If you want to start in the world of calligraphy but you’re a little intimidated by the dip pen, a great alternative is to learn brush calligraphy. You’ll be able to get the same effects as if you’re using a dip pen, but it’s easier to control and learn. Let’s dive right into it.
What you’ll need Brush Pen Printer Paper Tracing Paper
Pen PressureThe first thing you need to learn is that brush calligraphy only works with pen pressure. When you’re writing a letter or a word, you have to be aware of the thins and the thicks. When you’re pushing the pen down (named downstroke), you have to put more pressure on the pen so it will give you thick lines. If you’re going up (named upstroke), you have to put less pressure on your pen so the lines will be thin.
The Angle of Your PenIn brush calligraphy, the angle you’re holding the pen matters a lot. You have to hold the pen at an angle to the right (if you’re a leftie, you would need to hold the pen at an angle to your left side). Do not hold your pen upright, because it won’t give you nice thin and thick strokes. It will also ruin your pens much easier if you don’t hold them at the right angle.
The Best Brush Pens For BeginnersWe can pretty much guarantee that you’ll get frustrated with brush calligraphy if you begin by using the wrong pens. There are pens that are better for beginners and pens that are for more experienced hands. The best brush pens for beginners are the small ones. These are our best brush pen recommendations for those just starting out: Tombow Fudenosuke (hard brush tip), Pentel Sign Brush Pen (comes in different colors), and Zebra Fude Sign Brush Pen (black, comes in 4 different sizes). Once you gain more practice and experience, you can definitely upgrade to other brush pens like the Tombow Dual Brush Pen, Sakura Koi Brush Pen or Kuretake Brush Pen. But try not to start right away with these, because they are harder to control than the small brush pens.
The Right Paper TexturesThere are very specific papers to use for brush calligraphy. The smoother the paper, the better. Because many paper textures have a high chance of ruining your brush pens easily, you’ll want to use the papers we mention here. For the printer paper types, we recommend using HP Premium Choice LaserJet Copy Paper. You can also use any brand of tracing paper. While these papers won’t ruin your pens, they will actually extend the life of your pens too, so that’s an added bonus. Other paper textures won’t be as kind to your pen tips.
The Basic StrokesThe art of calligraphy is all about patience. We know that when you’re just starting out, you’ll want to jump right in and expect to write beautiful letters and words right away. But that’s not how it works; just like any other practice, you need to get a good grasp of the foundation. In calligraphy, we have a bunch of basic strokes that you’ll need to master first in order to start creating great things. You’ll see that each basic stroke has a point – each of them will be used in certain letters – so if you practice them a lot, it will be a lot easier to transition to writing letters and words.
The Thin UpstrokeFor the thin upstroke, grab your pen and press it gently from the bottom to the top. Remember to press it very lightly, with little pressure on the pen.
The Thick DownstrokeThe thick downstroke is exactly the opposite of the upstroke. You have to press the pen hard from the top to the bottom. Don’t be afraid to put pressure on the brush pen – it’s what they were made for!