Brush pens are a popular choice for calligraphy, lettering, and drawing. They have been around since the invention of the fountain pen in 1884. The first brush pen was patented in 1919 by Walter Sheaffer who wanted to create something that would mimic an artist’s paintbrush. It has evolved into many different styles and types over time but remains one of the best tools for artists to use!
This article will answer some common questions about Brush Pens as well as provide reviews on some specific products including brands like Sakura Koi, Winsor & Newton, and Pentel Arts Design.
We’ll start with some of the best brush pens for beginners, followed by reviews of more advanced models that will make your letters look flawless. We also have tips on how to use them best and what to avoid when buying one yourself.
What are brush pens?
A brush pen is a drawing tool that allows for the smooth and flexible application of ink. The tip (or ‘brush nib’) has fine hairs to distribute the fluid evenly across the paper, which gives it an advantage over other pens in various ways:
- It can be used with different types of media such as watercolor or acrylic paint.
- It is highly versatile, allowing for the creation of different artistic styles.
- The lines are smooth and fluid with little to no pressure needed when drawing or writing.
A brush pen uses ink which can be activated by wetting the tip in either water or a special liquid called ‘brush cleaner’ (which comes included in most sets). This creates an effect similar to traditional calligraphy pens but provides improved control over texture, width, line thickness, etc. Brush pens require less skill than other types of calligraphy making them ideal for beginners who wish to learn modern lettering techniques.
How to Choose the Right Brush Pen For You
Brush pens come in a range of different tip sizes and shapes. So go with whatever feels best for you!
The finer the point, the more delicate your work will look. And vice versa. A thicker line can give off a bolder vibe or add emphasis to certain areas on paper or canvas.
Exp tips tend to feel better to work with as they are a little more durable and can withstand greater amounts of pressure. Thicker lines tend to be much easier to control when designing calligraphy because the thicker tip requires less effort from your hand in order for it to leave an impression on paper or canvas!
Read our detailed review of The Best Paper for Copic Markers.
Different Characteristics of Brush Pens
They can have a huge impact on your results.
Here we’ll outline some of the most important features of brush pens and what they mean when it comes to your results, as well as discuss how best to use them if you’re new to this style of artistry.
Different pens will use different kinds of ink, so you may need to experiment with the kind that suits your style best.
Diameter and thickness
Brush tips come in a variety of sizes from thin to thick brush strokes. You might want to try out many different types until you find one that’s right for you.
Small brush pens can be great for beginners learning how to hand letter because the tips can be a little easier to control than a large brush pen. They’re still flexible and they don’t necessarily flop around as much as a large brush pen might also with the easy flexibility. It can help you to kind of get the feel for what type of pressure you need to apply to get those thick strokes.
Medium-sized brush pens are a great combination of super flexible and bouncy kind of like a larger brush pen, but also a little bit easier to control like a small brush pen.
Large-sized brush pen tips can be great if you want to make really big strokes, but they can also sometimes feel a little more difficult to control.
Tip kinds of brush pens
There are three major kinds of brush pens: fiber tip, felt tip, and dual tips. The best kind for you depends on your personal preference and artistic style.
Fiber Tip Brush Pens
Fiber tip brushes have a thin metal tube that holds ink inside a tightly bound bundle of fibers at its end (similar to how real calligraphy is done).
They tend to last longer than other varieties without needing replacement as often since they don’t absorb much ink or dye into their bristles as many felt-tipped versions do. However, this type of brush pen can be a little more difficult to find depending on your location and options available at stores near you since they aren’t as popular in the United States or Europe where most modern calligraphy is based from compared to Japan which has been using fiber tip pens for over 100 years.
Felt Tip Brush Pens
Felt-tip brushes are extremely common with graphic designers and beginners alike because they’re cheaper than many other types by far while still being able to create incredible works of art. This variety utilizes a felt wad instead rather than a tightly bound bundle of fibers found in the previous version making its ink flow a little more unpredictable and not as well-controlled when in use.
While they do last longer than fiber tip pens, the ink is absorbed into their felt surface rather quickly which means you’ll need to replace them often since it’s difficult to clean out all of the old dye after usage leaving your new ones with an unpleasant color that doesn’t quite match if using multiple colors within one design or illustration.
Dual Tip Brush Pens
The final type combines both worlds from above making for the best brush pen experience hands down! This variety has two tips on either end: one made of metal fibers like before while another made of felt wadding allowing you to switch between types depending on what exactly you’re trying to do. It makes them the best brush pens for modern calligraphy!
