When you get a new brush pen, the first thing you want to do is get to know your brush pen. You want to know things like how soft or stiff it is, how big the tip is, what your tip is made of, and what the ink flow is like. The easiest way to do this is to just try writing with it.
As I mentioned in my previous post, my favourite brush pen for brush pen calligraphy is the Tombow Fudenosuke (Hard Tip). This pen has a small stiff tip, made of felt, and it is a relatively dry pen. These attributes make it the perfect brush pen for a beginner! The felt tip is similar to a marker’s tip, making it more familiar to a beginner, the small stiff tip makes the brush pen easier to control, and the dryness of the pen means you don’t have to worry about ink smudging.
In this post, I’m using the Tombow Fudenosuke (Hard Tip) brush pen, and three Monami Plus Pen 3000s. I was gifted these 3 new pens recently, so I thought I should practice what I preach, and get to know these new pens!
You can get to know your brush pen by trying a couple basic strokes:
With brush pen calligraphy, the first stroke I like to teach is the thin upstroke. This stroke goes from bottom to top, and is very thin- hence the name thin upstroke.
Try to get the thinnest stroke you can, while keeping it smooth. The firmer your brush pen tip, the less control you will need, hence my recommendation to get a stiff tipped pen as a beginner.
This particular stroke is called an entrance stroke. It’s the stroke that you will see at the beginning of most letters.
Keep practicing until your entrance strokes look thin, smooth, and consistent. Write an entire line, or even fill an entire page! This is always the first stroke I do to warm up, and for practice, too. Your entrance stroke should go up on a diagonal, with a slight curve. But don’t worry too much about the angle right now. You are just trying to understand the stiffness and flow of your pen for now.
The other stroke that is important to try is the thick downstroke. This stroke goes from top to bottom, and — you got it — is very thick.
Again, keep practicing until your downstroke is even and thick. Don’t be afraid of really pressing down. Be careful with your pen, but press firmly. You’ll be able to feel it when it’s as hard as your brush pen goes down.
I like practicing my thick stroke, with a transition into a thin exit stroke. But if you can’t get the transition from thick to thin, try doing a straight line down for now. Again, you are just trying to get to know your brush pen at this point. We can work on transitions in a future post! Let me know if that interests you.
So, how did it go? I’d love to hear from you:
- What are the characteristics of the brush pens you are using?
- What do you struggle with when it comes to brush pen calligraphy?
- What other questions do you have for me?
Oh, and in case you were wondering.. the Monami Plus Pen 3000 is somewhere between a brush tip, and regular tip pen. The pen has a felt tip, and is very very stiff, though I could still get some variation in. It is also a dry pen, like most markers. The Monami Plus Pen 3000 isn’t about to replace the Tombow Fudenosuke as my favourite pen anytime soon, but I like how fine the lines are! Plus, a little colour never hurt anyone.