The other day, I saw a video on Instagram that inspired me to develop this “juicy” brush pen calligraphy tutorial! In it, the artist utilized several common art supplies to make playful and eye-catching lettering letters. I modified the supply list to fit the things that I have available to me, and I hope that you’ll do the same! To create this tutorial, you’ll need:
- Brush pens (or broad-tipped markers such as Crayola)
- A pencil + eraser
- A fine-tipped paintbrush
- A white gel pen (such as Gelly Roll) + a black pen
1. Make a Draft of the Letters
Before you begin writing, you’ll want to use a ruler and a pencil to map out some guidelines. You can either make straight, uniform guidelines, or you can make playful guidelines, like I did.
Next, exert significant pressure on your pencil to make a draft of your letters. Try to write as neatly as possible, as you’ll be tracing over these letters with your brush pen later!
Complete this step by lightly erasing over your guidelines and letters. You should be able to see the letters just enough to be able to trace over them in the next step!
2. Trace Over the Lettering with Brush Pens
Get out your brush pens (or broad-tipped markers) and use them to trace over your pencil draft. Try to use two tones of marker for your lettering!
Continue writing until you’re happy with the layout and color scheme!
3. Add Water
Use a fine-tipped paintbrush and clean water to write over the lettering. The goal here is to get the colors within the letters to bleed into each other a bit!
4. Trace Around the Letters
Once the water has dried (~3 minutes), use a black pen to trace around all of the letters.
Once you finish, your brush pen calligraphy should look something like this:
5. Add Shadows
Now, take your pencil and use it to draw shadows to the right of every letter. The shadows should hug the contours of all the right-side edges of every letter! Each shadow should extend about 2 mm (1/16″) to the right.
Continue to draw shadows until every letter has a shadow.
6. Add Highlights
The last step in this “juicy” brush pen calligraphy tutorial is to add some highlights. The highlights will give the letters some great dimension! To add highlights, simply use your white gel pen to draw a contoured line along the left edges of every letter. Some letters, like the “P” in “Soprano”, may have more than one left edge!
Drawing in these highlights is important because the highlights work together with the shadows to convince the viewer that the light source is coming from the left.
If you use this lettering technique for mail art, consider treating the envelope with Microglaze. You can read more about that in this article! A color coordinated postage stamp collage won’t look out of place here, for sure.
If you aren’t familiar with using brush pens, take a look at the Using Brush Pens for Calligraphy article. In it, you’ll find tips for using brush pens as well as links to free printable brush pen worksheets!
I hope that you enjoyed this lettering tutorial! Try using this technique on anything — it’s great for bullet journals, sketchbooks, posters, and anything else you want to add lettering to.
Thanks very much for reading TPK, and enjoy the rest of your week!