5 Awesome Brush Pens for Calligraphy and Lettering
Whether you are starting in brush calligraphy or brush lettering, or you’re a seasoned pro, brush pens should always be part of your toolbox. Unlike pointed pen nibs, which are a bit more rigid, brush pens are flexible, and they allow you to make strokes that have more contrast. Brush pens are versatile and allow you to have varying degrees of expression on your strokes.
They come in different materials as well. Some are using synthetic hairs, while some of them are felt tip, and are often the primary differentiators in the type of strokes you can make using the pens.
From the cover photo, you can see that there are a lot of brush pens available out there, and those are only a handful that I own and use. Having said that, despite having a lot of them, I always resort to using some of them more than the others. Without further ado, these are the five brush pens that I recommend for every day calligraphy and lettering.
*Note: I am linking back to Amazon for your convenience, but I do not use any affiliate links, and I do not earn from them. I purchased most of these pens from Singapore. The prices I will quote are all in Singapore Dollars (with conversion to US Dollar at the current exchange rate of 1.4 SGD to 1 USD).
1. Pentel Pocket Brush
The Pentel Pocket Brush is what it is – it’s a pocket brush! – that you can bring in your every day carry. The brush is using synthetic hairs and is very flexible. You can write from any angle – even vertical, and the brush will not break. However, because the brush is flexible, it will be a bit harder to control. The strokes glide smoothly on paper, and they are of medium thickness. It comes only in black, but that’s enough for doing some sketches and drafts.
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You can even use it to draw landscapes and other illustrations. Here’s an example of a great portrait using the pen by @artoisotalo.
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Depending on the paper, the ink may turn out a bit washed out. However, overall, it looks great. If you want a versatile all-around brush pen that you can carry in your pocket, this is for you.
Where I bought it: Tokyu Hands Singapore (Also Available at Overjoyed) Price: S$ 13 (US$ 9.29)
2. Zig No. 22 Brush
The name is a bit odd, but welcome candidate number two for my five brush pen picks. The No. 22 Brush Pen from Zig Kuretake is another must have in an artist’s toolbox. This brush pen nib is nylon, like the Pentel Pocket Brush, and is also very flexible. You can also write at any angle, and the bristles will not break. What’s nice about this pen is its versatility and the contrast that you can get. It can write from very thin to very thick strokes. The ink is an excellent black that makes the lines and the ink pop out when paired with other colors, just like in this piece.
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You can also use it to draw landscapes and portraits. Overall, it’s a versatile brush pen that gives you strokes with character.
Where I bought it: Art Friend Singapore (Also Available at Tokyu Hands, Overjoyed, NBC) Price: S$ 7 (US$ 5)
3. Stained by Sharpie
Who knew Sharpie made brush pens? Stained by Sharpie are permanent fabric markers, and you can get pretty creative using them on various surfaces like @xkik99x did on her pair of shoes:
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These brush pens are felt-tipped and are sturdy. When you are using these for lettering or calligraphy on paper, it’s best to use this at an angle (around 45-60 degrees). As with felt-tipped markers, there will be some resistance when you write, but this is good especially if you are starting out, or if you are having a hard time controlling the thickness of the strokes. While you can write vertically, keep it light, so the nib does not break.
You can play with a lot of fun and bright colors. It’s also a slightly cheaper option than most brush pens around, and since Sharpie makes it, it should be easy to find (though in Singapore, for some reason, I can’t seem to find the black-colored one). The only downside of this pen is that the ink runs out quite fast. The ink may probably last you around 4 hours of brush lettering practice.
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Where I bought it:
NBC (Also Available at Times Bookstore)
S$ 2.5 (US$ 1.79)
4. Tombow Dual Brush
Now, we come to one of the more popular brush pens around. There’s a reason why a lot of people use this. These pens are fantastic but come at a cost. The Tombow Dual Brush pens come in 2 nibs on both ends. One is a brush tip, and the other is a hard tip for outlining or making fine lines.
The felt brush is flexible enough to give you contrast in strokes, but it’s more fragile than other brushes. It’s best to write at a 45-60 degree angle with this pen. When you write or draw while holding the pen vertically, you might break the nib. When this happens, you can see that the strokes are now frayed at the edges and are not as smooth as when you first used it.
The Dual Brush comes in a lot of colors that you can mix, match, and even blend. You can use the blending pen or some wax paper to mix two colors together (like watercolor) and draw using the new color. The possibilities are endless.
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Where I bought it:
Amazon US (Also Available at Times Bookstore, Overjoyed, NBC)
S$ 4.5 (US$ 3.21) *Current price per pen in Singapore.
5. Pentel Touch
Last but not the least, it’s the Pentel Touch pens. It’s the size of regular pens, and can also fit in your pocket. It has a small felt tip that gives you excellent control. It is also durable and can sustain firm pressure. These pens are perfect for journaling and making some comics. The nibs may be small and thin, but they give an amazing contrast to your lines. These come in many colors, and did I say handy? They are versatile and fun to use.
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Where I bought it:
Tokyu Hands (Also Available at Overjoyed)
S$ 2.5 (US$ 1.79)
These are my top 5 brush pens. What is your favorite? Do you have any pen you love that is not on the list? Let me know down in the comments.