Updated: May 11, 2022
The absolute most common question I get from people who want to start lettering: what pens should I use???
So here is a quick rundown on my favorite pens for hand lettering/ brush lettering/ modern calligraphy. And quick note! Brush Lettering (also sometimes referring to as Modern Calligraphy) is NOT done with traditional calligraphy pens, which have a hard, pointed, inflexible tip. I've gotten poor reviews on my hand lettering pens from people who think they are buying traditional calligraphy pens - so I want to make sure that is clear so none of you make that mistake! (I'll include a link to all the pens listed below in the descriptions)
1. June & Lucy Hand Lettering Pen Set - I designed this pen set specifically to make hand lettering easy for all. When you are starting out especially, I always advise that people start with pens with smaller tips. The larger brush pens that everyone likes to rush straight for are AMAZING, but they can be very frustrating if you are a beginner and just starting to learn your strokes are still developing that muscle memory. The larger the brush tip, the harder it is to control. So this set comes with 6 pens, including an extra fine tip, a fine tip, a medium tip, and 3 larger brush tips.
2. For fine, detailed work I love a good Micron or Staedtler fine liner. I usually get the multipacks that come with various sizes, from uber fine 0.05 up to the 0.5.
3. When I want to use some color, I have a few options I turn to. First, which I love to recommend for any beginner since they are inexpensive and you may already have them lying around, Crayola markers! Especially the Supertips. They have a tip that is just flexible enough that you can get the variations in width with your lettering, but you can also use them with consistent pressure and achieve monoline lettering styles as well.
4. If I am wanting to do a lettering piece that is more precise or has finer, more delicate brush lettering, then I absolutely LOVE the new Tombow Fudenosuke color packs. These have the smaller tips that are still great for beginners and letterers at all levels, but now come in some absolutely stunning colors.
5. And last but not least, for my monoline pieces where a Crayola marker just won't cut it, I grab the Tombow TwinTone sets. The colors that these come in are my favoriteeeees, and they are dual tip, both hard tip just different sizes. If I am looking for a very delicate monoline piece then I also love the Staedtler fine liner colored packages. Now - for more advanced lettering, when you want to use the larger brush tipped pens, I always recommend the following (but again, I do NOT recommend these for beginners since they can lead to a lot of frustration when you are still trying to learn to control your strokes).
6. The brush pen that is found in my June & Lucy set (linked in #1 above) is a larger brush tip that will help you transition from the finer, smaller strokes to the larger ones. 7. Tombow dual tip pens are always great - but I usually save them for my final lettering pieces rather than my practice pieces due to the price. But the color variety that they come in is ahhhhh-mazing, and the quality of the pens themselves is incredible as well. Make sure you are using a smoother paper with these since they will fray, and the last thing you want is to put out the money for nice lettering pens only to get frayed ends right out of the gate. My lettering pad is great for practice (it is lined/dot grid), but you can also get a big package of premium laser printer paper if you are looking at finding paper to print out practice sheets on (or practice finished pieces on blank paper). Have any pens that you love that I didn't mention?? Share your thoughts in the comments, I'd love to know!!! And don't forget to check out my letterings books, Modern Lettering (for the largest and most comprehensive guide to modern lettering, brush calligraphy and hand lettering on the market - in a swoon worthy full color interior), and my original book which has spent 2 years as the best selling modern calligraphy and hand lettering guide on the market, The Ultimate Guide to Modern Calligraphy and Hand Lettering.