I just made a very painful video. (One that certainly made my Instagram followers cringe!! 😬😬) But there was something super important about using your brush pen that I wanted to show you.
A brush pen was sacrificed in the making of this video 🥺 but it was to tell a valuable lettering lesson!
Ready to see?
I wanted to show you the WRONG way to use a brush pen and exactly WHY you want to avoid these things.
The first thing is to avoid holding your brush pen straight up and down. That's the biggest hand lettering mistake you can make! Not only will your lettering look wrong, but it will cause the tip of your brush pen to fray. (RIP to the little blue pen in this video!)
The other thing you DON'T want to do is use the same pressure all the time while using a brush pen. It won't look right, and you won't get the results you are looking for.
So, what SHOULD you do with your brush pens?
5 beginner brush pen tips to get you started:
1️⃣ Keep that brush pen at a 45º angle. This is the MOST important thing you can do to protect your brush tips from fraying! If you hold the brush pen straight up and down... well if you watched the first video in this post you know what happens! You end up with a ruined brush pen and wonky lettering. No thank you!
2️⃣ Experiment with different pen grips. I don't think that pen grip is as important as pen angle, so feel free to hold it wherever feels comfortable for you! I've found that holding the pen too low down or high up can restrict your control a little bit, so I tend hold it about 1.5-2 inches up from the nib. I've also found that holding my pink down on the paper as a guide helps to keep my hand steady.
You can learn more about pen grip here.
3️⃣ Keep your arm well supported while lettering. I know it can be tempting to curl up on the couch with a lettering book, but it's best to sit at a desk or table where you can lean your arm down for that added support and control. So much of hand lettering is muscle memory, and believe it or not you really are engaging your arm muscles while doing it!
4️⃣ Use good-quality paper. It helps so much when you are trying to make smooth strokes and also helps protect that brush tip too. I experimented with so many different types of paper and ended up creating my own that's super smooth and kind to your brush pens.
You can shop all of our papers and notebooks here.
5️⃣ It's all about pressure! Try to press as lightly as you can on your upstrokes and harder on your downstrokes. Brush pens respond well to pressure and this is what helps to create that thick and thin calligraphy look.
✋🏻🤚🏻 All of these tips apply no matter which hand you write with, but I do have some extra tips for lefties to make their lettering even easier. Check out my Lefty Lettering FAQ Page for more brush lettering tips just for you. 😘
Are you ready to try brush lettering? We have some wonderful brush pens right here on my site that are great for beginners!
Check out all of my brush pens here.
If you are sure which brush pen is best for you, check out my Brush Pen Size Guide here!
And you can keep learning with me here on the blog. Get detailed in my tutorial on how to hold a brush pen, or dive into using pressure with brush pens in my 8 tips for getting the right pressure with brush pens video.
Happy brush lettering!
Xo, 💙 Lisa