My 5 "Go-To" Lettering Tools

Updated: Dec 2, 2019

We all know the supplies that we NEED to learn calligraphy....but what about the extra tools that aren't strictly necessary but that add a ton of fun?

As anyone who's ever taken one of my classes knows, there's a whole beautiful and dangerous rabbit hole of supplies that we as calligraphers can be tempted to venture down! The possibilities are endless for extra gadgets, different pens and writing tools, and supplemental art supplies.

This week, I'm navigating said rabbit-hole, and sharing my Top 5 "go to" lettering tools, required supplies not allowed!

1. Gelly Roll Stardust Pen

Ah, the gelly I love thee. While ALL gel pens are a fantastic addition to your calligraphy arsenal, the Stardust pen is my absolute favorite. This little beauty is filled with clear gel and sparkles, and adds a bit of shine to any of your projects!

I constantly use this pen to add a bit more sparkle to envelopes, brush lettering, gift tags, drawings and paintings, and so much more (seriously...all the things).

[Look closely and you can see some Stardust sparkles on "Hocus Pocus"]

[Here's a close-up on another piece....the shadows are a green Tombow + Stardust Gelly Roll]

2. Dr. Martin's Bleedproof White

Originally made as a white-out of sorts, bleedproof white has been adopted by calligraphers as a premier white ink. I personally love it over other brands because it is the most opaque white ink I've worked with, and stands out beautifully rich on black or colored paper.

Note: it comes as a very thick paste in the bottle, so to use with a dip pen you need to mix with distilled water.

3. Derwent Inktense Colored Pencils

While there are a ton of premium colored pencils out there (and I own and love many of them!), the Derwent Inktense pencils are my absolute favorite.

I reach for these over all other colored pencils because of the intense color they lay down.....even on black paper! My favorite way to play with them is using my Glaze black gel pen (see #5!) to letter black-on-black (black ink on black paper), and then pop the letters with some Inktense color!

4. Pentel Aquabrush

This paintbrush was recommended to me by my first calligraphy teacher, Anne Elser, and I'm so grateful! It's become a staple in my calligraphy kit, and I find myself using it more than most other brushes!

The Aquabrush actually holds water in the body, so you can use it with watercolors without need to constantly dip your brush. It works great for soft background washes (when you need a lot of water and only a small bit of pigment). It's also great for blending watercolor colored pencils!

[background painted with Pentel Aquabrush]

As an added bonus, the bristles are surprisingly good and hold their shape well! While you're shopping, grab the 3-pack with all 3'll be glad you did!

5. Gelly Roll Glaze Pen -- Black

The glaze series is just a brilliant idea from Gelly Roll. These gel pens actually stay raised off the surface of the paper, like a glaze (I see what you did there)! I have a ton of fun using them for black-on-black work and to create "stained glass" with watercolors (you can flood the sections a bit in-between the glaze pen lines and create some beautiful looking patterns!)

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