I am by no means an expert in the hand lettering subject but I’ve tried a fair amount of tools in the past few years. I mainly use these tools when I hand letter Wild Wagon Co greeting cards.
Please keep in mind these are the tools I like to use and I am comfortable with. This is not a sponsored post, just my opinion.
Pentel Fude Touch
My favorite brush to this day remains the Pentel Touch. It has a small tip but great flexibility with gets you great contrast in your strokes. This pen requires a greater amount of concentration and slower movement. I absolutely love addressing envelopes with it.
Pentel Aqua Brush
One of my first tools was this Pentel Aqua Brush. I’ve used it quite aggressively for the first few months, experimenting with inks and paints. I think it was around that time that I went too far and clogged up this brush. I later bought a few cheap water brushes but I’ve found myself wanting the Pentel brush back for its flow and elastic tip.
I don’t believe in throwing things away when they could be fixed. I spent about an hour in the bathroom cleaning this brush. I was determined to unclog it. I eventually had to take it completely apart (pull the brush hairs out) to clean it. I was pretty scared I would not be able to put the brush hairs back but luckily I put it all back together.
It would’ve been a lot easier to buy a new one, but I like a good challenge. This brush also has a story and emotional attachment that a store bought one wouldn’t have.
$3 Japenese Felt tip Pen
There is a Japanese $3 store on Queen St in Auckland CBD. I absolutely love browsing their stationery section. Quite often I find myself with my hands full of staplers and erasers, running to get a basket. I have to talk myself out of getting a lot of things when I’m there. I decided to experiment this time around and buy a cheap, three dollar brush pen. It is refillable and has a medium soft felt tip.
I had to break it in to get the result I was looking for and get it to stop squeaking but the result is quite nice. It has a nice bounce and the ink is jet black. It is very opaque and works best (for me) for tracing and scanning lettering.
Though this is a post about writing tools, tracing paper is definitely something I don’t like running out of! I might cover paper, grid paper and light pads in a future post!
Pentel Pocket Brush and Kuretake Zig
I’m pretty sure there must be a Facebook fan page for the Pentel Pocket Brush. This brush is versatile, refillable and my second favorite tool I use. Depending on the amount of ink in the cartridge the ink flow varies from medium to slow. The less ink left in the refill, the more interesting texture effects you can achieve.
Kuretake Zig was an impulsive buy at the art store. I like this marker for it’s rubber brush tip. This type of tip eliminates the chipped edge that a lot of other (Copic/Tombow) brush markers leave you with. The ink flow is very “juicy” for a lack of a better word, leaving you with consistent opaque strokes.
So I’ve covered my favorite hand lettering markers. But what would I be less inclined to buy again?
I am partial to using Copics. For the price you pay I find they have a very quick life span. They dry out quite easily and give you chipped edge when lettering. I am also not a big fan of dual brushes because I never use other tip and they are inconvenient to transport (they don’t fit in any of my pencil or brush cases). That’s a very personal con, but nonetheless it is one to me.
I’ve also found the Tombow brushes to lose the felt tip shape quite fast causing the same chipped edge effect as with Copics. It is great for broad strokes or casual lettering but it has a very short lifespan. The worn out tip can create some interesting results but then again, it all depends on what you’re after.
One tool I fall back on is a…brush! While visiting in Moldova I made sure to stock up on about a dozen brushes. My entire binge shopping came down to roughly $40nzd. That’s Eastern Europe for you. I now use Nevskaya Palitra’s Synthetic burshes a lot. I’m quite happy with their synthetic range, particularly the Nº3 round brush.
If you’ve been reading my blog you’ve probably noticed the last few blog titles were hand lettered. I really enjoyed using a pencil to create the titles, especially the Spring one. Though I’ve overlooked pencils for quite some time (just used them for sketching), I’ve stumbled upon a few letterers creating beautiful line depths with it.
I’ve fallen quite hard for the Palomino pencils. They don’t ever break, sharpen very well, their graphite is of smooth and high quality and they come in two delicious colours: 2B orange and HB blue.
Finally, a good letterer can work with a stick. You don’t need fancy tools to justify your work. While these brushes and markers provide efficiency and convenience you don’t have to have them. If you’re like me, you probably like experimenting and trying new things. If you are, you might find yourself in the kids craft section looking for the new crayola marker you can letter with. Experiment and find what tools you’re comfortable with and serve your needs.