Shodo 3/12/2017

Let’s just get it out of the way: I am a complete idiot.

So, as some of my followers may remember, I use a brush pen for all of my fine calligraphy work in Japanese. It’s how my teacher does it and it’s what he taught me. But a few months ago when I started getting into English calligraphy and began to change my grip on various pens, I became interested in fine brushes and picked one up. I’ve been practicing with it on the side but from the very beginning have been having a ton of trouble. I just couldn’t understand how I went from writing what I could write with a brush pen to being as awful as I was with a fine brush.

Today I got the answer after googling to see if there wasn’t a kana-specific brush.

I have been holding the fine brush incorrectly like a dunce. In all fairness, I have never actually seen a person hold a fine brush, so when I bought mine I had to make my own assumptions. When using a regular-sized brush in shodo, you grab it in the middle of or higher when writing. So, I figured the same applied for a fine brush.

And that’s where the problem lay.

After looking at some google images, I realised that when using a fine brush, you hold it near the brush tip. And sure enough, after giving that a try I miraculously had almost no difficulty writing like I would have with a brush pen.

Here’s some kana with my previous grip. Note how there’s very little variation between the lines and just how thick everything is in general:


Here’s some kana after changing my grip, as well as some random stuff I tried while using up the last of my ink in my inkwell:

I will repeat: I am an idiot.


2 thoughts on “Shodo 3/12/2017

  1. No, no, you are not an idiot, you are finding what works for you. And it looks like you are figuring it out! 🙂

    I always hold my brush closer to the tip (and keep my hand on the table) when I’m learning a new script. It’s the only way I can keep my hand and arm in balance while I’m figuring out the different pressures needed to recreate the script.

    It takes me a while before I’m comfortable enough with the script to inch my hand upward midway. I don’t think I’ve ever attempted holding the brush higher than the middle!


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