Best grips for left-handed calligraphers

Part 1: Meet the lefties | Part 2: Best grips for lefties Part 3: Best tools for lefties Part 4: 7 tips for left-handed calligraphers

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We certainly live in a right-handed world. In general, only 10% of the world population is left-handed!

While I am right-handed myself, many of you have requested tips for lefties. In order to provide a resource for left-handed beginners wanting to learn and study calligraphy, I introduced five left-handed calligraphers who have graciously agreed to help me write this series of blog posts!

Read on below and stay tuned for future posts that feature their best tips, recommendations, and resources for lefties!

The information in this post was provided by my amazing left-handed calligrapher friends:

Jessie | Joann | Kathleen | Lauren | Younghae

Two categories of left-handed writers

There are two categories of left-handed writers, overwriters and underwriters.

  • Overwriters (or curlers) curve their hand around the pen.
  • Underwriters (or non-curlers) write under the baseline without bending their wrist.

Understanding the differences between these two types of writers can help you identify your own natural tendencies, as well as recognize which grips are best for certain types of work. Lauren writes:

All lefties are a little different and in the beginning you should start where you feel comfortable. As you practice more, you will get the feel of the right grip for you naturally.

Learn more about the differences between the overwriter and underwriter grips below and see what grip works best for you!


Underwriters write with their wrists under the baseline. Underwriting is ideal when using pointed pen. It helps to avoid smearing the ink and allows a left-handed writer to achieve the proper angle.
To use the underwriter grip, put your index finger slightly in front of your thumb finger. Younghae explains how this technique relieves tension in your wrist/arm and allows you to write without getting cramps as opposed to if they are aligned.
Take a look at how Younghae uses the underwriting grip for pointed pen calligraphy:
Photo by Younghae (@logos_calligraphy)
Photo by Younghae (@logos_calligraphy)

Here is Lauren also using the underwriting grip for pointed pen:

Photo by Lauren (@renmadecalligraphy)
Photo by Lauren (@renmadecalligraphy)

Watch these examples of the underwriting grip:

Check out Kathleen’s progress below from using the overwriter trip to the underwriter grip. Kathleen recommends using a straight holder for pointed pen and emphasizes the benefits of being left-handed for achieving the proper letter angle more naturally than righties.

Photo by Kathleen (@kathleenprumo)
Photo by Kathleen (@kathleenprumo)


Overwriters write with their  wrists above the baseline. Overwriting is ideal with brush pens in order to get the same thick and thins as a right-handed calligrapher would.
Take a look at how Younghae uses the overwriter grip for brush calligraphy:
Photo by Younghae (@logos_calligraphy)
Photo by Younghae (@logos_calligraphy)

Here is how Lauren uses the overwriter grip for brush calligraphy:

Photo by Lauren (@renmadecalligraphy)
Photo by Lauren (@renmadecalligraphy)

Watch these examples of the overwriter grip:

Other Left-Handed tips and resources;

Joanna writes:
If it’s hard for you to change how you position your hand, try changing the position of the paper… It’s underwriting only if the paper orientation is upright. (Otherwise, keep the words perpendicular to your body).
For more resources for left-handed calligraphers, check out these articles:
And be sure to check back next week for more tips for left-handed calligraphers. I’d love to hear what you need help with as a lefty. Leave a comment below with your other questions and concerns!

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It’s your turn!

Are you naturally an overwriter or an underwriter?

What grip do you prefer when doing pointed pen calligraphy? Brush calligraphy?

What other questions do you have about left-handed grips?

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P.S. If you liked this post, I’d love if you would share it!

P. P. S. Be sure you are subscribed to my blog below so you don’t miss a post!

2 thoughts on “Best grips for left-handed calligraphers

  1. Hey I’ve been a left handed overwriter. Any tips? Do I have to turn my paper in order to compensate my disadvantage in terms of cursive?


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