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Barbara Nicol's Tips on Penmanship

Discover expert tips to improve your handwriting: grid practice, proper grip, free-flowing ink, fountain pens, upstroke starts and parallel downstrokes.

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Barbara Nicol

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Barbara Nichol, a leading Australian Handwriting expert, author and teacher, shares her top tips to help you improve your handwriting and perfect your penmanship!

Computers and keyboards now dominate the way we transfer our thoughts into readable sentences. However, handwriting is currently undergoing a resurgence as reverting to traditional ink and paper has cognitive and therapeutic benefits.

To ensure you have the best start to your journey towards better handwriting, keep the following advice in mind each time you practice:

1. Down the Line. Practice your letter formation using a set of grid lines. This will help ensure your writing covers the upper, middle and lower zones. It is called writing in ‘the thirds’.

2. Grip. Ensure you are holding the pen properly using a tripod pen hold which ensures the fingers are free to flex and rotate. Work on improving your pen hold separately from the practice of letter formation as it is too difficult to perfect by learning together.

3. Free Flow: Use writing instruments that have free-flowing ink and that do not encourage heavy pressure.

4. Perfect Pen: Switch from a ballpoint pen to a fountain pen which requires no pressure so the ink flows smoothly and freely.

5. Stroke Style. Always start and finish on an upstroke. This is the golden rule of letter formation.

6. Train Track. Ensure your downstrokes are parallel and never meet. Practice using a slope card.

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Barbara Nicol

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