Dear Reader- Here’s a treat! Feast your eyes on Lindsey Bugbee’s gorgeous notes from her website, The Postman Knocks. Her calligraphy and handwriting always leave me awestruck. In “How to Make a Beautiful Handwritten Note,” Lindsey shows us how we can put our best script forward with style and humor. (Never cross out, she suggests, write “oops” instead.)
I have used some of her free practice sheets. I doodle the elegant letter forms on scrap paper. Handwriting is a skill like all others, it improves with practice. Go on doodle! Make it fun….Carol
How to Make a Beautiful Handwritten Note
1. Test Your Pen (and Warm Up)
How many times have you gone to write a note only to find that the pen doesn’t start as you expected it to? To prevent surprises (and to warm up your hand), begin your note with some squiggles on a scrap piece of paper. Those squiggles will serve to prepare the pen and loosen up your hand a bit, too!
2. Choose Your Strongest Handwriting Style
We all have a few handwriting styles at our disposal. Likely, you can write in neat print, messy print, neat cursive, messy cursive, and/or “pursive” — a mix of print and cursive. Choose the handwriting style that you excel at writing. It’s all about embracing what gels best with your skillset and personality. If you’re not sure what works best for you, experiment! (You can try out several different handwriting styles in TPK’s Improve Your Handwriting Course.)
3. Keep an Exemplar Handy
Here’s a trick from the Improve Your Handwriting Course: make an exemplar of your very best handwriting. Then, pull out that exemplar anytime you want to go the extra mile to write a beautiful note.
4. Write on Blank Paper (and Use Guidelines)
Neatly-written notes on blank paper always pack the most visual punch. But, how do you make those notes without guidelines? My trick: a light box and lined paper. For 5″ x 7″ notes, I use this (free) printable with slant lines. For larger notes, I just tear out a piece of notebook paper and put it behind the paper I’m working on. Then, I place the lined paper and the blank paper over my light box and write!
A quick disclaimer: this technique only works with light-colored papers. Also, it’s not impossible to create eye-catching notes on notebook paper, especially if you’re pressed for time or don’t have a light box. Just look at the beautiful note below:
5. Maintain Margins
Nothing makes a note look busier than writing that extends to the edge of the page. If you can see that a word will get uncomfortably close to your page’s edge, hyphenate! Remember that you can add a hyphen after any syllable in a word and resume writing that word on the next line.
6. Write With a Fountain Pen (or a Fine-Tipped Pen)
While pens with medium or wide tips can make lovely writing, it’s easiest to achieve delicately beautiful handwriting with a fine-tipped pen. For the ultimate thin stroke, write with a fine-tipped fountain pen. (I often use a Pilot Falcon pen with an extra fine tip.) In the comparison note below, you can see the difference between an extra fine-tipped fountain pen and a Pilot G2 05 pen:
7. Don’t Cross Out Your Mistakes
It’s almost impossible to avoid typos in handwritten notes. Since you can’t click the “delete” key when you’re doing things by hand, run with your mistakes! Instead of crossing a word out, acknowledge the error in your note and keep on writing.
I hope these tips help you next time you want to create an eye-catching handwritten note! Remember that handwritten notes can get you far. Among other things:
- Sending handwritten notes to clients can help your business stand out (especially according to the companies who write commissioned marketing notes).
- A well-timed handwritten note after an interview will help you shine, particularly if the handwriting is neat and the message thoughtful.
- Friends and family will treasure the notes that you write to them for years to come. (Now that my grandmothers have passed, their handwritten notes to me are even more special.)