C17: Days 1 & 2 – Brush calligraphy

by Suw on January 2, 2017

My year of being creative every day got off to a slightly time-shifted start. I sat down on New Years Eve for my first session of brush calligraphy, because I knew that yesterday I would spend literally all day in a car, driving from just north of Dallas to northern Illinois, and so it was. Leaving Dallas at 8am and arriving at our destination at 10.30pm did not provide much opportunity to crack open the calligraphy set and get going! So this post covers two days’ worth of creativity. I’m sure this will happen once in a while, and it really doesn’t bother me at all. The important thing is to be regularly creative, not regimentedly creative.

Day 1

The first thing I needed to do was figure out what was in my calligraphy set, which Kevin picked up in Singapore in August 2015.


Four brushes, yes, but what was everything else? I found out (almost) everything from this fabulous video:

I also learnt that the only gestures you need to get your point across are a two-handed ta-da and a finger-wag.

I’m still unclear on one piece of the set, though it might be a little water dish now I come to think about it. I’m not really clear what the little spoon is for, either. Maybe it’s for spooning out the red stuff (ink? paint? it’s the stuff in the blue & white china container, though) into the little dish for mixing? Though from the video you don’t seem to need to do that, so I have no idea. I am sure that things will become clearer as I progress.

The ink is in stick form, so you just put some water on the stone plate and grind the ink stick round and round until you get a decent thickness. It takes quite a while, it turns out, but the ink does come out nice and smooth.

The four brushes seem to me to be pretty much the same, except two have whitish bristles, and the other two are brown. The shape and thickness of the brushes doesn’t seem to differ much at all, but I only used the first and third, one white and one brown.

So, on to the day’s art.


Impressive, isn’t it? A fabulous collection of lines and squiggles, the quality of which is unparalleled in modern art. Now, I didn’t have time to look up some brush calligraphy lessons, but I do already know that you’re supposed to hold the brush perpendicular to the page, ish, and that the tip of the brush is supposed to be in the middle of your line. So that’s what I did. I also attempted some squiggles. I’m not sure if it was that the ink wasn’t thick enough or that the brushes are cheap, but the lines are a bit raggedy in places. That’s something to work on, for sure.

Day 2

We got home about 7pm, so again I hadn’t had time to look up some instructional videos. Today I used brushes 2 and 4, and found that brush 2 has a much nicer set of bristles than all the others, so I think I might focus on using that brush initially.

C17 D2

Again, today’s efforts were lines and squiggles, with both brushes, and I can’t say that I’ve improved much from Day 1, but that’s ok. It also struck me that it might be best to let the unused ink dry on the stone receptacle, so that there’s ground ink there, waiting, the next time I put water on it.

Tomorrow, I will look up some tutorials online, and see if I can sort out some exercises to do.

Sarah January 2, 2017 at 11:55 pm

That video is incredible!

Suw January 6, 2017 at 7:47 pm

Isn’t it amazing!!

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