Today we’re talking about pretty exciting Bullet Journal supplies – brush pens.
Bullet Journal lettering and calligraphy are something I’ve always loved and constantly learning myself, and it’s a great way to make your journal pages pop.
And today, we’ll be taking the first step towards mastering brush lettering – I’ll help you find the best brush pens for you.
The stationery world can be pretty overwhelming. It was all just pens until I decided to learn Bullet Journaling and lettering.
Initially, it felt pretty overwhelming and scary, and there were so many options. How do I choose what’s best for me?
Well, I bought them all. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, but I decided to try as many as possible to see which ones would work best for me, and therefore now I’m ready to share my knowledge with you!
And don’t forget to scroll until the end, where I’ll give you my two best tips to ensure your pens don’t get damaged and serve you well for a long time.
But I want to start with the most important tip.
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You Don’t Need All The Pens
Here is a little secret – to start brush lettering, you can just use a soft pencil.
Yup, I said it.
When you’re starting to learn, the most crucial part is to learn the moves and make the mechanical, so your hand knows where to go. For that, a soft pencil would work just as well.
However, if you’re ready to get a pen, I got you covered with my best picks. And I get why you’d want to get one.
Starting something new is always challenging, and having a pretty pen will help to keep you motivated to practice. And modern calligraphy is all about practice.
What Is A Brush Pen
If you’re new in the lettering world, you might now know what a brush pen is, how it’s different from other pens, and why they are so popular for calligraphy.
Again, I got you covered!
Your usual writing pens are set to create a line with one thickness. No matter how you push on it or turn it – your writing pen will always produce a line with the same thickness.
Brush pens are the opposite, and they are created to draw both thick and thin lines, which is the core of many lettering styles, including modern calligraphy.
Brush pens usually have a flexible tip, like a paintbrush, which creates a wide variety of line thicknesses.
Brush Pen Characteristics
Here is a thing – all brush pens are different. All people are different, which means that everyone has their preference on what they want their brush pen to be.
That’s totally ok, so I’ll share here some main types of brush pens and some personal recommendations.
They are precisely that, through – recommendations. You might want to get something completely different from what I find best for beginners, so don’t take it as a set-in-stone rule.
That’s why I included in this list a wide variety of different types of pens, so you can check which characteristics you want to try and choose something you like.
The first and probably the most obvious one is the size of the nip. They come in large, medium, and small.
Something I want to mention here is that if you get a lettering worksheet is often just coming for small or large nibs. If you have a medium one – choose the worksheet for large ones.
This is how firm or soft a nib is. They can be soft, mid-firm, and firm.
I found that brush pens with the firm or mid-firm nib are easier to start with since they have a smaller range of line thickness and are easier to control.
Your brush pen can dispense ink differently, from pretty dry to very heavy.
I found that the drier the pen is, the easier it is to start with brush calligraphy. Also, if you have a Bullet Journal with thinner pages, you might want to avoid pens with heavy ink flow since they might lead to ghosting.
What should you start with – this is entirely up to you. My personal preference is the small brush pens with medium nib elasticity. But you might love something different.
So maybe you can start by getting one small tip brush pen and one large one. As you go, you can figure out what works best for you.
More Brush Pen Recommendations
If you want to get some opinions in a video format, I found this great video about the best pens for beginners.
Some of them are not on my list, but that’s simply because I had to keep it short. I haven’t tried all the pens she’s talking about, but I agree with her opinions on the ones I tried myself, so I’m sure her other recommendations are also worthy.
So here are a few recommendations from the video if you want to try them out:
- Zebra Brush Pens
- Zebra Funwari Brush Pen
- Zig Cocoiro
- Fibralo Brush Pen
- Stabilo Brush Pens
- Sharpie Stained Markers
- Zig Fudebiyori
- Winsor And Newton Watercolor Brush Marker
- Crayola Broad Line Markers
Calligraphy Brush Pen Tips
After I got my first brush pen and started using it, it frayed pretty fast. That’s because there are a few more things you should consider when using a brush pen.
But don’t worry; I’m here to share my mistakes and make sure you avoid them.
Use Good Paper
This is not something I thought about when I started printing out my lettering worksheets, but you must use high-quality, smooth paper.
And this is not only about practicing your lettering; when you decide to create a lettering artwork, you also have to make sure the paper you use is high quality.
If you opt-out for cheap rough paper, you’ll end up fraying your pen nib, plus there is a high chance that it will bleed through.
The best paper for using brush pens is:
- Marker paper
- HP Premium 32
- Rhodia notepad
- Tracing paper
- Archer and Olive notepad (which has been my favorite lately, and I can give you 10% off your purchase with code MASHA10)
Store Your Brush Pens Correctly
The second most important thing for preserving the health of your brush pens is to store them correctly.
If you store them vertically, there is a chance the nib might dry out or get oversaturated, depending on which side is down.
It’s essential that you store your pens horizontally; that way, the ink will be distributed evenly, and your pens will serve you more.
Of course, there are exceptions, like Karin Brushmarker Pro Brush Pens, but these specifically state that you should store them vertically.
So here is the golden rule – unless it’s explicitly stated – store your pens horizontally.
If you’re looking for good storage, I recommend this one. I use it to store all my pens and absolutely love it.
Free Brush Lettering Resources
Brush lettering is a very fun hobby, and you can do so much with just a few pens. Mastering brush lettering is also all about practice, so I created a few resources to help you with that.
Simply sign up in the form below, and you’ll get exclusive practice worksheets and more information on mastering lettering delivered straight to your inbox.
Learn Brush Lettering: Resources
If you’re here looking for a brush pen to start your calligraphy journey, chances are you’re a beginner.
So here are some posts to help you with that:
- Beginner’s Guide To Brush Lettering
- Free Online Calligraphy Courses
- Free Printable Brush Lettering Worksheets
Which one of these pens do you want to try? Let us know in the comments!
And remember – there is no one best pen; we all have different things we like.
So just try what you want and find a pen that fits you the best.
Hope this post was useful, if you find it so, please share! If you enjoy my content and want to show your appreciation, please consider supporting me with a cup of coffee.
And remember: Keep Bullet Journaling, and Don’t Be A Blob.