Welcome To The Bonus Brush Pen Exercises
Thanks so much for sharing! I really appreciate it.
Okay, the very first thing you’re going to need to do is to get used to how a brush pen works and behaves. The more you understand this, the more control you’ll have over your final piece. The exercises below will get your hand familiar with manipulating the brush in a natural way, and will be the perfect prerequisite for the rest of the course.
What You’ll Need
A brush pen. I’m using a Tombow Dual Brush Pen, but any will do!
Using your ruler, lightly rule two parallel lines with your pencil. These will be your guides during these exercises. Fill the page with them as we’ll be working through some repeating drills.
Hold your brush pen lightly, press the whole side of the brush to the paper to create quite a thick line, and, while applying a high amount of pressure, slowly draw a diagonal line. Keep the pressure steady and constant throughout to keep your line even.
Fill a sheet of paper with these lines, and make sure to try to keep the same diagonal angle for each! The aim here is consistency and control. Don’t stress if your lines don’t look the way you’d like them to at the beginning – once you finish filling your first page compare your last lines to your first, you’ll be surprised at the improvement.
So this is great for familiarising yourself with letters that are built on straight lines, but what about curved letters? I gotcha covered! To create the curved shape, press your brush pen to the paper in exactly the same way you did for the straight line, firmly, and with the whole side of the brush making contact with the paper, and push outwards then back inwards. Again, control and consistency are much more important than speed, so don’t feel you have to rush! For bonus points, create the opposite curved shape as well by pulling the brush towards you rather than pushing away.
Once again, fill a sheet of paper (or more!) with these to begin to build some muscle memory around this motion.
Let’s get into something a bit more fun! We’re going to take the motion from Exercise 1, and add a slight tail to the stroke. This is a key motion that will join your letters together when forming full words, giving that cohesive, bespoke look. Create the downstroke in the same way you did in Exercise 1, but as you get to the bottom reduce pressure on the brush until only the tip is touching, and lightly flick upwards. To create a flow-on effect, align your next stroke so that it passes through the tail of the previous. You can either do this in a single, smooth stroke, or you can finish the down-stroke and create the tail in a separate stroke, lifting your brush pen off the paper in between. Go with whichever feels most comfortable for you!
The last exercise is a bit trickier – we’re going to create an oval. Begin with the motion of the curved line in Exercise 2, however when you get to the bottom of the line reduce almost all pressure on your brush pen, and continue a smooth arc back up to where your line first began. Alternating the pressure during the same stroke is initially quite difficult, so don’t get discouraged! It’s a key skill when it comes to lettering full words and phrases though, so it’s best to dive right in the deep end now and give it a go. The trick here is to avoid trying to make all of your ovals look identical. Play with the motion, treat it as organic; after all, the true strength of hand lettering over pre-made fonts is its handmade quality.
Make sure to practice these exercises and you’ll have a head-start on the lessons coming in the email course!
If this felt brief don’t worry, a lot more detail will be coming in the course. Keep an eye on your inbox for more info on when the course will be beginning, and feel free to post your work in the comments below for feedback.
Speak soon! – James
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