Before we get into the introduction of brush pen calligraphy, first let us try to understand what calligraphy is. After that, we will start with our main topic of brush pen calligraphy – a beginner’s guide. Almost every day we come across short videos and reels highlighting people engaging in writing beautiful, attractive letters with the help of tools such as ink pens, and brushes. These glowing and glittering letters mesmerize us.
1. What Is Calligraphy?
Calligraphy is the art of writing beautiful letters. The word ‘Calligraphy’ may be defined from the Greek words ‘kallos’ (beauty) and ‘graphein’ (to write). It can be associated with aesthetic writing and is considered a major art form in the Middle East and East Asia. It is a long-running tradition that bears equal importance to painting and sculpturing. It is a form of art that anyone can try and become an expert. Calligraphy distinguishes regular handwriting and decorative handwriting.
Calligraphy manipulates symbols and letters in such a way that it looks visually appealing and produces beautiful handwriting. Letters are written more skillfully and creatively. Through Calligraphy, words and letters become more expressive which makes it a form of visual art. When the viewer reads the words written in such a manner it evokes an artistic reaction.
Calligraphy is divided according to the cultures and regions across the world. For example; Western Calligraphy, Chinese Calligraphy, Japanese Calligraphy, Indian Calligraphy, and Arabic Calligraphy. Currently, Western calligraphy is used widely and frequently. Western Calligraphy contains two major groups; namely Traditional and Modern Calligraphy.
It is important to keep in mind that Cursive writing is also a different kind of Calligraphy. Hard to understand isn’t it? Don’t worry we won’t be looking at Cursive writing right now! For now, let us glance through the basic difference between Traditional and Modern Calligraphy.
1.1 Traditional Calligraphy
Traditional Calligraphy includes the styles that were developed way back in 600 BC. Some examples of Traditional calligraphies are – the Italic script, Roman capitals, black letters styles, uncials, copperplate calligraphy, insular minuscule, etc. One can explore these styles on Instagram or other social media platforms. Do not confuse calligraphy styles with fonts. They are strictly referred to as scripts. Fonts are various types of letters generated on a computer.
You must have come across them while writing or reading documents on your PC or Laptops. Traditional Calligraphies are characterized by specific strokes that are individual and extremely structured. In this way, letters look uniform. To accomplish this accuracy particular tools are used which have certain heights and thicknesses.
1.2 Modern Calligraphy
The simple way to understand Modern calligraphy is that they are not bound by strict rules generated by traditional calligraphy. Modern Calligraphy can provide more freedom in terms of creativity. But, while doing that one should not get carried away and write or design anything and call it calligraphy. Some rules should be followed to maintain uniformity.
As said earlier unlike Traditional Calligraphy Modern Calligraphy is flexible in case of rules and regulations. Therefore a variety of tools can be utilized such as classic dip pens, broad nib pens, pencils, brush pens, and markers. You are a beginner, hence it is advised that you should use pencils and brush pens for a while and then move to markers and classic dip pens. It will be much easier for you to draw the letters with their help.
2. What Is Brush Pen Lettering?
In the above introduction, we got familiar with Calligraphy. Calligraphy can be written with the help of pens and brushes. So brush pen lettering is nothing but writing with different kinds of brushes. Now, when we write with brushes it has to be made sure that the tip is smooth, flexible, and sharp. This will allow us to write easily without any errors. We can also use regular painting brushes to do brush lettering.
Brush pen lettering mainly contains two types, such as hand lettering and calligraphy. The main difference between both is that in hand lettering we tend to draw the letters. In the case of Calligraphy, we write the letters on paper. There are certain rules that one has to follow while writing in Calligraphy. Calligraphy is divided according to the cultures and regions across the world. For example; Western Calligraphy, Chinese Calligraphy, Japanese Calligraphy, Indian Calligraphy, and Arabic Calligraphy.
2.1 Hand Lettering And Calligraphy
Although both of them are visual art forms their difference lies within their methods of writing the letters. Hand lettering is more focused on illustrating and drawing the letters in a particular manner. Calligraphy concentrates on writing letters creatively and beautifully.
