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Hand Lettering Products: Everything You Need for Calligraphy

Whether hand lettering name tags, menu cards, or a beautifully crafted birthday card—to create beautiful, original lettering, it is crucial to have the right tools at hand. From special hand lettering pens to suitable hand lettering paper, the materials and tools used for calligraphy are as diverse and creative as the art itself.

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The different types of hand lettering pens

In addition to suitable hand-lettering paper—as well as practice and creativity—the right hand lettering pens are the key to achieving the best possible results. The selection of writing tools for hand lettering is vast—from fine to bold points, waterproof UV colors, with or without a glitter effect—the huge variety of hand lettering tools can make the choice a difficult one. An overview of the most important features of the different hand lettering pens can help to answer the question: which pen is best for my hand lettering project?



Hand- lettering pens with needle-fine plastic tips are available in all shades of the color spectrum. They can be used to draw particularly precise details, contours, and fine lines. This makes them very suitable for classic hand-lettering fonts such as block letters or the script alphabet. Fineline pens with tip sizes between 0.01 and 1 mm are the ideal choice for more delicate lettering as well as for decorative elements, embellishments, and small illustrations. If you want to use a fineliner pen  in combination with watercolor techniques, be sure to use waterproof pens for the project to prevent colors from bleeding.

Brush pens

There are special brush pens for writing thicker or thinner strokes on the hand lettering paper. Thanks to their special tip—which, as the name implies, is like a brush—brush pens combine the best of two worlds and make it possible to vary the stroke width with posture and pressure. They are an ingenious tool that offer a multitude of possibilities. Like all hand-lettering pens, brush pens are available in numerous colors and sizes. Which brush tip you choose—whether small and robust or large and flexible—depends entirely on the desired effect and your own hand lettering skills.


For beginners, intermediate hand-lettering artists and professionals

Pens with a small brush pen lead are usually the easiest to use. They are not too soft and forgive small mistakes. In addition, particularly small and elegant lettering can be drawn with the fine tip. Medium-sized brush tips are a good compromise between an entry-level model and a professional utensil. The brush tips of medium-sized brush pens are relatively soft and flexible yet are still easy to handle. Any hand lettering novice who wants to become a master of the subject practices with them. With brush pens, which have a large tip, generous lettering can be drawn. However, because they have a wide range of movement in contrast to the smaller tips, a lot of patience, practice, and instinct are required to master them.

Hand lettered paper

Just as crucial as the question of which hand-lettering pen is best for a specific project is the question of which paper to use. Papers are varied in style and texture and are a crucial part of a hand-lettering project. The choice of the right type of paper depends on the type of project, your skill level, and the hand lettering tool you plan to use.



Smooth coated paper

The tips of the brush pen and fineliner are very sensitive. When using "normal" printer paper, for example, the flexible brush tips of the brush pen can get caught on the relatively coarse fibers of the paper and fray. The point of a fineliner pen may even break off completely if used on an unsuitable paper. It is therefore advisable to use a particularly smooth, coated, hand lettering paper. It drastically reduces the danger of fraying tips and forgives small, beginner mistakes.

Watercolor Paper for Watercolor Lettering

Whether for illustrations, creative color gradients, or unusual lettering, the combination of watercolor painting and hand lettering—known as watercolor lettering—has established itself as an integral part of the craft of hand lettering. Satin watercolor paper, which absorbs water better than coated and smooth hand lettering paper are suitable for designing such unique works of art.

In addition to the grain of the paper, also pay attention to the weight. If the paper is too thin, hand-lettering pens can push or bleed through the paper.


Author: Judith Lorenzon


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