Learning Chinese alphabet, pinyin and characters, making sentences and practicing handwriting are three essential stages if you plan to learn Chinese well. I have written quite a lot of articles to teach you pinyin and Chinese characters before, but Chinese handwriting has never been talked about. Therefore, I will teach you 3 tips on Chinese penmanship practice in this article.
1. Memorize Chinese Character’s Stroke Order Rules
Before starting to write Chinese characters, I suggest you learning the stroke order rules at first, which will make it easier for your Chinese writing practice and minimize your time and effort to memorize the stroke order of individual character. Here they are:
- From Top to Bottom Rule
We take “二” as an example to explain this rule. As you can see, “二” has two strokes, a short “一” and a longer “一”. Therefore, under “from top to bottom” rule, we write the short “一” at first and then the longer “一” when writing “二”. You can understand this rule better through the images below. Except for “二”, there are a large amount of characters with above-to-below structure, such as 李, 早, 旦, 兄, etc.
- From Left to Right Rule
The second rule to write Chinese characters is from left to right. If you pay enough attention when you are memorizing Chinese characters, you will notice lots of characters with left-to-right structure, like 明, 找, 到, 打, 吗, etc. Here I will take “明” as an example to explain rule. As we can see, “明” consists of “日” and “月”, the obvious left-to-right structure, therefore, we should write “日” at first and then “月” when writing “明”. Details please see the images below:
- Horizontal before Vertical Rule
The most typical Chinese character accorded with this rule is “十”. Here we take this character as an example. To write “十” well, you should write the horizontal “一” at first and then the vertical “一”.
- Diagonals right-to-left before Diagonals left-to-right Rule
There are many Chinese characters accorded with right-to-left (丿) and left-to-right (乀) strokes such as 人, 八, 大, 个, 父, etc. Taking “人” as an example, we usually write the right-to-left stoke at first and then left-to-right stroke.
- Outside before Inside Rule
To write Chinese characters with outside-and-inside stokes, we usually write the outside part, followed by the inside part. These characters include 国, 囚, 围, 庆, 同, 句 and so on. Check the images below to learn how to write this type words.
- Inside before Outside Rule
Maybe you feel a little confused by this rule after learning outside-to-inside rule. But if you observe carefully charcters with inside-to-outside rule like 函, 画, 凶, you will find that it’s not difficult to get the point at all. Take “凶” as an example, and we write this word usually first with “×” and then the outside frame.
- Center verticals before outside “wings” Rule
Before getting down to explaining how to write this kind of characters, I will give you some examples, 永, 水, 办, 乘, 小. Do you find their similarities? Yes, all of them consist the main part like a column and two “wings”. When writing these characters, we usually write the column-alike part and then the “wings”, similar to the steps below:
2. Practice your Handwriting with Copybook
Chinese Handwriting Copybook is a book containing models of handwriting for readers to imitate. And almost all of Chinese children will employ this tool to help them get better in Chinese handwriting. If you are in China, it’s very easy for you to get one via the online store or the genuine bookstore. If you are outside of China, you can buy one on eBay, Amazon, Walmart, etc. Except for the traditional handwriting copybook, you can also use Chinese writing pad to write Chinese characters online.
3. Try to Write by Yourself
Copybook is just a tool helping you be familar with Chinese characters strokes when you are just starting with Chinese handwriting. But when you practice one character with copybook or pad more than ten times, I suggest you starting to write it without the help of copybook. That’s is not easy, but it’s an essential step to achieve beautiful Chinese handwriting.