When Should I Pick Up My Brush Pen?

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Today, I am giving *my answer* to a question I receive A.LOT. And that is: when should I lift my pen? Is there a rule? What's the deal?

Honestly, the thought never crossed my mind when I began lettering almost 3 years ago. I immediately approached lettering with a 'I'm going to hold my pen and use the pen however I want as long as it looks good at the end' kind of thought process. And while that is a flawed thought process in some ways, in other ways, it has helped me develop my own style in the end, and I'm thankful for that! 

*Shameless plug: if you want to check out my class on developing your own style in lettering, click here*

So what's my answer?
I don't really care when you lift your pen. Lift it a million times. Lift it zero times. It's all up to you.

I'm a 'lift it a million times' kind of artist. 
I know that if I held my pen to the paper and never lifted it until I was finished that my lettering would look so.freakin.bad. But, that's me. There are plenty of other artists out there who lift their pen less than I do, and their work is fabulous. I'm not familiar with anyone that never picks up their brush pen, but maybe you could be the first and get super famous for your crazy difficult technique! I don't know!

As seen in the video below, I lift my pen after almost every stroke. There is no rhyme or reason to it, it's just the way I feel comfortable lettering. I like to take stock of the stroke I just completed and inspect where I need to pick back up to complete the letter or the flourish to the best of my abilities. 

And that is the key: to the best of your abilities. My abilities and your abilities will vary. If you have a steadier hand than me, you may not need to lift your pen as much. If you have better judgment or better natural placement, you're good to go! The point is: do what feels comfortable for you, and don't worry if you're breaking a rule or 'cheating.' 

Lettering is an art and art is what you bring to the table. Just do you!

Watch this brief demonstration video below to hear more of my thoughts on this topic, and to see my lettering in action!


What do you think? Do you believe there are hard and fast rules for when to lift your pen in lettering? Do you follow any rules for yourself, or are you a 'go with the lettering flow' kind of artist? Tell me in the comments below!


Kiley Bennett is the lettering artist, blogger, and teacher behind Kiley in Kentucky! Starting in 2015, Kiley in KY is a one-stop- shop for anyone learning the ropes of brush-lettering. Access everything from free work-sheets, super simple tutorials, to affordable self-paced online courses--all of which arecreated in Kiley’s home studio. 

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