M2B Studio - Calligraphy by Missy Briggs

Brush marker problems: Shredded tips

Lefty lettering, ToolsMissy Briggs
Brush marker stockpile

Brush marker stockpile

 

Now I'm not picking on the brush marker manufacturers. And I'm not compensated by any of them either. This is the #WIDN #Leftyproblems hashtag emergency situation. I stockpile brush markers!

The container on the right are new, in-original-packaging, brush markers. A sane woman would return these to Blick Art and go on a Target shopping spree. So, why do I have this?

I'm a lefty and I shred tips.

I'm still compiling my notes on this, but from what I can see, I have an incurable straight-wrist modified tripod grasp similar to a child of 3.5 - 4 years of age. When I paint and write with a pointed pen, I'm the model of tripod grasp perfection. But when I pick up the brush pen. Whoa... strange things happen. I CAN change my grip and that's why I believe I've got solutions to some common lefty issues. I can emulate what you may be doing incorrectly and try to help re-align your grip.

I revert back to my straight grip, and while I'm careful to exert little to no pressure on the tip. But I'm not there yet. Over a short period of time, the tips look like they had a run-in with a garbage disposal.

HOW TO AVOID SHREDDING THE TIP

  1. Be a righty. Practice making a few strokes backwards like I did in this Instagram post. Once you absorb the fact that righties are doing it with a little more ease, you can begin to focus on changing your grip. Check my post on Getting Started to get a better idea of what I mean by "be a righty."
  2. Do not put pressure directly on the tip. Work at an angle so the tip is spared. When using the tip, especially when touching up, use gentle pressure.
  3. Use smooth paper! Coarse paper fibers will wear out the tip more quickly. Check out my paper suggestions in the lefty toolkit. Smooth paper is key. 
Righties wreck the tips too! This illustration shows why a lefty will shred a marker tip more quickly. The tendency to put pressure on the tip comes from the constant forward motion.

Righties wreck the tips too! This illustration shows why a lefty will shred a marker tip more quickly. The tendency to put pressure on the tip comes from the constant forward motion.

 

These tips will all begin to break down over time. If you're heavy-handed, its best to practice with the least expensive brush markers you can find until you're comfortable with the motion. I know I've got a great list of lefty tools and brush markers that are easier for beginners, but if you find a cheapie brush marker for practice. Go with that.

This tendency to shred tips is the reason why I don't recommend Tombow Dual Brush Markers for beginning lefties. They're long, which means its just a little more unwieldy when you're getting started, and the marker tips are long and beautifully colored and ... you're going to smush that tip into the paper and be sorry you spent $4 on that brush marker for your first attempt.