Perhaps the most important thing for a painter is to learn how to use the brush – which is different from using a pen or pencil. One of the best introductions I've ever seen to learning how to use the brush, and to make brush strokes, is that given by David Leffel in this video, "David Leffel Painting Workshop - Making Brush Strokes," on YouTube, from a DVD painting workshop set from the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art.
Notice that he uses the brush's long handle, holding it further out, and holding it differently than he would a pen or pencil. He describes how you use the brush as akin to how you see - that if you want to see the way an artist does, you need to learn to use the brush as an artist does.
It's a wonderful explanation. If you'd like to watch a little more of David Leffel, David A. Leffel Art Instruction Video - Painting the Portrait: Portrait of Lewis is a good place to continue. He continues talking about brush strokes, as applied to the painting of a portrait, and shows how he begins a painting. As he says, "In order to understand how to finish a painting, one must know how to begin a painting." Beginning a painting determines everything.