One of the biggest questions I get asked by people who are new to hand lettering is: "What's the right way to hold a brush pen?"
The truth is, there are a variety of grips that work well, but there's one thing that you ALWAYS need to do with your brush pen: hold it at an angle!!
I put together a tutorial on how to hold your brush pen at the correct angle, and how I hold my pen for hand lettering. Watch or keep reading below:
When lettering with brush pens, you want to avoid fraying AT ALL COSTS!! If you hold your pen vertically, your brush tip will fray, which ages your pen and prevents you from getting clean lines while lettering. Trust me, you don't want to letter with a frayed brush pen!!
My rule of thumb is to ALWAYS hold your brush pen at a 45 degree angle, no matter what direction your strokes are going. Whether you are pulling your pen towards you or pushing it away from you, holding it at the same 45 degree angle will protect the tip of your pen, prevent it from fraying, and make your pen last longer!
Of course, using nice, new, high-quality paper protects your brush pens, too. Extend the life of your pens by holding them at an angle and only using them on high-quality paper, like the paper we sell in our shop (find it here)!
As far as WHERE to hold your pen, you want to use a grip that is comfortable for you. I place my pointer finger on top and thumb on the side, and hold it about 1.5-2 inches up from the nib.
I find that holding your brush pen at this height helps with control and range of strokes: If you hold your pen too close to the nib, it can be hard to achieve bigger strokes, but too far up can make it difficult to control.
Another tip that helps me get smooth hand lettering: I always place my pinky down on the notebook or paper that I am using to help steady my hand. I've trained myself to use my pinky as a part of my pen grip, which helps me to have smooth and deliberate strokes with my pen.
I've seen lots of other artists, from lettering to watercolor painting, use this technique to steady their hands, and I highly recommend trying it!
And for all my Lefties out there... these tips apply to you too! Do the same thing when you are lettering: hold your brush pen at a 45 degree angle, use a grip that's comfortable for you, and try using your pinky finger to steady your hand.
I'll be sharing more pen tips on the blog this month, so stay tuned for more advanced brush pen tricks, like how to use blending in your hand lettering!
PS - I can't get enough of this Brights Pitt Artist Brush Pen Set. It's the pen I used in the tutorial, and I just love the colors!!
You can also find more pen tutorials on my "Brush Pen Tips" Guide on Instagram, here!
Xo - Lisa