Believe it or not but brush lettering is for everyone. It is no rocket science but it does require loads of practice. What? You don’t believe me? I didn’t believe it in the beginning either. Every time we come across some beautiful lettering, we feel like “this is something that we can never do”. And that is definitely not true. Yes, we can do it; we just need to learn all about it and start. That’s it! And therefore we have come up with this guide on Brush Lettering Tools, Basic Strokes and Techniques.
But you are a beginner. The brush lettering seems so mesmerizing and so intricate that you will not be able to pull it off. This might not be your cup of tea. And blah, blah, blah! Are these the thoughts that bombard you every time you think of trying your hand in brush lettering? Well, now is the time to throw these thoughts straight into the bin and start anew with everything there is to know about brush lettering.
Brush Lettering 101 – Tools, Basic Strokes and Techniques
Before we begin straight with the brush lettering techniques, it is important for you to know what kind of pens you will need. Yes, you can try your regular ones but I will say do it at your own risk. Because only brush pens will make you better in brush lettering. Start with a simple set of Tombow Dual Brush Pens or Faber-Castel Pitt Artist Brush Pens and you will be good to go.
As a beginner, you will notice that your brush pens are being ruined. The reason is most likely to be the paper you use for lettering. Yes, even the paper you use for lettering can not just affect your font but ruin your pens. Since you are just a beginner, you will like to spend less on supplies and invest time in practice but this will end up ruining those great brush pens of yours. So stick to the smooth papers such as trace paper, HP Premium LaserJet Paper, Rhodia Pad, Cansol XL Marker and Cansol XL Bristol, and Strathmore Bristol.
Mind Your Posture
You must be wondering what is posture has to do with your lettering. Well, everything! Can you do it while lying on the bed? No! The point is the way you sit while doing your calligraphy, it will definitely affect the way your lettering comes out on the paper. So try and sit with a better posture and your lettering will show improvement.
Learn To Warm Up
Do not jump straight to practicing words. Before you do that, just start some brush lettering artwork like random shapes and strokes. This will give you a jump-start for your actual lettering strokes and make the transition of strokes much easier.
Use Smooth Surface
A smooth surface until the very edge of your paper is something that is a must while you are working on your brush lettering. So make sure your paper and your hand are on the same surface level. Or else the change in the surfaces will affect the strokes.
Do Not Move Fingers
You might have observed that generally, you use your fingers to guide the pen. That’s what we all do but you cannot do that in brush lettering. Here, you need to use your arm and wrist instead of your fingers. This is essential to build your muscle memory and you can easily do that with practice.
The moment you lift your brush pen, you are most likely to hold it like you would the regular pens. The problem is, you can’t do that with your brush pens. You need to hold your brush pen at an angle of 45-degree for a smoother application. And plus, this will stop you from using your fingers.
Understand The Concept Of Pressure
Pressure plays a key role when it comes to the brush lettering. The moment you change the pressure on your pen, it will affect your lettering art. You will master the art of applying pressure at the right points after some practice and then will be able to create the flawless, beautiful lettering art like a pro.
The Upward Stroke
For a beginner, this concept of pressure will seem intimidating. Here is the trick for you to understand it easily. Just apply light pressure on upstrokes. It means that every time you pull your pen towards you, you need to use light strokes by applying light pressure.
The Downward Stroke
The downward stroke is the exact opposite of the upward stroke. Here you need to apply heavy pressure on your pen every time you push your pen away from yourself. Light pressure when the pen goes up and heavy pressure when the pen goes down. Remember this trick and practice it and you will master the art of brush lettering sooner rather than later.
What is the best brush pen for beginners?
There is a reason why brush pen exists or else they would have asked you to create this lettering magic with your regular pens only. Wink! Like we talked earlier, brush pens are the necessary tools which add that unique touch to the brush lettering. The reason why brush lettering looks magical is the brush pens used in creating them. They vary in tip sizes which affects the strokes and detailing. So here is a list of the best brush pens that you can use.
- Tombow Dual Brush Pens
- Faber-Castel Pitt Artist Brush Pens
- Pentel Arts Pocket Brush Pen
- Sharpie Brush Marker
- Crayola Broad Tip Marker
- Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens
- Ecoine Brush Pen
- Sharpie Water-Based Paint Marker
- Pentel Aquash Water Brush
- Uni-Ball Signo White Gel Ink Pen
- Pilot Futayaku Double-Sided Brush Pen
While these are the most popular and suggested brush pens, I request you to try all and then come to your own conclusions. It is you who’s got to use these pens and so it must be you who will decide which pen works the best for you. If you are not comfortable with your brush pen then you bet it will affect your lettering.
What are the different lettering embellishment techniques you can use?
When the lettering starts to look similar, it is inevitable that one begins to feel bored with it. Lucky for you, we have lined up these brush lettering embellishments techniques suggested by Brittany Luiz of Tombow. These techniques will add more flair to your designs and make your lettering more fun and beautiful. These different techniques are:
- Tie-Dye Effects
- Galaxy Lettering
- Palette Blending
- Faux-Watercolor Effects
- Plaid Patterns
- Layered Blending
- Brush Tip Blending
Besides these, you can experiment on your own and come up with some great designs. For instance, you can pick two pens with same color family and touch their tips together and get a nice ombre lettering design. Or blend two similar tones and make it smooth with less than a few drops of water. Try to use different colors of the pen which will make this process more interesting. It will also help you to blend the colors with the brush pens easily.
It seems daunting, I know. It will feel daunting once you start as well. But with loads of practice and patience, you will eventually get there. And there is no doubt that the brush lettering is worth it! Imagine the look of awe everyone will have on their faces once they see the person behind those beautiful lettering is you! So forget all the doubts and start practicing.