View Poll Results: How's your handwriting? How good are you at art?
I have good handwriting and I'm good at art. 20 14.71%
I have good handwriting and I'm average at art. 9 6.62%
I have good handwriting and I'm bad at art. 17 12.50%
I have average handwriting and I'm good at art. 12 8.82%
I have average handwriting and I'm average at art. 7 5.15%
I have average handwriting and I'm bad at art. 16 11.76%
I have bad handwriting and I'm good at art. 26 19.12%
I have bad handwriting and I'm average at art. 3 2.21%
I have bad handwriting and I'm bad at art. 26 19.12%
Voters: 136. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 11-09-2010, 06:33 PM
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Are handwriting and art skill correlated?


On another site, there was a thread debating the merits of teaching children to write in cursive. A teacher chimed in and said it was important that kids were still taught cursive writing because it taught them fine motor skills.

I personally observed that I have terrible handwriting, and I also happen to be terrible at the visual arts (drawing, painting, etc) and I wondered if there was a correlation between the two. Is your skill at handwriting similar to your visual art skill?
  #2  
Old 11-09-2010, 06:37 PM
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Is your skill at handwriting similar to your visual art skill?
Yes - very legible, but messy, writing matching an inability to paint and draw.
  #3  
Old 11-09-2010, 06:44 PM
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I would suspect that any correlation would be because those who are driven to practice their handwriting until it is very good are also likely to practice things like drawing as well. I don't have illegible handwriting but it does lack consistency and uniformity in how I shape the letters. I also considered myself a failure at drawing until I began really practicing this semester under the unofficial tutelage of two of my professors and can now create passable sketches. I really think it's just a matter of devoting the time to it.
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:45 PM
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A teacher chimed in and said it was important that kids were still taught cursive writing because it taught them fine motor skills.
That is probably true, but there's a lot more to being a skilled artist than fine motor control. Most of bad art comes from an inability to translate something from your mind to paper, not due to mere clumsiness.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:01 PM
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I'm a commercial artist with bad handwriting. I've never noticed a correlation among the artists I know, and personally I'm not going to put out the concentration to be neat unless I'm getting paid.

The designer I know with the nicest writing is a "cool" guy. Laid back, listens to fusion, is very aware of his clothes. Maybe there's a connection between neat writing and cultivating an image. However, his writing is more cool than legible.

My sister has great handwriting (her Christmas envelopes look much better than mine). She's a craftish-type person.
  #6  
Old 11-09-2010, 09:16 PM
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I have average handwriting (but it used to be bad, until I started printing in all caps). I can't draw or paint worth shit but I'm extremely talented at sculpting... not sure what to vote.
  #7  
Old 11-09-2010, 10:00 PM
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Ds in penmanship, As in art all through school.

I took two semesters of calligraphy while working on my Visual Design/Illustration degree, so I CAN write nicely if I must.

Lately even my "neat" printing is getting more messy. My legal signature is unreadable.
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:18 PM
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My printing is uniform, all caps, and easily legible from a distance but still stylized and 'mine'. My cursive is textbook, lettering and angles are uniform and consistent, and I've managed to throw in some flourishes that make my writing unique without making it difficult for others to read. I worked hard for both.

I can't draw a stick figure, let alone sketch anything, and I've never tried particularly hard. Drawing didn't come naturally to me the way writing did, so I had no interest in putting time into practice.

Most artist friends of mine have chicken scratch for handwriting, even though they draw beautifully. I've always suspected a correlation.
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:19 PM
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I find it funny that about 4 out of the first 5 responses to the poll supported my hypothesis, and now the choices are quite even. Go go sample size!
  #10  
Old 11-10-2010, 08:50 AM
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I have very nice handwriting and am a fair artist, very crafty, etc. As I remember, I did take pride in my writing. I wouldn't say I practiced, as it comes pretty naturally, but when I first started writing regularly I definitely put effort into it.
  #11  
Old 11-10-2010, 08:58 AM
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First of all, no, I don't think there's a correlation from my observations. Second, the teacher's an idiot. A sweet idiot, perhaps, to try to preserve the fine art from of cursive, but an idiot. Does anyone honestly think that children texting 7000 messages a month from itty bitty keyboards have anything at all wrong with their fine motor skills?
  #12  
Old 11-10-2010, 09:03 AM
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I have awful handwriting and I have made a living as a painter and designer.

