Reasons You Might Have Bad Handwriting In Your Art Journal (And How to Fix That)

One of the most common questions I receive from people who are just starting out with art journaling is, why is my handwriting so bad? When creating in an art journal, you no doubt want to have beautiful pages. And bad handwriting can get in the way of that.

Keep reading to discover why you might be struggling with bad handwriting and the ways in which you can overcome this in your art journaling.

Why is my handwriting so bad?

There are many reasons why you might have bad handwriting, but the good news is you can fix many of them easily.

  • If you are anything like me, you might be impatient when journaling.
  • Or you weren’t taught to write neatly from a young age.
  • Many of us now spend all day long typing, so we rarely get a chance to practice writing. That means we often don’t have the confidence that’s needed to have beautiful handwriting.
  • When writing in your art journal, you might rush the process, which can lead to scribbly writing.
  • Beginners in art journaling also often don’t have the right pen and paper for the task, which can make it harder to write neatly.
    I used to have fine liner pens that I didn’t take care of properly, and writing with them was a struggle. Since I ruined the pen a bit, I had to hold it at 90 degrees while writing. Imagine my bad handwriting then. Seriously, I don’t even know why I tried to write this way.
  • Finally, avoid putting too much pressure on the pen. If you push too hard, your hand will tire quickly. Find the right pen for the paper you are using, and then apply less pressure to the page. Finding the right pen for the paper means that you shouldn’t force the pen to write if you see it’s struggling. This can happen on textured paper.
washi tape idea for journaling

Tips to improve your handwriting

If you think you have bad handwriting, you aren’t alone with this issue. There are many ways you can improve your handwriting, but remember that it will take time and patience to fix this issue.

These are a few of my top tips for anyone wondering why their handwriting is so bad.

1. Go slow

Don’t rush the process of writing in your journal. Take your time and focus on creating neat letters. If you find your hand gets tired, take a break and then come back to it later. Pay attention to the size, spacing, and form of your letters so that you can fix any issues as they arise. Be conscious about how you write instead of just going through the process without thinking.

2. Practice more often

If you primarily type instead of writing at work or school, then the chances are you just need more practice to avoid bad handwriting. Try to do a little bit of writing each day, and you’ll soon notice a huge difference.

3. Use the right paper

When first starting out, I recommend using paper with lines to make practicing easier. Also, you can get better results if you practice on a smoother paper, rather than on a textured one.

4. Write more often

If you’re wondering why your handwriting is bad, it’s a good way to get to grips with writing more often.

For example, when you see something interesting on your phone and want to save it, like a quote, you can write it down instead of making a screenshot.

5. Use the correct size pen

When you don’t have the right tools for the work, you are always going to struggle with writing. Practice with a pen or a pencil for more variety and ensure the pen fits comfortably in your hand.

Also, if you’re used to a certain pen, then practice with it a lot. This will build up your confidence.

cursive handwriting on art journal page

6. Try other tools

Try writing with other tools like colored pencils, brushes, or other tools as well. Your hand will get used to writing with different tools, building your muscle memory and confidence.

7. Look for inspiration

Copy handwriting that you admire to learn how to overcome your bad handwriting. Don’t be too harsh on yourself in the process if you can’t perfectly match the writing though, and just try to enjoy it.

Tracing exercises are similar to copying, and they are a good way to build muscle memory for neater handwriting.

8. Art journaling is great for practicing

Art journaling is a great way to improve bad handwriting, and it’s a fun and relaxing activity anyone can do. You’re free to write anything in any way you like. This kind of freedom lets you experiment and see what you’re good at. Use that!


Hit the orange button to join my free Art Journal Starter Course and start making art without staring at the blank page and without the fear of ruining everything. (Spoiler alert: you can’t ruin anything in art journaling).

art journal starter course

Other ways of adding words to your journal without writing neatly

While you’re working on some of the top tips I shared above, there are ways in which you can add words to your journal, even with bad handwriting.

  • Stamps, stencils, and stickers are easy to use and can share the same message or emotions that your writing would.

    In the photos below, I used my stamp and my stencil to add a part of my journaling.
  • You could also add print-outs and magazine letters, which you can create a collage with.

    Cutting out magazine letters can be fun and really creative while combining the letters into words.

    In the examples below, I printed out some words and included them on my page. Also, I cut out a word from a magazine and just glued it down.
  • Try writing with markers in big letters, which adds a fun and playful touch to your journal.
  • You could also write with dots instead of lines.
  • Draw lines in your journal to help you write in straight direction. You can also add washi tape instead of lines. This will help to add interest to the page while building your confidence in writing.
  • Try to experiment with different fonts as you improve. While this does take some time, it’s an enjoyable way to add more writing to each page.
fun fonts on art journal page

Can you draw if you have bad handwriting?

Even if you struggle with bad handwriting, the good news is that you may find you are a stronger artist. Drawing exercises can actually help to improve your handwriting, so they work hand in hand with all of the tips we’ve shared above.

For some people, drawing is a good way to improve their confidence when using new pens and paper. It can help you to get used to working with your hands in this way again.

From there, you can start adding a small amount of text to each page until you feel ready to add longer pieces of text (when you stop wondering why your handwriting is bad).

Tips for improving your bad handwriting in your art journal – recap

As you can see, it’s never too late to start working on bad handwriting.

Why is my handwriting so bad is a question I receive on a regular basis, but it should never put you off from having a go at art journaling. Art journaling offers so many benefits to individuals, and in time, you’ll find that you aren’t so daunted by writing in your journal.

By following the tips I’ve shared above, you’ll find that you can build up your confidence and muscle memory when writing. In no time at all, it’ll become natural to you, allowing you to enjoy every moment of writing in your journal moving forward.


Hit the orange button to join my free Art Journal Starter Course and start making art without staring at the blank page and without the fear of ruining everything. (Spoiler alert: you can’t ruin anything in art journaling).

art journal starter course
why is my handwriting so bad pinterest