Hand Lettering: Must-Haves
“These are a few of my favorite things!” This quote makes me think of Julie Andrews starring in the classic movie “The Sound of Music”. It’s such a great film to watch. Makes me also think of my favorite hand lettering supplies. So, many of you on Instagram have asked me what lettering supplies I would suggest for someone new to hand lettering. Well I ‘m here to share with you “my favorite” lettering supplies that I have always used since I began my lettering journey. I enjoy hand lettering and I want to share with you my “must haves”.
Here is a brief history, I started my hand lettering journey a year ago January 6, 2016. One day I was browsing Instagram and I came across @handletteringabcs profile. I was so drawn by the beautiful hand lettering posts I saw on their feed. So many inspiring letterers and all unique in their own way. So one day I posted for @handletteredabcs lettering challenge and that following day I receive a notification that I had been tagged in a post. I was shocked when I saw my post featured and grouped with other amazing letterers. I felt honored and grateful to be selected during that time because I just started my lettering journey. Then, it dawn on me I’ve done this before. I just didn’t take it very serious at the time when I was learning it. When I was about 14 years old, my oldest cousin brought me a beginners calligraphy kit. I played with it a few times and my cousin also had me write a few note cards for her basket business. You know the old saying, “if I knew what I know today!” Yes, who knows where I would be if I had taken it a lot more serious. But, at that time in my life I was your typical teenager just started high school and I was a member of the marching band. So I guess it didn’t spark much of a interested at that time. Plus, no social media existed. Don’t try to guess my age. Lol! Ok, enough talk about that I don’t want to side track you. As I was saying, my journey could have started earlier then last year but, it didn’t. Did I also mention my cousin who purchased the calligraphy kit also designed my candy bar for my wedding in 2012. My cousin suggested I write note (menu) cards again for my candy bar. Here is a picture of what my lettering looked like on the note cards for my candy bar.
Ok, so again I started my hand lettering journey officially last year 2016. Lol!
Here are my must-haves I still used today in my lettering journey. It doesn’t matter what stage you are in your journey. You can use these lettering supplies whether you’re a beginner or not.
A. Tombow Dual Brush Pens:
Tombow Dual Brush Pens are water-based and come in a arrange of colors coded with letters and numbers shown in the photo above. Here are just some colors I own, (L-R 603, 743, 491, 025, 850) They can be purchased single, 6 or 10 pack, or their larger color set 96 desk stand. They have two tips: one flexible end (brush) and the opposite fine (hard) tip. You can blend colors together and form new colors with just touching the tips or using a blending palette. Before I brought Tombow Blending palette I used the inside of my Tombow pens case to blend colors. You can even use a zip lock bag. Ha! However, these are very popular brush pens you can use for hand lettering. They are very well known to the lettering community on Instagram. If you just own one that’s great! You can purchase them on Jets.com or from their manufactured website TombowUSA.com (US residents).
Tombow Dual Brush Pens were one of the first pens I started using on my lettering journey. These pens are very good to use when you’re learning your basic skills of hand lettering as far as your up-strokes (thin) verse down strokes (thick). You also learn pen control and when to apply pressure.
In the photo above, I’ve written the word “hello”. You can see the variations between the brush tip and fine tip. The brush tip is more flexible. There is also variations between thick and thin strokes (up & down strokes). Where as, the fine tip end for the second “hello” the only difference is your lines are written thinner. You also want to be mindful of the paper you use for your TDBP. I would suggests not using printer paper because there are fibers in printer paper that will fray your brush pen tips. Below is an example of a Tombow Dual brush pen I used in the past on printer paper:
You can see above the brush tip of the TDBP looks dull. Where as, the photo below is how your Tombow Dual Brush Pen should look before you use it.
Now, I’m not saying your Tombow Dual Brush Pens will fray by only using printer paper. It just means you will have a longer use of them if you don’t use printer paper. So, what paper should you used? Canson XL marker paper I would suggest works perfectly for your TDBP. The quality of the paper is great and it has a smooth finish surface. You can purchase Canson paper at your local art supply store or Michael’s. They also have a variety other pads such as watercolor, sketch, calligraphy, and so on. I’ve tried most of them and the quality of their paper is really great.
B. Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens
A. Hard Tip Vs. Soft Tip
These are my absolute FAVORITE pens. I love these pen because they are comfortable to write with. If you are like me, I’m “heavy handed”. Meaning I write with lots of pressure or press hard downward when I write if that makes sense. Tombow Fudenosuke pens feel similar to your every day pens. These are always my go to pens, because their easy to write with and easy pen control. Where as, the Tombow Dual Brush Tips you have to really be cognitive of when and where to apply pressure. The Tombow Fudenosuke just comes naturally to you because of their tips. I think I write more comfortably with the hard tip, verse the soft because remember I mentioned I am heavy handed. But, I do love them both overall. In the image above you can see the difference between both pen strokes. The hard tip has more of a thin downward stroke and the soft tip shows more of a thicker stroke downward. You can purchase both pens at Jets.com (Soft & Hard) or TombowUSA.com
B. Double Twin
Also, known as “Tombow Twin”, because of its brush pen ends are the same. The only difference is one end is black and the other is gray. I used this one for mainly outlining my letters or lettering. The gray tip gives a 3D effect when you outline your letters as well as the black tip. Both ends are similar to the Tombow Fudenosuke Soft tip. I rarely use this pen, but it works great also when you want to add that 3D outlining effect I mentioned. See the image below I hand lettered a quote from my lettering challenge #lovetistruequotes this month using both Tombow Dual Brush Pens and Tombow Twin. You can also see the blending of my colors using the Tombow Dual Brush Pens. I will have to share blending tips in another post.
Micron pens are very different from Tombow. I love having these pens because I normally used them for lettering details (such as outlining or sharp my letters) or drawing doddles (or graphic designs). They come also coded with numbers as shown in the image above and their tips are very fine. The difference is they work very well with pressure (“heavy handed” writers). If you enjoy doodling or drawing as I do outside of lettering these pens are also great.
You can purchased them also at your local art store or Michael’s. I believe Michael’s actually have these on sale in store. They normal do all the time, I just recently saw them in store on sale since I always take trips to Michael’s.
Here is a photo below using Micron pens for hand lettering:
The addresses above are not real, but you can see how the micron pen writes very thin. That’s why I suggests their great to have when your writing small details or either outlining your lettering to make your letters look sharp.
3. Slider Writer
One of the best inventions. I love this tool especially since it’s been a huge investment to my Etsy business. If your looking for line guidance here is the tool. I purchased this when I started learning addressing envelopes. Then, I started using it for all my special projects gift bags, hand lettering canvas or card stock I mean anything the laser would touch I tried using the Slider Writer. Plus, you can detach it too. It’s a little expensive I would be honest, but it’s a great investment. I don’t write in straight lines so this is my tool to use when I want my writing written in a straight line. Here is a image below writing the words “Slider Writer”. I found this product on PaperInksArts.com Its such a great lettering tool I use it all the times. I think I can say it also has help me to write straight sometimes when I don’t use it. But, I don’t want to get over my head but I will say it’s a awesome product. I have people ask me all the times on Instagram what’s the name. Well here it is and I’m not going to get hype behind something that’s not worth it. It’s worth it!
There are tons of supplies out there you can use when you start your lettering journey. Please don’t feel too overwhelmed if you see something surfacing new in your news feed on Instagram. Usually try to wait to see when my fellow letterers test out their supplies before I get interested in adding it to my “must-have” collection. My Amazon cart is listed with tons of lettering supplies I’m just waiting to have, but until then I’ll wait. I’m always looking for good deals on lettering supplies because they can be quite expensive at times. But, that should not stop you from starting your journey. You can basically letter with anything. I will also prepare a post later on lettering supplies you already have at home. You will be surprised at what you can use just from the comfort of your home.
Well I hope this post has been helpful to you and your hand lettering journey. Remember, practice makes progress. If you get frustrated or stress about it just take a break. Just breathe. I still have to do this at times because I have some good days and not so good days. That’s why I love our lettering community on Instagram. I follow a lot of inspiring and encouraging letterers. The community is very welcoming, you can find all sorts of lettering tips (videos) or freebies to help you start your journey. I follow probably half of them, I would follow them all if I could. Lol! Here are some well popular hashtags used for hand lettering check them out: #handlettering #letteringchallenges #calligraphy
Speaking of lettering challenges do follow @letteringchallenges profile on Instagram. Stacee, the sweet creator of this account found a beautiful way to connect us all in one place. There are tons of lettering challenges posted here each month from beginners to the pros. So join the fun. I am hosting my very own challenge this month of my favorite quotes. You are also welcome to join in this month, January. Please use the hashtag #lovetistruequotes
Find me on Instagram @lovetistrue and please share, comment, or email me and tell me how helpful this post was to you.
Love it’s True. Love on Purpose.