Intermediate Brush Lettering: My Essentials

This is a follow-up to the first brush lettering post – “Brush Lettering: My Essentials” where I shared some of my favorite, affordable, and basic tools for getting started with brush lettering. In this post, I’ll show some different tools to achieve different styles and effects. As I’ve expanded my collection of tools, I’m starting to narrow down my strengths and preferences.

Intermediate brush lettering

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I want to reiterate that these tools are my preferences. I’m only presenting products that I’ve personally used and would recommend. Ask around in Facebook groups, Instagrammers, and get other people’s opinions, too. This post is certainly not the end all, be all.



Once you’ve gotten a good handle on the Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens, then these dual brush pens are next level stuff! You can write much larger letters, blend colors easily, and even use them as a quick substitute for watercolors!

Remember to use only smooth paper for these pens. The brush tips fray easily (which I learned the hard way).

These brush pens come in a variety of packs including primary, bright, landscape, portrait, and grayscale. You can buy them in smaller packs or bite the bullet and get the 96 colors. If you’re saving a little bit of money, then I suggest getting the primary or bright packs because, like I mentioned, you can blend these colors to achieve other colors.


I haven’t tried every kind of water brushes out there, but my first purchase was the Pentel Arts Aquash Water Brush. It came in a set of 3 different sizes. The largest was great for washes. The middle and smaller brush sizes are great for lettering and other detailed work. The great thing about water brushes is that if you like to work with watercolors, you don’t need to have a separate cup for water. You can just squeeze the water from the barrel, and work away! The brush will stain, but cleaning it is a breeze. Just squeeze some extra water onto a paper towel, and brush back and forth until the color fades.



I will recommend the rhodia notepad again especially to protect the Tombow brush pens (and other brush pens for that matter).


I like the mixed media paper for the water brushes. I like the spiral bound 9×12 ones from Canson because they’re not so bulky that I can’t carry them around. They hold up watercolors fairly well. I’ve used them often to practice my watercolor lettering because the mixed media paper is a little bit cheaper, and the paper doesn’t warp too much if I’m doing just lettering. But if you’re using tons of water for more than just lettering, then you should use watercolor paper (see next item).

Remember, this is not a good choice of paper for brush pens. The mixed media paper is a big rough for brush pens and will cause them to fray.


If you want to combine a watercolor painting with watercolor lettering, then you need paper that will be able to hold water without warping. Therefore, watercolor paper is the right choice. I like to buy the larger pad sizes, and then cut them into smaller pieces. If I have smaller pieces left over, then I use them for practicing drills or watercolor techniques.


For practice, I’d definitely recommend the sheets and resources I mentioned in the first brush lettering post.

But if you want to take it to the next level, check out the monthly lettering challenges on Instagram. There are so many challenges each month–everything from Disney-themes to Bible verses. Check out @letteringchallenges on Instagram for new challenges each month! There’s no need to feel pressure to do every single challenge or do every challenge each day. Pop in when you can, and do your best. I also love scrolling through the related hashtags, and seeing how other people interpret the same prompts.


Happy lettering, everyone!

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