Top 15 Best Japanese Calligraphy and Brush Pens to Buy Online 2019 – Tried and True!

Top 15 Best Japanese Calligraphy and Brush Pens to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True!

Thickening at the slightest application of pressure, but also able to come to a fine point. Shifting easily from dark to light and back again. Calligraphy (or brush) pens are invaluable tools not just for calligraphy or the writing of Chinese characters or illustrating wall scrolls, but also for a wide variety of Western and fusion art as well. And quality matters.

Japan is known for calligraphy, for ink art, and for stationery, so wouldn’t it make sense that some of the best calligraphy pens come from this island country? In order to introduce you to a few, we ordered the 15 most popular brush pens from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and kakaku.com) and tested for the following:

  1. How Well It Writes
  2. How the Ink Transfers and Its Depth of Color
  3. How Thick It is

This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese calligraphy and brush pens.

Table of Contents

How to Choose a Japanese Calligraphy and Brush Pen – Buying Guide

We’ll get into how we tested and compared all our calligraphy pens, but before that, we want to introduce three things you should look out for when picking out a calligraphy pen.

① Find a Calligraphy Pen that’s Easy for You to Write with

Roughly speaking, there are three types of tips on calligraphy pens: stiff, soft, and straight-up bristles. However, even if they are of the same type, all calligraphy pens differ greatly in how they perform, depending on the brand.

Basically, with tips, you want to make sure it fits your level and purpose. You need to make sure that the character and firmness of the tip is suited to you and the piece you’re planning.

Stiff Tips are the Kindest to Beginners

Stiff Tips are the Kindest to Beginners

Writing with a stiff-tipped※1 calligraphy pen kind of feels like signing a yearbook with a permanent marker. It’s perfect for beginners who only get to use a calligraphy pen once a year or so. Not only do your lines comes out consistent, the flicks and tips at the ends of characters, known as hane※2 and harai※3, are comparatively easier to achieve.

Stiff tips are good for addressing postcards and envelopes for festive occasions. Since it’s easy to work your way down to a very fine line, stiff-tipped calligraphy pens are also often used for backgrounds and depictions of movement and sound effects in manga.

※1 硬筆: stiff tip (literally, stiff-tipped writing instrument, such as a pen or pencil)

※2 ハネ: hane (the little flick up at the end of certain strokes)

※3 ハライ: harai (the thinning out at the end of certain strokes)

Softer Tips Make It Easier to Achieve Thick Lines

Softer Tips Make It Easier to Achieve Thick Lines

This feels more like a brush than a stiff tip. Soft-tipped※4 calligraphy pens utilize what can be described as a soft sponge as their nib. Like their stiff-tipped counterparts, soft-tipped calligraphy pens do feel a bit like a permanent marker, but you need a bit of practice before you can achieve those nice hane and harai.

However, it’s easier to draw thick lines with a soft tip, rather than a stiff tip–so it’s better for large work, such as addressing letter-sized envelopes. It’s also invaluable as an art tool, as many use it when they need to cover large areas in solid black.

※4 軟筆: soft tip (literally, soft-tipped writing instrument)

Bristle Tips Give You the Same Look and Feel as a Traditional Brush

Bristle Tips Give You the Same Look and Feel as a Traditional Brush

If you’ve already experience with shodo, or Japanese calligraphy, then try a bristle-tipped※5 calligraphy pen. It’s the most similar to an actual brush. It allows for the most nuanced strokes, the dramatic thickening and thinning of lines, as well as hane and harai. However, it feels different from your run-of-the-mill marker or pen and takes quite a bit of practice to master.

But you can use it to craft a widely varying, very natural and almost crude look. Bristle-tipped calligraphy pens are also available in colors other than black, making them suitable art tools.

※5 毛筆: bristle-tipped (literally, brush)

② Find a Calligraphy Pen with Serviceable Ink

It’s important to check both the kind of ink the calligraphy pen utilizes, as well as how the ink transfers onto paper and how deep its color is.

Dye-Based Ink Spreads Well and is Vibrant in Color; Pigment-Based Ink Doesn’t Bleed and is Light-Fast and Water-Resistant

Dye-Based Ink Spreads Well and is Vibrant in Color; Pigment-Based Ink Doesn't Bleed and is Light-Fast and Water-Resistant

Most inks used in calligraphy pens are either dye- or pigment-based. Dye-based※6 ink is similar in color and consistency to India ink, which is often used in artist pens and for inking and outlining comics. However, it fades and blurs quite easily. You shouldn’t have a problem, though, if you’re just addressing a postcard or writing on an envelope.

