Comparison of Brush Pens

No links in these post are affiliate links. All pens were purchased by me and opinions are my own.

I started my brush lettering journey this past August. I had seen a lot of people on IG who were learning, and I loved the idea. In August, I bought the Rose Gold Horizontal Happy Planner and decided to use it for my lettering journey. I’ve been practicing ever since! If you want to follow along on my lettering journey, you can follow the hashtag #letteringfromkell on IG!

I also do a little brush lettering throughout my other planners, and every time I post a photo where I have included brush lettering I get the same question: “What pen are you using for the brush lettering?” Since this is such a popular question, I decided that I would write this blog post comparing all of the different brush pens that I have tried on my journey.

So far I have tried seven different pens. Before I get into the comparison of the pens though, I want to talk about brush lettering by itself. For starters, it is hard. Like, way harder than I ever imagined. I thought I would get a fancy brush marker and would be lettering like crazy right away. HA! That’s funny and so.not.true. You have to practice almost every day, and I’m still not that good. My upstrokes are still so shaky, and my downstrokes aren’t always perfect. If brush lettering is something you want to learn, be prepared to practice.practice.practice!! All right, now that you are aware of the PRACTICE, let’s talk pens!

The first pen that I started with in my brush lettering journey was the Tombow Dual Tip Brush Pen. This is the one I had seen the most on social media, so it was the obvious choice for me. I bought two packs of different colors on Amazon, and was anxiously awaiting for them to arrive. When they did… let’s just say I was shocked at how hard it was to use them! I thought I was going to be brush lettering with the best of them, and well… I’m not. HA! Here are some of my thoughts on this pen:

  • SIZE: It is a larger pen, which makes it harder to figure out how to hold it.
  • TIP: The tip on this pen is very large and very flexible. It’s nice because you can create different kinds of strokes, but it’s also very hard to control as a beginner. Also, if you don’t know how to use these pens, it is very easy to fray the tip. Honestly, my black marker is pretty frayed because I didn’t know how to use it, which is why the above lettering isn’t that great. I need to order a new black one, but since I reach for this pen the least, I just haven’t gotten around to it.
  • STROKE SIZE: Since the tip is very large, you have to write large words with this pen. I don’t use it in my planner very often because of how big the words have to be when writing with it.
  • PRICE: $26.99 for a variety pack of ten on Amazon, which made this pen around $2.69. If you buy it straight from Tombow, they run about $3.19 per pen.
  • OVERALL THOUGHTS: This is my least favorite of my brush pens. It is very hard to control, and I honestly just kind of gave up on using it. I found others that I liked more! I think that once I’m better at brush lettering, I will enjoy using these more though.

After using the Tombow Dual Brush Pen for a few weeks, I started to get frustrated with it. I just wasn’t loving the pen and wanted to try some others. I headed to Michaels to check out their stock, and found these Artist Loft Watercolor Dual Tip Markers. I LOVE these markers!

  • SIZE: .This marker is about the same size as a Tombow Dual Brush Pen, but is slightly shorter and skinnier. This makes it easier to hold.
  • TIP: The tip is similar to the Tombow Dual Brush Pen, but it isn’t as flexible. For a beginner, I think that makes this pen easier to use. It’s easier to control the tip, which makes it easier to letter.
  • STROKE SIZE: The stroke size is similar to Tombow Dual Brush Pen, although since you can control it better it IS easier to make the strokes smaller.
  • PRICE: These sale for $29.99 for a pack of 12 at Michaels. I used a 50% off coupon, which made them $15 for the entire pack. This means that each marker was about $1.25. They are slightly cheaper than Tombow Pens, and are almost identical to them in quality!
  • OVERALL THOUGHTS: I love these pens. I use them way more than the Tombow Dual Brush Pens. If I could do my lettering journey over again, I would skip on the Tombow Dual Brush Pens for now and get these instead!

Above is a comparision of the two pens. You can see that the strokes are similar, although Tombow is slightly larger. You can also see how the Tombow tip is slightly larger as well!

I bought this Sharpie Brush Marker the same day that I bought the Artist Loft ones from above. I had seen a few people use these markers for different projects, and I was on the search to find the perfect brush marker, so I figured why not?

  • SIZE: .This marker is really, really, thick. That means it’s really different to hold in your hand than any of the other markers.
  • TIP: The tip of this marker is HUGE. It is pretty flexible too, so you can get lots of different strokes out of it. It also makes it a little harder to control.
  • STROKE SIZE: The stroke size with this marker is THICK. You could never write tiny words with this marker. This marker is great for posters, and I’ve even used it on a canvas before.
  • PRICE: This marker is $2.49 at Michaels, which actually makes it slightly cheaper than the Tombow Dual Brush pen.
  • OVERALL THOUGHTS: I love this Sharpie brush marker, but not for my planner. It is never, ever used in my planner! It is awesome for larger projects though.