The results of both forms may seem similar. But the difference can be spotted in the result. Hand lettering lets the designer draw every letterform. They are sketched mostly with pencils to get better shape and then the outlines are marked with markers to give an aesthetic effect.
Unlike calligraphy, it is not necessary to use specific tools to draw letters. You can use any writing tool that is easily available and accessible to you. You can use different colours and merge the letters with graphics if you want. The size of the letters can also be modified. The rules of hand lettering are somehow the same which we use for typography and calligraphy.
As mentioned above, there are many ways in which you can design or modify the styles. If you want to improve your hand lettering skills you must get familiar with typography and calligraphy. We have already talked about calligraphy and hand lettering. Now let us understand what typography means.
We get the basic idea of this visual art form by only reading this word. In this form, letters are arranged properly and linearly which makes the letters visually appealing. This is achieved through employing strategies such as selecting certain sizes, letter spacing, and line spacing. You may have come across this lettering in newspapers, pamphlets, and articles written on various websites.
The history of typography goes way back to when Johannes Gutenberg first invented the mechanical printing press in the year 1439. With the advancement of technology today typographers engage with computer-made fonts. It is important to understand the process through which various fonts are digitized. Interestingly first the letters are sketched on the paper and then polished and digitized to achieve perfection. There is another term that you also may be interested to understand. Which is faux calligraphy.
2.3 What Is Faux Calligraphy?
Faux means fake. However, it is tricky. On one side you are technically trying to write calligraphy. On the other side, you are writing the letters just to imitate the style. Therefore this type of writing is called faux calligraphy. There are many tutorials and guides on social media. We looked at the basic differences between Hand lettering and calligraphy. There is another art form that combines them both. It is called Sign painting.
2.4 Sign Painting
It is also one of the visual art forms which combines hand lettering and calligraphy. Sign painting uses unique and specific techniques and tools. Due to its unique writing techniques, it gained popularity, especially in the last century. It was visually very attractive. Therefore these letters were printed for advertisements, signboards, and billboards on buildings.
For the same reason, this form of writing was known as sign painting. With the development of technology, these letters could be designed and digitized. Thus, sign painting faced an immense fall in interest. On the other hand, it got rescued by social media platforms. People started realizing this art form and again started practising. It gave rise to one more visual art form.
2.5 Chalk Painting
You may have seen beautiful and creative letters written on a blackboard ever since your childhood. On blackboards, cafes, and restaurants. They not only look attractive but also catch attention quickly as compared to digital signboards. Chalk lettering is nothing but hand lettering done with the help of chalk.
3. Brush Pen Calligraphy
At the beginning of this article, we introduced you to various concepts like calligraphy, brush pen lettering, and the difference between hand lettering and calligraphy. Brush pen calligraphy is simply writing calligraphy with the help of brush pens. Now, what is the difference between brush pen lettering and brush pen calligraphy? Both of them may sound similar but the difference lies within their techniques.
Brush pen calligraphy employs basic brush strokes. It is necessary to make clear that brush pen lettering is the common roof under which hand lettering and calligraphy come together. Now, let us go back a little and get familiar with how a beginner can write calligraphy with the help of brush pens.
4. Brush Pen Calligraphy – A Beginner’s Guide
To get started you have to stalk the required tools. A brush pen is the basic tool of brush pen calligraphy. We have heard about a paintbrush and its different kinds. But brush pens are a new instrument. A brush pen is simply a brush combined with a marker. It is a marker with a tip that is as flexible as a brush. The tip’s size and flexibility vary according to the calligraphy.
The flexible tip is capable of producing thick and thin strokes. The thickness of the brush pen changes according to the pressure that we apply on the paper. When we say paper do not take any paper that has been sitting around for a long time. Some brush pen tips are very fragile. It may affect the strokes if the paper is rough or very old and sometimes even breaks the tip. Choose a paper that is smooth and not very old. It is beneficial to use high-quality printing paper.
