A brush pen is the right multitool for lettering and also colorations on graphics. The brush collection of a designer is always growing. Especially the one of Julia from Farbcafe.de (color coffee) who added one after another over the years. Today we like to present her Brush pen guide and the difference between those 6 pens.

What is a brush pen?

A brush pen is a pen with a nib formed to a brush as the name says. It is mostly made of sleaze fiber or hairs,  like the sleaze in sleaze pens. Important to know is that the nib is very flexible for drawing thin and thick lines, without breaking the brush.

What is the nib?

A nib is the top of the pen, also the top of an ink pen or brush. Often the instruments to do calligraphy with are called nibs.

The 6 different brush pens

The surface or paper influences the lettering most. It shows which techniques you have and which pen is the right one to use. The choice is quite big but here are the best 6 brush ens to use for lettering after Julia.

Pentel Touch Pen

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The Pentel Touch Pen was left in Julia’s drawer for years. She didn’t know what to do with it, until she saw a lettering artwork on Instagram with it. The Pentel Touch Pen has a small, thin nib with a flexible synthetic fiber, which is very easy to use. Thin and thick lines are going smoothly without much pressure. The pen isn’t waterproof nor resistant for other markers.

This Pen loves: Marker Paper | Bristol Paper | Coated Paper | Rhodia Dot Pad | Offset Paper

Characteristics: not waterproof | not marker resistant

Pentel Brush Pen

The Pentel Brush Pen has a strange nib, which indeed is made of real hair. It is filled with ink which makes the color waterproof. His characteristics are perfect for watercolor usage. Because the ink is very busy on paper it is refillable with ink cartridges. With the pens nib you can practice chinese calligraphy. If you work fast you will see nice little grungy strokes which give your lettering a touch if vintage.

The Pentel Brush Pen loves: Marker Paper | Bristol Paper | Coated Paper | Rhodia Dot Pad

Characteristics: f043 waterproof | f069  lightfast

Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pen

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The Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pen is the most wanted pen all over the world at the moment and it is the favourite for most Instagramers. The colour choice is enormous and the nib is perfectly made for brush letterings. The Tombow turns to an watercolor pen on satin-finished paper and enables fake-watercolor paintings. But it needs to be careful on a rougher surface like a special watercolor paper because the nib could be dmaged very fasten on such surfaces. For lettering, watercolor paper is not suitable.

The Tombow loves: Marker Paper | Bristol Paper | Coated Paper | Rhodia Dot Pad

Characteristics: not waterproof | not marker resistant

Copic Ciao Marker

brush pen guide 1

The Ciao Marker from Copic has a calligraphy fibre nib on the one site and on the other site a brush lettering nib, which is perfect for lettering practices. The nib is a bit larger than on the other bushes and very flexible which tooks a little bit more practicing to handle it.

Ciao loves: Marker Paper | Bristol Paper (be careful becausethe color can percolate through the paper)

Characteristics: f043waterproof

Stylefile Brush Marker

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The Stylefile Brush Marker has a round fibre nib on one site and a rounder nib on the other site which is more heavy to use for letterings than the Ciao Marker. If you push too much, the front end of the nib lifts off a little bit and this might cause skipped passages on the paper.

Stylefile loves: Marker Paper | Bristol Paper (be careful becausethe color can percolate through the paper)

Characteristics: f043waterproof

Copic Multiliner BS

brush pen guide 2

The Copic Multiliner BS has a very mellow, thin and long nib. Clean letteirng is a real challenge. The characteristics of this Multiliner are waterproofness and Copic resistance which make this Marker a real must have one. But it is not made for beginners. The best part of it is that every little part of the marker is replaceable. The nib and the ink cartridge, also the cover. It has a robust shaft produce of aluminium for a high longevity.

Stylefile loves: Marker Paper | Bristol Paper

Characteristics: f043waterproof | f069 lightfast | f06d marker resistant

Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen B

brush pen guide 3The Pitt Artist Pen B from Faber Castell has a very fine, in the beginning hard nib to draw very thin lines with. On rougher surfaces, the nib suffers and frays. On normal paper, the nib stays perfect for a long time.

Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen loves: Marker Paper | Bristol Paper | Coated Paper | Rhodia Dot Pad

Characteristics: f043waterproof | f069 lightfast

Brush Pen line comparison



Which paper is best for lettering ?

It’s important to know the differences and characteristics of paper before starting to practice lettering with a brush pen. While writing you must keep an eye on the nib of the pen and thet you don’t use too much power for holdign and guiding it. The stressed fiber could be damaged very fast. If the nib is damaged the pen is mostly beyond repair. In general, it is important to use a smooth paper, often coated which means that the single fibers of the paper are very narrow. The smooth paper gives the pen no big friction so that it can slip easily above the paper. Only the drying process of the colour takes a little time, because it is not entering the paper so fast. Which is good for hard and sharp contures but also negative for bluring the whole artwork with one gesture. Lefthanders have to be very careful.


Big thanks to Julia from Farbcafe.de who created this brush pen lettering guide. We also use mostly the Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pen because of it’s perfect Nib for brush letterings and the normal nib on the other side for typography.



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