However, if you are planning to use the calligraphy pen for art, try pigment-based ink. Because pigment-based※7 ink dries quickly, it doesn’t smear or blur, even with the use of solvents. The only thing is, there’s not as many calligraphy pens that utilize pigment-based ink around and so not as much choice. Figure out your priorities before settling on a type of ink.

※6 染料: dye

※7 顔料: pigment

Pay Attention to How the Ink Transfers onto Paper and How Deep Its Color is

Pay Attention to How the Ink Transfers onto Paper and How Deep Its Color is

The best calligraphy pens–the ones that are easiest to use–are the ones where the ink transfers onto paper with little fuss and the color is just as intense as you want it. However, there’s no way you can really check the ink short of trying it out. If you do end up going to a stationery store, try writing common things, like your name and numbers in both script and cursive.

There are also calligraphy pens with paler ink, which is used in Japan for sad occasions, such as funerals and wakes. (One popular myth as to why this has become tradition is that the paler color looks as if it was diluted with tears.) There are lighter calligraphy pens designed solely for funerals, but it’s more practical to get dual-tipped pens that can write in both grey and black.

③ Find a Calligraphy Pen That’s Suitably Thick

Find a Calligraphy Pen That's Suitably Thick

Calligraphy pens are categorized by whether they’re suited for bold※8, medium※9, or fine print※10. Certain thicknesses are better for certain situations. Thin pens, for example, are good for fine work, such as art, addressing postcards, or copying sutras; medium pens are good for everyday calligraphy; thick pens are good for poster work and big, dynamic lettering.

However, take any labeling with a grain of salt. Thickness is greatly swayed by the length and firmness of the pen tip, as well as the skill and habits of the calligrapher. The same pen can perform differently in different hands, so if possible, test out calligraphy pens before purchase.

※8 太字: bold print

※9 中字: medium print

※10 細字: fine print

What Products We Ordered and How We Tested Them

What Products We Ordered and How We Tested Them

Now to introduce the 15 most popular Japanese calligraphy and brush pens that we ordered and the process by which we tested them.

{The Products We Tested}

  1. Mitsubishi Pencil New Brush Pen (三菱鉛筆 新毛筆)
  2. Platinum Pen Co. Souhitsu Hanekofude (プラチナ万年筆 双筆 跳ね小筆)
  3. Zebra Soft-Tipped Calligraphy Pen ~Fine~ (ゼブラ 筆ペン 軟筆~細字~)
  4. Zebra Calligraphy Pen Thick and Fine ~Dual-Sided~ (ゼブラ 筆ペン 太・細~両用~)
  5. Zebra FudeSign Medium (ゼブラ 筆サイン 中字)
  6. Pilot New Brush Pen Medium (パイロット 新毛筆 中字)
  7. Pilot Colored Calligraphy Pen Fude Makase (パイロット カラー筆ペン 筆まかせ)
  8. Akashiya New Brush Pen (あかしや 新毛筆)
  9. Akashiya Sai (あかしや 彩 Sai)
  10. Kuretake Bimoji Cambio (呉竹 美文字 完美王)
  11. Kuretake Fountain Brush Pen (呉竹 万年毛筆)
  12. Pentel Kirari (ぺんてる きらり)
  13. Pentel PentelFude ~Medium~ (ぺんてる ぺんてる筆 ~中字~)
  14. Pentel FudeMoji Autograph Pen (ぺんてる 筆文字サインペン)
  15. Tombow Pencil Co. Fudenosuke Keichou Twin S (トンボ鉛筆 筆之助 慶弔ツインS)

We then tested for each of the following things:

Test ①: How Well It Writes
Test ②: How the Ink Transfers and Its Depth of Color
Test ③: How Thick It is

Test ①: How Well It Writes

How Well It Writes

First, we tested how well each calligraphy pen wrote.

We tested for flexibility, whether our strokes had a clean finish, and whether each pen was more suited for beginners or advanced users. We then graded the pens on a five-step scale from D to A+.

