It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the calligraphy/lettering and bullet journal tools and tips that have really been working (or NOT working!) for me lately. What I find is that there are three kinds of supplies I have: classic go-to things I love and are my foundation supplies, the fun seasonal things I like to use every so often, and then the things I tried and unfortunately don’t recommend. I’ll share my own experience and reviews in hopes that it will help you out as well.
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Foxy Notebook Cover: As you all know… I love me some Foxy. These leather covers keep my inserts safe and gives some organization to my chaos. I have always used a Classic No 7 size, which fits 8×5 inserts (not quite large enough for A5). In transparency, I am an affiliate with Foxy Fix, but I do it because I LOVE Kelly and the care they take in all their products and engaging with their community of supporters. They are an investment but I love them.
iPad Pro + Apple Pencil: For my handlettering work, the iPad has been a NO-BRAINER for me. The things I can do in the Procreate App have allowed me more experimentation time, saved me on my ink for sketching ideas, and time digitizing my worksheets. This surely means some fun things coming atcha from the shop soon (!). This is quite the investment, and I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I have to tell you that I love it.
Pilot G2 0.5mm: These gel pens are my go-to staple. I’ve loved them since high school and they have served me well – they are colorful, they dry pretty quickly (0.7mm does take a second though), and are accessible. I use them for everyday writing to handlettering, and it typically doesn’t ghost in my May Designs notebooks and minimally in my Leuchtturms.
LAMY Al-Star: I just got this fountain pen and so far, I like the body of it compared to the plastic body of the Safari. I got the extra fine tip and found that it started off super fine and it has loosened a bit – so a little more ink comes out and it looks more like a “fine” tip, if that makes sense. I’m looking forward the use of the cartridge to get different inks.
Ultra-Thin Light Pad: If you letter and need to trace, I love this light pad. It is super thin so you can hide it anywhere, plus it has 3 LED settings that give you a variety of light shining through different thicknesses of paper. This is one of the most affordable options I have found as well.
Crayola SuperTips: I finally caved and bought some of these thin markers. I’ve been loving lettering with the broad-tip Crayola markers so I was skeptical at first… but I’m loving how many colors there are. The tips are more flexible though, so I find myself rotating them more often to continue getting the thin upstroke. Plus, I’m loving these fun effects with the white Uniball Signo gel pen on top in my bullet journal spreads.
Sakura Koi Brush Pens: (pina colada) So I ordered the 8 pack and was pretty excited about them. After using them, they’re kind of middle-of-the-road for me. The tips are between a Tombow dual brush and Pentel Sign tip (so medium) – and the tips got soft pretty quickly after a few uses, which made my upstrokes a little more difficult to get thin lines. I’d recommend the Zig Brushables, Michael’s Artist Loft dual brush pens, and Tombows over these if you’re looking for a big-ish brush.
Kuretake Fudebiyori (metallic): Similar to the Koi brush pens above – I ordered it mainly for the metallic aspect of it. It definitely is a wonderful metallic, but I found the same issue as the Koi where the tip is thicker and difficult to get super thin lines. BUT it is hella fun on dark paper for wrapping gifts.
Liquitex Gold Acrylic Paint: I am on a gold SPREEEEE y’all. I am loving this liquid acrylic paint because it is such an iridescent and bright gold that really shimmers when you put it on stuff. I’ve used it on canvas bags, my Foxy (which does wear off over time – which makes sense since I didn’t seal it), and on my dresser.
Erin Condren Journal: So I did a review of these notebooks a few months ago – they are fun notebooks with a variety of beautiful covers that can be customized, plus the paper is pretty great. The coil-bound notebook has proven to be much more sturdy and resilient than the perfect bound journal. The spine hasn’t held up so the pages are coming out of it the more I wanted it to lay flat – so that’s a bummer! But the coil bound notebook still works beautiful for that. The grid is just a touch bigger than my preference, but that is a personal thing vs a functional thing
Artist Loft Liquid Watercolor: Ummm I’m obsessed with these. They are sold in stores in a rack on the bottom shelf of the watercolor section, so you might miss them, but they are so fun to letter with. I’m not sure they are light-fast or archival, but they are easy to work with and work well on pointed pen calligraphy. Also, don’t spill them on your carpet. That will not come out.
All in all, friends – you don’t need anything special. It gets easy to accumulate a ton of stuff (trust…. I can show you the evidence) and sometimes it is overwhelming the number of products we are buried under. That is not the point. Creating and planning are not entirely about the tools, but how you use them. In the same way that buying workout gear doesn’t make you an athlete or ripped, buying a lot of supplies will not make you the artist or planner you hope to be. SO hopefully these reviews help you decide what you might want to prioritize or not in your list. If you want to experiment with new stuff, I highly recommend going through sites like JetPens to buy one pen at a time to try things in your favorite colors – rather than spending a lot of money on a whole pack of stuff that you might not even love.
What do you think? Are you set on your supplies for now? Is there stuff you have on your list?