I have been a long time fan of using Crayola markers as calligraphy and hand lettering tools – I often feature them on my suggested pen lists, and in my bullet journal layouts. They are a favorite because they are affordable and pretty accessible for people (at least in the United States) – and sometimes I find them easier to use than even brush pens.
I was first introduced to “Crayoligraphy” by Colin Tierney, who has been doing brush calligraphy with Crayola markers for a while. He has some information and brush calligraphy sheets that help you get used to the marker strokes on his website as well if you want to check that out!
But today I’ll do a crash course on my reviews and suggestions for the broad tip markers and super tips so you can get started with your own Crayligraphy practice. Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you happen to purchase something, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you! Thanks for the support – it helps run giveaways and support reviews of products.
Before you get started below, I recommend hopping over to my “beginning handlettering” video that goes over things like grip, pen angle to the paper, and basics of pushing down for thick downstrokes and thin upstrokes to achieve the calligraphy look.
Crayola broad tip markers. These are the classic markers you might have grown up with, and they come in so many different colors and varieties. They are some of my favorite to use for larger size lettering – I liken them to the size of the Tombow Brush pens, but with a stiffer tip. The firm tip makes upstrokes easier to achieve (for me), and the bigger barrel makes it easier for me to control in general compared to the more sensitive Tombow. You use these similar to how you’d use a brush pen, by pushing down harder on your downstrokes and lighten the pressure on your upstrokes. It does write differently, so take a little bit to get familiar with the marker.
As you press with them, it pushes the tip down, so you’ll want to do a quarter turn of the marker in your hand to get a fresh tip for the thin strokes.
The only dud experience I’ve had with the Crayola broad tips are the Gel FX markers. They claim to show up on dark paper but unfortunately that was not the case – maybe I got the wrong set or it was a dud because the other reviews seems to suggest they work for others, but they only created some faint strokes on the black cardstock I had (see below).
Crayola Supertips. I love these skinnier markers for smaller lettering work – and they come in a beautiful array of colors to boot. They easily give you a similar calligraphy effect by varying your pressure on your down and upstrokes, but the tips get pushed down faster than the broad tip markers, which means you’ll need to turn the markers a quarter turn more often to keep the thin strokes thin.
PipSqueaks: A cousin of the SuperTip, these are shorter than the Supertips with the same tips. The short length makes it portable for sure, but the writing experience is a little strange because they are short enough to hit the edge of my hand which disrupts a little bit of the weight distribution for me personally.
Paint Brush Markers: These are totally meant for children to do painting with – but they are also a decent practice marker for brush calligraphy. The tip is similar size to the Tombow, but is more pliable than it, so the upstrokes get thick after a while. I suspect that they won’t last long but they are great for practice! They are super inky so I don’t recommend using them in your notebook, but fine for loose-leaf practice.
In practice, you can see some ghosting in notebooks using the SuperTips and broad tip markers:
On the left is the Leuchtturm 1917 dot grid. It’s common knowledge that the Leuchtturm has a ghosting issue for some folks, so you are able to see some of the markers through (hence why I skipped a page). On the right is the Erin Condren journal. I did a review on this journal recently, but you can see some of the Supertips showing through. I haven’t tried it with the Rhodia webnotebook but I suspect it would not be an issue at all because their paper quality is the bomb dot com.
Now that you’ve gotten a handle on a few of the marker types, I highly recommend that you check out some of these other tips and worksheets:
Are you giving Crayoligraphy a try? I’d love to hear! What other tips are you hoping for? It might be my next video!
Grace and peace,