The Big Takeaway: Even Beginners Could Master Bristle-Tipped Calligraphy Pens, as Long as the Tip Had Some Firmness to It

Even Beginners Could Master Bristle-Tipped Calligraphy Pens, as Long as the Tip Had Some Firmness to It

Only one calligraphy pen earned an A+ on this test: Pentel’s PentelFude. Even though it was a bristle-tipped pen, which usually takes skill to use, there was a good firmness to the tip that made the pen easy to control for beginners. Pens with softer bristles allowed for smooth, flowing strokes, but were difficult to control for those not already used to drawing with brushes.

As for stiff- and soft-tipped pens, there were products that squeaked when we wrote and nibs that had no give to them, which made it hard to execute hane, tome※11, and harai. They were pretty much markers posing as calligraphy pens and were rated quite harshly. Might as well just get a permanent marker instead.

※11 トメ: tome (the thickening at the end of certain strokes)

Test ②: How the Ink Transfers and Its Depth of Color

How the Ink Transfers and Its Depth of Color

Next, we looked at how the ink transferred onto paper and how rich its color was.

We wanted to see whether the ink would get scratchy, or if we could accurately control the strength of color by how we held the brush. We then rated each product on a scale from D to A+.

The Big Takeaway: Big-Name Brands are Consistent with Their Ink. Old Favorites Don’t Let You Down!

The Big Takeaway: Big-Name Brands are Consistent with Their Ink. Old Favorites Don't Let You Down!

Products from Mitsubishi, Pilot, Kuretake, and Pentel all did well on this test. After all, big-name brands are usually pretty good about quality control, and a consistent amount of ink comes out of their pens. There’s no odd scratching or fading of color and you can get your strokes to come out to just the intensity you want.

In particular, old favorites like Mitsubishi Pencils’s New Brush Pen (ironic name), Kuretake’s Bimoji Cambio, and Pentel’s PentelFude positively shined; all three earned an A+ for their ink.

Mitsubishi Pencil’s New Brush Pen, by the way, comes out to a jet black. However, you can vary the shading depending on how you draw with it, which makes it suitable for almost anything, from addresses on envelopes to ink wash paintings.

Test ③: How Thick It is

How Thick It is

Finally, we looked at stroke thickness.

We paid attention to whether or not we could vary the width of a stroke and whether a pen lived up to its claims (that is, whether it was really thick, thin, or in between). We then determined what kind of work each pen was best suited for.

The Big Takeaway: Bristle-Tipped Calligraphy Pens were About as Thick as Expected. But You Need to be More Careful with Stiff and Soft-Tipped Calligraphy Pens…

The Big Takeaway: Bristle-Tipped Calligraphy Pens were About as Thick as Expected. But You Need to be More Careful with Stiff and Soft-Tipped Calligraphy Pens...

Out of all the calligraphy pens that claimed to be suited for medium print, Kuretake’s Bimoji Cambio lived up most to its promises. Kuretake’s Fountain Brush Pen, which was labeled as fine, also lived up to expectations, utilizing a tip so thin that we could write letters with it.

With brush pens, as long as we could control the pressure of our strokes, it was easy to adjust for thickness. And the width of a single stroke was pretty much always what it said on the box.

However, stiff- and soft-tipped pens could differ greatly from product to product. In particular, while soft-tipped pens, such as Zebra’s Soft-Tipped Calligraphy Pen ~Fine~, allowed us some control over the width of our strokes, many of them could get quite thick, leaving us with a very broad line.

The Final Verdict: Top 15 Best Japanese Calligraphy and Brush Pens to Buy Online

Now to introduce the 15 best Japanese calligraphy and brush pens available online. They were ranked by how well they did on our tests and given an overall grade ranging from D to A+.

15. Akashiya Sai

Akashiya SaiAkashiya Sai

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Price: $4.95

You Might Be Able to Draw with It, but It Gets a D as a Calligraphy Pen. The Tip is Too Fine and the Ink Too Thin

The long and thin tip would be perfect for ink wash and watercolor paintings, but the barrel was also narrow, which made the pen hard to control. The ink was also really thin; even if you were to purchase the Sai purely for writing in fine print, we still don’t think you’d be pleased.

Writing D (Bristle)
Ink Quality D (Water-Based Pigment)
Thickness Superfine
Overall Score D

14. Zebra Calligraphy Pen Thick and Fine ~Dual Sided~ FD-501

Zebra Calligraphy Pen Thick and Fine ~Dual Sided~ FD-501Zebra Calligraphy Pen Thick and Fine ~Dual Sided~ FD-501

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Price: $5.80

Squeaks Like an Old Hamster Wheel. Unfortunate, as the Ink Transferred Well and the Dual Tips were Easy for Beginners to Master

Every time we moved the pen, it squeaked infuriatingly in a way that reminded us of creaking Styrofoam. It was dual-tipped and quite firm, so it was easy for beginners to use; however, we disliked writing with it so it ended with a D.

