I do a ton of work with my brush pens… and I love them a lot! However, I feel like there is a pen in my arsenal that is underrepresented in my shared work! I love my monoline pens (and pencils) and think they have really helped my lettering skills. It seems a little counter-intuitive to think about a non-brush pen helping my brush lettering, but there is a really important reason! When I don’t have to worry about adjusting the pressure with my brush pens, I can focus all my energy on my letter shapes and spacing. When I am doodling with a monoline, I don’t worry about my upstrokes and downstrokes, I can focus on adding extra bounce to my letters or a little more flourish to my crossbars. Having well shaped and well spaced letters can turn “blah” into “BLAM!” no matter what pen style or size you are using. It is really easy to add the pressure into your letters, after you feel confident with your letter shapes. Just like any new thing, learning one piece at a time is much easier than learning everything at once!
Pretty letter shapes also make longer passages look better too! In addition to paying attention to letter shapes with my monoline, I can focus on nestling my ascender and descenders together to fill in any extra spaces lurking between the words. It makes my whole piece a little more composed when I take a few extra moments (or drafts) to make sure my letters and lines look good before adding the brush pen step!
And, for the record, I also have to admit that sometimes my work looks way better in pencil or monoline! I don’t know if my eyes just need a break from brush, but there are a few pieces I love more in pencil. Sometime about the simplicity really makes my heart sing at times! This one below is a piece I have had for over a year and I have tried to redo it in pen so many times. No matter how many times and pens I try, I just really love it in pencil.
I have also been using lots of monoline pieces for other projects too – especially with my scrapbook! I love adding my own title in my own handwriting in monoline. It makes me feel like Heidi Swapp at times! I letter on my iPad and transfer the file to cut on my Silhouette Cameo. Then, it gets a little liquid glue (I love this Tombow Liquid clear glue) and down it goes! You can also check out my work in Nothing But Paper issue of Penultimate Magazine to see how I used these little sentiments on greeting cards too!
My favorite monoline pens are the Tombow Monolines. They are reasonably priced at about $3 a piece and have a dual end – a thin and thicker side. Plus, they are alcohol based, which means you can get them wet and they do not run! I typically store mine narrow end down and I feel like I get a really good life out of them.
Go get your letter on!