Brush lettering has taken over the dip pen calligraphy. The ease of using the brush markers and the availability of its different colors attracted more letterers. Unlike dip pen, brush markers can be carried wherever you go without worrying of ink spillage.
The tip of the brush makers is not like the brushes [with hair strands] we used for painting, although watercolor brushes are also great tool to do brush lettering. Brush markers is spongy, fibrous tip, usually shaped like a cone. And it’s firmness can be lose after several usage.
There are numerous brands and colors to choose from. Choosing the best one is overwhelming. There are popular brands that gets rave reviews from the letterers. But you also need to consider the price especially if you are new to this hobby. To get you some insights here are the brush makers or also known as brush pens that I have used. And here’s my thoughts about each product.
Color Factory Brush Marker
This brand is my very first brush marker. I bought one piece, violet color, at Dollar Store. I was so elated when I found it. Finally I had the chance to try brush lettering.
I wasn’t impressed on the first time I used it. It requires me to do drills and a lot of practice to get to use on brush lettering. Eventually, I learned how to use it… not still my best but I can see improvements in my lettering. And bought two more in different colors (pink and green) to mix and match colors of letters… well I will get bored if only use one color.
Although I’m happy with the Color Factory Brush Markers, I also found some downsides of this brand:
- Brushes are not consistent when it comes to stiffness. The first marker I bought, purple, is a bit hard, reason why I didn’t really enjoy my first try of the product. I have to give more pressure just to soften the brushes.
On the other hand, the green one is to soft which makes it hard to control especially on writing curves.
The perfect stiffness is the pink brush marker. I don’t know with other color brush markers though. Since I only bought three.
- Color options is limited and it just the basic colors.
- It is not dual. Unlike other brush pens, Color Factory Brush Marker has only one tip which is the brush.
Not really a big deal on my part since I am after with the brush.
- It’s expensive. One brush marker cost me $3.00 CAD exclusive tax.
These markers contain water-based ink that is suitable for use with water or watercolor paints. With a fine tip on one end and a brush tip on the other, you can create fine lines or thick strokes with equal ease.
The set contains 12 brilliant colors. I have to say that half of it are vibrant colors and the other half are earth tone colors. I am honestly in love with the range of colors.
When it comes to firmness of the brushes all are consistent and just perfect. The only thing is that some tips of the brushes have the tendency to spread which gives you an unrefined output.
I purchased mine at Michaels for 15.00 CAD for the 12-pc set.
The most popular Brush Pen. It gets rave reviews from different letterers. Thus, you can’t blame me if I wished for it.
This is actually the brand that I was looking for at Michaels. Sadly, it’s not available in Canada’s Craft store. I almost bought at Amazon, but need to control myself. After all my brush markers work fine. And I also try my luck by joining Tombow giveaways, but not lucky to win it.
But guess what, I am bound to have it. I found 4 sets of 6-pc Tombow Dual Brush Pen at garage sale in our neighbor for $3.00 per set. I didn’t think twice nor tried the pens or even open the packages. As soon as I saw it I grabbed and paid it. And luckily all work well.
Tombow Dual Brush Pen has flexible brush tip and fine tip in one marker. Brush tip works like a paintbrush to create fine, medium or bold strokes; fine tip gives consistent lines. The water-based ink is blendable and the resilient nylon brush retains it’s point stroke after stroke.
Brushes are softer compare to Artist’s Loft Brand. But they’re almost the same, you really can’t tell the difference in the first place. I have to do upward and downward stroke several times just to discreetly compare the stiffness of the brush. Plus it’s a second hand, I don’t know if the stiffness changes over the period of time.
As mentioned since it’s second hand, some brushes are worn out but you can still write a nice and clean letters. Also I notice some few drops of transparent liquids around the body near the brush area [in some brush pens]. I assume that the first owner put some liquids on it so it will work.
Nevertheless, I still enjoyed using the Tombow Dual Brush Pens. The range of colors are so pretty that you can easily blend with each other.
The size and length of the brush is smaller than the three markers mentioned above. The brush is also softer which I find it hard to control. Thus, I will not recommend it to beginners.
The tip is fine but if you will look closely it is fibrous which gives you a not so polish letters.
The best thing about this brush is its vivid color. And it’s waterproof and fade proof. According to sakuraofamerica.com, Sakura color products was invented and patented PIGMA ink in 1982. This special formulation of pigment based ink is more complex and stable than dye based inks. Pigma ink has become the standard for what is defined as reliable, permanent, archival quality ink.
Pigma Brush-Tip pens comes in 8 colors. One piece is $3.99 and one set of 8 pc is $25.51.
Color Factory, Artist’s Loft and Tombow brushes are similar when it comes to sizes and the flexibility of the brushes. These three brands can be used to write a bigger letters.
For beginners I’ll recommend the cheapest one which is the Artist’s Loft. Don’t let yourself overload with the different kind of markers. What matters for the beginners is to create a muscle memory so practice, practice and practice. And expect that you will throw more practice sheets and waste more inks. So I recommend the cheapest brand for the beginners
But if you want a wide variety of colors to create fun and more creative lettering, I’ll go with Tombow brand.
Sakura Pigma Brush- pen on the other hand is my least favorite for brush lettering because I find it hard to control and fibrous tip. I still have to do drill with this pen so that I’ll get use to it.
I know there are other brands that I need to try. Crayola brands are also good. I saw some short videos at Instagram of letterers using this brand. Tempted to buy this brand but I have to focus on practice. After all I still have lots of pens to use to practice.