Writing D (Soft)
Ink Quality B (Water-Based Dye)
Thickness Bold, Fine
Overall Score D

13. Zebra Soft-Tipped Calligraphy Pen ~Fine~ FD-302

Zebra Soft-Tipped Calligraphy Pen ~Fine~ FD-302Zebra Soft-Tipped Calligraphy Pen ~Fine~ FD-302

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Price: $4.95

Might Have Gotten an A if It Weren’t So Noisy… Offers the Perfect Amount of Control for Those Seeking to Graduate from Felt Tip Pens

It was like an evolved felt tip pen. It was easy to switch between fine and bold strokes, even for beginners. However, like its brother above, it squeaked as it wrote, so it ranked in at only 13.

Writing D (Soft)
Ink Quality B (Water-Based Dye)
Thickness Fine
Overall Score D

12. Zebra FudeSign Medium

Zebra FudeSign MediumZebra FudeSign Medium

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Price: $5.24

Felt like a Permanent Marker–and We Mean That in a Bad Way. The Ink Catches and It’s Hard to Vary the Width of Your Strokes

It’s called the FudeSign, but there was nothing “fude-” (brush) like about this pen at all. The tip was just a bit softer than that of a permanent marker, which wasn’t enough to allow us to vary the width of our strokes. We also didn’t like that the ink thinned out when we wrote quickly.

Writing D (Stiff)
Ink Quality C (Water-Based Pigment)
Thickness Medium
Overall Score C

11. Tombow Pencil Co. Fudenosuke Keichou Twin S

Tombow Pencil CO. Fudenosuke Keichou Twin STombow Pencil CO. Fudenosuke Keichou Twin S

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Price: $3.80

Basically a Two-Colored Permanent Marker… Able to Write in Small, Uniform Letters, but Doesn’t Respond to Pressure like a Calligraphy Pen

More than a calligraphy pen, this one was more like a fine-tipped permanent marker. Don’t go in expecting to control the width of your strokes like you would with a calligraphy pen. We did like that you could write in both grey and black using the same pen, but that was pretty much the only thing that stood out to us.

Writing C (Stiff)
Ink Quality B (Water-Based Pigment, Black and Grey)
Thickness Fine
Overall Score C

10. Platinum Pen Co. Souhitsu Hanekofude

Platinum Pen Co. Souhitsu HanekofudePlatinum Pen Co. Souhitsu Hanekofude

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Price: $9.75

Can’t Really Change up the Width of Your Strokes. Think of It as a Beginner-Friendly, Thick Yearbook Sharpie Suitable for Everyday Use

The Hanekofude didn’t have any brush-like flow to it; it just felt like a thicker version of those fine-point Sharpies with which we used to sign yearbooks. It’s hard to change up the breadth of your strokes, but that’s also why it’s easy to write in uniform letters. It’s a friendly pen, kind to beginners and suitable for everyday tasks.

Writing C (Stiff)
Ink Quality B (Water-Based Pigment)
Thickness Small Brush※12
Overall Score C

※12 小筆: lit. small brush; brands use this to describe calligraphy pens that would write as a thinner traditional brush would, suitable for finer print with a certain amount of variance

9. Akashiya New Brush Pen

Akashiya New Brush PenAkashiya New Brush Pen

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Price: $5.00

Held Back by the Poor Color of the Ink. Feels Just Like a Traditional Brush, if You’re Looking for Authenticity

We docked points for the ink, which was a bit thin and looked blue in certain places. However, the bristles at the end were quite firm and moved smoothly over the page. It was also easy to vary the width of our strokes, making this calligraphy pen a good fit for those who love the feel of traditional brushes.

Writing A (Bristle)
Ink Quality C (Water-based Dye)
Thickness Small Brush
Overall Score B

8. Kuretake Fountain Brush Pen

Kuretake Mannen Brush PenKuretake Mannen Brush Pen

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Price: $6.28

Ink Refills and Replaceable Head Means This Pen Lasts Forever! Works Well as Both a Brush and a Pen–Its Only Weakness was How Thin the Ink was

Both the bristles and the ink are replaceable, so you can use this pen for as long as you’d like. Not only is the brush portion of this pen well-built, but also the entire body is well-balanced, meaning it was easy to control, even for those of us who weren’t used to writing with a brush.

