I cannot tell you how many times people tell me "oh I cannot write like that" while referencing my calligraphy. Truth be told I had the WORST handwriting when I was younger. I specifically remember having a melt down in my room, crying to my mom because " I have boy handwriting"... oh to be young again and be able to stress about your handwriting ha! Fast-forward to now and my handwriting has improved although I wouldn't say one day I woke up and all of a sudden I was given the talents of a scribe. In fact, my handwriting isnt by any means something to admire.
So if your excuse is "I have terrible handwriting" then that is all it is... an excuse. I'll prove it to you. To be able to brush letter you can use any maker or writing utinsil that well... has a brush tip. You'll want a marker that has a soft tip and by that, I mean you need to be able to push on the tip (without breaking it) so you can create thick and thin lines by putting pressure on the pen. I have seen a few people use the big Crayola markers which are fine to play around with but don't have a super brush-y tip. My very favorite brand and pens to use is Tombow. The two pens I use the most are the dual brush tip for larger projects but my favorite learning pen and just doodle pen is their smaller Fudenosuke pen. When I got it in the mail after ordering it I honestly thought I had been duped since there was Chinese looking writing all over it. Turns out Tombow is just a company based out of Japan so it was Japanese... and my favorite pens.
I have put the links to all of their pens above. The first one is a smaller Fudenosuke brush. I like to practice with it because then I don't fill up a whole page after only writing a few words. I also think it is a bit more manageable. The second link, shows the "hard and soft" pens, those are both still the smaller Fudenosuke pens, one just has a more flexible tip than the other so it can be pushed harder for thicker lines when wanted. The third picture is of the Tombow Dual Brush Pens. These pens are much larger than the Fudenosuke pen so they are a little tricky to get used to but are great when trying to write a larger word or fill up a page. I don't love practicing with them because it just takes a few words and then you are on to another piece of paper and for some reason that annoys me haha but everything is personal preference. The nice thing about this pen though is that there is also a marker tip on the other end so if you need to go back and clean up your lines you can easily do that. I added a link to buy just one pen on the end there but you can easily see that buying a pack of pens is cheaper than just the one Dual Brush Pen. ( hey also have different color packs but I think the primes are a good one to start out with). Finally, if you want a set that includes a little of everything of what Tombow offers, you can get their beginner lettering set (second to last picture) That includes two dual Brush pens, FUSE calligraphy pen, MONO Twin Permanent marker, MONO drawing Pencil and MONO eraser. So if you want to get each type of pen and a few dual tips, you get a few more extras added on and thats the cheapest way to get a little of everything. Tombow isn't the ONLY thing out there, there are also other brands that have some fun colors and are good to use.
Another fun brand is Pentel. These markers are very similar to the Fudenosuke pen only they have them in color! (Tombow hasn't caught up to that yet) they are still small and fun to mess around with. I don't actually own these but my mom does so... by default I have access to them ;) (thanks mom) The next brand is Copic. I honestly don't love this marker simply because the tip isn't very pointed so it is hard for me to get thick and thins with it. I would say its probably a medium sized brush compared to the Dual Tip and Fudenosuke pen. The next one is good 'ol Sharpie. There is not much more to say other than its permanent! For that reason alone... I don't trust myself. Finally, I wouldn't recommend starting out with them but there are some fun brushes that give the watercolor effect. I love messing around with these. I but I am still trying to figure them out. ( make sure to use watercolor paper for these )
That brings us to paper... When it all comes down to it, you want smooth paper to preserve the life of your markers. Marker paper = good for markers. It is smooth and better for them. If you want good marker paper with guidelines, get the Rhodia Classic paper, it has dots on there so you aren't having to make guides for every word you write, I really do like having those there. If you are like me and love to doodle for fun, buy a giant pack of this nice printer paper above, and you should be great! Honestly, I don't stress much about my markers because the way Iook at it, I want to write whenever or wherever I want. So unless I am trying to create an awesome product, I am writing on whatever paper I have.
Okay so how do I learn to brush letter? Well, First things first, Brush lettering is all about "thick and thins" if you look back at the picture I posted the name of the pens and what they look like, see how all the letters have a variation of thickness? That is because when using brush pens you want to push down harder on the pen when doing "down strokes" and lighter when doing "up strokes". To really master this you need to practice. If you click HERE Tombow has free practice sheets that go very well with the Dual Brush pens or you can also get a basics worksheet for smaller pens HERE . If you don't want to use that then you can just practice on your own piece of paper. i recommend practicing that a lot, Up and down just thick strokes and thin strokes.
Once you get that down, combine the concept with lines... Try to keep your lines as consistent as possible. it is also very important to go slow. take your time and think of letters as shapes not as letters. for example, an "a" is a "c" with a line.
Go slow, Practice and have fun. I really really really suggest using the Tombow practice sheets (mentioned above) or you can also get the basics worksheet for smaller pens HERE . My mom and I both have her workbooks and we like to use tracing paper over them to practice. You cannot practice enough. Once I finally gave in and started practicing the boring basics I immediately saw a difference! Work on the basics, then letters and finally start making words! I LOVE playing around with brush pens. I ALWAYS have one in my purse, use it for my planner, my groceries, you name it! Just be patient and practice! I hope that this all makes sense! If you have any questions feel free to ask!