Today I’m sharing a modern calligraphy tutorial with you to achieve those thin upstrokes in your lettering. It can be difficult to achieve thin upstrokes when you’re first learning modern calligraphy so today I’m breaking it down into a few quick tips and tricks.
Watch the video or get my top tips below↓
When you begin hand lettering it’s important to understand that it’s just like another muscle that you are trying to develop. Most of the time it’s not that your upstrokes are too thick, but rather that they get too shaky.
This is totally normal! As you practice and build up your hand muscles, you’ll naturally get better and develop more control.
Make Sure To Hold Your Pen At An Angle
We’re not going to be pushing straight down when lettering and I don’t even hold my pen or marker normally – it’s always at an angle. This helps you achieve the thick and thin strokes by working with the sides of your brush.
Choose a Medium Or Small Size Pen
This refers to the length of your pen or marker rather than the width. The Zig Brushables pen are great beginner pens. I’ve also really enjoyed the Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen which has a shorter tip for more control while you’re still learning.
The Pentel Touch pen is another great option and is the smallest option of the three.
Use a Quality Paper
I mention this a lot in my videos and blog posts, but if you’re just going to be using a regular copy paper you’re bound to get some fraying on your brushes. I like to use the Canson Marker Paper or the HP Premium Choice Laserjet Paper which is an inexpensive option.
Thick to Thin Strokes
Let’s talk about the process for transitioning from your thick to thin strokes. We do apply more pressure for a downstroke and less for an upstroke, but it’s more about letting your hand glide while slightly lifting your pen when coming up.
Drill practice is a great way to get this perfected. My lettering practice worksheets have lots of fun drills for practicing!
A great tip for getting your practice in without having such shaky looking upstrokes is to use watercolors. I personally find watercolors to be very forgiving when it comes to your upstrokes.
I hope you found these tips helpful. For more lettering resources to help you learn and improve your hand lettering as a beginner, check out my FREE mini-course to get you started.