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Pretty Handwriting & Lettering Made Easy

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Would you like to make your handwriting or printing look better, prettier, perhaps even elegant or unique? Did you know you can easily create pretty lettering by simply accenting your basic printing or cursive style? You may be surprised at just how easy it is to do.

In this post you will learn a few simple tips and techniques that will make your own unique handwriting look like you majored in penmanship in school.

After practicing a little you will be able to hand letter a greeting or gift card & address the envelope with a personal touch or make table place cards with pretty handwriting for the holidays or dinner parties. Even when writing on a gift tag or writing out your grocery list.

How to improve your handwriting in a few easy steps. Mine went from bad to wow - so easy to do with a normal marker, pen, or pencil.

Handwriting is a natural extension of our personal style – the flow from our brain to pen to paper. 

I love when I see pretty script or the elegant handwriting of my friends and family on an envelope in the snail mail that arrives in my mailbox and being able to recognize immediately who it is from just by seeing the handwritten address on the envelope.

Sadly though – computers, email, and smart phones are making our handwriting obsolete – a lost art. Even our signatures can be digitally created nowadays.


I don’t want this to happen, but there seems to be less and less need to reach for a pretty pen and paper when a few strokes on a keyboard does it for us. 

I can’t bear to see handwriting become obsolete. I want to start or be part of the “Save our Handwriting Revolution!”

Handwriting is as much a part of our personal style as how we decorate our home or what we choose to wear. It can tell so much about us.

The way we form our letters in unique ways and put them together so they flow into words is truly an extension of our personal style that I miss seeing.  It is one thing that we can claim as truly our own. We can’t claim a computer font as our own.

Your Handwriting Only Prettier

You may be saying to yourself that your handwriting is awful and that there is no way you can make it look better.


Instead, silence that inner critic by thinking about it this way – Our handwriting is a bit like our body type. We can’t choose it, but we can exercise to get in shape – same with your handwriting – a little practice and learning some new techniques will get your handwriting in shape in no time.

How to Write Pretty Letters When Handwriting

The best way to make your handwriting prettier is to simply start writing.

If you know how to write the alphabet, all you need is a little practice on lined paper to gain lettering as a useful and beautiful new skill set and one that will improve your handwriting at the same time.

It doesn’t require changing your basic handwriting – it just takes it up a notch with better spacing, shading, a curl or a flourish.

1. Practice With a Variety of Pens and Markers

There are many pens and markers to choose from when it comes to pretty handwriting. You will find that your choice of pen or marker can make even your basic handwriting look so much better even without lettering skills.


Gather some pens – a fountain pen, gel pen, marker or pencil. Ballpoint pens are not the best to use – the ink can be uneven.

See which pen feels right in your hand and where the ink or lead flows smoothly across the paper.

As you test each pen you will find your favorites and one will become the right pen for your style of writing.

If you don’t have a favorite pen or pencil yet, start with a simple lettering kit that comes with a brush and thin tipped nibs.


To make your handwriting look like italic calligraphy, I like the markers called, Elegant Writer.  They come in different color inks and nibs (tip widths).

My Favorite Pens & Markers for Pretty Handwriting

2. Create Thin and Thick Sections on Each Letter

This may sound hard to do, but it is very simple. It is called doubling the downstroke in each letter. It can be done on both cursive handwriting and print letters.

It is an easy way to create faux calligraphy that achieves the same thick-thin stroke section on each letter, but without any fancy calligrapher tools and bottles of ink.

how to handwrite using faux calligraphy
  1. Write your letters or word as you normally would on a piece of paper making sure to add even spaces between each letter.

2. Then every time your pen stroke goes downward on each letter, make another line right next to it leaving a little bit of space. (shown with the arrows in the image above) You can leave the letter as is or fill the sections with the double lines in with your pen or marker.

This will give your letters the look of calligraphy with some sections of each letter being thin, and the downstrokes slightly thicker.

A calligraphy pen or marker will do this automatically. When holding the pen at a slant the wide nib creates a thicker line when making the downstroke of the letter. When you press lightly (as you do on all upstrokes) the tines stay closed and only a small amount of ink passes through.

Pretty handwriting samples

The technique works on all handwriting or print letter.

To show you, I used a fine tipped Sharpie and wrote my name a few times in different handwriting styles and letter spacing.

Pretty-handwriting tutorial

Then I made a double line along the down stroke of each letter– cool!  Easy!

Pretty-handwriting how to

I went further by filling in the double lined sections with more ink to create a bolder look.


