You can master italic

Handwriting / You can master italic

A practical way

Make zigzags. Add recognition points. Get letters. This is easy, and it works.

How to acquire italic

Good handwriting comes in two parts. One is a trained hand. The other is an understanding of the letters. Both are needed for any alphabet and any style.

How to control a pen

Tracing patterns on exercise sheets will help you get a firm hand. Then zigzags and ovals are within easy reach.

How movement patterns work

Detailed paths take you from the beginning and to the end of all the letters. You learn about simple improvements: consistent slant, even distance between stems, and a straight baseline.

New start: before and after

A good method is easy to learn and easy to teach

An approach that leaves nobody behind

A handwriting model is a foundation. Build on it as long as it’s useful. Then go your own way if you like. Return to it if you need it again. Italic is a clear, basic style of writing for everybody. At its best, it is a work of art.

One model fits all

Your own writing may be rounded. It may be angular, or it may be anything in between. Italic gives you a framework for your personal style.

Spot the difference

The upper line has separate stems. In each stroke the pen stops at the baseline. It then moves in the air to the top of the next stem.

The lower line has connected stems. At the baseline the pen changes direction and bounces like a ball to the next stem.

In continuous writing this is a big difference.

Handwriting as movement

Start with motion, then add shapes

Most people can learn writing movements in twenty minutes. Once you get a grip on them, your letters can largely take care of themselves. Just add recognition points. Let me show you what I mean.

Do try this

Write three joined letters u. Then put dots over the third and sixth stems. This changes “uuu” to “uiui." You added recognition points.

Doing many different things at the same time isn’t easy. For writing you need grammar and spelling and exactly what you want to put down on paper.

In addition you must control your hand and remember how good lettershapes are made. If you can do that without thinking, you’re in luck. If you can’t, please don’t worry. Good handwriting is easier than you think. You start with zigzag exercises.

What is wrong with this picture?

The bottom rungs are missing, obviously. The ladder is useless to those who need it most.

Some people, children and adults alike, have a natural gift for handwriting. Many manage nicely without the first exercises. But others, who need every rung in the ladder, must have them.

If at first you don’t succeed, use remedial exercises. Talent can usually take care of itself. But the rest of us should get all necessary help. Zigzag drills are useful. If they are too hard, pattern exercises make a difference. Don’t worry. Loose scribbles can be fun. Tracing gives gentle support. And everybody can connect dots. We can build on that, and we do.

Nobody left behind, ever

People with natural abilities don’t need much guidance. The rest of us must learn how to use our eyes and how to master a pen.

If writing is difficult, zigzag drills usually help. If they are too hard, pattern exercises make a difference.

Any level you can name

What can you do when nothing seems to work? Don’t worry. Loose scribbles can be fun. Tracing gives gentle support. And everybody can connect dots. We can build on that, and we do.

Speed kills

The top line was written slowly, with care and precision. This is how we write texts that others are meant to read.

The middle line is typical of quick, personal notes. It’s good enough for a shopping list.

The bottom line is a very fast scrawl, and may be illegible even to the writer. Some people can only write that way, fast or slow. Even for them, there’s hope.

What is good enough?

To write better, slow down

Common sense usually finds a sensible middle way between graceful legibility and necessary speed. Not every shopping list has to look like a work of art.

This balance varies from person to person, and sometimes from day to day. It is a good starting point for repairs: just ordinary writing.

Your letters should be even and they should be legible. Most people can manage that. Is it worth your effort?

When in doubt, slow down.

Summary: just add recognition points

Start with a zigzag. The rest is a piece of cake.