Brush Calligraphy and Lettering FAQs. Answers to the questions I’m most frequently asked about learning the art of Brush Calligraphy!
Brush Calligraphy and Lettering FAQs
I compiled and answered all the questions I’m most frequently asked about Brush Calligraphy and Lettering into one handy page!
Before we get into the FAQs, I want to share something with you. The first time I tried Brush Calligraphy, it was so hard, I didn’t try again for months. Once I did try again, I committed to practice.
Practice is the only thing separating you from “meh” brush calligraphy and “wow” brush calligraphy…so keep at it and don’t give up!
How Do I Get Started With Brush Calligraphy?
- Use the right supplies. Using a good, small-tipped brush pen is key to your success as you begin learning to use pressure to control the width of your stroke.
- Start with the basics. Get the “Drills” down first and then move onto the ABCs before you ever start words or sentence.
- Practice, Practice, Practice. Even though I’ve been doing this six years, I still practice almost daily!
Keep reading through these FAQs as I dive into these three things and beyond in more detail.
Do I need to have pretty handwriting to be good at Brush Calligraphy and Lettering?
No! Mine is pretty awful. Lettering is a form of drawing. So, sure you need some natural drawing talent, but if you have the passion and you’re willing to show up each day and practice, you’ll make a ton of progress.
What brush pen do you recommend for beginners?
The Tombow Fudenosuke hands-down. Here’s why it is the number one brush pen I recommend to beginners.
What paper should I use?
Using the proper paper keeps your brush tips in great condition, so look for ultra-smooth paper designed for use with brush pens and markers. My paper recommendations are as follows:
- Rhodia Dot Pad
- Canson Marker Paper
- Copic X-Press It Paper
- Watercolor Paper: Hot Press is smoother than Cold Press so opt for hot press!
- Copy Paper: HP Premium32 Paper. This is what you should print all my free worksheets on as well as the workbooks from my shop.
How should I hold my pen?
You can really hold your pen however it is comfortable for you, but one thing you need to do is hold it at a roughly 45-degree angle, as demonstrated in the video at the top of this post.
Do you have videos I can watch?
I sure do! I have 28 free video lessons that cover the basic strokes and the entire alphabet. Pop over to this post for links to all of the videos.
I’m having trouble getting my downstrokes thick enough. Any tips?
If you’re holding your pen at the 45-degree angle, then chances are you’re not pushing down hard enough. The pens are made for it, so don’t worry that you’ll break it. For the thin upstrokes, your pen tip should just barely “kiss the paper” and for the downstrokes, push down hard! Do you see how much my tip bends in the pic below?
Any tips for lefties?
I’m a lefty myself so I love seeing other lefties overcome the myth that lefties don’t make good letterers! Check out all my lefty tips here.
My brush pen tips are fraying! What gives?
Frayed tips are usually a result of one of two things (or a combo of both):
- You’re not holding your pen at the 45-degree angle.
- The paper you’re using is too rough for the brush pens soft nibs, so try some of the brush pen friendly paper I recommended earlier in this post!
Where can I find free Brush Calligraphy and Lettering practice sheets?
I offer a TON of them here on my site. Check out the practice sheet archives for all kinds of free practice sheets.
What other brush pens/supplies do you recommend?
The 30 Days of Drills Workbook
This workbook is perfect for busy beginners who want to learn the art of Brush Calligraphy.
Commit to doing just one worksheet every day for 30 days and keep track of your progress with the included checklist!
I keep seeing people doing Brush Calligraphy on the iPad. Can you tell me how that works?
I didn’t like lettering digitally until the iPad Pro + Apple Pencil came out. Check out this post to learn all about doing Brush Calligraphy + Lettering on the iPad Pro.
Did you go to school to learn hand-lettering?
Like most hand lettering artists, I’m mostly self-taught. In design school, one of my typography instructors said I really had a knack for choosing and mixing type, and I just fell in love with typography. So I started buying books on hand-lettering and practicing…and practicing a lot. You can find a list of my favorite books here.
If you want to know more about the 5 Ways Design School Changed my Life, you can read all about that here.
What’s the best way to get better at calligraphy and lettering?
Practice makes progress! The more you practice, the better you’ll get.
I want to learn Brush Calligraphy and Modern Calligraphy (with a Pointed Pen). Which should I learn first?
Modern Calligraphy with a pointed pen didn’t click for me until after I’d mastered Brush Calligraphy, so based on personal experience, I recommend learning Brush Calligraphy first and then moving on to Modern Calligraphy.
Did I miss any of your Brush Calligraphy and Lettering FAQS?
Leave me a question in the comments and I’ll be sure to answer it!