Disclaimer: none of the products shown in this article are sponsored. They are products that I have personally enjoyed using for past years. Everyone has preferences, so please keep in mind that I am not endorsing any specific products, and some products might not be right for you.
Welcome to the October edition of Rosy Hand Lettering!
Like other arts and hobbies, hand lettering requires specific equipment to create lettering. Let’s have a look at the tools of the trade!
There are many different types of specialized pens out there in the world—much more than you can imagine! Here are some pens that I recommend for hand lettering.
Everyday pencils and pens. Yes, everyone has these somewhere in the house. If you can’t afford or find any of the other pens listed below, you can just use these two to follow along!
Although I would LOVE to go through each of the pens in the photo individually, I’ll only review the starred ones, which I use the most.
Sakura Micron 05 & 01
I love Micron pens because not only are they waterproof, but they also don’t leak through the paper like Sharpies or other permanent markers would. I strongly recommend getting at least the Micron pens if you can’t get any other pens. I also use this pen for journaling and other art forms. These pens comes in different thicknesses and colors, and you can easily purchase them either from Amazon or local art store.
This brush pen is double ended, which means you get two colors for each pen. It has a flexible and really smooth brush tip, but it might be slightly tricky for beginners. ZIG Brushables comes in many different colors, but it’s not waterproof.
This tiny brush pen is waterproof (unlike ZIG), but it’s a bit tricky to write in cursive with this pen, since it has a stiffer brush than ZIG; however, it’s perfect for block letters.
Note: Comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large. Only available in black.
Although not shown in the photos above, Crayola markers are the most affordable hand lettering pens. The tip is not flexible like brush pens, but because the tip has a triangular shape, people can use it as an brush pen by moving the angle of the marker. Since it has a stiff tip, it is easy for beginners to start with.
Note: Crayola comes in many different colors, but it is not waterproofed.
Here is a photo to give you an idea about how much each pen leaks through average A4 printing paper.
If you just want to try out hand lettering for fun, here are the items I would recommend:
- Two Sakura Micron pens, one with a thicker tip and another with a thinner tip
- A brush pen (either ZIG, Zebra, or Crayola Markers)
If you are satisfied with these basic tools, you can skip to the end of this article or wait until next month’s article. However, if you consider hand lettering as a potential long term hobby, then keep reading!
Watercolor Brushes and Watercolors
There are two types of watercolor brushes, classic watercolor brushes that need water to dip, and the water brush pen that already has water in it.
Usually classic watercolor brushes have higher prices compared to water brush pens, because unlike water brush pens with plastic brushes, watercolor brushes are made out of animal fur.
I actually recommend water brush pens over watercolor brush pens because of their affordability and portability. When using a water brush pen, you don’t need to prepare a bowl of water, because the pen already contains the water inside.
What’s the use of the brushes without paint? Watercolors are all over the place, and either liquid or solid watercolor will work. Watercolors look great with hand lettering, so make sure you have some to use in the future!
Sometimes black can get a bit boring; that’s when these metallic pens comes in! You can get gold, silver, rose gold, all kinds of metallic pens. They can either highlight an important word in the phrase you write, or you can use one as a decoration when it looks like the lettering is a bit monotonous.
Calligraphy Pen & Nib
Yes, when you start falling in love with hand lettering, you will soon come across calligraphy pens as well. But for now, just know that a calligraphy pen has two parts–the stick, and the nib. It’s used by dipping the pen into ink, which requires a lot of patience and integrity.
As far as paper goes, the specific type doesn’t matter a lot during the beginner process; A4 printing paper, watercolor paper, gouache paper, or cards will all work.
However, once you start putting more effort into lettering, you definitely don’t want your final product to be ruined because the ink leaked or spread on the paper. The quality of the paper begins to matter more than you can imagine.
For these reasons, I have found that watercolor papers work the best; they are easy to find, if slightly pricey, but the inks will neither spread nor leak through the paper. Some journals also have papers with great quality, which even calligraphy inks can’t leak through. I’ve also heard from many professionals that Rhodia Pad and HP Premium Laser Jet Paper work well for hand lettering.
Hand lettering requires consistent practice. No one writes the perfect letter from the beginning; you must have a patient heart every time you pick up your pen, trusting yourself that you are capable of writing beautiful letters. It might be a few week, few months, or even years, but in the end it’ll be all worth it!
With these pens, papers, and patience, you are ready to start hand lettering!
If you have any questions regarding the equipment, leave a comment down below and I’ll answer them as best as I can! Enjoy October!