Correct Way of Holding A Calligraphy Brush

Brushes, used for both Chinese calligraphy and painting, are made from various animal hairs formed into a sharp point. The way an ink-filled brush is held and the pressure placed on it while writing or painting allow for a wide variety of brushstrokes and tonal washes, which are thought to reflect the emotions and individual personality of the artist. Thus, the correct way of holding and operating a brush is the essential step for Chinese calligraphy and painting. (The operational principles and ways of holding brushes are somewhat different between Chinese calligraphy and brush painting.)

Learning to hold the brush correctly is also as important as choosing a good brush and keeping a good posture. Chinese calligraphy students all need a good way to hold the brush to guarantee their success in the art. Holding the brush incorrectly will never produce the desired effects in Chinese calligraphy.



As a beginner, always try to hold the brush firmly and keep it straight and vertical to the desk. Unlike Western calligraphy or pen writing, do not hold the brush in a slanted angle. The brush needs to be held with all five fingers because each finger plays a different vital role in writing each character's strokes. If a certain finger is not used, the effect in each stroke will look different. Remember to keep the wrist and palm in a smooth angle to avoid muscle strain.

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