Basic Principles of Chinese Calligraphy

Updated: 2012-03-31


The way to master Chinese calligraphy includes diligent practice, comprehension of brush principles and calligraphy theories. The theories are derived from experiences and insights resulting from practice and critical thinking. The principles and theories are mutually and closely related. 

The following short introductions cover basic Chinese calligraphy principles in English and most common pitfalls that we should avoid. (More detailed versions will be available in the respective Chinese versions.) The principles are adapted from theories published by ancient masters, books, exchanges, and my personal understanding. I hope that by sharing these ideas we will be making progress in the practice of Chinese calligraphy. Your questions, comments, and corrections are deeply appreciated.

More demo videos will be uploaded eventually to explain the principles. It's extremely important to avoid TV, music, and talking while practicing Chinese calligraphy. Please note that due to camera angles, the brush does not seem to be perpendicular to the paper in some of the videos. The whole brush and its hairs should be kept perpendicular to the paper during writing at all times according to the Center Tip Principle & Theory.

1. Selections
2. Preparations
3. Maintenances

  Holding A Brush


  Brush Operations & Basic Strokes

  Center Tip Principle

  Brushes for Styles

  Choosing Paper, Ink & Ink Stone

  Choosing Model Books

  Emulating Models

  Why Retouches of Strokes Are Forbidden?


  Author's Words