Thick Up, Thin Down

What does that title even mean?? Well it is the constant voice in my head as I practice my brush lettering…

This week, I went out and bought my supplies. I had to do a lot of research as there is many different types of brush lettering pens. After reading multiple blogs, looking at instagramers and checking out reviews on websites, I decided that I would go with the Tombow, Dual Brush Pens. These pens have a brush and fine tip end and come in a variety of colours. They are not cheap, no brush lettering pens are. So I was glad that I did my research first.

I have read that normal printer paper will work fine with the brush pens so I have decided to use that. Once I have practiced more and become better at brush lettering, I may invest in some higher quality paper.

I also found an Introduction to Brush Lettering workbook on Etsy and decided to purchase it to help guide my through the basics of brush lettering. The book is by the creator Loveleigh Loops. The book was an instant download and all I have to do is print the pages. I have been having a few issues with printing some of the pages, but was able to print the basic pages for this week. The book also comes with videos that act as lessons for sections of the book.

Okay.. so now to the actual brush lettering that I did this week. I used my workbook along with the video and learned the basic strokes of brush lettering.

First, I had to learn thin and thick strokes, and this is where the title comes in. To make a thick stroke, you push down with heavy pressure and to create a thin stroke you glide the pen up with light pressure. This is the very basics of brush lettering and probably the most important thing you need to know as each letter of brush lettering is made using a combination of thick down, thin up strokes.

Then, I learned the 7 basic strokes these strokes are more of what make up each letter and to learn brush lettering you need to be able to effectively write these strokes. One thing that I learned about Brush Lettering is that you life your pen between strokes- brush lettering is not like cursive writing!

The 7 basic strokes are:

  1. Entrance Stroke
  2. Underturn
  3. Overturn
  4. Compound Curve
  5. Oval
  6. Ascending Stem Loop
  7. Descending Stem Loop

I spent the week perfecting these different strokes and completed several practice pages so that I will easily be able to put these strokes together to make letters. I did not think brush lettering would be easy, but the hardest part about it is using the different pressures to create the thick and thin strokes. But, I also find the motions of the pen to be very calming and help me to relax.

Also, I left my pens on my coffee table for a minute so I could go to the washroom and my kitten decided to steal the blue pen and hide it on me.. I still haven’t found it and quite frankly, I am very sad. “Get a kitten they said, it’ll be fun.” Although she is often a pain, I do love her and will most likely be back at Michaels to pickup a new blue pen.

Thanks for reading!



  1. Love your title! That’s what intreaged me to click and read your post lol. I think your letters look amazing already, can’t wait to see them at the end. Also your students will love seeing your write like this on the board. I know I enjoyed watching my teachers with nice writing hand write on the board.


  2. This blog post and your progress so far are super impressive! You used a ton of pictures and links and I found that I was learning so much! I know someone who is learning how to do calligraphy right now and I am totally going to tell her about Loveleigh Loops!


  3. I am happy you were able to find some good supplies and resources for your learning project! You included a lot of link which made it easier for me to learn with you! Good job with adding all the pictures, it so fascinating to see the progress you are already making! PS: I love cats!! Keep it up!


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