General Question

ShaChris23's avatar

Explain why someone who draws really well has a terrible handwriting?

Asked by ShaChris23 (318points) March 18th, 2013
42 responses
“Great Question” (5points)

My friend is an architect. Obviously, he can draw beautifully. I’m just surprised to see his chicken scratch handwriting. It’s squiggly and appears as if he doesn’t put any effort into conforming to the correct letter forms. Shouldn’t a highly visual person have a really tidy handwriting?

I’m a computer programmer and often times I also have to think in 3D; I draw diagrams and use computer extensively, so here are our similarities. It’s unthinkable, in my opinion, to work in a profession that requires extensive writing and diagramming, yet have a chicken scratch handwriting.

Additionally, he can be messy. Anything other than his 3D animation works or building design, he can be neglectful. There’s one thing odd about him: when asked to recall a set of numbers, he says he “sees” numbers in his mind (as opposed to me, who just “knows” what the numbers are). Not sure if this would add to the discussion, but there you go.

Observing members: 0
Composing members: 0


ragingloli's avatar

I am an artist, both drawing and 3D design, and my handwriting is a mess as well.
I suppose it is because I do not see handwriting as an extension of my visual inclinations.
Speaking for myself, a drawing’s or a 3D rendering’s/animation’s primary purpose for the artist that creates it, is to be looked at and to be enjoyed, the information component that it contains is just something the client wants.
Written text however, if not part of that artwork, is just a chore, existing solely to convey information, and it is completely irrelevant to me whether it looks nice or not.

marinelife's avatar

It is a different skill set.

DigitalBlue's avatar

I think there may be two separate things at work. I draw quite well, but I draw very literally. I’m not very creative or able to make very artistic drawings, but I can draw just about anything that is right in front of me quite realistically. My handwriting is very precise and tidy.
However, I have friends that draw well, who are also very creative, and their handwriting is a little crazy.

Arewethereyet's avatar

I can draw well and write neatly, many architects have exemplary handwriting as their training includes script at least here they do. My daughters are both very arty and have very neat handwriting so I’m not sure your hypothesis holds up in all cases.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think it is two separate skills. I can draw okay, but my handwriting is chicken scratch. My brother is exactly the same. We write very much alike. I was helping his daughter with a FASFA form and started writing something and she and her mother burst out laughing. He writes just like Daddy she said.

ragingloli's avatar

There is also the gender difference in handwriting. XX handwriting tends to be a lot neater.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@ragingloli I agree. It’s sexist but maybe guys tend to want to get it done and women care more for how it looks? I’m not sure what the answer is.

woodcutter's avatar

Handwriting can be improved upon by anyone who is sloppy and really wants to do better but I think most sloppy writers are set in their ways and don’t want to improve. They have better things to do. If they can read what they put on paper then its all good enough. Hell, look how skilled surgeons are ,and how jacked up their handwriting is. Paper is out of style now so if anyone can use a keyboard or debit card the handwriting is allowed to atrophy without much kicking and screaming.

Sunny2's avatar

My mom, an artist had illegible handwriting. She said she had to draw the letters to make it readable. Then it was just fine.

AshLeigh's avatar

I have nice handwriting, but I can’t draw at all.

Unbroken's avatar

I had terrible handwriting as a child. I spent hours perfecting it writing sheet upon sheet of letters to pen pals I barely sent them to. Throwing them away if I made one mistake.

I eventually gave that up and my handwriting faltered, I also started trying out other people’s hand writing, as well as experimenting. Again I grew disinterested and my handwriting morphed into something similar to my Mother’s and sister’s.

I was around 11 when I got one of those calligraphy sets and learned what that book and set of nibs had to teach me.

Drawing was something I did but never got into on the same level as handwriting.

Now my handwriting is atrocious. Atrophy. And I rarely draw. But if I wanted to get into the swing of things I could.

I think I learned more about @rageloli’s history just now then I have previous!

The two aren’t married nor do I think of them as opposites. Just different skills that you can choose to what degree you develop.