When drafting, I can make my writing much better, but it seems that I'm using a different part of the brain when doing lettering on a plate versus, say, taking notes in a meeting.
  #13  
Old 11-10-2010, 09:36 AM
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I never write cursive, I always print. And I'm a professional artist.
  #14  
Old 11-10-2010, 09:55 AM
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Worst handwritting I know, and the worst speller, is a artist. The skills are unrelated unless the artist is drawing the letters.
  #15  
Old 11-10-2010, 10:47 AM
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I hate this kind of argument, "We teach x because it will help with y". If you want to teach fine motor skills, teach art directly.

When I was in school, we were told to take Latin because it will help you learn a Romance language more readily. But nothing like taking a Romance language. I took 2 years of Latin and two of French and four years of French would have actually taught me the language (I think).

My handwriting is pretty gruesome, although I can crank it up to being legible, but I am really terrible at drawing.
  #16  
Old 11-10-2010, 11:54 AM
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I am pretty good, exceptionally fast artist. My handwriting appalls me, and I have really tried to improve it
  #17  
Old 11-10-2010, 12:01 PM
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Hari, you don't learn Latin to learn French. You learn it to learn English.
  #18  
Old 11-10-2010, 03:17 PM
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Absolutely not. I have the worst sort of doctor/engineer writing, but I'm a very good artist (painting, drawing, computer, and sculpting.) I just don't care that my writing looks bad, while I do care about my art. I can write legibly when I need to.
  #19  
Old 11-10-2010, 03:36 PM
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My husband's handwriting is close to illegible. Sometimes, he can't even read it himself. But he is a talented artist who paints well, draws beautifully and is accomplished in working with stained glass.

I have very attractive, easily readable handwriting (though I admit it has deteriorated a bit over the years.) My drawing skills are no more than average, and my fine motor skills are probably a bit below average (I can't cut a straight line with scissors for love or money, and am generally rather clumsy with my hands.)
  #20  
Old 11-10-2010, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by VernWinterbottom View Post
Ds in penmanship, As in art all through school.

I took two semesters of calligraphy while working on my Visual Design/Illustration degree, so I CAN write nicely if I must.

Lately even my "neat" printing is getting more messy. My legal signature is unreadable.
My answer is similar to this minus the calligraphy classes. In my late twenties I decided that I no longer wnated to have messy handwriting so I made a concerted effort to improve it, and even get compliments on my handwriting now.

Drawing and painting well took very little effort for me. Writing neatly took quite a bit.
  #21  
Old 11-10-2010, 04:20 PM
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I have good handwriting and good fine motor skills in general. I can play the flute and knit and, when I have to, sew a button or a hem by hand.

But I'm a shitty artist. I feel like ability to draw comes from another place than just being able to control one's fingers well.

Last edited by Kyla; 11-10-2010 at 04:22 PM.
  #22  
Old 11-10-2010, 05:12 PM
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I'm a good artist (good enough to have won a number of awards) but I can barely read my own handwriting. I can do calligraphy, though.
  #23  
Old 11-10-2010, 05:56 PM
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It's stupid. Artists do everything from constructing figures out of traffic cones to ceramics to painting. Not all visual art requires fine motor skills. A lot of it requires sheer strength and gross motor coordination. I could see drawing possibly being correlated with handwriting, but art in general? That teacher needs to go back to school.

For the record, my handwriting is legible when I'm concentrating. If I concentrate too hard, I end up turning out something that looks like a ransom letter--wiTH loWer and uPPeR caSe letteRs mixeD togetHER. If I'm rapidly taking notes, my writing becomes chicken-scratch. My signature is fine, IMHO. That's the only time I ever use cursive.

When I was in the second grade, my teacher rode my ass constantly because I wouldn't hold my pencil correctly. She swore I would never be able to write in cursive because of it and said so in front of the entire class. Being sensitive, I cried at my desk. The very first C that I ever got on a report card was in penmanship. But did I ever change my pencil grip? Nope. Did I learn how to write in cursive? Yep. Was I the best artist in my elementary school--the one always chosen to draw for the school paper and always tapped to be the illustrator for the gifted kids when they had to write books for various contests that the rest of us were excluded from because apparently we weren't creative enough? Yes. And I'm still artistic today.
  #24  
Old 11-10-2010, 08:06 PM
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I tried really hard to write well in school including changing hands. Nothing seemed to help. My father could sketch stuff out with great perspective but, alas, not I.
  #25  
Old 11-10-2010, 08:44 PM
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Typing on a keyboard is a fine motor skill, isn't it?

