Choosing the right brush pen isn’t the easiest thing. But let me tell you something… no matter which brush pen you have, you can create great brush calligraphy and lettering. We’ve reviewed the so called fude brush pens in 2 parts (part one and two). They tend to have a smaller tip and are of felt too. These pens here have a little bigger tips. Great for intermediate size of lettering and for practicing whole-arm movements. Lets look at 5 felt tip brush pens you’ve seen some of you’re favorite artists use!
5 felt tip brush pens, one the left is a thin and thick stroke created by each pen
Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pen
The dual sides on these pens are a brush tip and fine point bullet tip, making it really great for all types of hand lettering and also brush calligraphy. I like to add shadow line in a different color with the bullet tip of the pen after finishing the brush calligraphy with the brush side tip.
More reasons you’ll see most lettering artist using these pens;
- they come in 95 colors + 1 blending marker
- water based so they can be used as watercolors. Adding them directly to the paper and then blending them out with water and brush or indirectly by scribbling them on a plastic surface and picking up the paint with a brush and water as a palette. Create this beautiful wreath using the Tombows as watercolors.
- Easy to blend, using the blending marker or by a blending palette or by directly adding ink from one pen on another pens tip. See this post for blending technique.
Kuretake Zig Brushables
Dual brush pen as in both ends are brush tips! Each pen has a darker shade on one side and the other side is a lighter shade (50% tint) of the same color. Water based marker and lightfast; it is however waterproof once dried. For that reason I wouldn’t use them as watercolors, but being waterproof has its advantages too. Snailmail addressing is best done with waterproof pens.
These rank in my all time top favorites, the colors are beautiful, there’s a lovely ombre effect on smooth paper and they have a great feel when lettering with. See video below of brush calligraphy with a Zig Brushable.
3. Faber Castel Pitt Artist Pen
It’s a little firmer than the average big sized brush pen which makes for very nice thin lines even at a beginner level. They come in 60 lovely colors, my favorite actually being their all grey sets. In my opinion they hold the best grey brush pens. These are more beginner friendly than some of the other brush pens creating the same size of thick strokes because of the great control of the little firmer tip.
4. Sakura Koi Coloring Brush Pen
These are very similar to the Tombow ABT Dual brush pens, almost everything you can do with them, you can do with these too. Some artists prefer these over the Tombows because the barrel is shorter and they feel that’s easier to control. That is totally individual, if you have a chance try both out and see how you feel with them in your hand.
48 gorgeous colors, the only negative I could ever say about these is that sometimes the cap color differs a little from actual ink color. I’m not picky beacuse no matter which shade of the color I get when I uncap the pen it will be amazing! But for custom work with a specific color in mind, I’d swatch the pens first.
5. Sakura Pigma Brush
The colors are a little more matte in these brush pens compared to the rest. They tend to be a little dry, but as long as you go slowly while using them you won’t get streaky strokes, unless that’s the look you’re after. There are 9 colors of these pens and the produce great thick strokes for a smaller sized tip. The ink is archival and acid free, water resistant so there won’t be any smudges!
Which to choose…
If you’re looking for the most popular and versatile pen, in terms of techniques, tutorials, colors, then the Tombow ABT dual brush pens are for you. The Koi Coloring Pen and the Zig Brushables feel almost identical to the Tombows in writing sensation, same type of grip, similar firmness. If the long barrel bothers you in the dual brush pens, go for the Koi Coloring pen as it’s shorter.
However, I believe the Faber-Castell PITT artist pen is easier to control especially at a beginner level as long as you don’t push too hard on the tip. Always practice loosening your grip regardless of which pen you’re using, it will work wonders for your calligraphy!
What did you think of this post? Which pens do you have and which are on your wishlist? Is one of your favorites listed? Let me know in the comments below
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