develop better handwriting skills:

Hold the pen or pencil correctly with a relaxed grip. Avoid squeezing too tightly as this can cause hand cramping. Rest your hand on the paper and use your arm to move the pen, not just your fingers (Source: https://thepostmansknock.com/8-tips-improve-your-handwriting/).

Sit up straight and position the paper at an angle. This allows your wrist to move more freely. Left-handed writers may angle the paper slightly to the right (Source: https://www.worksheetworks.com/english/writing/handwriting.html).

Complete handwriting exercises and drills to practice letter shapes and connecting letters. Trace letters, copy models, and write the same phrase repeatedly to build muscle memory (Source: https://thepostmansknock.com/8-tips-improve-your-handwriting/).

Go slow when writing. Focus on accuracy, spacing, and sizing. Speed will develop with practice over time. Avoid rushing through writing as this leads to sloppy penmanship.

Be consistent with letter slant, size, and spacing between letters and words. Use lined paper as a guide. Inconsistency makes writing harder to read.

Take breaks during longer writing sessions to rest your hand and arm. Proper posture and regular breaks prevent cramps and fatigue.

Practicing Consistency

Consistency is key for developing readable, aesthetically pleasing handwriting. Having consistent letter shapes and sizes improves the flow and legibility of your writing. According to the Postman’s Knock, “Inconsistent letter slanting, sizing, and shaping make writing feel choppy and hard to decipher.” To improve consistency:

Focus on keeping the shapes of each letter uniform. For example, make sure your “a” always looks the same. You can practice individual letters like this to drill consistency.

Maintain consistent spacing between letters and words. Use lined paper as a guide.

Work on consistent letter sizing. Letters shouldn’t randomly change sizes in the middle of a word.

Keep your handwriting angle and slant uniform. Pick a slant that feels natural and stick to it.

Practice handwriting drills and exercises focused on consistency. For example, write the same letter or word repeatedly on practice sheets. Check out this guide on 8 Tips to Improve Your Handwriting for drill recommendations.

With regular practice and focus, your handwriting consistency will improve dramatically.

Developing Flair

Over time, your handwriting will naturally evolve and become more personalized as you gain experience and confidence. According to wikiHow, the key is to “relax and let your natural writing style emerge.” Don’t try to force a style unnaturally. The most important thing is that your handwriting is legible and comfortable for you.

To help personalize your style, wikiHow recommends varying characteristics like letter size, slant, spacing between letters, flourishes, etc. For example, you may choose to write with large lower case letters but small capitals. Or connect some letters but not others. Experiment and see what feels best. Over time, your unique flair will develop naturally.

It’s also helpful to look at handwriting examples for inspiration, but not to copy exactly. As you gain experience writing, your style will gradually become more personalized. Be patient with yourself as you develop flair. With regular practice, your distinctive style will emerge.


In summary, there are many diverse styles of handwriting to explore as a beginner. Cursive, print, calligraphy, and brush lettering each have their own unique characteristics and techniques. Choosing a style that fits your goals and interests is an important first step. Then focus on consistency, developing a flair, and practicing regularly to improve over time.

Handwriting remains an important life skill with cognitive, academic, and creative benefits. While typing and other digital forms of writing are now common, the kinesthetic process of handwriting engages the brain differently and can lead to better retention and comprehension. There is also an artistry to beautiful script that allows personal expression.

Overall, handwriting is a journey of discovery rather than a single skill to master. Be patient with yourself as you develop a style, cultivate good habits, and add your own personal touch over time. Most importantly, enjoy the process of connecting mind to hand. Handwriting can be liberating, centering, and a powerful form of communication.

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