Writing Chinese Characters - Resources to Learn

Hello there guys! ^^ As you know, Duolingo Chinese course doesn't teach us how to write Chinese characters. It only teaches us how to recognize them and type or read them. In this article, I wish to clarify some rules of Chinese character writing. :)

1) This site helps a lot to learn basic rules:

2) Download the app HelloChinese and practise Chinese handwriting with it. It's a great tool to teach you all the proper movements to write Chinese characters correctly.

3) This site is great to understand stroke order and also practise some of the characters yourselves to get better hang of it:

4) Try to write smoothly and softly, it improves the Chinese written characters. :)

5) Write in squared notebooks, and try to write each character in four squares:

6) For beginners I recommend buying Chinese writing sheets to get used to writing:

7) If you listen to some soft and relaxing Chinese music and write at the same time, it will greatly improve your writing! :D (worked for me x) ) Here's a good Chinese music channel on YouTube:

I wish you luck in your studies! ^^

November 27, 2017


8) Try using a brush (or brush pen); it will help you appreciate the point of having a stroke order and the control that needs to go into every stroke. For practising, one can just use water rather than ink on slightly off-white paper. (It will also make you appreciate quite how much more difficult calligraphy is than it looks.)

Personally, that Western/Chinese mish-mash music drives me up the wall; this is real Chinese music!

November 27, 2017

I use this calligraphy cloth; inexpensive, uses water, and you can dry and reuse. Very convenient.

November 27, 2017

Truly, that music is amazing ^^ Tho sometimes it gets hard for western people to directly get used to Asian tunes, so you need a sort of starting point, which is this type of 'western-Asian' music :D But I agree, original Chinese music is really a treasure ^^

November 27, 2017

Do Chinese just use regular pens to write or do they use some type of brush tip pens? Exactly what type of everyday pens do they normally use? I could never find any info on this or really any good info on writing tools for writing characters. When I first started learning Chinese I decided to put off writing for this reason. I felt like I wasn't learning the strokes properly.

December 1, 2017

In modern times, people just use fountain pens, pencils and gel pens for regular writing. However, most calligraphy rules still apply and you can use these pens for practice too. And there are also tutorials for "hard-tip pen(硬笔) calligraphy".

However, if you are a font designer and need to achieve a better understanding of Chinese writing, a brush will help a lot.

December 11, 2017

Ok thanks a lot. I found it hard to know whether I was drawing the strokes correctly because I couldn't mimic the thick and thin points of the strokes. It was like drawing stick figures vs an actual figure drawing. And now I know to look for hard tip calligraphy.

December 12, 2017

The HelloChinese ios app now provides a character writing add-on course which follows exactly the same structure as duo's Chinese course. Each topic contains all the characters from a topic of duolingo, so we can use it side by side to practice handwriting the characters learned here.

December 22, 2017

structure is probabl the same for most learning strategies, but content has other view

September 26, 2018

Skritter is kind of expensive but really good for training how to write and remember characters.

November 28, 2017

It's a bit of an investment, but the app Skritter can't be beat for learning to write Chinese characters. It deeply teaches you the character and stroke order using an advanced spaced repetition algorithm similar to that of Duolingo. It's a bit of an investment, but it's truly amazing and completely worth it if you want to get serious about your Chinese studies.

January 10, 2018

Great! It appears to be difficult for someone from the west trying to learn a real(!) foreign language. And an essential part of a foreign language is getting to its (hand-)writing. So these are valuable hints which might make it a bit easier to learn Chinese. Thanks.

November 27, 2017

I'm happy that it helps even just a little ^^ Thank you!

November 27, 2017

Thx Tamuna you're amazing!

November 27, 2017

Thank you! ^^ I'm glad this helps!

November 27, 2017

Really good ideas! I have been trying to write the characters to help learn them. This will make it a lot easier!

November 27, 2017

Thanks for this awesome resource. I'm definitely going to print out some practice sheets.

To make memorizing easier I also think it may be of value to study the repetitive characters, the radicals, make a mnemonic for each as a tool to remember new characters. Here is a good page on these radicals:

Animations of stroke order also seem to help to nail the characters into my memory. That's why I added an animation to each character in my Memrise course:

I have tested the HelloChinese app and it is really good.

November 27, 2017

I recommend you use the YellowBridge dictionary. It's a kind of learner's dictionary and it has stroke order animations for many of the characters. Also you can practise your handwriting following the lines, read examples using the character or look for individual character meaning, even if it's used as kanji or hanja!

Another good option is Chineasy. You can buy calligraphy books and if you suscribe to their newsletter you'll receive some writing sheets.

And finally try to write in columns going from top to bottom and ordered from right to left ("the traditional way"). Characters are more discernible, and writing them is more comfortable (especially with brush!)

November 27, 2017

Thanks so much for the tools @tamuna10. I also found a couple EdX courses that help with getting the music of the language in your ear Basic Mandarin Chinese Levels 1 & 2. Hope this helps.
Also Mandarin Made Easy with Fiona Tian on YouTube, I found engaging. I'm still working on the characters....

November 29, 2017

For apps can you also try:

1) ChineseSkill


December 8, 2017

LingoDeer is easily the best app for Chinese/Japanese/Korean now.

March 2, 2018

This outline to how chinese characters work and are put together is pretty useful:

April 6, 2018

@Tamuna10: For a very stable learning material that goes very deep, have a look at WordSwing. The breadth of their offering is rare, well managed, varied, often refreshed, with writing, speaking, reading, exercises, trackable progress, vocabulary lists pertaining to stories being read, counters, etc.

A lighter version of that would be Ninchanese, more playful but very serious too.

A fantastic "converter" site to have in one's toolbox would include, I believe, the site: once there, go straight to Tools , no membership necessary; but if your texts usually run over 1,000 characters per request, US $30/year is all they ask for, and then the whole panoply is available to the user. I've used them countless times, to verify on-the-fly either my own translation or a Google one I was not happy with.

July 9, 2018

Try using the Windows 10 app Lingvoji. You can use pen, touch, or mouse for handwriting exercises.

March 1, 2019

That was very helpful! Hâo!

June 20, 2019

Thank you!

I should thank Youtuber "monkey abroad" for sparking my interest in Mandarin Chinese.

June 24, 2019
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