How to Start Composing Your Script Letters with A Brush Pen

How to Start Composing Your Script Letters with A Brush Pen
April 6, 2016 Daniel Palacios

Figuring out the composition of your letterforms can be difficult at first.

When there’s so much information available on the web, it can be overwhelming trying to filter out the good vs. the bad. Understanding the general structure could make this process easier. This includes the different brush strokes, alternative letterforms and the order in which a letter is created.

Although there isn’t a specific rule for composing your letters, you should go with what you’re most comfortable with in the beginning. If you’re left-handed, then you’re going to compose your letters differently than a right-handed person. It’s perfectly fine to do things the way they come naturally to you.

Thicks and Thins

Two important things to keep in mind are:

  1. Upstrokes are thin
  2. Downstrokes are thick

Once you understand these two concepts, then you can grasp how your brush script letters are built. Below are some examples that illustrate the basic brush strokes you could use to compose your letters.


It’s also important to note that it’s going to take time to get used to working with brush pens and pen pressure. I shared some tips on this topic in case you’re unfamiliar with how it works or want to see some examples.

Now, writing the alphabet with a pencil is easy. We all know what upper and lower case letters look like. But what about when you start writing script letters with a brush pen? Things are a bit different because you’re working with pressure, stylization and variation as well as your natural writing tendencies.

Lowercase Letters

You also have alternate letters, such as b, f, k, r, s, and z, which have more than one form. There are many different interpretations of these letters.


Brush script letters made with Tombow Dual Brush Pen

Uppercase Letters

There are some alternate forms among uppercase brush script letters as well, such as A, E, G, I, L, Q, S, Z.


Brush script letters made with Tombow Dual Brush Pen

Break Up Your Strokes

There’s more than one way to write a letter. You can use one continuous stroke or several individual parts to form the letter you desire. This is something I occasionally do when I can’t achieve the look I want in a single swift motion.

Gemma O’Brien, better known as, Mrs. Eaves online, demonstrated this technique at a workshop I attended in March. It’s definitely a great alternative approach to composing your letterforms.


For downstrokes there’s a pulling motion along with pressure, which is how you generate the thick strokes. For upstrokes, you push lightly with a flicking motion. There’s more arm and shoulder movement required for upstrokes.

The kick is used to generate the leg in the lowercase k and uppercase R.

brush pen flick:kick

Video version on Instagram

Final Words

As you’re diving deeper into the process of composing your letters, the best advice I can give is: practice and repeat the basics to build muscle memory.

For the examples, I used a Tombow Dual Brush Pen, Canson Tracing Pad and the 30-degree angle practice sheet from my Brush Pen Guide.