Friday, April 29, 2011

My Flat Brush Holder

I finished the first Charles Pearce workshop assignment yesterday. I had no experience using a flat brush prior to the workshop with only one month to figure out how to hold and manipulate a flat brush to paint letters. The major obstacle I encountered was holding the brush while twisting and turning the bristles at a consistent height to the paper surface. With literally thousands of practice attempts with no success at flatbrush lettering I had to think of a solution for my hand to hold and paint with the brush.

A very simple design. However, it took 50 versions of this design to make it simple. It originally started with a chopstick attached to the brush with a rubber band and evolved into the current brush holder shown in the photos. With the device in my hand it is very easy to change the width of the brush stroke by rotating the barrel. Best of all this is very easty on the hand and wrist.

The letters in these examples are not perfect by any means but a significant step ahead of my early workshop attempts to letter with a flat brush. Prior to using the brush holder I was not able to paint a stroke with any control while twisting and turning the barrel. After lettering with the brush holder I began to understand the basics of the flat brush. Perhaps after time and more practice I will no longer need to use the brush holder. For the time being it is definitely something I want to continue lettering with when a flat brush is required.


  1. Wow, Alan!!! What an ingenious way to figure out brush manipulation! I still have not mastered that skill and wished I could have taken Charles' class. But it just wasn't a good time for me.

    Can't wait to see more of your work! Enjoy the weekend!


  2. Hallo Alan,

    I´m a calligrapher and typedesigner from Germany. Thank´s for your very interesting blog.
    I need two years to learn the shape of the capital letters. At first i learned all from the book of catich. But the best way to learn is the wonderful theoretical book of Tom Kemp. His Shape are best wich i saw.
    His theoretical way and his very slowly speed helps me better understand the forms at practice.

    Sorry for my bad english.

    Greetings from germany