How To Transition From Small to Big Brush Pens

In this tutorial, I’m walking you through the 3 biggest mistakes people make when switching from small brush pens to a big brush pen.

So you’re ready to move up from a small pen to a big pen because you’re itching to try some fun, new techniques? Let’s talk about what mistakes to avoid to make the switch that much smoother, literally!

First Things First…

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Tools Mentioned

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

Mistake #1: You’re writing too small!

With a small pen, you’re probably writing…small. When switching to a bigger pen, many beginners try and keep to the same size, which is IMPOSSIBLE and looks super messy.

You NEEEED to write bigger with bigger tipped pens!
See? Much better!

Generally, you’ll see calligraphy workbooks (like mine, shameless plug ?) that are scaled for EITHER small pens or big pens. That’s because you really should be writing in different sizes depending on which pen you’re using. It’ll make a HUGE difference.

Mistake #2: Changing the pen angle

Your pen should always be at roughly a 45-degree angle – hand perpendicular to the page.

When you switch to a big pen, I see students shifting their angle to a more vertical position. When you do this, it’s really tough to get the right thickness of downstroke.

The one on the right is the correct thickness for a downstroke!

So make sure you keep your hand positioned properly at a 45-degree, perpendicular angle.

Mistake #3: Making your upstrokes too thin

This is hands down the biggest mistake I see!

With a small pen, you can make suuuuuper fine hairlines (upper left, below), and that’s what you get used to doing. However, when you switch to a bigger pen, your upstrokes will naturally always get a bit thicker as well. If you try to keep them too thin, they will come out looking too choppy (upper right, below).

⭕️ = the perfect upstroke and downstroke with a big pen.

And that’s a wrap!

So, were you making any of those 3 mistakes?! Be sure to let me know in the comments! If you’d like more practice, be sure to check out my workbooks!


  1. Becca – I really appreciate all of your free and super-helpful advice! I’m signed up for Show Me Your Drills (can’t wait for the fall…) and have pre-ordered your goodie box. I’m hooked! (Really admire your business/promotional skills, too.)
    All the best,

  2. Hi Becca!
    You mentioned in the video that small tip brush pens are for beginners. But I started practicing calligraphy with big brush pens because of the non-availability of small brush pens in my country.
    Is it okay to do brush lettering only with big brush pens?
    Kindly need your precious advice on this.

Tell me what you thought!