Hand lettering and calligraphy have always been passions of mine, and when I get into something I really, really get into it! (Do you hyper-focus like that?) Brush lettering is my current passion.
In this post, I’ll share some of my favorite brush pens/brush markers. I have many others as well, and I love all of the ones I have. These are just some that I tend to use the most.
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The Tombow Dual Brush Pens are some of my favorite large brush pens, They’re wonderful for blending and watercolor techniques. These have a large brush tip at one end, and a fine tip (not brush) at the other end, which makes them extremely versatile. These come in many vibrant colors. The brush tip is more difficult for beginners to control than the Zig Kuretake Brushables, next. So, I don’t recommend these to learn with or as one of your first pens. But, for projects that require large, colorful lettering, these are great, once you’re confident with brush lettering.
TheZig Kuretake Brushables are also high on my favorites list for brush lettering because they are pigment ink, so they’re archival quality and light-fast. That means that your artwork, journal, scrapbook page, etc. won’t fade quickly.
The Brushables have a large dual brush tip, similar in size to the Tombows, and a second brush tip with a 50% tint of the first tip, on the other end. (So great for shading.) This differs from the Tombows, which have a brush tip on one end, and a fine tip at the other end. The brush tip on the Brushables is a little firmer than the Tombow, above, so it’s a little easier to control.
I wrote the above quote, using the Brushables for the brush lettering, and the bullet tip of a black Tombow Dual Pen for the black lettering and doodles.
For smaller lettering, one of my favorite brush pens is the Tombow Fudenosuke brush pen . Previously only available in black, I am so happy that it now comes in colors! The black is available in both hard tip and soft tip, and the colors are the hard brush tip. (The hard tip gives a little finer upstroke and is easier to control, so I prefer it.) This is a great pen to learn brush lettering with. Perfect for journals, envelopes, etc.
The Pentel Touch Brush Sign Pen is similar to the Tombow Fudenosuke pens, above, but with a little softer tip (so I find it slightly less easy to control than the Fudenosukes. The lettering is also slightly bigger with the Pentel.) Make sure you’re getting the brush tip because Pentel also has a similar marker with a bullet tip that won’t work for brush lettering.
Finally, the Zig Scroll and Brush is a fun choice if you like both brush lettering and italic lettering. One tip of the Scroll and Brush is a large brush tip, of course, and the other end has a “scroll” tip that writes 2 lines at once and is great for italic letters. I fell in love with this scroll tip years ago. With one stroke, you will get a double line effect. I use it for italic (broad nib calligraphy, which is less popular now than it used to be, but I still love it), borders, and decoration. It’s so much fun! Even if you don’t know broad nib calligraphy, the scroll end lets you create so many fun embellishments and decorations.
Borders are easy to make with the scroll tip, once you get used to the double lines. It works best if you hold the pen at a 45 degree angle.
And brush tips are always fun for raindrops, water, and hearts! Think bullet journals and scrapbooks.
Be sure to use smooth paper with your brush pens, to protect the tips from fraying. I recommend the HP Premium 32 for practice. The Rhodia Pads are great for practice as well and come in various styles (dot grid, etc.) For blending techniques and for finished pieces, the Strathmore Bristol works well.
If you try some of these lettering or decoration techniques, please give it a chance before giving up! Anyone can do this with practice.
And, remember, you can even use Crayola markers for brush lettering, as I did in this post.)