lettering tools

Lettering Tools – The Best Tools and Pens for Hand Lettering

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Hand lettering is the fascinating art of transforming letters into works of art. In order for your artwork to be successful, you need the proper hand lettering pens and tools. From special brush pens to the right paper, there are some stumbling blocks to creating the perfect letter art. Let’s take a look at what equipment you need, and what you should pay attention to when looking for the best pens for lettering.



What is Hand Lettering?

Hand lettering is the umbrella term for the artistic writing and design of letters, words, or sentences. Lettering is also often referred to as modern calligraphy and is enjoying growing popularity. The art of beautiful letters is simply great fun and the drawn works can be used in many different ways. Special hand lettering pens and hand lettering markers are often used to achieve the best results.

lettering pens



What Hand Lettering Supplies Do You Need?

Hand lettering is a fairly simple activity, so it doesn’t require too many specialist tools. We have summarized the 8 most important hand lettering materials for you, and describe below what you need them for. You will also find our product recommendations for each category.

  • Handlettering Markers/Pens
  • Brush Pens
  • High-Quality Brushes
  • Pencils
  • Handlettering Paper
  • Transparent Paper
  • Ruler
  • Handlettering Book



Best Pens for Hand Lettering

Fineliners are generally accepted as the best pens for hand lettering or faux calligraphy. It is advisable to purchase pens of different thicknesses. This way you can draw both fine and thick lines. It is important that the paint is waterproof and lightfast when it dries. This way the paint will not smear and is UV-resistant. The highest quality fineliners which are often used are the Pigma Micron Fineliners from Sakura and the Staedtler Pigment fineliners. Felt-tip pens are also a useful and inexpensive way of adding color and life to your lettering.

SAKURA Pigma Micron Black Fineliner
  • A pack of 6 Pigma Micron 08 ink pens
  • The pens have a tip size of 0.5mm
  • Waterproof, fade-resistant, no smears or bleed through
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STAEDTLER Pigment Liner Sketch Set
  • Pigment liner bonus sketch set of 6 line widths
  • Lightfast, waterproof, and smear-free ink
  • Long metal tip and polypropylene barrel for durability
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STABILO Pen 68 Coloring Felt Tip Markers
  • A 30 color wallet set of quality felt tip pens
  • Color-intensive, waterless and odorless inks
  • A high-performance 24 cap-off time without damaging the pens
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Best Brush Pens for Lettering

Looking for the best brush pens for lettering? Special brush lettering pens are available for this technique. These are felt pens with a unique brush tip with which you can paint and draw similar to a regular paintbrush. The brush pen allows you to vary the stroke width with the position and pressure. This gives you more creative possibilities.

These are the best brush pens for lettering – especially for those getting started. They are very inexpensive and have are of a high quality:

EDDING Brushpen Variable Nib Pack of 10 - Assorted
  • A 10 pack of fiber pens with brush-like tips
  • Waterbased ink in a range of popular colors
  • Variable stroke width - ideal for many different uses
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ARTEZA Real Watercolor Brush Pen, 24
  • Fine, flexible tip brush pens for watercolor painting
  • A 24 color set. Completely safe and non-toxic
  • The pens have precision, control, and do various painting techniques
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Lightfast Brush Pens

If you want to enjoy your letterings for a longer period of time, it is worth buying brush pens that are filled with lightfast paints. Cheap paints will fade over time due to UV radiation. This can be very frustrating. The following high-quality brush pens contain lightfast paints and are highly recommended lettering tools. Just remember, these are expensive because you get what you pay for.

