I’ve been consistently practicing and doing Calligraphy and Hand Lettering for almost 2 years. I also have a couple years experience from when I was a kid ;). I think now that I’ve been practicing for a while, I definitely have a few tools that I always gravitate towards. Trial and error are why my favourite lettering tools are killing it 😉
There are two styles of calligraphy I do the majority of the time, traditional Gothic or Fraktur style and Brush lettering.
My favourite type of letter or calligraphy to practice is a Gothic/Fraktur style like this.
My favourite tool for this style is definitely the Pilot Parallel Pen. It’s so easy to write with and when you get into it a little more you can change up the colours and achieve some pretty cool effects. The pen has 4 sizes of nibs, I have the two largest and mostly use the thickest one.
When I want something a little more dramatic I use a paint brush instead of a pen. A great one to use is the Winsor & Newton 995 W&N 1/2″ flat brush with Gouache ink. This will provide a much different look than the parallel pen. I love the look of brush strokes, it looks a little grittier to me but is a little less convenient than a pen.
Another way to take your strokes up a notch is with a Copic Wide, I did this ‘Love’ text below using that marker. I bought a roll of kraft paper from the post office (for packaging) and just practiced on that for a while.
I like to use a good quality paper so the ink doesn’t bleed, but I also don’t want to be wasting pricey paper when I practice so I buy ____ paper to practice on. If you’d like some inspiration, you can check out Uvulus on youtube, he masters the parallel pen.
My second favourite lettering style is Brush Lettering, I love this style for the opposite reasons I love tradition calligraphy (weird? I know). There are no rules and it’s completely free flowing. It’s also the easiest for me. There are a few tools you can use to get slightly different styles.
The three tools that feel the best for me are the Pental Brush Pen, the Copic Sketch and also a watercolor paint brush. The Pental is more convenient than a paint brush but you still get that brush look. The copic has a slightly different, cleaner style (in my opinion).
For brush lettering or when I’m using markers, my favourite paper to use is the Canson Pro Marker Paper. This is what the copic looks like (on that paper):
(this is a 15 sec video, so click through to instagram to watch it!)
There are so many styles of lettering to explore, you can pretty much use any object, throw some ink on it and go for it! A really cool DIY is the pop can pen. My boyfriend made me a couple of these and it creates a really cool effect. You can see that in the word ‘Grime’ below:
Besides all the fancy pens and paper I listed above, I always have a lead pencil, eraser, ruler, a light box and a scanner (and computer). There is no reason you can’t start lettering, use whatever you have and get creative!
Here’s a quick list of the tools I mentioned above: