If you’ve followed me for awhile you know I had a blog just for lettering Little Moments Lettering. I ended up deciding it may be easier to move at least some of the posts here to make it easier for you to get started! As always, let me know if you have questions!
When I first began lettering, it was just starting to get popular. There weren’t very many books out yet so I spent hours searching for info on how to brush letter (and we’ll get to that soon). Today’s post, I just want to fill you in on what my favorite supplies are. Most of my favorite things I used to make this fun Cupcakes quote that my little quickly “stole” for her room!
I’ve tried a lot of different pens, but I notice I typically stick with my few favorites. Don’t feel you need to get any of these if you just want to try it out. A regular pen or pencil works and you can start with faux calligraphy and getting that muscle memory down on your drills.
1- Tombow Fudenosuke (fude)
These come in hard tip and soft tip. I do prefer the soft, but I’ve been told by so many calligrafriends that the hard tip can give you more control while you’re learning. This was the first pen I ever bought and it only comes in black. (Update: Hard tip has colors now!) They have a twin tip too and one end is gray for a shadow.
2- Tombow Dual Brush pens
These are really popular, and for good reason. After you learn and get comfortable with drills, then letters, you can use these for blending and all sorts of fun things. These pens have a big brush tip on one end and a regular fine tip marker on the other end. I use these regularly. They’re possibly my very favorite.
3- Kuretake Fudebiyori
These come in a lot of fun colors including metallic that show up on even black paper. These are also considered big pens, but they’re not quite as big as the Tombows. I love the way my writing looks when I use these.
4- Micron Pens
I love these for quick outlines, although a lot of times I’ll use my tombow fude for shadows. My favorite sizes are the 08 and the 05. I have the colors, but, I typically stick with the black and these are great for faux calligraphy, details or if I letter out a Bible verse i’ll use my Micron to write the verse at the bottom.
5- Tombow Blending Kit
Idk that this is really a must have for some people, especially if you’re starting out. But, I use mine almost daily. It comes with a colorless blending dual brush, a compact spray bottle, and a blending sheet with their color wheel on it. I absolutely love the cute little spray bottle because it really is the perfect size. I use it when I make the watercolor backgrounds (with a Ziploc bag). I use the blending sheet to blend the different shades of tombows together for a really fun effect.
6- Pentel Touch Sign Brush Pens
If you love the Tombow Fude but want it in the different colors you’ll like these smaller pens. They’re really similar to the soft tip Tombow Fude but in bright rainbow colors. Just make sure they’re the brush tip with the glittery barrel and not the felt tip (basically a regular pen) with the solid color barrel.
7- HP Premium Choice 32 lb Laser Jet paper
Brush pens fray very easily so you have to use extra smooth, high quality paper. This is my go to and I find it on Amazon. If you can’t find this or want something different, Rhodia pads are smooth like butter and possibly the best paper. I loved the dot and grid pads while I was learning because they gave me a guide to keep my lines where I needed them. Other options: Canson Marker Paper and tracing paper (perfect for those drills and muscle memory). I cannot stress enough to have good paper. Take this one seriously!
8- White pen
These are fun to have for that extra touch in your work! I love the uni-ball signo broad pen. It’s perfect for those stand out details and highlights. It comes in other colors too, like gold (which is also pretty).
If you’re hoping to get into Watercolor there are so many options to choose from. To start I’d recommend the Winsor & Newton Cotman tubes and an empty palette that can close. I started with their Lemon yellow, Cyan, and Permanent Rose and saw how many different colors I could make (which was actually so much fun!). I made way more than I thought I would be able to and it helped me understand color blending better. I just added to my collection from there after seeing what colors I made/ used the most were. Other favorite Watercolors: Brea Reese Glitter Inks, Ecoline, and Finetec. My favorite brush is the Princeton Velvetouch size 2 Round and the Winsor & Newton Cotman Round Size 2.
10- Pointed Pen
I’ve only recently started getting into pointed pen so what I write here, may change at some point. I’ve tried a few different nibs. Nikko G, Zebra G, Brause 361 Steno Blue Pumpkin Nib and the Brause 66 Extra Fine Arrow Nib. Honestly, I like them all but lately I do find myself using the Blue Pumpkin nib more often. I use Speedball black india ink and the same paper as I do for my brush pens (see #7).
There are so many great brush pens and art supplies out there that its so hard to narrow it down! But, these are definitely my most used. If you have any questions about supplies or where to start on anything, as always, you can send me a message just go to the “Contact me” page or you can DM me on social media. ❤️
Do you have any favorites? Let me know!
