Analysing handwriting – Graphology with Denis Sexton

A few technical hitches started the event but the audience wasn’t going to be deterred; in true festival spirit, they helped out by reciting poems (dirty ones included), telling stories and singing songs. And, in keeping with good showmanship, Denis carried on regardless.

Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins

“Graphology throws up many questions – does it have any use? What is graphology? Yesterday someone mixed up my name and my job – “Ahh, you’re the sexologist.” Now, your sexuality is revealed but that’s only one part of the puzzle… In daily life, we put on our best bib and tucker. But we always want to know what makes teach other tick? What is the real person?”

So, how did Denis get into graphology?

“Literature. You often hear that a book can change your life and that happened to me, with a book by Alice Tailor, To School Through the Fields.” It lead to a career in teaching and school inspecting and that was then I noticed how different everyone’s handwriting was – teachers included.”

(Cue round of applause as technology works…)

So what can our handwriting show us?

In the science of graphology, writing is subject to three zones:

Upper – inspirations, ego, conscious, intellect & spirit
Middle – day to day, social stuff, practicality
Lower – instincts, drive, things try to suppress

And there are three main things to look at when you’re analysing someone’s handwriting:

Movement – Left side of page – represents past and memories. Right – moving to the future. How the person makes that movement shows their energy and sensuality.

Form – more elaborate can show self indulgence or creativity. Did the decorations help to get the message across?

Arrangement – Disconnect between letters shows a disconnect with people. Close letters often used by people who are needy.

But if you look closely, specific tendencies reveal specific personality traits. If you see once, doesn’t mean much. This is only relevant if you see as a pattern:

  • High T bars – very idealistic, over ambitious and can be unrealistic (can translate as energetic)
  • Big capital letters – this is how we see ourselves in the world. if 2.5 times bigger than lower case – ego getting bigger or someone who loves movement (fluidity of rest of writing will reveal this)
  • Solid T stems – Ts which are firmly crossed show pride
  • Letter’s that don’t start on the baseline – shows imagination
  • Heavy writing – indicate people who hold onto their feelings. Can also indicate sensuality – e.g. Joseph
  • Writing slanting back over – there is forward momentum but they’re holding their energy back. Perhaps hurt in the past or slow to trust?
  • Upright writing – people more measured in their attitudes, emotionally balanced
  • Writing leaning forwards – more easily affected, can go out of control
  • Heavy downstroke, light upstroke – that’s like the basic rhythm of the universe; your breath, being born, heartbeats, sex, playing tennis, golf – contraction & release.
  • Over elaborate letters that don’t serve any great need – we’re writing to communicate. So things like this are searching for attention.
  • Angularity – anger and suppression of anger


These are an important part of our identity. If a signature is needed – it’s no good being printed or typed. Must be written. Symbolism comes through our signatures.

Example – Michael Jackson signature that changed from his younger, more humble days – by the time he was a superstar, the signature took up almost the whole page, showing ego inflation and isolation in own world. Signatures evolve and show how people are affected by events going on in their lives.

Line under a signature – this tends to indicate that they’re self reliant.

Full stop at the end – someone who likes to have the last word.

Forensics – forgery. How do you tell? Forgeries are usually more deliberate – you’re trying to mimic but you are also trying to disguise your own signature – forced, stilted, broken. (About 2/3 of the room guessed the forgery in an example)

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