Top 5 Best Brush Pens
Learning how to handle them can be difficult and having the wrong brush pen can make it even harder. So we’ve compiled a list of the best brush pens for beginners to help you in your journey.
|Winsor & Newton Water Colour Brush Markers, Set of 12||
Best For Beginners
|Pentel Arts Sign Pen Touch, Fude Brush Tip, 12 Assorted Colors in Marker Stand (SES15CPC12)||
Best For Lettering
|Akashiya Watercolor Brush Pen 30 Japanese Traditional Color Set||
Best For Coloring
|Sakura XBR-24SA 24-Piece Koi Assorted Coloring Brush Pen Set||
Best For Calligraphy
|Copic Gasenfude Nylon Brush Pen, Basic, Black||
1. Winsor & Newton Water Colour Brush Markers, Set of 12 – Best Brush Pens Overall
Winsor & Newton produces the best dual brush pens. They have a fantastic range of colors, and their fluid brushes are great for creating thick lines as well as thin ones. These also come in an array of sizes from extra fine to double broad or even pan size!
The downside is that they can be difficult to work with if you’re just starting out due to the wetness factor, but once you get used to them, chances are these will become your favorite tool for drawing and lettering art.
Their color range is very impressive. You’ll be able to experiment with blending techniques using these markers! The paints dry quickly so smudging won’t be much of an issue after applying them on your canvas, but it’s still best if you let each layer completely dry before adding another one or picking up where you left off.
Winsor & Newton markers come in either pans or cartridges: both will do just fine when combined with their palette holder that has room enough for multiple pens plus mixing wells and brushes. If you don’t like mixing colors inside the container, you can also use water to change them.
Winsor & Newton is great for beginners because they’re easy to find at any art store and reasonably priced as well. There are definitely cheaper brush pens out there that do a decent job for both drawing and lettering purposes but none of those will be able to match this brand in terms of quality – especially when it comes time for cleanup after using them!
Winsor & Newton is the best brush marker brand that we’ve found after trying out different materials and tools for drawing and lettering.
2. Pentel Arts Sign Pen Touch, Fude Brush Tip, 12 Assorted Colors in Marker Stand – Best Brush Pens For Beginners
The Pentel Arts Sign Pen Touch Fude Brush is a very popular and highly rated brush pen. It can be used for both writing and drawing depending on the pressure you apply to it and how fast you move your hand.
You can use this brush pen as an alternative to markers or other types of brushes such as watercolor paintbrushes. This means that it has many practical uses in addition to artistic purposes like painting (including calligraphy), cartooning, comic book artistry etcetera which makes it versatile enough for all different kinds of projects without having too much bulkiness associated with traditional tools – think feather quills versus ballpoint pens!
The Pentel Arts Sign Pen Touch is a dual-tipped brush pen that comes with one end as an extra-fine marker and the other as a fude brush tip. This means it can be used for both broad stroke calligraphy, similar to most traditional brush pens, but also narrow strokes for more intricate lettering styles such as modern calligraphy.
Highly pigmented ink allows you great color variation in your work so these markers have become very popular with beginners who want to explore different techniques without having to buy multiple pens.
The Fude Tip gives a thick line width of 0.35mm when writing normally and 0.55mm when using side pressure on the tip at any angle – which makes it perfect for the broad strokes needed in traditional lettering. It even works well when lifting color to create gradients! The only downside is that this pen isn’t refillable, but you can still buy ink cartridges separately if need be.
Pentel Arts Sign Pen Touch markers have a sturdy plastic cap that snaps on tight so these are great pens for throwing into your bag without having to worry about them leaking all over everything else. They’re also one of the most budget-friendly options out there. If you want an inexpensive way to try modern calligraphy or brush lettering then definitely give these a try!
3. Akashiya Watercolor Brush Pen 30 Japanese Traditional Color Set – Best Brush Pens For Lettering
Akashiya Watercolor Brush Pens are one of the best brush pens for hand lettering. While they aren’t the best quality, these affordable pens have appeal because of their ease to use and safe water-based ink.
The tips come pre-expanded so you don’t have to worry about going through multiple sizes before finding your perfect fit – just uncap it and go!
Because the tip is made from synthetic fibers rather than natural hair bristles, there isn’t as much chance that you will split or break them when applying pressure either. Many users find that this set offers better performance over other brands since each pen can produce line widths from 0.25mm up to a whopping 12mm. (As a reference, most other brush pens are only capable of line widths up to at least 0.35mm.)