You’ve got your supplies, so now what?!
Hopefully by now, you’ve already read about my favorite supplies to start with and you’ve got what you need. But, now what?
They seem boring and pointless, but seriously I can’t tell you how much of a game changer it was once I got these down.
I mentioned muscle memory a lot in my last post and that’s basically making a habit of consistency. Consistent brush strokes make consistent letters. After I learned how to make the shape the “right” way, I learned how to break the rules and develop my own style. Becca at the Happy Ever Crafter has put together amazing worksheets for this (and goes through letters etc.). If you have a chance, go join in on those!
But, I still want to help you get started so here’s what they are and how to do them. On your upstrokes you use light pressure, on the downstroke you use heavy pressure. If you’re using a brush pen for this, don’t worry, they’re made for this and that pressure won’t hurt them. But, be sure you’re going slow when you’re doing drills and lettering.
So, these may or may not be the technical names, but we’ve gotta have something to call them!
Upstroke (Entrance/Exit stroke)
Ascender( these go above, think the letter b, h, l etc)
Descender(these go below, think the letter j, g, y etc)
Also, see my handwriting? That’s pretty good for me, haha! You don’t have to have good handwriting to be good at lettering!
Practice these. A lot. I wanna see pages and pages of these! These will be the main shapes in your letters. Anytime I start for the day or if I get new brush pens, this is where I start.
So, as always, I’d love to hear from you. I still have some drill sheets posted from when I was doing them on my Instagram when I started. Go check them out- click the link to my Instagram on the page and follow me!❤️
This one little thing adds a huge (and favorite) touch to my lettering.
Adding a shadow.
This was really tough for me to get the concept of at first, but it got easier and now I do it on pretty much everything I letter.
I love using my Tombow Fude Hard Tip pen for this but I’ve used Microns, Paper mate flair pens, gelly rolls, Tombow’s dual brush… Point is-most anything works. You can also grab one of your gray Tombow Dual Brush pens and use that.
So first, letter out your word.
Next, decide where your light is coming from-which side will you shade. I like to put my shading on the right side. I also like to do a thicker shadow with the downstrokes too sometimes.
Another idea-leave a little space between your letter and your shadow for a different fun shadow effect. Or after shading, go back in with your white uni-signo pen and add a highlight line in between the letter and the shadow.
You can use different colors for your shadows. I’ve done this a lot. I did a lime green Halloween quote and used a purple Pentel brush pen for a shadow. The only rule you need to really follow is to keep the shading on the same side of each letter.
Feel free to message me or comment if you have any questions or anything at all! Click the link to my Instagram to see some of the shadow effects I’ve used. While you’re there, click that follow button! ❤️
Fake It Til Ya Make It Faux Calligraphy
When I started lettering I wanted to make pretty things so badly, but didn’t have the drills down quite yet to be able to do that. So, while I worked on my drills behind the scenes, I did Faux Calligraphy to share.
I assume you’ve heard of it, but just in case…
Letter out a word or phrase how you want it. I recommend adding a little more space than you would normally, make it a little wider and more drawn out.
Now, there isn’t necessarily much special about this yet, but we’ll get it there. Now, we’re going to add the downstrokes. Think back on your drills and where we press down and go ahead and add those now. Remember if your pen is moving upwards it’s an upstroke if you’re pen is moving downward it’s a downstroke and needs thickened.
There. Once it’s FULLY dried, erase the pencil marks.
Now from here, you still have choices. Do you want to leave it open and uncolored? Do you want to add designs with lines, dots, patterns of any kind? Color it in? Darken it? Practice and find your signature style! Have fun with it.
As always, I’d love to hear what you want to learn about or any questions you have!
Floral Faux Calligraphy
So again, we’re going to start with our faux calligraphy (you can do this with any type of lettering btw!). I decided to go with the fauxligraphy (is that a word? Hmm.). So, just like before- write out your word how you want it and do it in pencil. Erase “breaks” where you want your little flowers to go. Draw your flowers in. Then you can darken your main lines and add in your down strokes. From here, like before, you can color it in or leave it open. Don’t forget to think outside the box. It doesn’t have to be a flower. Add pumpkins, or some snowflakes, spiderwebs, balloons… again- anything! Another reminder to let the ink dry completely before trying to erase your pencil marks. No one wants to spend so much time making it pretty just to have it smear at the end!❤️