Okay, here's whats up. Every time I post ANYTHING on Instagram, I get a ton of comments asking what supplies I am using. I compleeeeetely understand the desire to know what the best tools are for your lettering and calligraphy- and when you're starting out, you want to buy the good stuff. But that said, it's a bit discouraging as an artist having so many of those comments. Having people wondering what pen made that writing look so nice... but knowing that it isn't the pen that matters- it's the amount of time you practice with that pen! Okay, rant: over. Seriously, I don't mean to sound bitter. I just can't get to all of your comments, but I do want to help you choose tools that are right for you!
So without further ado, I bring to you the "Which Pen Is This?" series. This series will be a comprehensive list of supplies that you will see all over my feed, and others. The best part? Click directly on the photos I've attached here for a direct link to buy from my Amazon store. If you're like me, ordering from Canada, make sure you check Amazon.ca too. These links are for Amazon.com, simply because they have more products available and they arrive faster. If you don't mind wait times, or ordering from strange suppliers, definitely save your money and use .ca! (Note: you should also check www.jetpens.com or www.paperinkarts.com- but beware of the shipping & exchange!)
Stay tuned for further editions of this series- for modern calligraphy supplies, general crafty stuff, and more.
1. Tombow Dual Brush Pens
Tombow dual brush pens are definitely the most talked about brushes on Instagram. They have one end with a brush (flexible) tip for creating thicks and thins, and one end with a normal felt tip smaller point. They are commonly seen for "blending" colours together (which is super cool) and they can make some really cool watercolour effects, too!
You won't see many on my feed, simply because I don't typically write things big enough to use a pen like this. I do own them, and I do use them, but more for when I am teaching and I need to write big on a flipchart.
2. Tombow Fudenosuke Hard & Soft Tip Brush Pens
These are my #1 recommendation for beginners and pros alike. Order them in bulk! The hard tip pen has a fairly stiff brush on the end, allowing you to use a decent amount of pressure if you're heavy handed (like me) and still not wreck it. The soft tip has a very similar tip, but slightly more flexible. It will require a bit more practice. They both create great thicks and thins, and last a pretty long time (just make sure you use them on good quality paper!). They are great for achieving the look of pen and ink when you can't use pen and ink (on finicky envelopes, for example).
3. Pentel Fude Touch Sign Pens
FIrst of all, BE CAREFUL buying these ones! DO NOT CONFUSE THEM for the Pentel Felt Tip Sign Pens. They look the EXACT same, but they will not have a brush tip! (I may or may not be saying this from experience!)
These pens are wonderful- they are very very similar to the Tombow Fudenosuke Soft. Their tip is very similar, in that it requires a bit of practice, but it is still a great beginner pen. The upside to these is that they come in various colours, which the Tombow's do not!
4. Pentel Aquash Brush Pens
This is that cool pen you'll see everyone doing awesome watercolour (or ink) blending techniques with. You can do two things with it- fill the barrel with water and dip the tip in your colour, or fill the barrel with ink/liquid watercolour directly. They are versatile that way!
I want to say that switching to this type of pen is flawless if you're used to a brush tip, but it's not. At least it wasn't for me. It does require some practice and manoeuvring at different angles! But still very fun. It comes in different sizes, too (and they're sold separately, but I linked to the three pack).
5. Pentel Pocket Brush Pens
The pocket brush is a bit less popular on Instagram for whatever reason, but has a similar tip to the aquash brush pens. It is pretty darn flexible, like a real brush. The black that it produces is also very dark and "juicy" (which is weird to say, but if you're obsessed with brush pens, you'll get it).
This pen comes with refillable cartridges, which is awesome, because it's reusable. They can sometimes be a little finicky to get the ink flowing properly. And they definitely require some finesse and practice to master for consistent strokes.
6. Pentel Color Brush Pens ("Art Brush")
This pen is very similar to the pocket brush pen, but comes preloaded in a certain colour (and is bigger). Again, the plus is that you can buy a full barrel of colour to replace it when it runs out rather than buying a whole new pen. And again, they require some finesse and practice.
7. Sakura Koi Water Brush Pens
These water brush pens are very similar to the information I listed for the Pentel Aquash pens above. Koi also makes a shorter, more "portable" version, but I find it a bit awkward to hold. Same as the Pentel Aquash, though, in that you can either fill it with water, or with ink/liquid watercolour. I don't notice a big difference between the two!
8. Sakura Koi Coloring Brush Pens
These are very similar to the Tombow dual brush pen, except that it isn't dual tipped! The brush end is similar. It has a nice "juicy" (there's that word again) colour. It is also blendable, meaning you can create those cool mixed colours or ombré effects you see all over the place these days.
9. Kuretake Zig Clean Color Brush Pens
These brush pens have a medium size tip- slightly smaller than the Tombow and the Koi listed above. I definitely find them more accurate-these brush pens have actual hair tips and they make a nice fine line. Again, it requires some practice since it is fairly flexible, but these are definitely great pens.
10. Lyra Aqua Brush Duo Pens
These Lyra pens are very similar to Tombow dual brush pens. They also are dual tipped, one end has a brush and one end has a felt tip. The difference, to me, is in the 'juicyness" of the colour, as well as the flex of the brush. I find the Lyra slightly more stiff than the Tombow, meaning it works well for people with a heavy hand like me. They are also blendable, and have watercolour capabilities!
11. Faber-Castell PITT Brush Pens
The PITT brush pens are a bit different than anything we've listed above so far. People either love them, or hate them. I love them because of the rich colours, the size of the tip, and the fact that they're readily available in Canadian stores. However, I hate them because of the way the tip frays. I have a heavy hand (in case you didn't hear me say that the first 3 times above) and I find that after the first 1-2 words I write with these pens, they lose their stiffness and they don't bounce back. They also fray reeeeally quickly if you use them on the wrong types of paper. (Interestingly, I find the black ones fray more than the coloured ones. Maybe that's just me).
15. Sharpie Brush Tip Markers
Who doesn't love Sharpies? When I found out they made brush pens, I was SO excited. I think I own every single colour of Sharpie that exists, so this was another way for me to expand my collection.
I didn't love the tip on these brushes- it just doesn't "bounce back" after you press on it. The colours are as vibrant as you expect, and they definitely do bleed through paper like any old Sharpie would. And yes, they are definitely permanent. The biggest downfall to these is that they die (dry up) fairly quickly, so sometimes you'll be half way through a word and it'll just start to fade a bit. (Again, like any old Sharpie).