Beginners Guide To Using Brush Pens for Modern Calligraphy

In this calligraphy for beginners tutorial, I’m going to show you how to get started with brush pen calligraphy.

This calligraphy tutorial is going to show you how to easily get started with modern calligraphy– including how to hold a brush pen, how to apply the proper pressures, and how to do some basic calligraphy strokes to get you started.

NOTE: For modern calligraphy, make sure you are using a flexible tip pen vs. a chisled tip (see Tools below).

Calligraphy Pens vs. Brush Pens

First Things First…

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Now let’s get started!

Prefer watching over reading? Feel free to skip right to the video and see these in real-time! ??

Step 1: Holding your brush pen

You want to hold your brush pen naturally, just how you would hold any pen in your hand. What makes the most difference is the way that your hand is positioned in relation to the paper, and the angle that your pen is on. You want to try and hold it at about a 45-degree angle so that the pen is perpendicular to the page.

Once you’re good with your grip, I want you to try doing some really light lines from the bottom (called the baseline) to the top (called the waistline).

Step 2: Thicken the downstrokes

Now you want to try and keep your pen on the same angle exact but you’re going to do the opposite – you’re going to start at the top and go into a hard downstroke.

You should be able to really see a big difference in that thin line versus this thick line. Don’t be afraid to push on your pen. These pens are meant to be pushed on, they’re meant to go nice and thick. My only recommendation is that every couple of strokes, you rotate your pen so that you’re using it evenly on both sides.

The basis of calligraphy = anywhere that your pen is moving in an upward direction will be a light line and anywhere that your pen is moving in a downwards direction will be a thick line. So, light up and hard down.

In calligraphy, all of your letters and your words are broken down into what we call basic strokes, and each of those are going to apply the “light up and hard down” rule that we’ve been talking about.

The thicker parts are not shadows! They’re downstrokes!

When you put these strokes together into different combinations, they actually form letters! you would take this upstroke.

An upstroke + an ascending loop + compound curve = h

And that’s it!

If you’re not ready for brush pens, not to worry! You can skip over to
this video where I go over how to do calligraphy with nothing but a pencil!

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