I get asked about my favorite pens and pen recommendations regularly. I will be honest, my two favorite pens are definitely the Tombow Fudenosuke Pens – hard and soft nib. But sometimes, I need a little bit of color in my life and it is so hard to find the perfect pens! I letter on a budget and don’t like spending a fortune on pens – especially crappy ones. I do, however, enjoy having a variety of choices in my everyday lettering life. I wanted to share some of my favorite pens that come in a whole rainbow of colors. You can find more information about pens on my Pen Page in the Resource Library, as well as information about my favorite paper.
The Pentel Sign Brush Pens are my favorite for a small nib pen. They feel very similar to a broken-in soft nib Fude pen. The colors are bright, they last a long time, and can be used to dip in Ecoline watercolors or Dr. Phh Martin’s watercolor inks to make a snappy ombre effect. They run back to their original color after using the watercolors and I like that they are particularly durable. The nibs are also made of nylon, but I have not had any frays in mine and I use them on a variety of surfaces. They come in large packs, as well as the ability to purchase them individually at some art stores.
I have two favorites in this category – the Prismacolor Scholars and the Artline Stix. They have a much different feeling than the Pentel Sign Pens. The nibs are much firmer and look similar to the classic Crayola wide markers you used in elementary school. They are both more stable than the wiggly nib of the Tombow Dual Brush pens.
The Prismacolors are great, but require a lot of pressure. If you don’t have a heavy hand when you write, these might be a little bit of a struggle. The colors are rich and the shape of the pen is consistent. It is a little bit sturdier than the Tombow Dual Brush pens and I find that I have fewer wiggly lines and inconsistencies within my writing. One of the most interesting thing to me about the Scholars is that they don’t look like a brush pen. However, they are very bendy and give a nice difference between heavy downstrokes and light upstrokes. It is easier to get a smooth and consistent upstroke with the firmer nib. They come in a 10 pack and a 20 pack too!
I got one of these in my box from Penultimate and I was hooked. The nibs are thick and the ink leaves a thick coat, but doesn’t puddle. I also like that the color changes slightly with the pressure. More pressure means that there is more color and I like that it adds an element of dimension to my lettering (and an in-color easy ombre). The triangle shape is also interesting to hold in my hand and can be hooked together. It is going to sound so dumb, but it means when I letter on a lap desk, they don’t roll everywhere and I like that! Roll away pens get lost in couch cushions or flop onto the floor and snatched by small children who want to draw on your couch (says the voice of experience).
Lefties beware, I find that large nib pens give off the most ink during lettering, therefore making them the easiest to smudge everywhere! My go to solution for smudging is the Tombow Sand Eraser.
I like the Tombow Dual Brush pens for large lettering. The number of colors is amazing and when using a lot of pressure, the nib width is unmatched. I find them great for people with larger hand writing because the width of the nib requires more height for the lettering to truly showcase the penwork. There are a bunch of mixed media tricks you can use them for as well, which is really nice. Multipurpose pens always makes me feel better!
My other favorite are the Zig Brush Pens! I love that these brush pens have two colors in the pen, which is really nice. One side is the original color, and the other side is 50% of the pigment… twice the color stash in half the pens! It is great for blending and shading as well. They give off a nice amount of “juice” during lettering, but dry fairly quickly. They are not available in as many places as the Tombows, but I really like lettering with mine. You can also get them in color family packs… greens, yellows, browns, blues and more.
Which pens are you favorites? Leave your recommendations in the comments below!
Go get your letter on!