Do you want to learn hand lettering and need some supplies recommendations for starting your journey? Here are my all-time favorite hand lettering supplies. These are my must haves that I love to use. Not saying that I haven’t tried other lettering supplies, which you can never have enough pens! Right? But, I’m going to share my favorites with you which may have seen me used on Instagram.
The four brush pens above from (L to R) Tombow Fudenosuke hard tip, Tombow Fudensouke soft tip, Tombow Fudenosuke Dual, and Tombow Dual Brush Pen. Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens have the same pen body, but their difference by the outer color. The Tombow Fudenosuke hard tip has a dark blue color whereas the Tombow Fudenosuke soft tip is black as shown in the above image. There tips are also different the TF Hard tip is more firm and the TF Soft tip is more soft and flexible. I recommend both of the pens because they have a grip quite similar to your normal office pen. How you use them is what makes the difference which I will go into details below later. Tombow Fudenosuke Dual Brush has a grey tone color body as shown in the the image above. It has two tips on opposite ends. One end has a black color tip and the other has a grey tip. This pen is quite similar to the TF soft, but the only difference is one end is black and the other is grey color. You will typically use this pen when outlining or giving your lettering style dimensions. It’s a very fun tool to use and have when hand lettering. Tombow Dual Brush Pen another one of my favorites because of its dual tips.
One end of the Tombow Dual Brush pen has a fine tip and the opposite is brush tip. I have to be honest it was a learning curve when I first used these pens. The brush end is challenging at first when using it but overtime you will develop a understanding of how to use it. I’m a heavy handed writer so I have a few TDBP with frail ends because I didn’t used them correctly in the beginning. But I’m here to give you more insights about using them so you don’t damage them like I’ve done mines in the past. As I mentioned, the brush tip end is very fragile and you can easily frail the tip if you don’t use it correctly. When using Tombow Dual Brush Pen what paper you use is extremely important when using the brush end. I highly recommend Canons Brush Marker Paper or Rhodia Pad when lettering with these pens. The paper for both of these products have a soft and smooth surface when using the TDBP. Why because the fibers in the paper is more sustainable. Where as if you were to use any kind of paper for instance like printer paper. If you just use any type of paper similar to printer paper, the longevity of these pens will not last very long because they can easily catch the fibers in printer paper which is sometimes of a lower quality. The brush tip end will eventually look worn and the hairs of the tip will look fragile. I’ve done this too many times to know so I’m just giving you heads up because it will save you a lot of heartache and money not to ruin them. Whereas the fine tip end can be use on any paper surface because the tip is very strong and durable. However, they are great brush pens overall to use in the lettering community. You can purchase these pens in sets, 6, 10, or 96. You can also buy then individually if you want as well. What’s also so great about the Tombow Dual Brush is you can blend the colors together to create new colors. A very fun technique which is very popular in the lettering community on Instagram.
Here is an example of Tombow Dual Brush pen,
Here are some examples of Tombow Fudenosuke below,
TOMBOW FUDENOSUKE BRUSH PENS
2. Zebra Brush Pens*
ZEBRA BRUSH PENS
Zebra Pen is another one of my favorite lettering tools. All pens are again very comfortable to grip and use. The have a slim body similar to your office sharpie marker. However, all three pictured above have brush end tips. From (L to R) Zebra Medium Brush pen, Zebra Super Fine Tip, and Zebra Double Sided tips.
All write uniquely and have very flexible tips. The medium tip is soft like tip with a charcoal grey body appearance with black ink. The Zebra super fine tip is also defined with a very firm and flexible tip in black ink. The Zebra double sided has two tips on opposite end. One end is medium size black ink and the opposite end is more fine tip. For paper I also recommend using the following brands, Koh-I-Noor pen paper, Rhodia Pad, or Canson Marker paper.
I didn’t actually discover these pens until last year when Zebra Pen USA reached out to me about becoming a Artist Ambassador* for their products. I’m not recommending them because I’m a ambassador for their products, they are really great pens for hand lettering. However, I’m so glad that I am a part of their team because they have a wide range of other products from fountain pens, color pencils, technical drawing pens and pencils which I will explain about in a future post.
Here are some examples of Zebra pens below,
3. Sharpie Metallic Gold Paint Marker
SHARPIE METALLIC GOLD ACRYLIC MARKER (Oil based)
Sharpie Metallic Gold Paint (Acrylic) Oil-based, I love, love, love this marker. For one of the reasons because its gold, but not just gold but metallic with a shimmer shiny appearance. It’s not ink, but acrylic paint. I have a bulk load of these pens because I love them that much. I have used these most of the time for my products, personalized paper gift bags. They work like a charm especially on dark colors and also light colors. This pen has a broad end with a hard tip. One thing you have to be careful with is pressing down on Sharpie Paint markers because that’s how the acrylic paint flows out of them. I cannot tell you how many times my heavy handed self has made paint splats because I applied too much pressure while using them. But, that hasn’t stop me from using them because the are one of my favorites lettering tools. Great for faux calligraphy too! You can also write on multiple surfaces metal, pottery, wood, rubber, glass, plastic, stone, etc. Since it’s oil based it quickly drys and it’s water resistant.
