One of the most common questions I get is about what pens I recommend for a beginner in brush calligraphy. There are so many options out there – and sometimes they can be hard to find or frankly, kind of pricey! And as a beginner, you might not be ready to shell out a ton of money for pens quite yet.
After some thinking, here are my top 5 right now for beginners learning brush calligraphy. I intentionally left off the Tombow Dual Brush pens because, let’s be honest, you already know about those and I’d rather share some other finds. 😉
5 Awesome (and affordable!) Pens for Beginners Brush Calligraphy
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Crayola Broad Tip Marker. Yep, you’ve heard that right – the school supplies you used to buy are also a great beginner tool for calligraphy. They’re fun to use, come in so many colors, and are less than $6 for 10 markers. They aren’t permanent or “light fast” (meaning they will fade in sunlight), but you can’t deny how fun they are to use. You can follow along with regular drills, check out the #crayligraphy or #crayoligraphy tags on Instagram, or follow @TierneyStudio Colin for his Crayligraphy series. Purchase at any general, art, or drug store like Target, Walmart, Michael’s, etc.
Crayola Paint Brush Pen. These are shocker of the list – who even KNEW these existed?! I stumbled upon these at Target and had to give them a shot. I got 5 of these in basic colors for less than $5. The tip is large, I think even larger than a Tombow, and their tips are just a tiny bit more pliable which means you should go slowly. Requires just a touch more practice to utilize. Meant for kids, they are super inky. See it in action here.
Artist Loft Dual Brush Pens. These are the Michael’s general brand of brush pen, in direct comparison to the Tombow Dual Brush Pens. I did a video comparison here, but I like these pens because you can get 24 for $30 – and if you wait for the right week, you can get 40% off. These tips are a little firmer than the Tombow, so they are actually pretty friendly for beginners. Bummer? No purple. Boo!
Pentel Sign Brush Pens. I LOVE these. They are fine tip meaning you can use them in your bullet journal and smaller works, as well as pretty easily manipulated for beginners. I use them all over my Instagram page. I’ve never been able to find these in stores (the black one is available sometimes at Michael’s on the end-cap), but I’ve gotten mine at Wet Paint (St. Paul), Amazon, and JetPens before. A single pen is about $2.50 on JetPens, which isn’t too bad.
Tombow Fudenosuke Hard Tip. This is available on Amazon but is cheaper on JetPens ($2.50) – it gets sold out pretty quickly but is a FAVORITE of mine (and so many others) for lettering. It’s basic, fine, black – and makes it easy for you to really PUSH down for thick downstrokes.
How to Start Brush Calligraphy
I use regular printer paper, so I wouldn’t worry about that YET. But now what?
- Do drills. Some of my favorite ones are by Sharisse. You must practice with these parts of the letter before doing full words. I got SO much better from doing drills.
- Practice Guides. You can use some common guides to get started on practicing your letter forms. Everyone has a different style, so it’s fun to practice each one. I compiled a ton of my favorite brush calligraphy practice sheets here.
- Check out my brush calligraphy tutorials for how I draw each letter of the alphabet on YouTube! ABCDE, FGHI, JKL, MNOP, QRS, TUVW, XYZ
What are your favorite beginner brush pens? What are you working on in your lettering game?