However, the ink was weak and got scratchy and thin in places, so the Fountain Brush Pen only earned an overall score of B.

Writing A (Bristle)
Ink Quality B (Water-Based Dye)
Thickness Fine
Overall Score B

7. Pentel FudeMoji Autograph Pen

Pentel FudeMoji Autograph PenPentel FudeMoji Autograph Pen

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Price: $2.50

Feels like a Fine-Tipped Permanent Marker and is Suitable for Both Art and Lettering. Easy for Even Beginners to Control the Width of Their Strokes

It both felt and wrote like a permanent marker. It wasn’t quite as flexible as bristles, but there was a spring to the tip that made it easy to vary the width of our strokes, even when writing in small print. It’s perfect for beginners just getting into calligraphy.

It also works well as a simple writing and drawing instrument, perfect for quick brainstorming sketches and other pieces of artwork.

Writing B (Stiff)
Ink Quality B
Thickness Medium
Overall Score B

6. Pilot Colored Calligraphy Pen Fude Makase

Pilot Colored Calligraphy Pen Fude MakasePilot Colored Calligraphy Pen Fude Makase

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Price: $3.30

Varies the Width of Your Strokes, No Matter How Short They are. Looks and Feels like a Ballpoint Pen, so It’s Suitable for Beginners

It was shaped just like a ballpoint pen, so the Fude Makase felt natural even in inexperienced hands. Even though it was extrafine, we could still still bulk up and thin down our strokes, adding character to our art and calligraphy. However, even though we were able to write clear-cut letters, the color came out just a bit thin, as it would with a normal marker.

Writing A (Stiff)
Ink Quality B (Water-Based Dye)
Thickness Superfine
Overall Score B

5. Mitsubishi Pencil New Brush Pen

Mitsubishi Pencil New Brush PenMitsubishi Pencil New Brush Pen

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Price: $7.56

Easily Vary the Strength and Intensity of Strokes! Classical Calligraphy Pen Aimed at Enthusiasts Used to Traditional Brushes

The bristles flowed smoothly on the page, so as soon as we got used to this pen, it was easy to switch between bold and fine lettering. Enthusiasts who were looking for something that wrote just like a traditional brush were thrilled.

The ink was jet black and came out deep; however, when we wrote too quickly, the ink thinned out and the bristles parted–just something to look out for.

Writing B (Bristles)
Ink Quality A+ (Water-Based Pigment)
Thickness Thin – Bold
Overall Score A

4. Pilot New Brush Pen Medium

Pilot New Brush Pen MediumPilot New Brush Pen Medium

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Price: $8.25

Bristles with Some Resilience. Won’t Suddenly Get Super, Super Thick, Making This Pen Perfect for Beginners and Calligraphy Experts Alike

This pen was bristle-tipped and meant for experts; however, because the bristles had some spring and resilience to them, it was pretty easy to control, as long as you were used to soft-tipped calligraphy pens. Strokes never really got too thick, and depending on how we held the pen, we were able to write in medium lettering.

It looked as if we had used India ink, earning this pen an A for both its ink and thickness.

Writing A (Bristles)
Ink Quality A (Water-Based Dye)
Thickness Medium
Overall Score A

3. Pentel Kirari

Pentel KirariPentel Kirari

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Price: $8.42

Classical Calligraphy Pen that Makes Beautiful Lettering a Reality. It’s Also Compact and Perfect for Carrying around in a Case or Purse

Even though it was so small it could fit in our pockets, it felt really authentic–a true brush pen. The bristles stayed smooth, slick, and pressed close together, meaning that even those of us who weren’t amazing at lettering were able to produce some decent pieces with character. And that’s what earned the pen an A for how it wrote.

Furthermore, we could hold it just as we would hold a ballpoint pen or pencil, which made it a perfect first for those just getting into brush pens. And, of course, this pen is also great for those who want to produce elegant lettering, no matter when or where they write.