I have good handwriting (not that I handwrite much anymore) and am bad at art. Letters are easy because there's room for more interpretation. But drawing a person or an object, there is a strict philosophy to "getting it right" (unless you're doing abstract art, in which case fine motor skill is not required because you aren't drawing anything that represents reality).
  #26  
Old 11-10-2010, 10:35 PM
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It's stupid. Artists do everything from constructing figures out of traffic cones to ceramics to painting. Not all visual art requires fine motor skills. A lot of it requires sheer strength and gross motor coordination. I could see drawing possibly being correlated with handwriting, but art in general? That teacher needs to go back to school.
I'll take the blame for that. The teacher said that it develops fine motor skills, not necessarily art. Drawing was the first thing that came to mind regarding fine motor skills, so that's what I put down. A poll that says "do you have fine motor skills" isn't terribly informative.
  #27  
Old 11-11-2010, 05:06 AM
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I'm a designer (graphic) rather than a fine artist, and I have, if I may say so, very stylish writing, as do many many of my 'designer' friends and colleagues. It's actually pretty unusual to find a designer in my field with poor hand writing. I can also write in a number of different styles.

However, I don't think any of this is accidental. I do think designers have a tendency towards precision and craft, perhaps more than many fine artists that work in a looser style. However, more importantly, we want to be/look cool! I've often have people (such as my non-designer GF) joke about my 'designer' handwriting. I suspect it's part of the package we present to make us different from our clients. "Look! I'm a designer! I wear cool clothes to work and have great handwriting!".

Seriously, we practice it. Or at least did when we were students.

Yes, it is a bit wanky.
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Old 11-11-2010, 06:16 AM
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Even if you restricted the question to handwriting and drawing skill the answer is probably no. The physical skills required in both cases are the same - after all there are only straight lines and curved lines in both writing and drawing.

However the difference is in what happens in your head. When writing you are just making marks that represent letters, already familiar to you, that say what you wish to say. When drawing you are converting what you see or imagine into a picture. So the trick with drawing is to learn how to see and accurately transfer what you see into its composite lines.
  #29  
Old 11-11-2010, 06:34 AM
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Professionally trained sculptor: My handwriting is terrible and always has been. I draw and draft beautifully though. My everyday writing is a connected flowing mix of printing and the occasional script letter.
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Old 11-11-2010, 06:53 AM
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In my experience, academically talented girls are generally good at handwriting, and all guys are generally bad at handwriting. Artistic ability is not a factor, and may even be inversely proportional.
  #31  
Old 11-11-2010, 07:13 AM
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I'll take the blame for that. The teacher said that it develops fine motor skills, not necessarily art. Drawing was the first thing that came to mind regarding fine motor skills, so that's what I put down. A poll that says "do you have fine motor skills" isn't terribly informative.
Woah, woah, woah....that's a significant difference. I have excellent fine motor skills, I'm just terrible at art! I type over 100 words a minute, I sew, I braid cords, I bead (I guess that's the closest I come to "art")...all require good fine motor skills. But I can't draw, can't paint, can't carve, can't sculpt, etc. worth a damn. My problem isn't lack of fine motor skills, it's that I have a disconnect between what I want something to look like and what I'm able to produce. I also have the damnedest time figuring out "what to make". I know this baffles artists, but plunk me down in front of a bunch of art supplies and tell me to make something, and you're going to get a flower. A very specific flower that is my default doodle/drawing/painting (I even have it in clay from a pottery class where I utterly failed at making a simple cup and just started messing around with slabs of clay like Play-Doh.) It's the only thing I make, because it's the only thing I can think to make. Drives artists crazy, that does! But whatever creative drive they have, I don't, and whatever skill they have, I don't. It's obvious to me that there's far more to art than fine motor skills.