Here is an example of the Sharpie Metallic/Gold Acrylic on paper,
SHARPIE METALLIC/GOLD ACRYLIC MARKER (Oil based)
5. Apple iPad Pro Pencil/iPad Pro (Procreate App)
APPLE IPAD PRO, Apple Pencil, PROCREATE APP
Last, but my overall favorite pick up tool is the Apple iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. This has to be the best invention for the lettering word. One because you save trees. Two because what better way to have you lettering digitalized all at once without having to upload and edit afterwards. I can never seem to put mines down because it has been that convenient in times where you trying to write something quickly and post to the Instagram business world. But that’s not also what so great about it you can create brushes or upload new brushes from your fellow Procreate artist or letterers.
Procreate is a digital illustration app available for small fee in the Apple Store. This tool will change your life, I’m not lying. Sometimes I find it hard to put it down because it’s so convenient to use. Now it will never replace my Tombows or Zebras because there is nothing compared to writing with paper and pen. But it just saves you some time when you don’t have time for lettering. Like in my case, when you are a stay at home mom with so many to-do tasks on scheduled and you need something to quickly to whip up a post for your business on social media. Using the iPad Pro for lettering is that simple thing that has changed the way I create my products for my business. Not only can you use it for lettering but also for drawing or doodling. So many artist use Procreate (iPad Pro) for drawing digital illustrations. Procreate brushes are a must for hand lettering in Procreate App. The app is custom built with a wide range of brushes from pencils, watercolor, air brush, paint brush and more. When I first used the Apple Pencil it was a learning curve because it is so different from your regular lettering tools. I had no clue on how to create custom brushes at first but you can also design your own watercolor brush, pencil, or whatever brush you want to make in Procreate. I didn’t know this at first I just purchased some Procreate brushes from one of my favorite letterers and friend, Megan @lefty.script on Instagram. @lefty.script (Megan) owns a Etsy shop, with a range of custom brushes she has designed for Procreate. I love her brushes because they are so easy to work with. Plus, she has custom designed similar ones to our every day brush pens, like the Tombow Fudenosuke. The one listed in her shop is called “LS Fude” that I’ve used most of the time lettering in Procreate. There are other letterers well known as well for creating Procreate brushes on Instagram, Kari @ipadlettering and Myriam @halfapx.Here is some examples of the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil used,Hand lettering in Procreate App using Apple iPad Pro + Apple Pencil. Procreate Brush: LS Fude by @lefty.script on Instagram.
6. Paper (recommended)
The quality of your paper is always dependent on your brush pen or hand lettering tools. So I highly suggest these paper brands if you are going to use the following pens mentioned above.
Canson XL Series Marker Paper
Canson XL Series Marker Paper has a smooth texture, paper size 11’x14′, 18lb weight, and 100 pages. Each piece of paper is bounded like a notepad. You can also remove or tear pages away for the notebook. Recommend using your Tombow Brush Pens for this quality paper. The fibers in TB Pens tips are very fragile any other rough or not smooth surface can ruin the tips of you Tombow Dual Brush Tips.
Rhodia Dot or Grid Pad
Rhodia Dot Pad very popular notebook paper in the lettering community on Instagram. The quality of the paper has a very smooth surface and the image picture above is the dot pad. They also have a grid notepad (small boxes, lines) if you want more guidance practicing where to hit your ascender line, x-height (waistline), or baseline. They have a variety of sizes notepads, small or larger, wire-bound or staple-bound (like pictured above).
HP Premium Choice, Laser Jet Paper
HP Premium Choice Laser Jet another great quality of paper for your brush lettering pens. Also has a smooth surface for all of the pen choices mentioned above for hand lettering. Another great brand known in the lettering community. What’s also great if you are not using it for practicing your hand lettering or calligraphy. You can also just use it for at home projects to print documents since it’s the only printer paper recommended to use for your brush pens. Do not use any other printer paper other than this brand. I promise you your pens are very delicate and the tips will wear out quickly if you just use regular printer paper. Regular printer paper tears the fibers in your brush pen tips, especially your brush tip end of Tombow Dual Brush. I cannot tell you how many TDBP I have ruined because I wasn’t using good quality paper. It does makes a huge difference!
Hope this information is as helpful as it has been to me. Let me know in the comments below if this information is helpful for you and your lettering journey.