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Making the flourishes and thick ends and tapering ends to strokes is not possible using a normal ballpoint pen, other than frightfully crudely. And for some reason I have never got on well with fountain pens. A brush is capable of producing fine artistry but is impractical to carry around. What kinds of pen or pencil are recommended for producing handwritten Chinese characters?

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  • Try felt tip pen (毡尖笔)
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 5:10

3 Answers 3

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try the “science brush pen” (科學毛筆), something like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U142be48UG0&t=51s

muji has similar product 😸

https://www.muji.com.hk/zh/product/4548076007074

for hard nib writing instruments, the fountain pens with the special nib “長刀研”, something like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=Zlykxmsw0_E

well, it’s expensive (maybe usd 1000 upward)

have fun :)

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Actually it is completely possible to handwrite chinese characters using normal ballpoint pens or gel pens or even pencils-- and by this I mean with those flourishes and changes in line thickness as you write.

It does take A LOT of practice. Its actually very popular as many like to practice handwriting, there are many many practice books out there. You can also find many guide videos on youtube or bilibili etc.

Basically think of when you are writing quickly and you have those tapered lines come off your writing, you are mastering the technique to do that every time the same way on purpose. It's mainly just muscle memory.

It won't affect ability to write itself. But I think most people like to use .5-.7 size lines to write chinese, as it leaves good room for characters with lots of strokes.

Here is a random sample video of someone comparing pros and cons of common pens:

https://youtu.be/1qe2JFMmKzA?si=oqV1bwXioyVn2mGS

If this isn't something you are interested in, I recommend trying pencil or felt tip pens-- you won't get that calligraphy look without practice, but I think it writes chinese characters nicely with less effort in general than regular pens. Best of luck o(∩_∩)o

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It depends what you want to do. Do you simply want to write in Chinese, or do you want to practice calligraphy? For the former, any writing tool will do. For the latter, brushes are the best.

Just as an aside, you can actually make lines of different thickness with a pencil. It does take some practice but not too bad. You need a traditional pencil (not one of those mechanical ones) with a tip that's not too pointy.

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