A Beginner’s View of Brush Calligraphy

Brush calligraphy is a calligraphy style that uses a brush pen. A brush pen is a pen with a brush or a brush-like tip. As with pointed-pen calligraphy, the downstrokes are made thick by pressing down on the pen and the upstrokes are thinner by only using the lightest of touch to make the line.


There are now a lot of locally available brush pens. The ones I currently own are in the photo above. From left to right they are: Pilot Petit3 in Baby Pink; Zig Scroll&Brush in Orchid, Baby Pink, and Black; Zig Kuretake Fudebiyori in Blue and Gray; Zig Kuretake Fudebiyori Metallic in Green; Zig Cocoiro Letter Pen Extra Fine in Mint Green, Black, Bordeaux, and Sepia. These are a very meager sample from a lot of other available pens, and in fact I only have a sample size of two brands (Pilot and Zig). Watercolor is also a great medium to do brush calligraphy with!


Here are written examples of each type of brush pen. The Cocoiro Extra Fines make the finest lines, followed by the Petit3, while the Fudebiyori and Scroll&Brush are very broad. I find it really hard to use the broad tips as you can see in the writing above. It looks a lot messier compared to the two fine brushes. The Petit3 is slightly easier to use even though it has an overall shorter body because the tip is very forgiving.


I’m not really an expert in brush calligraphy, but I try to practice regularly. I like doing short and simple (and encouraging!) messages and I also keep a collection of inspiring quotes to practice with. If all else fails, I resort to doing song lyrics!


A lot of the times I also make use of brush calligraphy in my planner (as decorative headings) and journal. I have also attempted using it for hand lettering such as the one below, although I don’t have very many of those yet. For other examples of my work, check out my Instagram.


How did I get started on brush calligraphy? I actually started with pointed-pen calligraphy (I attended Eula’s workshop!) but found that I could not find the time to sit down and do it nor the patience to fiddle around with bottled inks and tiny nibs. More recently I got to attend a mini brush calligraphy workshop by Mimai (Instagram) and found that I really enjoyed it and found it more to my style and liking. I bought a few more brush pens to play around with, and I now have a long wishlist of more pens to try!

Recently I stalk many brush calligraphers on Instagram for inspiration (Aina, Oceanchelle, The Word Affair, Oats, Paola, The Paper Cat, Mommy Lhey, Clair), and The Postman’s Knock and The Fozzy Book are also great resources.


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