Basic brush calligraphy strokes: The full pressure stroke

Welcome to Part 8 of my Basic Brush Calligraphy Strokes series!

So far, we have reviewed the:

Before you get started, be sure to familiarize yourself with these previous posts:

If you are on Instagram, share your work by posting it with the hashtag, #pieces_basicstrokes.

Now, let’s talk about the full pressure stroke!

basic strokes: full pressure stroke

What is the full pressure stroke?

The full pressure stroke is a single, thick downstroke. It resembles the stem of a letter, as you saw with the ascending stem loop and descending stem loop. The difference is that the full pressure stroke starts and ends with full pressure, instead of transitioning to and from a thin stroke.

basic strokes: full pressure stroke
basic strokes: full pressure stroke

How to create the full pressure stroke

To create the full pressure stroke, start with full pressure at the ascender line. Pull down on the stroke at a slight angle toward the left. End at the middle of the descender space with full pressure.

basic strokes: full pressure stroke

The key with the ascending stem loops is to maintain the same amount of pressure throughout the entire stroke.

Tip: Press down firmly with your pen to the page BEFORE you start creating the downstroke. This allows you to utilize the full thickness of the side of your brush pen and start with the right amount of pressure. If you do not allow your pen to touch the page at full pressure, your stroke may look tapered or too thin.

You may be shaky at first, or unfamiliar with how the stroke should feel as you create it. But as always, practice makes progress. I share practice drills at the end of this post for you to work on.

*A note on guidelines*

The guidelines you see here are one option you can use. There are other options with different ratios that we will review in a future post. For instructional purposes, we will stick to the ratio you see here. See this post by Nina Tran for more information on guideline ratios.

When to use the full pressure stroke

The full pressure stroke is used in one variation of the lowercase p.

This variation is used in the copperplate calligraphy style. See the work of Nina Tran and Paul Antonio for more on the copperplate calligraphy style.

basic strokes: full pressure stroke

Personally, I do not prefer creating my lowercase p’s with this style. As you master the basic strokes yourself, you too will develop your own preferences and processes for writing. Until then, it is crucial to learn these fundamentals, even if they are not your favorite either. 🙂

Practice Drills

Do these practice drills to improve your full pressure stroke.

Don’t worry about being perfect or creating strokes that are completely free of any shakiness. Shakiness is expected in the beginning! When you are still learning the brush pen and when you go slow (which you SHOULD), then shakiness is normal.

Try these practice drills. Focus on the position of your hand, your grip, your technique, and the forming of the stroke.

  1. Full pressure stroke: Fill a page with full pressure strokes. Focus on maintaining the same amount of pressure throughout the entire stroke.
  2. Entrance stroke + full pressure stroke: Practice connecting the entrance stroke with the full pressure stroke.
  3. Entrance stroke + full pressure stroke + compound curve: Practice connecting the entrance stroke to the full pressure stroke and compound curve. This forms the letter p!

The following practice is using two boxes per line (see how the x-height is equivalent to two boxes on my graph paper?). This option of guidelines is helpful for smaller brush tips and/or smaller writing in general.

basic strokes: full pressure stroke

If you mess up, keep going. Focus on the next stroke. Remember that you will only improve when you keep on practicing and experimenting and learning.

Video: The full pressure stroke

Watch the video below to see a demonstration of the full pressure stroke and practice drills you can start today!

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It’s your turn! Tell me in a comment below:

Have you tried the full pressure stroke? How would you describe your experiences so far?

What is the hardest part about the full pressure stroke for you?

Are you sharing your work on Instagram? Be sure to share by tagging #pieces_basicstrokes!

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Sharisse signature - pieces calligraphy





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Supplies used in this post and video:

4 thoughts on “Basic brush calligraphy strokes: The full pressure stroke

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