Choosing a Calligraphy Brush

Calligraphy is an ancient art, closely linked to the beginning of writing. Today, many people choose to learn calligraphy as either an art, a tradition, or even just for fun! Before beginning calligraphy, one of the most important things is choosing the correct brush.

If you’re considering calligraphy as one of your many hobbies, read on!

Choosing the Brush

When choosing a brush, one of the first things you need to know are the 3 categories of brush hair. These are: soft, stiff, and mixed. Pay attention because you’ll want a different brush depending on the kind of calligraphy you want to do.

Soft Brushes (for the experienced)

Soft brushes are better for more experienced calligraphy artists. As you may have guessed, soft brushes have soft tips. This means the brush has more flexibility. This is great if you’re experienced, but it may be difficult to control if you’re a beginner.

Stiff (for beginners)

Stiff brushes are made from a variety of materials, including horse hair and rabbit hair, but they’re most commonly made out of red sable. Stiff brushes are less flexible but they give you better control. In addition, stiff brushes are best for small calligraphy.

Mixed (my personal favorite!)

Mixed brushes contain both stiff and soft hair. For this reason, mixed brushes are my favorite. They seem to combine the best of both worlds—they’re not too stiff for the experienced calligraphist, yet not too flexible for beginners. In addition, they can be used for all kinds of calligraphy work.

Other Factors to Consider

While knowing the difference between soft, stiff, and mixed brushes is important, there are some other questions to ask yourself before purchasing a brush.

Is it Sharp?

A good calligraphy brush comes to a point, forming a defined tip. If the brush isn’t somewhat sharp, don’t buy it.

Is it Round?

This may sound contradictory, but the brush in addition to being sharp, the brush should be round. This means the body of the brush is full. Pretend to write with the brush and see if it holds its shape. If so, you have a good brush.

Is it Even?

The hairs on the brush should be even. If you see stray hairs, look away! Find a brush with straight, even hairs instead.

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. Some brushes are purposefully uneven. If you know you want a brush like this then go for it!

Stay tuned for more articles about the art of calligraphy!