The specific pens you use for hand lettering depend on a few things: 1) the size of your hand lettering project; 2) your project medium (what you are lettering on); 3) your desired color for your lettering; and 4) the effects of your project.
Since August 2016 (when I first started lettering), I have purchased over 100 pens! I know that sounds like a lot, but because of the things listed above – you use different pens for different types of projects.
The first brush pen set I purchased for lettering was an Artist’s Loft (AL Dual Brush (DB) Pen set from Michael’s. I had not clue that you used different pens for different project or that you should just specific paper when using brush pens (that’s a different story for a later post :-)). What I did know was that I was in no way prepared to spend $300 on an entire set of Tombow Dual Brush Pens. While I loved the vibrant colors of the AL DB’s, I had no idea what I was doing. I was using a really cute notepad I bought from TJ Maxx and I ruined the entire set of pens 🙁 (which is why I don’t have pic to show you using those pens).
The next brush pen I bought was a Tombow Fudenosuke Hard Tip Calligraphy Pen (the blue one). I immediately fell in LOVE with this pen! The pen gave the “faux calligraphy” look I was going for. This pen and its sister pen – Tombow Fudenosuke Soft Tip Calligraphy Pen (the green one) are best for smaller scale lettering projects. The ONLY draw back (IMO) of the Fude pens is that they only come in black. (The top pic is Tombow Fude Hard Tip, the bottom pic is the Tombow Fude Soft Tip)
Once I got a little more comfortable with lettering, I purchased a set of Prismacolor Scholar Brush Tip Markers. I love these pens as well. The colors are vibrant, the price point is good and the tip of the pens aren’t as fragile (easy to fray) as the Tombow DB’s. They come in a set of 20. These pens are best used for medium scale lettering projects.
Sharpie Brush Pens are probably the most versatile pens to use on various mediums. Although they bleed through most paper, you can letter on canvas, plastic, acrylic…the list goes on and on. One drawback of Sharpie Brush Pens is the color selection. The colors aren’t as vibrant as the Prismacolor Scholar Brush Pens or the Tombow DBs, but they come in a set of 12. These brush pens are best used for medium to large scale lettering and lettering on varying medium types.
I purchased the Crayola Supertips a couple months ago. I haven’t really used them other than to see how they letter. They are by far the least expensive for an entire set of pens. I think I saw a set of 50 at Wal-Mart for under $10! These pens are best used for medium scale lettering projects.
Tombow DBs are my fave because you can easily achieve thin upstrokes and thick downstrokes. The entire set comes with 96 pens!!! They are a little pricey, but if you are into lettering and/or other crafts – it is well worth the investment. You can get them on sale various times throughout the year on Amazon. Another pro about these pens is that they are water based. You can use a blending tool to blend colors or draw on the N00 colorless blending pen to blend colors. The pens also have a bullet tips for flourishing. Because they are water based, you are kinda limited on the mediums you can letter on. I typically stick to heavy lb paper. If you aren’t ready to purchase the entire 96, you can buy sets of 10 also!
For my very first envelope project, I purchased the Pentel Arts Sign Pens – Flexible Tip. I love these pens!!! They come in a set of 12. They are like the cousin of Tombow Fudenosuke Hard Nib, but in color!!! They are best used for small scale lettering projects.
The latest pens in my collection are the Zig Fudebiyori Metallic Brush Pens. I have only used the gold and blue, but they write extremely smooth. They come in a pack of 6. I’ve lettered on wood, canvas and paper with these pens. The pens are best small, medium or large scale lettering projects.
I hope this post helps if you’re trying to decide which brush pens to purchase on your hand lettering journey. Below are links to purchase all of the pens listed in this post…in case you want all of the pens like me 😉
Tombow Fudenosuke Hard/Soft Tip Set – https://www.amazon.com/Tombow-Fudenosuke-Brush-Pen-Pens/dp/B01M71S9DU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497201780&sr=8-1&keywords=tombow+fudenosuke+hard+tip
Prismacolor Scholar Brush Pens – https://www.amazon.com/Prismacolor-Scholar-Markers-10-Pkg-Brush/dp/B008UGDWMY/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1497201316&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=prismacolor+scholar+brush+pens
Tombow Dual Brush Pens (Bright): https://www.amazon.com/Tombow-Brush-Markers-Bright-10-Pack/dp/B00JVB8FBA/ref=sr_1_1?s=office-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1497201449&sr=1-1&keywords=tombow+dual+brush+pens+bright