Writing A (Bristle)
Ink Quality A
Thickness
Overall Score A

2. Kuretake Bimoji Cambio

Kuretake Bimoji CambioKuretake Bimoji Cambio

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Price: $2.80

Highly Efficient Ink Flow. Keeps Your Ink at a Consistent Intensity No Matter How Long You Write–Something that Will be Appreciated by Beginners and Experienced Users Alike

This pen had a soft tip, just like that of a traditional brush, but it had a shape to it that made it easy for beginners to use. Because it utilized a firm body that didn’t warp, we could grip it anywhere along the body and with any amount of force. Even so, it doesn’t feel that different from a traditional brush pen–that is, it didn’t feel weird.

In addition, it had great ink flow; jet-black ink kept coming out in the perfect amount, no matter how long we wrote for. There was nothing annoying or distracting about the pen, and it had us writing comfortably and happily for hours.

Writing A (Bristle)
Ink Quality A+ (Water-Based Pigment)
Thickness Medium
Overall Score A+

1. Pentel PentelFude ~Medium~

Pentel PentelFude ~Medium~Pentel PentelFude ~Medium~

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Price: $6.30

Writes in a Way both Pros and Beginners Will Appreciate! Proved to mybest that Its Title as the “Best Calligraphy Pen” wasn’t Just for Show

The Pentelfude is pretty much a legend in the world of calligraphy pens. The bristles were soft but had spring and resilience, giving it a “brush-y” feel that even calligraphy enthusiasts appreciated. And yet, it wasn’t difficult for beginners to use either, and even those of us with less then perfect lettering were about to spin out some pieces with character.

The ink was jet-black and, depending on how we wrote, we could control the intensity. Even the small imperfections on the edge made the piece look like it was done with a traditional brush. It was also easy to achieve tome, hane, and harai; as long as you take the time to master this pen, mybest can confidently say it won’t let you down.

Writing A+ (Bristles)
Ink Quality A+ (Water-Based Dye)
Thickness Medium
Overall Score A+

Tips and Tricks on How to Hold and Write with a Calligraphy Pen

So, you’ve learned how to buy a calligraphy pen. Now, it’s time to learn how to write with one. Here’s a quick primer on ways to both hold and write with a calligraphy pen.

Hold the Pen with the End Facing up, as You Would with a Brush

Hold the Pen with the End Facing up, as You Would with a Brush

Lightly grasp the calligraphy pen with your thumb, pointer, and middle fingers. It’s pretty much the same as how you would hold a pen, but it’s important that you hold it with the end facing up. That way, it’s easier to control the thickness of your strokes and to achieve tome, hane, and harai.

People who aren’t used to using calligraphy pens usually end up using too much force, so remember to hold the pen gently. Furthermore, straightening out your posture will help keep your hand and arm from getting tired.

Control the Thickness of Your Stroke by Adjusting How Much of the Brush Comes into Contact with the Page

Control the Thickness of Your Stroke by Adjusting How Much of the Brush Comes into Contact with the Page

Learning how to flow smoothly between thick and thin strokes is key to making your work look more like it was drawn by a brush, your words more like traditional calligraphy.

For thin lines, draw with just the very point of the tip. If you can’t get your strokes to come out fine, it either means that you’re writing at an angle or with too much force, driving the tip of the pen into the paper. Focus on relaxing your hand and softly and lightly touching the page with just the very tip.

On the other hand, for thick lines, make sure you’re pushing not just the point, but the entire length of the tip against the page. This increases the area at which the brush touches the page, naturally resulting in a thicker line.

Practice, Practice, and Practice with the Help of Samples and Examples

Practice, Practice, and Practice with the Help of Samples and Examples

If you feel like you just can’t get the hang of calligraphy pens, slow down. Don’t expect to turn out a perfect calligraphy piece from the very beginning. Take time to practice. There are tons of practice books for calligraphy and brush pens, and if you don’t feel like dishing out more cash, there’s also free samples and guides online.

Honestly, you probably weren’t even that amazing with a ballpoint pen or mechanical pencil when you first started out. As long as you keep at it and don’t give up, you will see results.

Summary

We rounded up experts and members of our editing department, purchased the 15 most popular Japanese calligraphy and brush pens, and tested them all.

The PentelFude was crowned first and it is an amazing pen, but the lower-ranking products might be easier to use in specific situations. Be sure to keep the information we shared today in the back of your mind and use it to find the best calligraphy pen just for you.