Earthgirl's avatar

I’ve studied handwriting analysis a bit and I’m also an artist so I come at this question from both angles.

First of all, what most people consider “good handwriting” is generally textbook style and perfectly formed. Writing can be very legible and hardly legible and mostly illegible. What you need to understand is that how it looks has to do with many factors and the most legible handwriting is only “good” handwriting because it’s easier for us to read and it conforms to the ideal form taught in now extinct penmanship classes.

When we learn to write cursive we are taught the proscribed way. Upper loops, middle zone letters and lower zone loops are supposed to be fairly equal in size. There are other conventions I won’t go into because I think we’re mostly familiar with them. Over time, as we mature, we start to develop our own style. Intelligent people tend to simplify letter forms. They use a lot of printed letters. Imaginative, creative people tend to use more squiggly lines, unusual formations and a flow that doesn’t strictly follow convention. It’s natural that an artist would translate their sense of line to their penmanship. I have a book that shows the handwriting of famous poets. There is more beauty in this impartially illegible writing style than the regimented strictly controlled lines of the ideal.

Speed also has something to do with it. Someone who writes quickly and has a rapid flow of ideas will be anxious to get it all down. They aren’t as concerned with making a perfect letter formation.

There are many other factors of personality that influence how we write. I find graphoanalysis fascinating.

So all in all, I think since not all artists are the same, there are some who like a tight very controlled line (and these may be drawn to technical drawing which needs to be precise.) I would not be surprised if these people drew very neatly and legibly. And then there are the visionary, more organic designers, who have a more wabi-sabi aesthetic and I would imagine that they would have a looser less controlled, less legible handwriting. Makes perfect sense to me. The less conventional you are, the less your handwriting conforms to the ideal forms taught in grade school.

A lot of architects and interior designers use printed text when they make notations. It’s a sort of an accepted convention in design school.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Earthgirl I think you hit on it. My brain goes 100 miles an hour, my pen goes at 40 or 50.

Moonaa's avatar

I draw comics and I do my own thing sometimes in sketch books.

My handwriting has always been awful. My parents were even surprised when I was coming up with a signature. It took weeks to get one down and they said, “You’re an artist! Why aren’t you good at calligraphy?”

When I first started writing, a lot of my letters had circular or sometimes sharp, undefined shapes, which is really how I draw as well. Sort of like a Tim Burton essence.

But my teachers butchered my handwriting. They made me write letters over and over again until they resembled what everyone else was doing. And since “neat handwriting” is so contrived for me, it comes out odd and sharp. Like a lot of my female friends write a lowercase “a” connected with the tail, so it’s sort of oval shaped. My lowercase “a” is a circle with a line on the back. My handwriting tends to be large too.

I think it looks awful. I envy the other girls with their tiny, perfectly printed letters. Every single same letter being an identical shape. My letters are all different. I sometimes think I could write ransom notes and the police would never be able to detect similar letters in my writing because it’s never the same.

Earthgirl's avatar

@Moonaa I wouldn’t worry too much about your handwriting. These days most things are written on the computer anyways. So many people never learn to write cursively at all, and if they do learn, they may not practice enough to be good at it. It does take muscle control. At least you are trying to learn and practicing. What comes naturally to some people is harder for other people. I bet some of the girls whose handwriting you admire would love love to be able to draw as you do! We all have different skills. Like I said, handwriting reflects our personality. Neat handwriting is only superior because it’s easier to read. If you really want to write neatly you could probably develop the skill but it would require discipline and practice. I think you could spend the time better by practicing your drawing skills. Who knows, maybe one will improve the other. In any case, textbook perfect handwriting, in my opinion, is nothing to aspire to. Study the great artists and their sense of line and form. Ingres is one of my favorites. I’m sure you can find many more that you like to inspire you!

beckk's avatar

I’m a design major in school. I’ve always been artistic, but I have the worst handwriting. It’s sloppy and, at times, completely illegible. My roommate constantly criticizes it. I don’t believe there is a correlation between being artistic and having ‘neat’ handwriting. Also, to anyone it may seem that I am extremely unorganized, but I know exactly where everything is in my room.
I think artistic people may have a more carefree, creative way about them, rather than an organized, technical sense that logical people most likely have.