I think you thought too hard about this and invalidated your own survey. "Do you have fine motor skills" would have been a much better question. I'm not sure why you think it wouldn't be informative.
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:57 AM
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I have good handwriting and I like to think I'm an artist. However, I work at an art supply store. Most of my co-workers are artists and their handwriting skills are widely divergent. One really good watercolorist can barely read her own handwriting.
  #33  
Old 11-11-2010, 11:59 AM
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I gotta agree with WhyNot.

The teacher would be an idiot if she thought poor handwriting = bad artist. But poor handwriting is actually correlated with poor fine motor skills. It's not a one-to-one relationship, though. I'm betting the relationship is probably only 30 to 50%. And if you've got spastic cerebral palsy and can barely hold a pencil, then yeah, chances are you aren't going to be painting the next Mona Lisa. That seems like a no-brainer. But for most us, I doubt you could really predict how coordinated we are just based on our handwriting. Like, I'm so clumsy it's embarrassing to walk next to me, but my handwriting wouldn't indicate that.
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:04 PM
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Really, the only sensible explanation I've heard for still pushing cursive is to help students with dyslexia/students in general learn which way the letters face. I have no idea if the explanation has any merit. I think it's an artifact left over from days when penmanship was still a vital skill for literacy and any occupation which required written communication.

I had semi-crappy handwriting until high school when it occurred to me that I didn't have to follow the rules. I just had to write legibly and in a style that I liked. I seem to have three or four distinct styles depending on how fast I'm writing, what mood I'm in, or how much energy I have, but I get compliments on my handwriting all the time.

I also teach Art to high schoolers (currently) and am can draw competently. One of the hardest skills to master in drawing is the ability to draw an eloquent line, regardless of its place in a drawing. I think mastering that improved my handwriting.
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Old 11-12-2010, 02:53 PM
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I have outstanding handwriting. I even dabble in calligraphy as a hobby.

When it comes to "visual arts" I can't draw flies if you cover me in crap.
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Old 11-12-2010, 06:07 PM
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I've got lovely handwriting. I get compliments (usually. It can verge on illegible - but even the people who complain that they can't read it still tend to say it looks pretty). I also have very good fine motor skills. I'm an excellent craftsman (beading, knitting, I even know how to tat - there's a useful skill for the 21st century). But i can't draw. If you tell me what to draw, it will look like it was done by a small child. If you don't tell me what to draw, you'll probably get a blank canvas, because I can't come up with anything in the first place.
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Old 11-12-2010, 07:55 PM
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My handwriting varies from atrocious (note-taking) to fairly pretty (written correspondence), so overall, average. But I've always been able to draw, sketch, and paint quite well. I just pay more attention to my art than, say, my grocery list.
  #38  
Old 11-12-2010, 09:23 PM
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I've been complimented many times on what people have called my "artistic" handwriting. It's a mixture of print and cursive with a few calligraphic elements thrown in.

It strikes me funny because, as a kid, my handwriting was atrocious. I couldn't learn cursive (a no-no in parochial school) to save my life. I was very good, though, at copying anything I considered "pretty" or "unusual". Eventually I gained enough fine motor control to write cursive somewhat without actually copying, but subconsciously I always brought in those "pretty" elements, adding to them whenever something caught my eye. I still do, in fact.

I'd never consider myself a great artist, but I can draw/paint pretty well. Ditto decorating cakes.
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swords to Plowshares View Post
On another site, there was a thread debating the merits of teaching children to write in cursive. A teacher chimed in and said it was important that kids were still taught cursive writing because it taught them fine motor skills.

I personally observed that I have terrible handwriting, and I also happen to be terrible at the visual arts (drawing, painting, etc) and I wondered if there was a correlation between the two. Is your skill at handwriting similar to your visual art skill?
My mom is an art teacher who used to expound the virtues of learning cursive. I was drilled in it, but could never really get it down. And while my drawing ability isn't top-notch, I do have a knack for using photoshop -- does that count?
  #40  
Old 11-12-2010, 09:46 PM
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I'm an illustrator and my handwriting is terrible.
  #41  
Old 11-12-2010, 10:40 PM
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I have doctor quality handwriting, but my cartoon has tens of fans.
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  #42  
Old 11-13-2010, 03:06 PM
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I wasn't sure how to vote; I have bad handwriting, but my drawing skills are... well, they're not great, but when I think "average," I think of what the average Joe on the street can draw. And what I think is that the average Joe's drawings are pretty horrible.

