Brush pens are markers with a very tapered end, almost like a brush. They are widely used in Calligraphy and lettering work because the width of the stroke changes with pressure. More pressure means a wider stroke, which makes them incredibly versatile for drawing. Learning how to use brush pens is all about learning to control the pressure.
Brush Pen Calligraphy
When using a brush pen for calligraphy you need to change the pressure to create strokes with different widths, creating beautiful contrast. But you will need to use a relatively big font size or you won’t be able to make the most of that contrast. They are perfect to practice and easier than using an actual brush or a dip pen because they are less likely to drop ink accidentally.
How you hold your pen is very important when learning how to use brush pens. You want control over the pressure you apply to the marker, so you want to hold it close to the nib at about 45 degrees angle from the paper. Often when you are drawing thick lines your pen will be closer to 45 degrees and when you are doing thin upstrokes you’ll find naturally your pen becomes more perpendicular to the paper.
Creating strokes of different sizes as a warm up is a great starting point to learn how to use brush pens. Not all pens are the same, depending on things such as what material the tip is made of (felt, syntethic, nylon) or the sharpness and hardness of the tip or nib. Soft nib brush pens require a very delicate touch whereas harder ones require mucho more pressure to create a wide stroke.
Brush Pen How To: Basic Shapes
Upstrokes (when the pen moves upwards) and downstrokes (the pen going downwards) are the core of brush pen lettering. Practice creating thin strokes while moving your pen upwards, and thick downward strokes by applying more pressure to the marker.
Once you have mastered the upstroke and downstroke, it’s time for the transitions. Downstrokes into upstrokes are very often used to connect letters so you need to master them. Gradually decrease the pressure as you move to the end of the downstroke and reach the u-turn that will start the upstroke. The opposite (upstroke to downstroke) is less common but worth practicing as well.
You will also need to learn how to do circles. Learning how to use a brush pen to make circles is all about the transition. You want your circle to be thick on the left side, and thin on the right side. This means making a circle by going counterclockwise, starting with a downstroke and transitioning neatly into an upwards upstroke as you approach the bottom of the circle.
You can see some examples in action here:
How To Hold Brush Pens
Learning brush calligraphy is all about controlling the pen and pressure. Figuring out what works best for you is a process and will come with practice, but the following are some guidelines that can help you figure your own style out.
In order to achieve this control, you want the page to be in front of you. If you intend to angle your letters, you should rotate the paper but your hands should be straight from your shoulders, allowing your arms to do the heavy lifting. At first you will feel like you are being shaky, but practice makes perfect.
This video shows it perfectly:
Best Way To Learn How To Use Brush Pens
Calligraphy writing with a brush pen is not the same as regular writing. You want your arm to be the guiding element to your strokes, not just your wrist and fingers. Think of it a bit as life drawing instead. You want to be able to keep pressure steady.
Using calligraphy practice sheets to learn how to use brush pens makes the entire process much easier. Use a brush script practice sheet, which usually will have a lot of up and down movement and nice contrast in terms of stroke width. You want to be familiar with the basic shapes before working with calligraphy sheets though.
There are partial calligraphy sheets designed to learn brush lettering that can be really useful as well. But even practicing on plain printer paper for a while will be helpful. Learning how to use a brush pen is all about practicing: you’ll reach a point where your strokes flow naturally into each other by practicing enough.
- Paige Tate & Co. (Producer) - Chalkfulloflove (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 126 Pages - 06/21/2016 (Publication Date) - Paige Tate & Co (Publisher)
- Learn to letter and create beautiful designs with this beginner's guide and workbook! Every page is filled with tips, tricks encouragement and practice space to kickstart your lettering journey! Learn 5 different alphabet styles, upper and lower case letters, practice connections and dive into design and composition with this beautiful lettering book.
- At the end of this book, there are also 15 beautiful lettering projects to help you bring together your knowledge and skill and help you begin to create beautiful works of art! You can do this!! Let us teach you how to upgrade your handwriting and learn this amazing and fun form of art
- Press, Paper Peony (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 112 Pages - 10/27/2017 (Publication Date) - Paper Peony Press (Publisher)
- Gray & Gold Publishing (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 116 Pages - 12/28/2016 (Publication Date) - Gray & Gold Publishing (Publisher)
The benefit of using a calligraphy practice book is that the paper is ready for markers and the ink won’t bleed or dry. You can also use a sketchbook for markers if you prefer, and draw the guides yourself using a pencil and ruler.
Drawing With Brush Pens
Drawing with brush pens is very similar to using other types of markers, with the added versatility of different width strokes. However, if you intend to use brush pens for coloring wide areas you may end up applying too much pressure and damaging the nib. A regular market may work better for that kind of project. But for drawing and detail work, brush pens are absolutely awesome.
As you can see in the video, the contrast between the thin and wide lines gives the artwork a lot of character, even if she’s only using one color. Brush pens are a favourite for comic artists as they can be used for lettering and actual drawing.
Learning how to use brush pens is all about practicing but it can be great fun. With just a few markers you can create many different artwork styles and cool lettering effects. Once you have mastered the basics, turning to the internet for advanced courses and techniques is your best choice to progress your artistic skills.