Brush Calligraphy: Everything You Need to Know to Start Today

Learning Brush Calligraphy

One of the best and easiest ways to get into creating amazing artwork and expressing your creativity is by learning brush calligraphy.

However, as a beginner venturing into this creative world, it can be quite frustrating to learn the ropes from scratch. Especially if you have no idea where to start as a self-taught artist.

This triggers the need to do some in-depth research and get to learn more about the practice you want to take on.

We’ve made this process easier by compiling everything you need to know about brush calligraphy. This will help you get started on the right foot and make your learning process easier.

Difference Between Brush Calligraphy and Traditional Calligraphy

When getting started, it can be confusing not knowing the difference between brush calligraphy and traditional calligraphy. These two calligraphy styles have very significant differences that you need to keep in mind.

Traditional calligraphy involves the use of dip pens to achieve wide and broad downstrokes while incorporating thin and feathery upstrokes. This style of calligraphy was used in the past and was featured in copper plates used in different applications.  Traditional calligraphy can be done with broad nib fountain pens too with calculated strokes in different angles.

On the other hand, brush calligraphy features the use of brush pens that come with a brush tip or marker tip to create the different letter variations.

These tips are designed to be flexible to facilitate control and accurate pressure exerted during this process. They are quite easy to use and make the learning process for beginners a breeze.

6 Best Brush Calligraphy Pens for Beginners

Before getting into the different ways you can learn calligraphy and everything that it entails, you first need to be accurately equipped for the learning process.

This means that you’ll need to invest in brush calligraphy pens that will be your companion. Here are a few calligraphy pens for you to consider.

Ecoline Brush Pen

The Ecoline brush pen is a favorite among many beginners mainly because it features a very flexible brush pen tip. This brush pen tip allows for bold strokes and an easy translation as you work on your calligraphy.

However, given the flexibility of the brush tip, creating medium strokes will prove to be a hustle compared to other pen choices. That aside, this pen is a great choice given that it features the use of watercolor ink that you can easily blend with other colors.

It comes with 60 color choices for you to incorporate into your calligraphy. The best part about this pen is that you can refill it with ink once it runs out and keep reusing it. This makes it a more environmentally friendly option.

Pentel Fude Touch Brush Pen

With a small tip that is very beginner-friendly, the Pentel Fude touch brush pen has gained a name for itself. It features an amazing tip that allows it to be easy to control and relieves the need to exert too much pressure when working on downstrokes.

The tip on this pen is designed to be very durable and can last you a long time. The only downside with this pen is that it comes with a selection of only 12 ink colors for you to choose from. The inks are however water-based which allows you to blend them with ease to get different combinations.

Tombow Dual Brush Pen

When it comes to finding a popular beginner-friendly brush pen, the Tombow dual brush pen is the perfect choice for you. This pen features a large-sized brush tip that is suitable for medium to large brush calligraphy.

The tip is designed to be a medium-firm which makes it an easy brush tip for beginners to work with. Achieving different stroke sizes is made easier when using this particular pen. Additionally, this pen comes with 108 color choices for you to consider when working on your calligraphy.

The best thing about using this pen is the water-based ink you’ll be working with that allows you to blend and incorporate a mix of colors. This will allow you to experiment and have fun with your creativity and learning process.

Sakura Koi Brush Pen

The Sakura Koi brush pen comes with a medium-firm elastic tip that allows for bold strokes with great control. This makes them an amazing beginner pen choice to consider. The one thing that stands out with this pen is the vivid and vibrant color that comes with it.

It comes with 48 color choices to consider when working on your calligraphy. These colors can be combined and blended to achieve different gradients to make the work more appealing.

Karin Brush marker

The Karin brushmaker is a pen that stands out from the crowd with its well-designed and responsive tip. The brush allows for smooth transitions between thick and thin strokes with great ease.

This makes it easier for beginners to learn the ropes and get better at their brush calligraphy. With this pen, you get a great selection of 60 different vibrant colors that are designed to offer great translation on paper to the last drop. The inks are water-based and can easily be blended with other colors to create different effects.

Crayola Marker

If you are in the market for a pen that is simple, affordable, and great for beginners, the Crayola marker is a perfect choice. It is a great beginner-friendly pen that is quite easy to use and control.

The marker tip can achieve both thin and thick strokes depending on the pressure that is applied. This is a great pen to consider especially when you want to perfect your hold and grip.

This is because of the broad tip that requires different ways of handling it to get a variety of stroke sizes. This pen comes in a variety of colors that are non-toxic and washable.

Beginner Brush Calligraphy Strokes and Exercises

When it comes to Brush calligraphy, there are 8 different strokes that you can work with. These 8 strokes include the Downward Stroke, Upward, Curve Under, Curve Over, Oval, Curve Over-Under, and the Ascending and Descending Loop.

Downward stroke in calligraphy
Basic brush calligraphy strokes

The Downward Stroke

These strokes will feature more pressure exerted on the pen to get the thick stroke. To help you practice this, you can use a calligraphy guide to help create muscle memory.

The Upward Stroke

These strokes feature the use of very light pressure exerted on the pen to create a thin line going up. With this, you need to ensure that the strokes are consistent.

Curve Under

The curve under starts with a downward stroke and transitions into an upward stroke. With this, the transition between the two needs to be seamless and continuous.

Curve Over

The curve over strokes starts with a light pressure upward stroke and transitions into a heavy pressure downward stroke. You also need to aim for a smooth transition with this to get the best look.


When it comes to creating the oval, it can be quite tricky. This is because it involves a transition that comes in three phases. You first start with a light pressure stroke and transition into a downward stroke going anti-clockwise then finish it off with a light upward stroke.

Curve Over-Under

This features a combination of the curve over and curve under but in one smooth transition. With this, you start with a light upward stroke then transition into a heavy downward stroke then finish it off with the light upward stroke.

Ascending Loop

For this loop, you start at the middle with a light upward stroke and transition into a heavy downward stroke observing the angle required.

Descending Loop

The descending loop will begin with a heavy downward stroke then transition into a light upward stroke.

Standard Brush Calligraphy and Practice Sheets

When it comes to practicing brush calligraphy as a beginner, working with worksheets is the best way to go. They will gently introduce you to the art and allow you to practice the different letters.

As a beginner, the first five letters of the alphabet are saved for last when learning. This is mainly because they feature the use of the oval that is a harder stroke to master.

For the best results, start by working on the drills and mastering the easier basic strokes like the downward strokes and curve under.

Once you have this, you can work on letters that feature such strokes, for instance, the letter ‘ i ‘ and ‘ t ‘. Once you have those down, you can work on letters that feature the curve over-under, for instance, the letter ‘ u ‘ ‘ m ‘, ‘ w ‘, and ‘ n ‘.

Later on, you can then transition to letters that feature the ascending and descending loops, for instance, the letter ‘ h ‘, ‘ j ‘, and ‘ y ‘. Lastly, work on the ovals that are featured in the letters ‘ a ‘, ‘ b ‘, and ‘ o ‘ among others.

Going through this learning process in this order will give you an easier learning experience. You’ll have a better understanding of the different letters and allow you to create amazing calligraphy work.


Learning brush calligraphy will require you to be patient and put in the effort and follow the worksheet guidelines. Start by finding the right pen to work with then move on to learn the different calligraphy basic strokes and master them. Once you have done that, you can then progress to the letters and work your way up to the entire alphabet!

The Beginners Guide to Brush Calligraphy
The Beginners Guide to Brush Calligraphy

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