I can draw reasonable renditions of objects with proper perspective, and do rough sketches of people and landscapes that are a few steps above stick-figures and 2D plots of land with "m" shaped birds flying overhead. Several semesters of multivariate calculus and similar classes helped me become able to envision 3D shapes and draw them from varying viewpoints. I've even had people gasp in awe when I've sketched things in front of them. Generally, people who actually do art think I suck, but people who don't do art think that I actually do art. So, I voted "good at art" since I'm apparently above average in ability, if not actually talented.

I can't really sign my name. It's R(squiggle) M(squiggle) in the best of times, but it usually devolves into something looking like two horizontal lines, each with a hump at the beginning. My class notes are barely legible (a combination of print and cursive designed for speed that allows me to do detailed note-taking while paying attention to the lecture). My standard printing is okay, though my students have noted that I write some letters in odd ways. (For instance: a capital B is either done by starting at the bottom left, going up, then coming down on the right in the two lobes, looking much like beta, or I draw a 3 and then slash the left side going down. I wasn't aware that either way was "incorrect" until students commented on it...) So, I voted for bad handwriting.
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:10 AM
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My handwriting is legible, but can be messy if I am writing quickly, and I certainly would not say it's "pretty." I never write in cursive, only print. I, however, am very talented at drawing & painting. Portraits especially. I went to college on an art scholarship and have won awards.
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Old 11-14-2010, 05:24 AM
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I'm good at hand writing and I'm good at art - but I'm not sure being good at one implies being good at the other.

You see, I used to make some money as a calligrapher. In other words, I was paid to write neatly. After sufficient practice to reach the level people would hire me for my ability to make words pretty, and after doing that work for a few years, not surprisingly my handwriting (both printed and cursive) look pretty damn good.

But before that, my handwriting was average at best. And now that I haven't been doing calligraphy for a couple decades my handwriting has decayed back to average at best. But I'm still good at art. And yes, if I really want to make the effort I can still generate pristine handwriting, but usually I don't bother.
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:14 AM
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Among adults, I've seen a negative correlation, if any (artists with sloppy handwriting).

However, working with children in the 5-8 year old range, I have noticed a positive correlation. Some of these kids, particularly girls, just seem to be advanced in fine motor skills. Others are very thoughtful and careful in producing letters and drawings.

Kids that are good artists are more likely to stick with it, practice regularly, and reap the benefits of improving. So, do they get less interested in handwriting over time, producing average or below writing in adulthood, while keeping an interest in art? The definitions of good handwriting in the early school years are quite different than later in life, does their handwriting ability stall? Or are my observations just off?
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wipetheclock View Post
Among adults, I've seen a negative correlation, if any (artists with sloppy handwriting).

However, working with children in the 5-8 year old range, I have noticed a positive correlation. Some of these kids, particularly girls, just seem to be advanced in fine motor skills. Others are very thoughtful and careful in producing letters and drawings.

Kids that are good artists are more likely to stick with it, practice regularly, and reap the benefits of improving. So, do they get less interested in handwriting over time, producing average or below writing in adulthood, while keeping an interest in art? The definitions of good handwriting in the early school years are quite different than later in life, does their handwriting ability stall? Or are my observations just off?
The book Drawing on the right side of the brain addresses this. Girls mature faster than boys at this age. They tend to acquire visual skills earlier and reach their limit, (about the the normal skills of a twelve year old) earlier than their male peers. Both sexes tend to lose interest in art at around the tween stage, and fail to develop any further. Children of either sex who have strong visual art skills tend to display them earlier, and persist with an interest in them, quickly surpassing their peers by age 10. They usually advance rather quickly, with dropouts occurring in the mid teens. What is left over are those with a strong interest and very advanced skill sets. Females DO usually have superiour handwriting. I corrolate this to the interest in "crafty" arts that is usually female dominated. Such work tends to emphasize pleasantness, soft curves, loops, "cute" cartoons and floral patterns; all of which are excellent practice for generating the cursive forms. Males tend to doodle machines, robots, explosions, monsters and superheroes. These have much more straight lines, angles, and perspective use than the traditional " girl's " interest. They get less practice. It is worth noting though, that the popularity and near saturation of the juvenile art field by manga styles has resulted in a better balance of skills, but a lack of visual problem solving abilities.
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