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Example of brush lettering

Introduction to Brush Pen Lettering


Nowadays, most calligraphy is produced using metal nibs.  Some steel nibs have a pointed tip, whilst others have a straight-edge shape.

Both types of nibs can produce a thick line. Using a pointed nib, the artist applies pressure to the nib, it opens the tines, and this produces a thicker line.  Applying a different pressure to the nib creates a variable line thickness.

An edged nib, which can be square-cut, or left-oblique cut produces a constant line thickness. The line thickness is determined by the angle and direction of the nib travelling across the paper.

What is Brush Pen Lettering?

A brush with a pointed tip can also be used for calligraphy. The thick and thin lines are produced in the same way as the pointed nib i.e. applying a pressure to the brush.

scribblers calligraphy brush pen lettering example


Calligraphers have always been able to use a brush for lettering, but in recent times the Brush Pen has become very popular. The Brush Pen has a brush-shaped tip and mimics a normal brush.

Characteristics of a brush pen

The Brush Tip

There are two types of Brush Pen tip. Real brush, which can be made from animal or synthetic bristles . Or a felt tip.

A felt tip, has a firmer tip which makes it easier to control and ideal for beginners.

Synthetic and natural hair real brush tips are softer and more flexible because they have separate fibres and will take more practice to use.  The firmness of the brush depends on the type and density of the bristles.

The tip of the brush will vary in how soft or firm it is, which in turn determines how easy the brush is to use.  The firmer the tip is the more predictable the results will be and the easier the pen is to control.

The different types of brush have different extents of elasticity. The greater the springiness of the bristles the quicker the tip will return to its original shape. The elasticity will also determine how thick a line can be produced.

The tips of brush pens can also vary in size. The finer the tip the greater the detail can be produced.

Ink and Colour

The type of ink is also a consideration when choosing a Brush Pen. The ink can be dye-based or pigmented. It will also a degree of light fastness. Some inks are not lightfast and will fade quickly in direct light, whilst other inks are lightfast and will withstand direct sunlight.

Depending on what you are writing, Birthday Card or Poster for example, you also will want to know if the ink is light fast or non-light fast.

You will also want to know if the ink is waterproof or non-waterproof.

Water Brush Pens

This is a good time to mention Water Brush Pens. These Brush Pens come with a detachable barrel which can be filled with a wide range of inks, correctly diluted paints and even water! Water Brush Pens have synthetic bristles and come in a range of different tips.  Originally these would have been used for conventional water colour painting but equally they can be used by calligraphers for brush pen lettering with the advantage of being able to choose what type of ink or paint is used in the pen.

Marvy water brush pen lettering


You need to be careful when choosing what to put in the barrel as waterproof inks can easily ruin the brush and if using diluted paint, it can be tricky getting it to flow out of the brush properly.  The water brush pens are best used with non-waterproof ink.

Our Range of Brush Pens

Akashiya SAI Brush Pens

Tip Type: Synthetic brush hair

Akashiya SAI Brush Pens are ideal for Brush Lettering Calligraphy. They are smooth, responsive and use synthetic brush hair. Each pen is carefully hand made.  The brushes are responsive to the touch; you can paint with them as boldly or as delicately as you like.

AkaShiya SAI Brush Lettering Pen - Black

Akashiya ThinLINE Brush Pen

Tip Type: Synthetic brush hair

The Akashiya ThinLINE is ideal for small Brush Lettering Calligraphy and fine line work.  The pens are smooth, responsive and use synthetic brush hair. Each pen is carefully hand made. This is the finest Brush Pen we have enabling very small lettering.

Akashiya ThinLINE Brush Lettering Pen

Ecoline Brush Pens

Tip Type: Felt

Ecoline brush pens are filled with Ecoline Ink, a concentrated water colour paint. Adheres well on water colour paper, drawing paper and cardboard.

Ecoline Brush Pens

Kuretake Bimoji Cambio Brush Pen

Tip Type: Synthetic brush hair

Bimoji Brush Pens are designed to imitate the aesthetics and weight of the traditional calligraphy brush.  Like a traditional calligraphy pen, you don’t have to press on the main body while controlling the flow of ink; the proper amount of ink flows naturally.  Contains water-based pigment ink that is odourless, lightfast and Xylene-free.

Kuretake Bimoji Cambio Brush Lettering Pen

Kuretake ZIG Clean Colour Brush Pen

Tip Type: Synthetic brush hair

ZIG Clean Colour Real Brush is a water-based dye with a single sided bristle brush tip. The brush tip is very flexible making it easy to go from thin to thick lines in one stroke.  Great for Brush Pen Lettering and illustrating. Brush tip makes it easy to create both narrow and wide lines.

Kuretake ZIG Clean Colour Brush Lettering Pen

Marvy Le Plume Brush Pen

Tip Type: Felt

Marvy 1122 Le Plume Marker and Brush Pens are water-based, acid free. The vivid dye based colours are non-waterproof.  Each pen has an extra fine tip and a smooth brush.

Marvy Le Plume Brush Lettering Pen

Marvy Artist Brush Pens

Tip Type: Felt

Marvy Uchida’s marker with fine and flexible brush tip. Water-based, dye ink. Acid free.

Marvy Artist Brush Lettering Pens

Marvy For Drawing Brush Pens

Tip Type: Felt

Marvy 4600 For Drawing Brush Pens use Water Based Pigmented Ink, lightfast, archival quality, fast drying, and smudge resistant.  The vivid dye based colours are non-waterproof.

Marvy For Drawing Brush Lettering Pens

Pentel Brush Pen

Tip Type: Synthetic brush hair

The Pentel Brush Pen features a hard-wearing synthetic brush made from resilient bristles. A variety of lines from fine detail to broad sweeping strokes can be produced. Uses cartridges of fade-resistant and waterproof pigment ink.

Pentel Brush Lettering Pen

Tombow ABT Dual-Brush Pens

Tip Type: Felt

The Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pen is a marker with two tips; wide brush ideal for brush lettering and a tip for drawing fine lines.

Tombow ABT Dual-Brush Lettering Pens

Water Brush Pens

We stock three types of Water Brush Pens; Marvy, Pentel and Derwent. They all have synthetic bristles and pointed tips with the exception of the Derwent which has a chisel tip.

Water Brush Lettering Pens

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