I frequently utter “It’s so ugly” while writing Chinese characters. I cross many words out and I get dizzy looking at the finished assignment. I’m sure many of you can relate, so here are some tips to improve bad handwriting.
1 Practice every day or as often as you can
In order to improve your handwriting, you must practice! But sometimes you don’t have the time or can’t bother to.
The bare minimum is to practice five characters. You can choose any ones you want.
When I say practice, I don’t mean write the same characters a couple of times and call it a day. Randomly write the same character five slightly different ways.
Examine each character and circle what you like and don’t like about it. Rewrite the character with what you circled in mind.
Once you write the character to your liking, perfect it by rewriting it multiple times.
2 Balance and proportion
Characters should not look overcrowded. But they also should not look like they’re social distancing.
They should not look like they’ve been squished by a hydraulic press or look skinny like a 90s supermodel.
The best way to figure out proportions is by writing on gridded paper (like the picture in #1). The lines in the box are a great guide to get the ratios right.
Radicals should be smaller on the top and thinner on the side. When writing characters with a top and bottom component, imagine an A-line dress that flares out towards the bottom.
When writing characters with three horizontal lines, consider making the middle line shorter. This webpage has more information about rules and ratios to make your characters look balanced.
Horizontal strokes are more aesthetically pleasing when they slant up slightly. Generally, most radicals look better when they go up at a slight angle.
However if all components of the character are angled too high to the right, the alignment is wrong.
For videos and examples concerning alignment, Tang Laoshi has many videos on Bilibili. The only drawback is there are no subtitles, but there are ample examples and demos.
Now that you have these tips, grab your gridded paper and your pen and get to practicing!