Left-Handed Handwriting Tips
Left-handed people may face more difficult challenges in learning to write for various reasons. In many languages, including English, everything is written in left-to-right progression which favors their right-handed counterpart. When writing with right-hand in left-to-right progression, it is easier to see every letter that has just been written, and there is no need to worry about smeared ink because the hand naturally moves away from the drying ink as the writing continues.
Notebooks are also designed primarily for right-handed people that the spiral bindings or rings are placed to the left side, so those things do not get in the way as they write. Most people find it easier to pull a pen or pencil instead of pushing it across a sheet of paper. There are, however, many ways to improve your handwriting either you are left-handed or simply want to become ambidextrous. If you are used to writing with your right-hand, switching to your left-hand will feel weird and uncomfortable, but practices make everything feel natural. Here are some tips to get you started right away.
Proper paper placement
Similar to right-handed people, you must place the paper in a position that makes writing easier. Everyone has a personal preference, but the most ideal paper position is with the top of the sheet pointing to the right at about 20 degrees. It allows you to place your hand more naturally without having to “hook” your hand to see what you have just written.
Pen position and your posture
One of the biggest differences between right-handed and left-handed people in terms of handwriting is pen or pencil movement. The former pull their pen across the paper, while the latter push it. To write naturally, it is recommended that southpaws hold their pens about an inch from the tips, and resting the pen on the top section of middle finger. Your thumb and index finger are loosely gripping the pen. As usual, elbow is bent and the wrist is straight.
If you are just starting to write with your left hand after years of using the right one, you’ll be learning like your first time. Start with alphabet in both lowercase and capital letters before moving to words and sentences. Once you are used to writing with the new method, cursive-training will be your next session. If the writing is messy, try to trace large texts from a magazine. There is nothing wrong with using children’s paper that has dotted center lines and widely spaced lines; they help to control proportions and help with readability. If you have some left-handed friends, don’t hesitate to ask for advices.
Practice writing every letter in the alphabet
Either “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” or “five boxing wizards jump quickly” contains every letter in the English alphabet. Write those two sentences over and over to improve your skill. Also, practice with the most common words to get used to the most frequent letters combination. You can find list of the most common English words in Wikipedia. Remember that your left hand will be very tired because you are training certain muscles for the first time.
Writing is different from drawing, but you are basically utilizing the same set of muscles to draw and to write. Drawing improves muscle strength and it helps you to control your pen or pencil better. Some simple shapes such as rectangular chimneys or square houses will do; the purpose is to attain dexterity, not to reproduce Mona Lisa. Drawing straight line may sound simple, but it is more difficult if you’re doing it by pushing the pen instead of pulling it.
To become ambidextrous, you have to train your left hand for other activities too for examples brushing your teeth, dialing phone numbers or typing messages, scrubbing dishes, and eating especially with spoon or fork. Try switching your computer mouse to left-hand controls and press the spacebar on your keyboard with the left hand.
Use the proper pen type
Type of pen plays major factor in any handwriting style. Pens can be divided into three major categories including ballpoint, rollerball and fountain. Ballpoint uses oil-based ink which is quicker to dry compared to rollerball watery ink, so it should be better for left-handed people. If the ink is quicker to dry, the hand is less likely to cause smeared writing. Fountain pen is the more old-fashioned type compared to the other two, but it is more versatile because the nib is replaceable. Lamy, a popular Germany-based pen maker, has developed a fountain pen nib specifically for left-handed people. Apart from the usual nib grades such as EF (Extra Fine), F (Fine), M (Medium), B (Broad), OM (Oblique Medium), OB (Oblique Broad), and OBB (Oblique Extra Broad), Lamy also made a nib for left-handed handwriting. The size goes between Fine and Medium and it is slightly more rounded compared to others to make smoother writing as you push it across the paper.
The general rule is that finer nib size allows the ink to dry faster. Although the left-handed nib size by Lamy is slightly wider than F (Fine), you can develop handwriting method that prevents your hand from smearing the already written letters. The most popular methods are “underwriting” and “overwriting”. The former means you put your hand above the writing line so you can see what you have just written, while the latter means you put your hand below the writing line with the same purpose. There is also “side-writing” method with which the paper line is placed vertically in front of the writer.