By simply doing this will move your hand lettering or cursive writing up a few notches on the pretty handwriting style meter.

3. Keep the Slant and Spacing of Each Letter the Same

If you want to understand the basics of calligraphy or making your handwriting look better – keep the slant of the pen or pencil the same as you create each letter. It can be straight up and down or slanted to the left or the right – just keep the slant of the letters uniform.

Also try to space the letters evenly apart. Keeping this in mind will keep the words you are writing look better when viewed as a whole.


In college, I took a hand lettering class. Before we were allowed to use ink and fancy metal nib pens, we had to use a carpenter’s pencil that has a wide flat lead tip– like the nib on a calligraphy pen.

By keeping the wide pencil lead connected to the paper while on the same slant as we created each letter, it allowed us to see how each letter we made in italic calligraphy had thin and thick strokes as we formed them.

4. Adding Decorative Flourishes

Try one of these optional fancy lettering ideas that will add even more uniqueness to your handwriting or printed letters.

Using a Paper Stump to Create Shadows

Use a Paper Stump

When you use a pencil to make your letters, rubbing a paper stump along the downstrokes or all around the letters creates shadows and shading that adds dimension to each letter.  You can buy these stumps at any arts and crafts store.

Add Dingbats and Doodads


Dingbats and doodads are little elements you add to each letter to enhance the look of your letters while making them unique.

Pam-Garrison-Lettering-Flower-Power Lettering

They can be anything from flower heads…

Using thin and thick markers to make plain printing and handwriting look decorative

…to dots and dashes.

Use More Than One Color for Each Letter

How to make your handwriting look better using an easy two colors or different tips of pens or markers.

Following the doubling of the downstroke technique mentioned earlier in this post. When using markers – use a dark and light shade of same color to create the look of shading.

Experiment with thin tipped and brush style markers to create different looks.

What Does Your Handwriting Say About You?

My love of handwriting goes back to when I was a kid. I remember one Christmas when I was in junior high and Santa brought me a book about handwriting analysis.  I found it fascinating that every single time you put pen to paper, you are revealing a little bit about yourself.

If you want to find out what your handwriting says about you, it is a fun read.

Practice By Writing Your Favorite Letter

How to draw handmade letters

Do you have a favorite letter you like to write in cursive script? If so, why not try using a few of these tips to see just how pretty your handwriting can look.

Now that you know a few pretty lettering tips, I hope they will help guide, inspire, and encourage you to creatively experiment with lettering and develop a style of your own.

From grocery lists, addressing greeting cards to chalkboards – pretty handwriting and lettering can be yours.

Read More on the Subject

If you liked this post, I have written a few more posts about pretty handwriting and creative envelopes. You will find it here: Creative Snail Mail Ideas, Lettering & Envelopes

For more pretty lettering and handwriting inspiration, check out these books from lettering artists. Seeing their favorite tools and how they use them as well as an overview of their signature lettering style will give you lots of creative ideas.

More Creative Lettering Inspiration

how to write pretty letters

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  1. I have to say that I have my own narcissistic views on my favourite letter to write – seeing as my name begins with this letter – but I just love the letter K. I have, over the years, perfected the way I sign my name, and have written Ks in my notebooks since I was little. In fact, my parents named me Katie because they liked the way it looked! I love what you can do with a good K. <3

    I am currently a chalk artist and barista, and absolutely love researching new typography (and pretty hand writing) for my chalk boards. This book would easily be my new go-to guide!

  2. I Watch your posts everyday . Being a vey shy introvertI find it very hard to leave a comment. But today is different I L-O-V-E calligraphy. Lots of people tell that my handwritting is very nice, even the teachers I work with. I sometimes create fake lists so I can write ( can’t believe I’m saying this ). My favorite letter I like to play around the most is *A*.Thanks Diane for all your lovely post.


  3. Oh, I also love the letter “L”. The loops are super fun! Thanks! This book looks like a lot of fun to play with.

    1. Oh my, I love this blog! I do not consider my writing “pretty” and I would LOVE this book! My favorite letter is “L” mainly because my name is Laura Leonard…my friends call my L squared or Double L and I really thing thats fun. I have differnt types of L’s in my house and my little granddaughter (21 months now) stands on my bed and points the the letter and says “ewl” if you can imagine how that sounds, so cute. She knows the letter L now. Now to teach her F for her name Felicity…that will take a while :). Anyway I would get alot of learning and fun out of this book and I can teach little Flissie right along with me! Thanks again for the post. (what a fun idea to have copies of pages of the book out and a bunch of girlfriends over with some wine and treats…go from there.