Tools

Staedtler Lead Holder

This is my favorite form of pencil. It allows you such a fine tip that’s great for percision drawing. It also works well under pressure! When I rough out calligraphic drawings, I sometimes use this pencil and it allows me to apply and release pressure on and off of it to create darker and lighter strokes, mimicking the modulation of a brush or nib.

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Sakura Micron Pen

This pen is great because they come in such fine tips (they also come in larger ones, but I mainly use the finer ones). I find they don’t bleed as much as some other pens out there and they are relatively smooth. Just don’t press too hard on the .005 nibs!

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Pentel Color Brush

Don’t get discouraged if you find this one hard to use at first. If you’ve used other brush pens that utilized a felt tip (or similar) then this may take a bit of getting used to. I love the fine details I can get off of it, as well as the contrasting bold and beautiful strokes that come off of it when pressure is applied. It also gives off some great textures when you scribe quickly with it.

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Tombow Fudenosuke Brushpen

By far my most favorite brushpen, the Tombow Fude has been a faithful sidekick. I appreciate it’s hard brush that can provide great contrast in my strokes while allowing me full control over the tip. I can say too much about this pen. Just buy it and always keep it on you; it’s well worth the extra gram in your pocket.

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Kuretake Brushpen

Oddly enough, I like using this pen more for the small, non-brush end more than the brush. The brush on this is a bit “rubbery” I find; good for some styles but not what I’m most used to. It’s comparable to the Prismacolor and Copic brushpens (if you’ve tried those ones). I do find however, that the small tip on the other end is great for roughing out pieces in smaller composite settings. That said, this one is worth a try—you may find the brush  suits you more than it does me!

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Tombow Dual Brush pen

This is probably the most popular brushpen  I’ve  seen used, and I’m not surprised. You can get great control out of these and they are very versatile as far as the different styles of brush lettering it can be used for. They are one of my most used brushpens. The only thing to watch out for the the fraying felt tip, though that might just be my heavy left hand pushing on it. This is a must-have in any lettering artist’s belt.

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Pilot Parallel Pen

Ah the infamous Parallel pen. Made popular by artists like Seb Lester and Neil Tasker, this pen allows you the result of a broad nib calligraphic pen minus the hassle of ink jars and cleaning supplies (though that is tremendously fun). This pen provides a fantastic flat stroke, as well as a finer point when you rotate it one it’s edge. This is great if your even just practising classic foundational hand calligraphy.

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Copic Wide Marker

This is one big mother of a marker! I find it very fun to use, especially if you have a large area to work on. Many artists utilize this for calligraphy as well as calligraphiti, such as Team Blazin. They may not be the most versitile markers but once you get the hang of them you’ll enjoy the texture and contrast of the strokes they offer.

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Zebra F-701 Ballpoint Pen

It may seem odd to include a ballpoint pen in this lineup, but this pen is a trusty companion that is always in my left pant pocket. I do everything from take notes to draw portraits with this pen (not really sure what is in between…). The point is nice and and the flow of the ink is so smooth and consistent. But even when it begin to die out, the inconsistent flow gives a great texture for sketching. I am a huge advocate for this pen and everyone I’ve told about this pen becomes one too. Watch out—you might get hooked.

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Copic Multiliner

Much like the Micron pen mentioned above, this pen is great for fine detailed drawing. The only difference I find is that this one bleeds a tiny bit, and the black ink isn’t as rich as the Micron. Still, I find this pen to be a worthy opponent and a very useful tool in my case. The upside with these pens is that  the nibs and ink are replaceable, and the nibs are actually quite strong compared to the Micron .005 nibs. With that said, they are both fantastic pens in their own regard, but you’ll have to try them out for yourself and see the difference.

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Nib Holder

There’s nothing quite like the experience of using a classic pointed nib like this one. The scratchy sound on your upstrokes are quickly soothed by the pleasant flow of ink on the way back down. It takes a bit of getting used to, but you will find that the contrast and textures that come off of these nibs are incomparable. I find I need to position my hand much differently to use this pen, keeping a very specific angle on the pen’s body. I use a number of different nibs (as the project calls for it) but this is by far one of my top favourites. I opt out of using calligraphy inks you find in stores and use gouache instead, creating a 2:1 mixture of water:gouache. The consistency and flow is much better, and it holds nicely in the nib.

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