When I first heard of brush lettering, I figured I’d just need a brush, some paint and paper… Right? But then I delved into Instagram and Facebook — research, you know? — and it was simply overwhelming. There were so many tools and product names… Which should I buy? Where were they sold? What were the best calligraphy pens for beginners?
If you’re completely new to lettering like I was, here are 10 super affordable felt-tip brush pens for you!
(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and purchase something, I make a small commission — but you still pay the same amount! I only put affiliate links on items I use and love.)
Felt-tip brush pens — what?
Caught that, didn’t you? Brush pens come in felt-tip or bristle-tip. Felt-tip pens are just one squishy mass of felt, much like your regular marker pens. Bristle-tips though are usually made of individual synthetic fibres like a real brush.
Bristle-tips are crazy flexible and pressure-sensitive, so I recommend starting with felt-tip brush pens before branching out!
1-3. Large Pens (aka alternatives to the Tombow Dual)
If this isn’t the first brush lettering supply post you’re reading, you’ve probably already heard of the Tombow Dual Brush Pens. They have a huge range of colours and work fab if you want to write big letters. But they aren’t on my list for one simple reason: price.
You’ll fray plenty of brush pens when you’re still figuring out the techniques — especially if you’re not sure if you want to invest in good paper yet. Tombow Duals cost about $4 each, which is steep compared to the pens I picked!
The Artline Stix, Sakura Koi Coloring Pen and Kuretake Zig Fudebiyori have the same stiffness to the Tombow Dual that makes it so beginner-friendly — but they range from $1.50-$2. You can see why I like them more!
Writing with a large pen is something you’ve got to do as a beginner! When you write bigger, it blows up your writing and makes it harder for you to ignore your mistakes and get into bad habits 😉
4-8. Small Pens
But as much as I love big pens, small pens are certainly more versatile! They are my go-to for headers in notes or to address letters and the like. The only downside to them is they rarely come in a great variety of colours.
My all-time favourites here are the Tombow Fudenosuke Hard tip and Zebra Fudebiyori EF. Both are stiff — stiffer than the big pens for sure! — which makes it easier for beginners to learn the pressure differences.
Also on my beginner shopping list is the Pentel Fudemoji (EF, F and M) and the Pentel Fude Touch Sign. These are closer to the big pens in terms of flexibility, but the great part? The Pentel Fude comes in 12 different colours, so that’s a bonus!
If you’re feeling a bit adventurous though, you could try the Shinhan Touch Liner Brush. If you keep to regular pressure, it writes very much like a Pentel Fude. But if you want to experiment, you can add way more pressure for an increased width.
Last but definitely not least, Crayolas. Whether you’re using a PipSqueak or SuperTip, these kiddy markers can absolutely be used for brush calligraphy. You probably know already that they are extremely inexpensive and come in a multitude of colours. And bonus? They barely fray since they are so solid.
Since the tips aren’t exactly flexible, you’ll have to vary the technique a little by rolling your pen somewhat. I put together a little gif to demonstrate!
Which of these brush pens do you like best? Let me know in the comments!