There are two main things to pay attention to when it comes to how to hold a brush pen for brush lettering: the pen angle and hand position.

Before we get into those two topics, let’s quickly cover some basics. To create a calligraphy look with brush pens, the downstrokes should be thicker or heavier than the upstrokes. You can get heavier strokes by pressing down harder on the brush pen. Since it’s flexible, it will flex and create a thicker weight than if you use just the tip of the pen on the paper.

If you’re pressing hard but not getting that thick stroke, you may be holding it incorrectly. Which brings us back to:

1. Brush Pen Angle

The pen should be approximately 45-degrees to the paper if you’re looking at it with your eyes level to the table. Holding it too upright will not only make it more difficult to get thick strokes, but could also damage your brush pens.

2. Hand position

If holding your pen at the correct angle to the table still isn’t helping, take a look at where the tip of the pen is pointing. Is it point up to the top of the page? If so, rotate your hand or your piece of paper so that the tip of the pen points to the edge of the page. (For right-handed folks, that means the tip will point to the left side of the page and vice-versa for lefties).

Practice tip: Alternate thick and thin strokes to get used to the pen. Make the thick strokes in a downward direction, and the thins going up. Go SLOWLY! We write words much slower than you may expect.

Watch the video below for a demonstration of these points!

Tip: Using the correct brush pen supplies and paper can really help. We compiled a list of our favorite supplies for you!

Ready to learn more? Take our free online calligraphy course!

Our most popular class gives you worksheets and step-by-step videos to teach even the newest letterer how to do calligraphy. You can get started TODAY with a regular pen and paper. No fancy tools needed. Start today.

Learn calligraphy: free worksheets and video lessons