Original by Nao Kondo; Translation by Jasmine Li

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    You’d think gel pens would be straightforward. But in Japan, where stationery makers are all vying for the top spot in a heated market, even the smallest improvement in design and the faintest sparkling of genius can make a difference. And wouldn’t you, the stationery buff, like to know what gel pens are currently the most prized in Japan? So this time around, we ordered the 15 most popular gel pens from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and kakaku.com) and tested for the following: How the Grip Felt Balance The Color, Feel, and Depth of the Ink How the Nib Felt against Paper Fastness of the Ink Design This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese gel pens. How to Choose a Japanese Gel Pen – Buying Guide We’ll get into how we tested and compared all the gel pens, but before that, we want to introduce four things you should look out for when picking out a gel pen. ① Get a Pen that Feels Good to Hold To find a gel pen you can write comfortably w

  • Top 8 Best Japanese Mechanical Pencils that Don't Break to Buy Online 2019
    The lead in mechanical pencils is fine, which is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, it makes the pencil easier to control and fine print easier to write, but it also has an annoying habit of snapping. However, Japan, which excels in both engineering and stationery, has flooded the market with mechanical pencils designed not to snap. So which of these mechanical pencils live up to their promises and which are dupes? To answer those questions, we ordered the 8 most popular mechanical pencils (that claim to be unsnappable) from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and kakaku.com) and tested for the following: How Well Protected the Lead is How the Grip Felt How Balanced the Pencil is How Easy It is to Write This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese mechanical pencils that don’t break. How to Choose a Japanese Mechanical Pencil that Doesn’t Break – Buying Guide We’ll get into how we tested and compared all the mechanical pencils, but before that, we

  • Top 14 Best Japanese Highlighters to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True!
    Highlighters are indispensable study assistants. It’s their job to point out and help you remember the most vital parts of your notes, a textbook, documents. You don’t want to skimp on them. And here in Japan, where the market for stationery gets ever more competitive, we have some of the most innovative highlighters in the world, including ones that are retractable, erasable, fast-drying. In fact, we have so much to offer, it’s hard to pick out the best. That’s why, this time around, we ordered the 14 most popular highlighters from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and kakaku.com) and tested for the following: How Easily It Writes How Quickly It Dries How Functional It is How Rich the Color is This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese highlighters. How to Choose a Japanese Highlighter – Buying Guide We’ll get into how we tested and compared all our highlighters, but before that, we want to introduce four things you should look out for when pi

  • Top 10 Best Colored Pencils to Buy Online 2018
    Have you seen the work of Marco Mazzoni? The arabesques of color balanced on darkness, the fleshiness, the decay and the longing–if anyone has pushed colored pencil to its limits, it’s him. Not to mention his sublime technique. An artist is not defined by his or her tools, but they help. You could be an art student, a dilettante, or an artistic genius; working with colored pencils that you like can only give you more pleasure. And those pencils could be from Arteza, from Faber-Castell, or from Prismacolor. And they’re all good brands–each is simply suited for a different kind of person and different kind of artist. So, which is best suited for you? How to Choose Colored Pencils – Buying Guide Who best to talk about colored pencils than artists (which we are not)? So, this time, we reached out to Lindsay, the Frugal Crafter, who shared her tips, tools, and techniques with us. Invalid Short Code. There is not profile. Please write expert_id = 7 comment.
    Oil-Based vs. Wax-Based vs.Watercolor Pencils The pigment in a colored pencil need

  • Top 30 Best Japanese Waterproof Eyeliners to Buy Online 2019
    We had flurries of snow in Tokyo this week, but it doesn’t change the fact that spring and summer aren’t too far off. That means warmer weather, singing birds, blooming flowers, allergies, streaming eyes, and sweat. When the seasons change, your eyeliner needs to as well. (This holds doubly true in Japan, where pollen runs rampant in April and humidity is unbelievable in August.) In order to make sure we look good 24/7, 365 days a year, cosmetics companies have come out with tons of waterproof eyeliners. So much that it’s near impossible to decide between them. That’s why we ordered the 30 most popular waterproof eyeliners from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as @cosme, Amazon, and Rakuten) and tested for the following: Smudge Resistance Removal Finish Application This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese waterproof eyeliners. How to Choose Japanese Waterproof Eyeliner – Buying Guide We’ll get into how we tested and compared all the eyeliners, but before tha

