Brush pen lettering provides a quick and colorful way to convey a message … which is always a plus in the midst of a hectic holiday season! In this blog post, you’ll learn two techniques to create brush pen projects that stand out. Both of the tutorials were created using Tombow Brush Pens (my favorites), but you are welcome to use any colorful brush pens that you prefer! If you’ve never used a brush pen before, the Kaitlin Style Brush Pen Worksheet and Videos Set will help you big time with the lettering portion of both projects.
1. Safari Brush Pen Lettering
This simple style of brush pen lettering reminds me of a jungle because of the color and the spots! To make it, you’ll need a medium-toned brush pen and watercolor paper. I’m using a Tombow 098 here, which is a nice avocado color. Start by using all-lowercase Kaitlin Style brush pen calligraphy to write “thank you” (or whatever you want your lettering to say).
Next, use a black gel pen (like a Pilot G2) to trace around the brush pen lettering. Try to relax and keep a steady hand, especially as you trace the smaller strokes. Small strokes can prove difficult to trace around if you’re tense and shaky!
Once you finish tracing around the word, use the fine tip end of the brush pen to draw various sizes of circles over your original lettering. In the photo below, it looks like the fine tip end provides a darker ink. The ink, however, is the same color — it just adds to the opacity! The extra layer of ink is why you’re using watercolor paper; normal printer paper might pill and tear with this much moisture.
Note that, while Tombow brush pens have two tips (a flexible brush tip and a fine tip), not all brush pen markers come with a fine tip on the opposite end. If you don’t have a Tombow brush pen, don’t worry about it! Any brush pen without a fine tip will be able to make these circles. The goal, really, is just to layer the ink to make dark spots!
Once you finish, you’ll be rewarded with a striking piece of brush pen lettering! Note that you can tailor this concept by color and technique to suit any occasion. For example, for Valentine’s Day, you could make pink lettering with hearts instead of circles. For a little boy’s birthday card, you might do light blue with stars instead of circles. Feel free to try out any modification; you’ll be pleased at the results!
2. Geometric Border Brush Pen Lettering
This style of brush pen lettering doesn’t require doing anything special to the lettering itself. It’s what’s around the lettering that makes it unique! To start, you’ll want to use a red brush pen to write your message. I used a Tombow 847 (Crimson), part of the Primary Colors pack, and Kaitlin Style brush pen calligraphy to write “Happy Birthday” diagonally on a 5″x7″ card.
Use the same red marker to draw rectangles with diagonal ends along the perimeter of the card. All rectangles should extend from the edge of the card inward.
Next, get out a brown marker like the Tombow 899 (or the Tombow 879, which is also part of the Primary Colors pack). Use it to draw geometric elements like triangles, lines, and dashed lines near the red rectangles.
Now, find a blue brush pen that you like — it shouldn’t be a super-vivid blue. Your red is already vivid, so you want something more subdued, like the Tombow 526. Use this new marker to add more geometric elements around the existing geometric designs you drew.
You can finish up the card by filling in the border with geometric designs drawn with a very light blue brush pen. The light blue shown here is Tombow 451, but any light blue will work! Once the card looks good to you, it is finished.
A Note About Brush Pens
It’s hard not to love Tombow brush pens because of their versatility and the many colors that they come in! However, you can experiment with other brush pens available to you. As long as the pens are colorful with a flexible tip, you’ll be able to make projects that you love.
That said, if you have an interest in brush pens and Santa still isn’t sure what to get you, the 96-color complete set of Tombows is awesome. Brush pens can be pricey, but they last a long time (years) if you’re diligent about keeping the lid on and not applying direct pressure to the tip of the nib! You can learn how to maintain a proper, pen-preserving grip in the Kaitlin Style Brush Pen Calligraphy Worksheet and Videos.
I hope that you enjoyed these two simple tutorials; next week, I’ll be posting two more! In the meantime, if you have any questions about brush pens, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments. I’m always glad to answer!
Have a good afternoon, and a wonderful week prepping for the holiday weekend!