Earthgirl's avatar

@beckk I agree.

Plucky's avatar

I am an artist and I’m told I have nice, but unique, handwriting. My overall handwriting is different than any of I’ve seen. It’s sort of like @Earthgirl stated about creative/imaginative people. I don’t know where it comes from. I don’t recall deciding to write differently.

So, count me as one of the artists who don’t write messy.

Arewethereyet's avatar

@Earthgirl great insight into how it all works, quite fascinating. I had a look at Ingres Wow beautiful lines.
I have three very distinct forms of hand writing vastly different from each other relating to how I feel, the flow and type of pen, the texture and feel of the paper and what I’m writing.

Write medical record notes and these 3 different scripts are in the notes often sitting next to each other looking as if multiple people have been documenting, but it’s just me!

Earthgirl's avatar

@Plucky That’s how it is. People don’t really decide to write a certain way in most cases. It just flows from their inner self onto the paper. In many ways graphoanalysis sounds like common sense.

@Arewethereyet One of the things I lthink is sort of cool is is comparing the handwriting in my journals. It changes throughout the years, as I have changed. It changes more subtly but not drastically from day to day like yours. Are you a very moody person?

Arewethereyet's avatar

@Earthgirl, Nah I’m really up most of the time. My handwriting can change dramatically within the actual text I’m working on at the although that is not often!! Do you think I’m crazy? I probably am! Haha

Earthgirl's avatar

@Arewethereyet no,no! Not at all :)

amujinx's avatar

I was a graphic design major, and while I rarely use cursive, I do have good handwriting. I mostly write in all capitalized block letters, with words that need to be capitalized twice the size of other letters. When I do write in cursive, I like starting with a typical right or left handed slant, then slowly switch to the other hand’s slant. I will also randomly switch from spiky ascenders and descenders to very loopy letters. I get bored with writing with the same style all the time, so by the end of a page it looks like five or so people all contributed to the writing at various points. If I’m writing quickly I still do this, but to a much smaller degree than when I can take my time to write.

So @Arewethereyet, you are not alone.

Response moderated (Spam)
Inspired_2write's avatar

maybe the person is ‘left handed” when writing. However when drawing this person has “tools” in the program to draw lines etc
In short he is not ‘free hand” drawing this program with out rulers etc

Arewethereyet's avatar

Ah now we can look at the handedness as well. As I said I can draw and I can write neatly but I also have the multiple personality script… And I’m left handed, hmmm the plot thickens, chuckle. But I think a lot of lefties have messy writing so I could be wrong.

Earthgirl's avatar

@Arewethereyet I’ve never heard or noticed that left handed people have more messy handwriting. A lot of people think that when you write with a back hand slant it’s because you’re left handed. It’s not true. A left leaning slant means you’re an introvert by nature, it sort of shows you lean away from people. I am both left handed and introverted but I’ve never written with a left leaning slant. I guess I defy stereotypes! As far as how neat or messy my writing is, I have to quote my sister who classified my writing as “sort of illegible but readable” yeah, I know that’s a contradiction in terms. :)
It varies in legibility according to how fast I am writing and the mood I’m in.

How about you?

Plucky's avatar

@Arewethereyet I know four lefties and they all write nicely.

Earthgirl's avatar

@Plucky One group of people with consistenlty poor handwriting skills are those who have dyslexia. Often they reverse letters and overall have handwriting that is not very “neat”.

Arewethereyet's avatar

As a lefty, It’s not so much the messy but more about learning not to smudge the work you’ve already done. When I was a babe we had to use ink cartidge pens, very messy, and my hand was blue all over until I mastered going left to right without the hand smear factor. Some lefties still struggle with this and how to hold the pen, I’ve tried loads of different ways and perhaps that’s why I’m neat, practice! As an aside my script doesn’t lean to the left. I’ve never been accused of being introverted.