FABER-CASTEL Pitt Artist Brush Pens, Multicolor
  • A 12 pack of quality multicolor artist brush pens
  • Extremely fade-resistant, acid-free, and waterproof inks
  • Durable nib allows for versatile brush strokes and uses
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WINSOR & NEWTON ProMarker Watercolour Marker
  • An outstanding range of highly-pigmented, lightfast markers
  • A set of 24 different colors. Excellent for blending
  • Twin tipped with a fine point and flexible brush nib
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EDDING Brushpen Variable Nib Pack of 10 - Assorted
  • A 10 pack of fiber pens with brush-like tips
  • Waterbased ink in a range of popular colors
  • Variable stroke width - ideal for many different uses
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High-Quality Brushes

Instead of using hand lettering markers and brush pens, you can also achieve the same effect with a brush. You can also paint half-covered areas with watercolor and paint color transitions. Here it is worthwhile to purchase high-quality brushes. These offer you the necessary tools to draw exact lines and to be able to paint specific areas:

TRANSON Artist Paint Brush Set of 12
  • A complete set of 15 high-grade nylon paint brushes
  • Suitable for watercolors, acrylics, gouaches, oil, tempera, and more
  • A wide range of sizes with ergonomic handle grip
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Pencils for Sketching and Tracing

It is perfectly acceptable for you to outline your lettering first. A lot of hand lettering artists do this. Especially when starting out with lettering, or if you want to design complex lettering, sketching out the text first saves you a lot of trouble. You can also draw guiding lines with a pencil to help you find your letters. If you want to remove the pencil lines at the end, you can rub them out with an eraser. Because of the easy erasability, we recommend you use a pencil hardness of 2B.

FABER-CASTELL Graphite Sketch Pencil Set of 12
  • Set of 12 art pencils ranging from 8B - 2H
  • Superior leads made from finely ground graphite and clay
  • Premium smooth pencils that never scratch
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Hand Lettering Paper

The basis for your letterings should be a suitable hand lettering paper, i.e. your painting surface for your artistic letters and lettering. On the one hand, it should be flexible enough so that the writing does not smudge, on the other hand, it should be thick enough so that the paint does not penetrate through. There are different versions of this, including loose pages or bound versions with different binding options.

Make sure to use only one side of the paper. Printing patterns on one side can get in your way on the other side and ruin your work.


HAMMERMILL Premium Color Copy Paper
  • Acid-free paper for longer-lasting quality
  • 1 Ream of paper = 500 individual sheets
  • A more environmentally-friendly paper option
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RHODIA Black Dot Pad Nº 19, 8.3 x 12.5
  • A convenient 3 x 12 dotted ruling notebook
  • Quality paper for drawing over
  • Silky smooth paper - ideal for various art mediums
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ARTEZA Watercolor Paper Pack of 2, 64 Sheets
  • Thick and heavy paper that can withstand many washes and won't bleed through
  • Includes two packs with 32 quality pages in each
  • A cold-pressed surface with slight texture
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CANSON XL Series Mix Paper Pad
  • A 7" by 10" side wire heavyweight paper pad
  • Fine texture and heavy sizing, 60 sheets
  • Suitable for wet and dry mixed media art
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Tracing Paper

For your first steps or if you want to really analyze a letter, the use of tracing paper will help you. You can lay it over the template and copy it over. This way you will learn the movements and improve your skills.

CRAYOLA Tracing Paper Pad, 150 Count
  • 150 Sheets of quality tracing paper for arts and crafts
  • 8.5 x 11-inch sheet sizes in a bulk pack
  • Easy to use for a variety of different projects
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A ruler is an indispensable aid to help you achieve straight lines and edges. When setting out your hand lettering tools, a ruler should always be included.

WEDO Aluminium 30cm Ruler
  • A 300mm aluminum ruler with a convenient handle
  • Slip-proof rubber attachments for more precise use
  • The handle works for right and left handers
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Handlettering Book Recommendations

Want to learn more about the different techniques and using lettering pens? Using a book can teach you plenty on the subject, from techniques to the best pens for hand lettering. We can recommend the following books for anyone wanting to learn more about hand lettering.

HAND LETTERING 101: An Introduction to Lettering
  • A complete introductory guide on the art of hand lettering
  • Includes many useful tips and tricks for getting started
  • The perfect resource for beginners
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  • A complete guide on calligraphy and hand lettering
  • Letter to letter learning templates
  • Includes tips, techniques, practice pages, and projects
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Hand lettering is an enjoyable process that can help to make cards, labels, letters, artworks, and many more things much more beautiful. Quality hand lettering supplies are easy to come by, and it doesn’t take a lot to get started with this form of art. Be sure to check out the best pens for lettering above if you are interested in getting started.


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