4.1 Brush Pens
There are certain characteristics of brush pens that a beginner has to understand to write concisely. Brush pens are not very expensive. But the cost may differ according to the companies. Brush pens are extremely easy to use. They differ in size, shape, and colour. You can apply different levels of pressure to get thick/thin lines and can draw any shapes and designs.
When it comes to visual art, we tend to think that one may need a pile of tools. But, calligraphy is the simplest visual art form that doesn’t require so many tools. All you need to carry a pen and a piece of paper anywhere you go. Brush pens also offer creative styles and effects which makes the letters more attractive.
One of the advantages of using brush pens is that we can blend different colours. This blending process stands out the letters by adding shadows, various shades, and highlights. However, it is important to note that these effects can be done only by using brush pens that have water-based ink. You can also do ribbon lettering with the help of brush pens.
4.2 Types Of Brush Pens
There are hundreds of brush pen options waiting for you to try out. The most used brush pens are the Pental Sign Touch and Tombow Dual Pen Brush. For a beginner, Tombow Dual Pen Brush is affordable, at a reasonable price, and very easy to use.
As mentioned before some brush pen markers have blending effects. Tombow brush pens have water-based ink and great ink flow. A few brush pens are also Zig brushable. An interesting fact is that they are brush pens with dual markers. Both the nibs are very flexible and of similar size.
4.3 The Process
The process of executing brush pen calligraphy lies in the application of pressure. Some letters require thick layering and outlines. This can be done through flexible brush pens’ nibs. A thin line can be created by applying light pressure on low-absorbing smooth paper. Applying hard pressure will create a thick layer and stroke.
You must have thought that calligraphy is very hard to write. But it is very easy, isn’t it? All you have to understand is where you have to put the correct pressure. Just keep practising and you will get there. This pressure will create a 3D effect. The right technique is to keep the brush pen at 45 45-degree angle on the paper so that you won’t damage the flexible nib.
You can draw lines on the paper so that you can uniformly practice the letters. The calligraphy follows certain rules. One of them is that the letters should be as slanting as possible. Once you have drawn the lines on the paper it would be easier for you to practice on them. You would get a clear idea of the right proportions and directions in which you are supposed to write.
4.3.1 How to Hold The Brush Pen?
The position of holding brush pens differs from person to person. So there is no specific way to hold the brush pen. You can observe it on social media. The right position would be that which leads you to smooth writing and flexible strokes.
Another way to recognize the right position is that you can hold the brush pen like the way hold the pencil. This will give you the right judgment of how your grip should be. The only thing that matters is that you should have a strong and comfortable grip.
Don’t hold the pen too tight. Your wrist will start paining after some point. Make sure that you are not holding your brush pen too close to the tip. The writing will not be flexible enough if you hold it like that. So much to remember right? Don’t worry! You will get used to it if you practice regularly.
4.4 Smooth Transitions
This was just one part of writing. The real challenge is when you start transitioning from thick to thin layers. Usually, the downstrokes are supposed to be thick and the upstrokes are thin. Again, this differs according to the style in which you write the letters. You can change the thickness accordingly.
As mentioned above, apply more pressure for thickness and less pressure for thin layers. In the beginning, just focus on the pressure. Your letters will look perfect once an ideal amount of pressure has been applied. Make sure to practice on smooth paper. Another way to practice the brush strokes is to complete a whole row by just drawing downstrokes. Once you are used to the pressure move to letters. Continue the same process with upstrokes.
If you are done with the above basic strokes, move your focus to transitions. Start drawing curves going from upstroke to downstroke and then again to upstroke. This will be great practice for you. But, these are all basic shapes.
You need to practice harder until you draw other shapes such as the oval, entrance stroke, under turn, overturn, ascending, and descending loop with perfect thickness. Don’t forget! Practice is the only key. You can download free calligraphy practice worksheets from the internet. So don’t let anything stop you. With consistency, you may be the person who people look up to for being able to write beautiful art forms like calligraphy!