Earthgirl's avatar

@Arewethereyet I know you probably didn’t mean it this way but using the word accused with introverted makes it sound like a bad thing.

Arewethereyet's avatar

No I didn’t think that at all, I totally understand you on that one, I mean accused in a joking way, it’s my crazy manner :D

Arewethereyet's avatar

@Earthgirl I was referring to my personality only didn’t mean to sound derogatory, introverted is good.

ShaChris23's avatar

Here is a small sample of my friend’s handwriting, a legible one where he was paying attention!

Earthgirl's avatar

Thanks for posting that handwriting sample.

First caveat: I am not a professional graphologist, purely an amateur.

Second Caveat:I could be more accurate if I had a larger sample. Yet, even though It’s a small sample I can clearly see that he has a distinctive handwriting . It’s not so much messy as stylized, although I understand you are giving me one of his neater samples. I think I’d see the same things in a “messy” sample though. The traits that come out most strongly are often repeated and don’t depend on size, pressure or legibility to be easily seen.

The most striking thing is the amount of hooked beginning strokes. Hooks show a few things. The are a sign of acquisitiveness. He is probably an ambitious and driven personality. He may not be after money, it might be fame or recognition or love. But whatever it is he is the type of person who is motivated to go out and get what he wants.

Secondly the hooks on his t-bar crossings are a sign of wit. He probably has a sharp wit. They aren’t long so he has drive without unnecessary emotional enthusiasm or energy expenditure.

He even has hooks on his lower zone letters where most people would have loops. Here it means something different. Lower zone represents your physicality. The fact that it upticks to the right instead of the left also means something. It could denote an aggressive nature or ambivalence about sexuality. Or it could just mean irritability. It’s not conclusively one thing or another but couple with the rest of the traits shown I would guess that it means he will aggressively pursue his desires and ambitions. He show an overall very dynamic nature.

There are many angles and sharp points. He is enterprising and has a quick mind. He is probably highly intelligent and penetrates to the heart of things. He might be a little impatient. The use of many printed form letters also shows practicality and and intelligence.

He has high upper loops showing that he is idealistic. I don’t know what he is idealistic about but ambition and idealism are certainly a great combination. Let’s hope he doesn’t have any dastardly schemes in mind to take over the world!

As for the fact that he says he “sees” numbers that is interesting too. I just read an article that compares sequential to spatial learners. It says that spatial learners tend to be more pictorial. Check it out here and there is more on it here

Impressive handwriting.

I’m sure that practice does help a lot. Once upon a time they had penmanship classes and I think it really helped students improve their handwriting, that is, if they put in the necessary effort to practice.
You might also be interested in the article I linked to above. It talks about writing by hand vs. using the keyboard and how using a keyboard allows us to access both parts of our brain simultaneously instead of utilizing one side to the detriment of the other. Interesting idea. I’m not sure how theoretical vs. proven the concept is.

ShaChris23's avatar

@Earthgirl Totally did not expect a complete handwriting analysis! Thanks for your wonderful insight, and for the articles!!!!!

Earthgirl's avatar

@ShaChris23 Your welcome. It was fun and didn’t take me long to do. I know the signs of the traits which I noted without even looking them up. Was I correct at all? You can tell me if I’m not. I am dying of curiosity though. I really haven’t ever seen a handwriting, other than in graphology books that so clearly shows rapid comprehension stokes and signs of enterprise like your friends.

ShaChris23's avatar

@Earthgirl You described him as ambitious, driven, dynamic, a single-minded pursuer of his goals; he’s witty and not overly emotional; he’s impatient and idealistic.

My friend: he is an architect. He doesn’t seem overtly ambitious, although he is diligent and is a workaholic (as is often the case with people in this profession). If it’s anything related to his work, he seems very motivated to get it done and done well. He can be stubborn but is laid back and disorganized with everything else. He’s soft-spoken and service-minded, even-tempered most of the time.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)

Answer this question




to answer.

Mobile | Desktop

Send Feedback