What makes for good brushwork? It is not an easy matter to convey the idea of good brushwork to people who have not been tutored in the Chinese cultural tradition and who have not learned how to handle the writing brush, to realise its remarkable qualities. Good brushwork must come from long and arduous training and practice.
The following passage is extracted from the Battle Formation of the Brushstroke (Bizhen Tu), a text attributed to Wei Furen (272-349), the most famous female calligrapher in China:
In recent years, people are not interested in learning from our ancient masters. They learn calligraphy by following their emotion and do not follow the proper techniques. They only remember the names. They are limited in knowledge, and poor in information. They are doomed to be fruitless in spite of their time and energy. Lacking in sensibility, they are simply beyond teaching. To set a yardstick for coming generations, I now listed here are seven strokes and their descriptions after the wonderful example of Li Si.
一[横] is like a cloud formation stretching a thousand miles, indistinct, but not without form.