  • Top 19 Best Japanese Waterproof Mascaras to Buy Online 2019
    Summers here in Japan get humid and sticky. And yet Japanese men and women alike feel a need to look impeccable even when they’re floating in the middle of the ocean on a huge inner tube. In order to answer that need, cosmetics companies here have come out with scores of waterproof mascaras meant to withstand the steamiest hot springs and the biggest waves. If you’re new to the Japanese cosmetics market, it can be hard to tell which brands–Canmake, Heroine Make, Majolica Majorca–are amazing and which are a passing fad. That’s why, this time around, we ordered the 18 most popular waterproof mascaras from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as @cosme, Amazon, and Rakuten) and tested for the following: Smudge Resistance Curl Staying Power Finish Ease of Use Ease of Removal This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese waterproof mascaras. How to Choose Japanese Waterproof Mascara – Buying Guide We’ll get into how we tested and compared all the mascaras, but before

  • Top Japanese and Korean Tube Mascaras to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True!
    All too often, we have to make a choice. Do we look good, or do we leave our skin and lashes well enough alone? Mascara opens up and brings out the eyes and irises, but it also likes to claim a few lashes as sacrifice when you take it off at night. However, tubing or tube mascara is designed to slip right off of your lashes with a bit of hot water. In Japan, most of our top-selling mascaras are tubing. So you have a confusing array of choices–and you need to know not only which mascara comes off easily but also which looks best when it goes on. That’s why we ordered the 26 most popular tubing mascaras from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as @cosme, Amazon, and Rakuten) and tested for the following: Ease of Removal Curl Staying Power Finish Ease of Use Smudge Resistance This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese tube mascaras. Sorry, but What’s Tube Mascara Again? Tube or tubing mascara is mascara that comes off with hot water. In Japan, they’re commonly designa

  • Top 10 Best Japanese Powder Foundations to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True!
    It can be hard to get powder foundation to sit well on the skin. But you can’t deny that it’s oil-controlling, no-mess, and easy to apply. And even in Japan, the land of seemingly flawless skin, powder foundation is popular and in abundance; it’s got its high-end and drugstore brands, rip-offs and dupes. So it makes sense to wonder which powder foundations actually work on this side of the Pacific. That’s why we ordered the 10 most popular Japanese powder foundations from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and @cosme) and tested them all. We also invited two experts and had them compare the following: Finish Ease of Application Coverage This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese powder foundations. Introducing the Experts Who Lent Us Their Knowledge This time around, we borrowed the expertise of hair and makeup artist Rika Fujiwara and Instagrammer Chie Kato. Invalid Short Code. There is not profile. Please write expert_id = hikaku9 comment.
    Sorry, but What’s Powder Foundation Again? It’s just wh

  • Top 10 Best Bronzers to Buy Online 2018
    Since summer is coming up, bronzer is a must for that beautiful beachy vibe. Nowadays, there’s plenty to choose from. Whether or not you’re a fan, you can’t deny the definition and glowy look that it leaves on your face. A multipurpose compact, bronzer can also be used for contouring and eyeshadow. That’s a pretty good reason to have one or two in your stash. There’s different types to consider, from cream to matte and shimmer powders. Today, we’ll show you the top 10 bronzers we recommend, ranging from Milk Makeup to Hourglass. From subtle glow to full on heat wave, here are a few that’ll help bring out your inner radiance. How to Choose a Bronzer – Buying Guide You may have tried using bronzer before but decided it wasn’t for you. Maybe it was too dark, didn’t apply evenly, or you weren’t sure where to dust it on. We’ve all been there, so let’s go over how to choose a bronzer, what it’s used for, and how it can shape your face. So What’s the Purpose? Though there are many uses for br

  • Top 10 Best Cat Brushes to Buy Online 2018 (Latest Edition)
    Any cat lover will know–there’s nothing like the feel of silky, glowing, warm, sweet-smelling (healthy!) fur beneath the fingers. So get a good brush. It’ll make sure your cat doesn’t freak out during grooming sessions and cut down on random hair lying around the house. Pet stores have an extensive list of hairbrushes for your feline companion: short hair brushes, long hair brushes, flea and tick removal brushes, and shedding brushes, to name a few. And a whole lot are really colorful and cute. But, here comes the old adage: don’t judge a book by its cover. For the sake of your cat, read on. How to Choose a Cat Brush – Buying Guide There are many kinds of brushes, and there are just as many ways to mess up when purchasing a cat brush. Give your cat and good, hard look before going shopping. Choose Something That Suits Your Cat’s Hair and Your Purpose Brushes come, surprisingly, in all shapes and sizes, so which one is best for your feline friend? Let’s break down what you can find an