Wish you could do that beautiful hand lettering you see all over Instagram? We’ve got some tips on brush calligraphy for beginners to help you get started today!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase something. As an Etsy and Amazon Associate I earn commissions from qualifying purchases.
Brush Calligraphy for Beginners
Brush calligraphy is all about writing in beautiful brush pen lettering. The best part is that this modern calligraphy technique is open to so much creativity there are no real rules to follow, so you can loop, curve, and decorate your writing any way you wish.
There is no better time to start learning calligraphy brush pen lettering and anyone, at any age, can pick it up. You can even teach someone else to do it after a bit of practice.
These days most of our time is spent on the computer, and sadly handwriting has become a bit of a lost artform, but by learning calligraphy you can learn to write with beautiful handwriting that people will be jealous of.
Hand lettering can also help you to think more creatively, improve your thinking power and offer a calming escape from the buzz of the world and social media.
All calligraphy is not equal
You might think that there is only one type of calligraphy, but in fact it can be broken down into two categories: traditional and modern.
Brush calligraphy is the ‘fun’, modern form of calligraphy where there are hardly any rules to follow. It opens itself up to an individual’s creativity meaning your brush pen lettering can be as unique and fancy as you want it to be.
Traditional calligraphy is still great but is old-fashioned, with rules in place to form traditional distinctive styles, such as Copperplate. (Snore) Ooops, did we say that aloud?
The Best Calligraphy Brush Pens For Beginners
Now I bet you’re super excited and ready to have a go at brush pen calligraphy, but before you start doodling away make sure you have a proper brush pen to create with.
These pens are specifically designed for calligraphy and have flexible tips that will react to the pressure and movements you use to create fluid, sweeping brush lettering strokes in different widths.
A felt tip is just not going to cut it, and you’ll probably only end up getting fed up and want to pack it all in.
A quick search on Google or Amazon will bring up a mind-blowing number of results for calligraphy brush pens, so we’ve listed a few of the best calligraphy brush pens for beginners.
Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen: This brush pen has a small range of colors but is still a great all-round calligraphy brush pen, it comes with dual nibs, so you have two brush pens in one and isn’t too pricey.
Crayola marker: You might think that Crayola makes markers for kids but these are one of our favorite pens for hand lettering. They are excellent value when it comes to quality, lasting power and color range on offer. The Crayola markers have a fantastic feature too in their tip, which is shaped at an angle so you can create different line styles in one brush as you practice your brush pen lettering.
Pentel Fude Touch Brush Pen: This pen has a small tip making it an easy brush pen to control and create brush lettering strokes. It’s in the higher price range than the other two pens mentioned but its lasting power and toughness make up for this.
These three brush pens are some of the pens we would definitely recommend for beginners, not only for the reasons we’ve mentioned above but also because these pens work and last very well when they are used on any type of paper. Some calligraphy brush pens get ruined very quickly if you don’t buy special paper to write on.
Your Brush Pen And You
When you have your brush pen, you’ll need to hold it differently to the way you usually hold a normal pen.
The closer you hold a brush pen to the nib the better as it will give you maximum control and be easier to adjust your pressure.
Also, instead of letting your fingers guide the pen, let your arm lead the dance and keep your wrist straight.
Your arm power will make it much easier to control the movement of your swoops, twirls, and curls of the different brush hand-lettering styles you create.
Getting Started With Brush Pen Calligraphy
It’s true that anyone can learn brush pen calligraphy lettering, but it does take practice to become an expert at those beautiful brush strokes.
Before you can create beautiful brush pen lettering, you do need to do some practice first. Don’t worry though, you won’t find this type of practice boring, we promise.
It doesn’t take lots of time to practice either, after a few goes of creating these brush lettering strokes you’ll be writing beautiful letters in no time.
To get started it might help to write on some lined or squared paper so you can practice drawing your lines at constant 90-degree angles.
The main things to remember are:
- to draw a thick line you apply pressure to the brush pen,
- to create a thin line, you don’t give it as much pressure,
- to make a curve that goes from thick to thin, or vice versa, you adjust the pressure to move into the line thickness you want to achieve.
Brush Calligraphy Basic Strokes to Practice
Below are the eight beginner brush strokes you’ll want to practice, with a description of how to do the brush lettering stroke.
- Apply pressure to the pen to create a thick 90-degree line downwards.
- Reverse brush stroke one but keep a light pressure as you draw your line upwards.
- Draw a U starting from right to left with heavy pressure and lighten this pressure as you curve around so the right line is thick and the left line is thin.
- Create an upside-down n making the right line thicker than the left.
- Draw a 0 shape and make sure the left of the oval is thicker than the right.
- With this, strokes three and four are joined to form an N with the middle line being thick and the outer lines thin.
- Make a P with a thin curve and a thick line down. However, when drawing your curve round stop just before it lines up with where you started drawing so you can draw the thick downward line over it to give the curve a little tail.
- Draw a thick diagonal line down then curve under and round and draw a thin diagonal line upwards in the opposite direction of your thick line to create a ribbon shape that looks a bit like an 8 with its top half missing.
Give these line techniques a couple of goes to get the feel of changing effortlessly into a thick line to a thin line, or vice versa.
Once you’ve become the expert in these, you’ll have the skills to learn your brush calligraphy alphabet letters.
Starting Brush Calligraphy Alphabet Lettering
Now it’s time to start practicing your brush calligraphy alphabet lettering!
You can use a brush lettering practice sheet or you can order a workbook from Amazon:
The Ultimate Guide to Modern Calligraphy & Hand Lettering for Beginners – This one is filled with practice sheets to help you practice all of the letters and it’s less than 10 bucks so it’s probably cheaper than using printer ink on Internet freebies!
Hand Lettering 101: An Introduction to the Art of Creative Lettering – If your budget will stretch a little farther this gorgeous workbook is spiral bound. Inside, the practice pages take you from letters to words, and Sarah will also guide you through developing your own hand-lettering style.
If you learn better by watching someone else write then check out this video tutorial from the super talented Rach Lee on YouTube:
Everyone learns differently, but we’d recommend avoiding curved letters to begin with until you really get the hand of handling your pen and changing line thickness in one sweeping motion.
If you can master your brush hand lettering of I, M, N and T, and then conquer some of the gentler curved letters like D, J, K and O you’ll be well on your way to being able to confidently take on the rest of the brush calligraphy alphabet letters.
Ready, Set, Write!
Now you’ve finished reading our little guide on brush calligraphy for beginners creating gorgeous hand lettering doesn’t seem so scary right?
You just need the right kind of pen and a good dose of practice.
Once you’ve got the letters of the alphabet down then there is really nothing holding you back from being able to write beautifully decorated lettering.
You can decorate your bullet journal, birthday cards, gift tags and anything else you can write on, and your beautiful brush calligraphy will be admired by all!
Sure, you’ve got to practice a bit, but you have to do that with anything to be great at it. Unlike sewing, crochet, or any other pastime brush calligraphy doesn’t take ages to practice and become good at.
So, grab your brush pen and some paper and start practicing! There’s nothing to hold you back so let your creativity flow, loop, swirl, and curve across the page.
Stay creative and amazing.