Human writes A few tips
W. SREELALITHAgets down to the basics of legible handwriting
Photo S. Siva Saravanan
It’s about legibility There is nothing called good or bad handwriting
I still remember Santhana Bharathy, my classmate till Class XII, for two things: his brilliant mind and lousy handwriting. His handwriting was famously illegible, and I was worried he would lose marks on account of that.
From the first day of school, the stress is always on writing legibly, and if possible, beautifully. While those with wonderful handwritings are appreciated, those who write badly are chided by teachers and teased mercilessly by others. What is vital to achieve a good handwriting?
“First, there is nothing called good or bad handwriting,” clarifies Imran Baig, certified handwriting analyst and chief administrator of Handwriting Institute India in Bangalore, the official Indian campus of Handwriting University International, the U.S.“It is either legible or illegible handwriting. At the institute we ask teachers not to use the words ‘bad writing’ as it affects the self-esteem of a child.” We basically write to communicate, so anything illegible does not communicate, he says. “We in India follow the UK style of writing. There are three types of writing: cursive (where the word is written without a break); semi-cursive (written with a break): and print (individual letters or block writing). For legibility semi-cursive is recommended,” says Baig.
Apart from legibility and forming a particular stroke, what is important is something as basic as holding a pen, says Baig. Agrees U.S.-based Dyas A. Lawson, who has taught handwriting and calligraphy.
, she says that positioning the hand is also equally important.
“People who inevitably have trouble with handwriting, write with their fingers. They ‘draw’ the letters. Crampy, uneven letters are often the result of drawing the letters with the fingers rather than using the whole arm to write.” She says that if one uses the right muscle groups, one’s writing will have a smooth, easy flow, and not look tortured.
Baig says that working on the right position of the finger, hand and the paper takes away 80 per cent of the problems.
“So, unlike how we are traditionally taught, at the Institute we first give exercises to children to flexify their fingers.”
Is it possible for a person to change his handwriting after having written a certain way all his life? “Yes”, says Baig. “The change of handwriting is natural, and in fact, changes with age. Physical, intellectual and emotional factors too have an impact on the way one writes. On an average, in 21 days of practice one can see a tangible difference in the way one writes,” he asserts.
But, with the world swiftly moving towards being paperless, has handwriting taken a backseat? “Yes”, says G.N. Naidu, who has been running the Good Handwriting Institute in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, for four years.
“Students write in class and at home, and give examinations, so long as they are in school. Once they are in college, handwriting takes a severe beating. Further, offices are all turning computerised, and officials are now equipped with laptops, hardly giving an opportunity for writing.”
He says that grown ups do not show up at his institute, it is only schoolchildren who come for his classes.
Baig says that “we hardly pen-write anymore. It’s a writer’s crime, as we have lost the coordination among fingers, hand and the mind.” Baig says that the institute insists that companies ask their employees to write on an A4 sheet every day.
Interestingly, Baig says that everyone writes uniquely, and no one can write like the other. Even twins don’t write alike! The chance of two people having the exact same handwriting is one in a 68 trillion, he says.
So, the next time your teacher insists that you write just like one of your classmates who has a wonderful handwriting, well, you have the answer! As for Santhana Bharathy, I need not have worried. He went on to grab a gold medal at the national level!
A FEW TIPS
Find a pen you like to write with
Choose a good notebook
Remember that legibility is more important than beauty
Concentrate on overall letter formation
Pay attention to character and word spacing
Try to make writing a habit. Write letters instead of e-mails. Keeping a diary is extremely useful.
Develop a test sentence for yourself and write it every week. This will help you gauge your progress.
Remember, practice makes perfect!
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