After using the above pens for a few weeks, I still wasn’t sold on brush lettering. I felt like I was still struggling with controlling the tip and really owning my lettering. Then it was time for the Pinners Conference in Texas, and I had the joy of meeting the one and only Janna Wilson. She recommended this Prismacolor Brush Marker to me, and when Janna Wilson recommends a brush marker… you go buy that brush marker!

  • SIZE: .This marker is very thin. It is more like a regular pen, so I found it much easier to find my grip!
  • TIP: The tip of this marker is tiny. It is so much smaller than the other markers I’ve talked about so far, which made it SO much easier to control! I instantly saw improvement in my lettering when I started using this marker because it was so, so much easier to use. The tip is also flexible, so you can create different kinds of strokes with it.
  • STROKE SIZE: The stroke size with this marker is thinner than the other ones we have discussed so far. This makes it perfect for using in your planner! I use this one in my planner ALL THE TIME!
  • PRICE: This marker is $3.79 at Michaels, but I always buy them when they go on sale for 40% off. That means that each one is $2.27.
  • OVERALL THOUGHTS: This is my favorite brush pen, hands down. If someone told me I had to throw away all of my brush pens but one, this is the one I would keep! THANK YOU for the recommendation, Janna!

While at the Pinners Conference in Texas, I stopped by the Tombow Booth and tried out the Soft & Hard Tip Pens. I fell in love with them and knew that I wanted to try them out even more, so I ordered some off of Amazon. The soft tip is one of my favorite brush pens!

  • SIZE: This marker is the same size as a normal pen, so it’s very easy to hold.
  • TIP: The tip is TINY! The tip of this marker is very flexible. You can create very thin upstrokes, but you can vary your downstrokes based on how thick you want them. The soft tip makes it super flexible. This pen also hasn’t frayed like my Tombow Dual Brush Pen did.
  • STROKE SIZE: The stroke size is very, very small with this one. You can vary the downstroke based on how much you press down.
  • PRICE: I got these markers off Amazon in a pack of two for $5.90, which made each pen $2.95. If you buy one straight from the Tombow site, they run at $3.49 each.
  • OVERALL THOUGHTS: I really enjoy using this pen. It works really well in my planner since it’s such a smaller tip. It’s super easy to write in the boxes with this small tip!

This is the hard tip version of the Tombow Soft & Hard Tip Pens. I fell in love with them at Pinners Conference and knew that I wanted to try them out even more, so I ordered some off of Amazon. I like the soft tip better than the hard tip, but I still like the hard tip.

  • SIZE: This marker is the same size as a normal pen, so it’s very easy to hold.
  • TIP: The tip is TINY! The tip of this marker is not flexible at all. You can create very thin upstrokes, and your downstrokes are only slightly thicker. The hard tip makes it pretty stiff. This pen also hasn’t frayed like my Tombow Dual Brush Pen did.
  • STROKE SIZE: The stroke size is very, very small with this one. Both the upstroke and downstrokes are pretty small with this one!
  • PRICE: I got these markers off Amazon in a pack of two for $5.90, which made each pen $2.95. If you buy one straight from the Tombow site, they run at $3.49 each.
  • OVERALL THOUGHTS: I really enjoy using this pen. I like the soft tip more, but this one still works really well in a planner since it’s such a smaller tip. It’s super easy to write in the boxes with this small tip!This is the most recent pen that I have tried, and guys I failed on this one! I’m including it in this list so that you don’t make the same mistake as me! I ordered a box of 12 of these off of Amazon, but didn’t realize I ordered the FIBER TIPPED ones. These are NOT brush pens! I think these brush tip ones were the ones that I was suppose to order, so I just threw them in my cart on Amazon.All is not *completely* lost with these pens as you can just emphasize your down strokes to get a faux brush lettering look. I am sure I will still use these in my planners, it just wasn’t the way I had hoped! Once I order the brush tip ones, I will update you guys and let you know if it’s the right pen or not.
  • \

Another question that I get all the time about my brush pens is “Do they bleed or shadow in your planner?”, so I thought I would put them to the test and let you see for yourself! I pulled out a page in my planner that I wasn’t going to use, and put these markers to the test!

Here is what all of the pens look like on the page. I decided to write the same word with each so that you could compare them for yourselves. Now for the big question— do they shadow on to the next page??? Drumroll please….

 

As you can see, the sharpie brush marker is the only pen that bled through the page! I would never use that marker in my planner because it looks HORRIBLE! The rest of them are all good to go though! You can’t even see them at all on the page! WOO!

 

I hope this comparison of these brush pens was beneficial to you. Do any of you use a brush pen that I didn’t discuss? I would love to hear which one you use so that I could try it out for myself! Leave me a comment below to let me know, or head over to my IG (@kellofaplan) and tell me there!

Happy Lettering!

One thought on “Comparison of Brush Pens

  1. The Pentel Sign Pen you need is available at Michaels. It will say “flexible tip” and the plastic casing is shiny/glittery. It’s about $3 too, so not too much. It’s a happy medium between the two Tombow fudes, I think.

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