In previous posts, I gave overviews of how to hold the brush pen and the angle at which you should hold it. I explained that the key to writing with the brush pen is to focus on the angle of pen to the page, and that you shouldn’t hold the pen upright.
But I didn’t tell you the full story.
I didn’t explain that it’s not just the angle you should be concerned about.
I didn’t mention that there is more to laying out your paper correctly and positioning your fingers around the pen comfortably.
I didn’t tell you that there is one more – one extremely important – aspect about holding the brush pen that you must realize.
In addition to holding your brush pen at an angle, you must pay close attention to the direction at which your pen is facing.
After I explain what I mean by the “direction” your pen is facing, I demonstrate this concept in a video at the end. So stay tuned… or scroll down and start watching!
What direction is your pen facing?
You are already holding your pen at an angle, but what direction is it facing?
If you were to extend the end of your pen outwards into the room, where would it end up? Would it be pointed behind you? To your side? Or in front of you? The direction your pen is facing is key to creating the brush calligraphy you desire.
Think of it this way: Imagine an X and Y axis (yes, I’m bringing back that algebra you never thought you would need), and pretend the X axis represents your paper, or your writing surface. Then pretend the Y axis represents your pen.
In my diagram below, pretend the red line is your paper and the yellow line is your pen. Imagine that you are holding the pen at an angle in relation to your paper.
While this matches exactly what I have been teaching, what we need to realize is that we live in a 3-dimensional world. The objects and people around us are not simply plotted along an X and Y axis. There is a third, and almost more crucial, axis we must consider: The Z axis.
The Z axis: Pointing your pen in the proper direction
After you set up your page (X axis) and place your pen in your hand (Y axis), now take a look at the end of the pen.
What direction is the end of your pen pointing? Does it point to the side, behind you, or in front of you? Let’s make sure your pen is pointed in the exact direction that will allow you to write properly.
In order to achieve your desired brush calligraphy look, let’s focus on the Z axis. The “direction” that I am referring to is what will be placed along the Z axis:
In my video below, I explain and demonstrate the Z axis concept. It may be challenging to follow my instructions above without seeing me show you “in action.”
The direction your pen faces affects your desired slant
Let’s now bridge the concept of the direction your pen faces to the slant at which you want your brush calligraphy to follow.
How much of a slant do you desire in your brush calligraphy? Do you want very slanted letters, slightly slanted letters, or completely upright letters? Here are some variations of slanted letters that you may like:
Draw some lines that would be parallel to your desired slant. These lines are essentially the guides that you want your letters to follow in order for you to achieve your desired slant.
If you will notice in my photo below, the slant that my letters naturally follow is at a pretty steep angle. In particular, notice how the stem of my letter “l” and “t” are parallel to the slanted lines.
Now, notice how my pen is facing in a direction that is perpendicular to my slant lines. This is the key that I want you to take away today! You must pay attention to the direction your pen is facing in relation to your slant lines.
Take your brush pen in your hand, at an angle, and position the pen so that it is exactly perpendicular to the guide lines you just drew. This may mean that your pen is pointed to your side, or it may be pointed in a direction that is different than mine. You will see in my video below how the direction of my pen allows me to write in my style of brush calligraphy.
Video: Notice the direction your pen faces
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It’s your turn!
Have you noticed the direction your pen faces?
Have you observed how different directions effect the slant of your letters? Let me know how it goes for you!
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