When compared to similar brands in the same price range, these markers have thicker tips that hold more ink and produce darker lines with less breakage. (Due to this thinner marker point, however, they aren’t great for highly detailed or thin-lined work – but their low cost makes them an excellent choice when doing broad sweeping strokes).
A the same time the brush tips are a bit stiff and don’t have the best spring. When you’re going fast, they tend to lose their shape and get thinner at the tip which creates gaps in your lines instead of smooth transitions between thick and thin strokes.
If you are an artist who draws primarily in black only, these brush pens are your first choice! But if you want more pigment color choices or like wetter/drier effects (like watercolor), these aren’t your best bet.
4. Sakura XBR-24SA 24-Piece Koi Assorted Coloring Brush Pen Set – Best Brush Pens For Drawing
The Sakura Koi Brush Pen set is a great way to get started with brush pens. The 12 color pack comes in both fine and medium tips making it easy to find one that works best for you, the paper they are designed for use on, and finding your favorite colors. While these pens can be used for lettering or calligraphy, we recommend them more as coloring tools – like watercolor pencils but better!
The primary reason people pick this pen over others of similar quality is because of the large number of colors available. With a total of 24 packs inside this set, there is enough variation between each group to really help mix things up still being used across projects if you want to keep similar tones together. The color names are also printed on the side of each pen which is handy for figuring out what you might be grabbing if you aren’t familiar with some of them yet!
They have a large tip – just like watercolor brushes. This makes it easier and faster than other types to get up and going, especially when trying to do larger areas at once or cover more ground with less effort. If you’re interested in learning how to letter this style may not necessarily be your best option but I think most beginners would benefit from getting used to pens before picking up something smaller scale such as fineliner markers.
The one downside of these pens is that the tip doesn’t have a defined brush feel to it. You can tell when you’re writing or drawing with them, but they definitely lack the same feeling as if you were using an actual traditional brush. The line quality overall still looks good but if this was going to be your only set of markers we would probably recommend something else first since there are others out there that mimic real brushes better even though they cost more money.
Sakura Koi Assorted Coloring Brush Pens are larger and it isn’t super easy to control the line when using them at small scales. If you’ve been practicing with smaller pens then these might feel a bit out of place (which makes sense since they aren’t designed for fine details).
5. Copic Gasenfude Nylon Brush Pen, Basic, Black – Best Brush Pens For Calligraphy
Another staple in the world of brush pens, Copic Gasenfude Nylon Brush Pen is a strong contender for the best brush pen. The ink flows smoothly and dries quickly on all paper types, even glossier surfaces like magazine covers or smooth bristol boards. It has a very fine tip that allows for precise lines with great variation from thin to thick broad strokes depending on how much pressure you exert when writing/drawing.
This one stands out because it provides better flow than other brands. It is ideal for those who prefer smooth ink flow and less need to shake before use. Copic also has a slightly longer tip which makes it easier to control the width of lines, but this is very subjective as some might like fude’s shorter length.
Copics tend to bleed through paper. This is due to the Copic ink being wetter and having fewer wax particles in it for better flow while writing/drawing at once. Some artists might find that they have to use the second sheet of paper behind their original just so the back doesn’t get all smeared up with ink, depending on what type of paper you’re using (you can test which one works best by trying them out).
The nylon tip gives it more flexibility than most other types of felt brushes pens while still maintaining some stiffness that allows them to mimic traditional dip pens. You get both ends with your purchase so there are no additional costs (unlike many of its competitors). Plus they last forever!
This is a great brush pen, and one of the best for beginners. The Copic Nylon Brush Pen has two tips: an extra-fine nib on one end, perfect for detail work or lettering; and a medium-size chisel nib on the other, which makes it easy to fill in larger areas quickly.
You can also read our Best Copic Markers Alternatives review.
Beginner Tips for Using Brush Pens
- Beginners should start with a small brush pen. A smaller brush is easier to control and will produce cleaner lines when you first begin using it. Once you become more experienced, move up in size until your preference of line width is achieved.
- Also keep in mind that the thicker the marker or ink, the larger the tip needs to be for optimal flow and coverage on paper.
- For beginners, make sure to hold the pen by resting it on your pointer finger and middle finger. The grip will feel like you are pointing at something with one hand.
- Gently press down when writing; avoid using excessive force while sketching out letters or drawing lines because this can cause ink leaks and inconsistent line thicknesses.
There are many different styles and brands of brush pens to choose from. They range from inexpensive, disposable options to high-end with a higher price tag that lasts for years. There is no one “best brand”, though some like Sakura Koi and Pentel Arts Design come up in nearly every conversation about them! It all depends on your personal preferences as well as the type you want.