When I first picked up a brush pen 3 years ago and began practicing lettering, I quickly started to think about how I could teach others how to learn this beautiful art form of calligraphy. Soon I developed my own set of tracing worksheets (just like I used in elementary school) that would help others develop the skills to write pretty letters. Then American Crafts came along, and we collaborated to design an entire product line of pens, workbooks, practice journals and more that would make learning calligraphy easy and fun. Now I can teach workshops with my own Kelly Creates pens and workbooks!
If you can’t attend a workshop, here is what you need to learn brush lettering: Workbooks, a Practice Pad, and The Deluxe Lettering Kit, which has both large and small brush tip pens for both workbooks. You could also use the Dream Pens (large brush tip) and the Multicolor Small Brush pen set.
Using either workbook for Large or Small brush tip pens, begin practicing the Basic Strokes. These workbooks have 3 pages of tracing paper in front of every page of exercises so you can easily trace the strokes without messing up the actual workbook page.
The key to achieving thick and thin strokes with a brush pen is how you grip the barrel. You hold the pen much higher up to create a nice angle for your brush tip to lay flat on the paper when you apply pressure for downstrokes.
The basic strokes are the essential building blocks of every letter of the alphabet. After learning the technique of these 8 basic strokes, you will move onto the next section of the lowercase letters. We don’t begin with a-b-c. The first page of letters is i and t because they are the easiest. Then you progress through the workbook learning letters from easiest to most difficult. The first 5 letters of the alphabet are actually the most challenging so you learn a-b-c-d-e last!After working on each letter by tracing, take out a Kelly Creates practice pad that has lines, dots or a square grid, and practice your letters (and basic strokes) freehand. Always use paper with guidelines and never use blank paper to practice.
When you’ve mastered the lowercase alphabet, you can move onto the third section of the workbook with the capital letters. Because capital letters are naturally larger than the lowercase, they are more difficult to learn. I recommend waiting awhile and focus on the lowercase letters before studying the uppercase.
Both workbooks for Small and Large brush pens are set up the same way. Here is a comparison of the size of the letters you can draw in the two workbooks.
Another wonderful way to practice your brush lettering is by using the Peace Journal accessory kit of Alphabet Review sheets. The Peace Journal is a 6-ring A5 binder hybrid of a planner and a journal.
These alphabet review sheets are pre-punched to fit in the Peace Journal. I always suggest writing on a flat surface, so take the sheets out of the binder to practice. These Alphabet Review sheets include tracing letters for both large and small brush pens PLUS some words and phrases too!
When you’re on-the-go and would like a smaller notebook for calligraphy, you can use my Practice Journals, which come in two colours (pink and teal) and have elastics to hold notebooks that are dot, grid and black paper.
Each practice journal comes with one notebook and has handy pen pockets too inside the front cover. Additional notebooks can be purchased separately and added to the inside of the journal. This is my version of the Traveler’s Notebook. You will love the soft, embossed faux suede cover!
As this Practice Journal cover says, “Inhale, Exhale.” Calligraphy should be a relaxing and calming artistic expression that brings you peace and joy.
I hope you are able to enjoy this creative art form as much as I do.
Breathe. Write. Relax.