10 Lettering Tools I Am Obsessed With / by Olivia Penero

There's just a plethora of materials and gadgets (hello, Ipad Pencil and Wacom) you can use when it comes to created hand-lettered projects. Different pencil types, pen types, brushes, inks - the list is endless. 

When I was just starting out, I used your standard No.2 pencil and Mitsubishi Uni Pin Sign Pen in 0.5. My work was mostly confined to small sections of my sketchpad in art class, so I didn't really see the need for purchasing too many branded or "legit-looking" tools. Two years later, and I just can't get enough of them. If you're curious, here are 10 of my favorite lettering materials.

 

Pens & Brushes

1. Mitsubishi Uni Pin Sign Pens

Before I started lettering, I'd use these pens for note-taking during college. I've always been attracted to sign pens for anything involving writing. I love their all-black design and the variety of points they give. For linework, I swear by these pens. 

2. Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens

After being gifted by a probable stalker-fan (who I still don't know the identity of), I fell in love after the first few strokes. I've been using it a lot in my journaling and other small projects that don't require super thick lines. They come in hard and soft versions.

3. Zig Brush Writers

For larger projects that demand a little bit of edge, this is what I use. The first Zig Brush I owned was also from a stalker-fan and I realized quickly that it could fit a more raw type of lettering style for me. As someone who likes clean, slick lines, this is like a break of routine.

4. Zig Cocoiro Letter Pens 

I bought my first one because of how the body looked (superficial, but once you see the available body designs, you'll be feeling the same way), but when I started using it, I found more reason to love it. You can get it in brush tip, fine tip, and ball tip, with plenty of colors to choose from.

5. Kuretake Fudebiyori Sets

These Fudebiyoris are so easy to use, and they're really rich in color too. You can buy them in sets of 6's, 12's, 18's, and 24's if I remember correctly. My first pieces were from a destash on a Planner/Journaling group on Facebook. That pretty much started my little fling with brush pens of all kinds. 

6. Waterbrushes

If there's one thing on this list that will always make me squeal with delight (and kilig), it would be waterbrushes. Gone are the days when you have to bring a bottle or a small jar of water so you could paint while traveling. These little babies have been such darlings whenever I'm on a road trip and in need of some traditional "handmade" exercises. You can get them in large, medium, small, and petite sizes, depending on brand.

7. Faber Castell Watercolor Pencils

For use in place of regular graphite pencils. When I'm working with watercolors for a lettering piece, I like to use watercolor pencils to make light outlines or guides. It's pretty sweet, and since they're watercolor, you won't see the outlines when you start filling them in!

8. Uni-ball Signo Pens

Ah, yes, another favorite on the list. The first one I used was in broad, and it might have been that specific pen only, but the experience (at first) wasn't great. Not much ink was coming out of the tip and I just threw it away. Fast forward a few months later and I decided to buy another set (gold, white, silver). This time, the application was amazing. I usually use them for adding sparkle or additional details to my work.

 

Other materials

9. Sakura Koi Travel Set

For my spontaneous lettering whims, I rely on my watercolor travel set, and I love Sakura Koi. Really nice colors and a lid that doubles as a small palette for mixing. It's really compact, no matter which one you get, whether the 12's 18's or 24's. Sets also come with a free mini waterbrush. 

10. Watercolor Pads (200 lbs. & above)

I'm a "watery" girl, a term which here means I tend to use a lot of water when using watercolors on anything, whether portraits or lettering. It gives me the freedom to keep adding colors and a chance to create nice textures. Honestly, 200 lb. paper isn't enough. Aim for at least 300 lbs.

 

Well, there you have it! These are what I reach out for once I'm in "the zone" and seated in front of my work station at home. How about you? What other tools do you regularly use for lettering? I'd love to know!