Brush Pens Got It In for Me


Apparently, there is such a thing as the wrong way to use brush pens. I see all those juicy brush lettering whose creator said are made with a brush pen. So I decided to give it a try.

My first brush pen was a Sakura Pigma Brush (BR). After a somewhat brief period of testing and using it, I ended up with this.


I call this the Bristle Blossom.

Hmm. I don’t see other people’s brush pens making this appearance. Once this happens, there’s no way to straighten it back, and the strokes it produces just aren’t the same. I find it impossible to make a graceful upstroke/hairline. Maybe I got a bad brush. How about I try again with a different brush? I opted for Sakura KOI Coloring Brush Pen.


Same thing happened.

Oh. Now I know what’s going on. I’ve been using it wrong.

I’ve been using all these pens without a guide, so I don’t know. I think you’re supposed to be at least reasonably light handed with brush pens. Clearly you’re not supposed to apply pressure directly against the tip. This is all fine when used for fill-ins or colouring, but I’m still at loss as how to do that when you’re lettering (and you have to change direction mid-stroke, as in minuscule e).

I am thinking that a Chinese calligraphy brush – with the same pointed tip made of non-synthetic bristles – might work better for me, but I’m not buying a new brush pen until I know more about this. If you know how to use a brush pen without ruining them like I do, or have produced amazing letters even with Bristle Blossom, or have used a guide or tutorial that has worked for you, please share below!



3 thoughts on “Brush Pens Got It In for Me

  1. I think the key is to hold the pen at an angle, so the tip isn’t perpendicular to the paper. I would look at piecescalligraphy’s videos on Youtube. She has a video called “How to hold the brush pen” where she shows her technique.

    Chinese brushes are held perpendicular to the paper, but I’m not sure if the same thin (up) and thick (down) strokes can be created. The strokes aren’t quite the same. It might be something I can try.


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