Tools I wish I started lettering with

When I started handlettering, about 2.5 years ago, I made many mistakes and today I will share with you the 6 tools I wish I had started with instead.

Tools I wish I started lettering with

So here's how it went. I started lettering, just like that, one day I saw it somewhere, thought it was cool and decided to learn it. I have experience with art so it wasn't too foreign to me, and I was already working as a production artist at the time, but I really had a desire to start a small side business that would eventually grow and let me quit my not-so-perfect day job. Lettering was my way out.

So after signing up for a small lettering course I thought I was all set. I got some tools and just started doing it. 

Here are some of the tools I wish to have started with instead of the ones I did. Not that there is anything wrong with most of these, but I now know what I was missing. What was holding me back from improvement. 

Brush lettering tools I wish I started lettering with.

Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen
hard or soft tip


I love these brush pens, so much I created a whole challenge around them. I wish to have started my lettering journey with these, but I didn't even know they were out there till much later. 

The best part about these is they are flexible but not too soft. Especially the hard tip (shown on the bottom), you have to press a bit harder to get that thicker line. It's great for beginners because you don't need to worry so much about the pressure, when holding the pen, you can control it more.

What I used instead: 

Pilot Pocket Brush Pen soft tip


This tip is way to soft, I still can't properly use it. And I actually hate these types of tips. They aren't like regular marker tips, they feel like rubber, and the tip lifts up when you press too much making your strokes uneven. 

Crayola markers SuperTips


Good old Crayola markers, most of us used these when we were kids, so why not return to our roots and use them now. You may think they are cheap and for kids. But have you seen what can be done with them? Take a look

They are perfect for beginners for that very reason, they are less expensive yet so powerful. Any Crayola will do, but the SuperTips will give you a thinner stroke. 

It's a little more difficult to make downstrokes because you have to tilt the marker a bit more, these don't have flexible tips, but it can be doable. And perfect for practice before you're ready to splurge.

What I used instead: 

Tombow Dual Brush Pen


Compared to a Crayola marker this one is for the pros. It's got the flexible tip, a thin tip on the other end and can create the most beautiful lettering. But I hated it. As soon as I got it I hated it, first off, it was smudging if I touched it while lettering. And second, I sucked at the thin to thick stroke variation. I blamed it on the tool, when in reality I needed practice. But practicing with this one was difficult as well. Its tip is quite soft and flexible. Making it even harder to control.


Pentel water brush all three sizes


This brush is by far my favorite lettering tool ever. And although I discovered it quite early, I didn't really use it for lettering that often. I thought brushes with bristles were way harder to control so instead I tried to master Tombow markers, and that never really took off with me.

What I used instead: 

Pentel Fude Brush Pen medium


Instead of filling the water brush with water and using watercolors for lettering, or dipping it in ink, I was using this pre-filled brush instead. And even though they are both made by Pentel they are a tiny bit different.

It seems like the bristles on this one are a bit more soft, and you have to squeeze it each time you want more ink and the flow wasn't as good as I thought. 

Prismacolor Brush Marker


I like these markers a lot, they have thin flexible tips that aren't too soft. I would definitely recommend starting with these if you want to pursue brush lettering. And they come in a few fun colors.

What I used instead: 

Tombow Dual Brush Pen and Sharpie Marker


I was using sharpies to do lettering that needed to be filled with color or for faux brush lettering. And even though I love a good sharpie it has no flexibility at all. So if you want to learn brush lettering this is not a good tool.

I was also using the Tombow brush pen which is more flexible making it harder to control.

Marker paper


Marker paper was made for markers, so, use it with markers.  This paper is super smooth and delicate on your marker tips.I didn't know this at first and was using all sorts of wrong paper. Destroying my marker tips. 

What I used instead: 

Printer paper and multimedia paper


You may think your regular printer paper is smooth, well it's not. Not for Tombow markers or other markers with a felt tip. They are fine for brushes with bristles though.

I made the mistake of using that and heavy textured multimedia paper with my Tombow markers. My tips were frayed within days and I didn't know why. 

Drills and worksheets

TwoEasels brush lettering worksheets for practice

Oh how I wish I had all these worksheets when I started lettering. Instead I just stumbled around never learning the basics. Don't think that doing drills and tracing letters and strokes is the long way to learn lettering. It's not. 

You don't learn to read before you learn your alphabet. It's the same when it comes to lettering. Learn the basics, don't waste time trying to figure it out. Just practice simple strokes and then apply them to words.

Worksheets I created to help beginners like you


There you have it, those are some of the tools I used and some I wish to have used instead. Now go out and letter, but remember, if you are a beginner to just take it slow, learn the basics and learn with the tools you love, not the tools everyone is using right now.