How to Hold a Pen Properly for Beginners?

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

how to hold a pen properly

When it comes to penmanship, an important yet often overlooked skill is the art of holding a pen properly. The way we grip a pen can influence the ease of our writing, the legibility of our words, and even the comfort of our hand. So, how to hold a pen properly?

In this article, we will explore two types of pen grips and provide tips to lay the foundation for smoother, more controlled, and enjoyable writing experiences. Read on!

2 Ways to Hold a Pen Properly?

1. Tripod Grip


  1. Start by picking up the pen.
  2. Hold the pen between your thumb and index finger, positioning the pen’s shaft close to the base of your thumb.
  3. Allow your middle finger to touch the underside of the pen for a stable grip, and let the cap or back end of the pen touch the knuckle.
  4. The other two fingers should not grip the pen but curl underneath the middle finger while we write.

2. Quadropod Grip


  1. Hold the pen using your thumb and index finger.
  2. Your middle finger should be slightly closer to the pen nib compared to the thumb and index fingers, so place it just in front of them.
  3. Keep your grip relaxed, allowing the pen’s underside to rest gently on your ring finger and pinky.
  4. Now, you’re ready to write. Hold the pen at an angle and let the edge of your hand touch the paper.

Which Grip Should You Choose?

Practice is key to finding the grip that works best for you. Choose the grip that feels most comfortable and allows you to write smoothly without straining your hand or fingers.

Tips to Write Properly With a Pen


Besides your hand position and grip, you should keep in mind these tips to write neat and fast.

  1. Relax: Keep your grip relaxed. Avoid holding the pen too tightly, as this can lead to hand fatigue and discomfort.
  2. Take Frequent Breaks: Take short breaks during writing sessions to relax your hand muscles and avoid strain. Shake your hand gently and stretch your arms to write without pain.
  3. Choose The Right Pen: Choose a pen that feels comfortable in your hand and complements your grip style. A tripod grasp suits pens with a triangular grip, while a quadropod grasp fits barrels with a long holding section.
  4. Think About Ergonomics: Consider using pens that are ergonomically designed to promote a natural grip and reduce strain. They are especially great if your thumb hurts when writing.
  5. Maintain A Proper Posture: Maintain good posture while writing. Sit at a desk or table with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight. This can help reduce strain on your hand and wrist.
  6. Use Your Arm and Shoulders: When writing, try to engage your forearm, elbow, and shoulder muscles along with your hand and wrist. This helps reduce strain on the smaller hand muscles and promotes a more fluid and controlled writing motion.
  7. Use Guided Practice: Practice writing with lined paper or guidelines to help you maintain consistent letter size and spacing, which can improve grip control.

How Long Does It Take to Master a Proper Pen Grip?

The time it takes to master a proper pen grip varies from person to person, but consistent practice over a few weeks can lead to noticeable improvements to write write without hurting your hand.

Here are some tips you can try for good handwriting:

  • Practice Pen Walking


Pen walking involves moving the pen along the fingers of your writing hand to improve dexterity and control. Start by holding the pen in your preferred grip. Then, use your thumb and fingers to gently roll the pen along your fingertips, moving it back and forth.

This exercise helps to reinforce muscle memory and coordination in your hand. So, you will never encounter a situation where you are suddenly unable to write properly.

  • Practice Air Writing


Writing in the air is a simple exercise that allows you to focus on the movement of your hand and wrist without the pressure of ink on paper. Hold the pen in your chosen grip and “write” letters or words in the air.

This exercise helps improve your muscle memory, fluidity, and coordination, which can translate to smoother writing on paper.

What’s the Best Way to Teach Children to Hold a Pen Properly?

Encourage children to use a tripod or quadropod grip from an early age (around three years old). Provide them with age-appropriate writing tools and paper, and guide them through proper hand placement.

Be patient and offer positive reinforcement as they develop their writing skills.


Now, you know how to hold a pen properly! Be sure to apply the pen holding styles above and the practical tips to ensure you maintain a proper pen grip. Your handwriting will be neat and legible, taking your penmanship to new heights!

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