Best Hand Lettering Supplies for Beginners

May 13, 2018

So you wanna learn hand lettering, huh? I mean, summer’s almost here so you might as well start now! No time like the present! Is that what they say these days? Anyways, the most daunting thing about learning hand lettering (at least for me) was worrying about the cost. So, to spare you the trouble and the uncertainty I’ve compiled a list of hand lettering supplies for you! Perfect for if you want to start out or grow your collection!

Now you obviously don’t have to buy everything on this list to start out. Just pick a few things that tickle your pickle and you should be set!!

hand lettering supplies for beginners
This post contains affiliate links, which means I will make a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. I only recommend products I use and love.

Now, the most important thing when it comes to learning hand lettering is to practice. Do drills, practice letter formations every single day. This is the quickest and best way to start seeing improvement. The first time you pick up a brush pen and try to draw a letter you’re probably thinking the heck am I gonna do with this wacky thing. At least that’s what I was thinking. Getting those nice crisp thin and thick strokes are no easy tasks, to say the least. When I first started using brush pens I really thought that there would be no way I could master it. And surprise! I haven’t totally mastered it yet but hey, the point is that even after doing drills for a few hours I saw a DRASTIC improvement.


Choosing good paper is essential to making high-quality projects. If you use crappy paper it’ll hurt your markers and nibs and just won’t look as nice. So even though it seems kind of silly take some time in choosing the right paper!

Marker Paper– This paper is great for…wait for it…markers!! It specifically made to prolong the life of your markers. So they won’t fray and become all crusty and sad. No one likes a frayed and streaky marker.

Rhodia Paper – Awesome, smooth, high-quality paper! And you can get a pad with grids to help you practice consistently spacing and shaping your letters!

Envelopes – I get all my envelopes from Paper Source. They’re high quality and come in loads of different colors which is fun. I always have a few on hand so I can practice addressing envelopes.

HP Premium Choice Paper – affordable and lasts a while because you get so many sheets. I like using this paper to print out worksheets and drills to work on!

Related: Books to Learn Hand Lettering and Calligraphy

Tracing Paper – Tracing paper is another great way to practice drills and build muscle memory when drawing letters! If you don’t want to keep printing practice sheets over and over again, print them once and trace them with this paper!

Markers and Pens

Markers and pens are my favorite hand lettering supplies because there are so many different colors and types and I just want ALL of them. This is definitely where I tend to go overboard. It’s so easy to see a marker you want that’s only four dollars and then add 8 more to your cart.

Crayola Markers: These are super easy to find and super inexpensive. It’s easy to get thick and thin strokes with them and because the nibs are so firm it gives a lot of control to beginners. Although, because these aren’t made for lettering putting so much pressure will eventually change the shape of the nib, so these might not last very long if you’re using them a lot.

Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens– These come in a two pen set – soft tip and hard tip. People will usually tend to gravitate towards one over the other so try both and choose which one you like. These have small nibs that allow for a lot of control.

Pentel Sign Pens with Brush Tip– I haven’t personally used these but they have a small brush tip, for control and smaller lettering. They are slightly wider and more flexible than the Fudenosuke hard tip, but from what I’ve seen the result isn’t too different. Unlike the Fudenosuke pens, they come in loads of different colors!

The Ultimate Supplies Checklist for Hand Lettering
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Sharpie Brush Marker– These are pigmented and concentrated enough to write on surfaces such as wood or canvas. However, they do have a tendency to dry out pretty quickly so make sure you have a couple extra on hand whenever you’re starting a new project!

Tombow Dual Tip Brush Pens– These are a classic for a reason. They come in SO many different colors, the dual tip makes it easy to do touch-ups, and there are loads of different ways to blend your colors and bring your pieces to life. They definitely come with a learning but it is well worth it to take the time to master using them.

White Uni-ball Signo Gel Pen– This is the most pigmented and opaque white pen I have used. It’s perfect to add highlights to your brush lettering pieces or writing on colored paper!!

Black Micron Pen – It’s always good to have a black micron pen on hand for outlines and shadows. I like to outline my pieces to give them more dimension.

Pointed Pen

Oblique Holder– If you’re right-handed like me (and most of the world) you’re probably going to find it easier to use an oblique pen. It helps to get a better slant on your letters and I just find it makes it easier to hold my pen like a normal pen. This is the exact one I use and I love it!!!

Straight Pen Holder – If you’re left handed or just don’t like using oblique this is the straight pen holder I have. It’s super pretty, super inexpensive, and has a universal nib insert.

Nikko Manga Nib– This is my favorite nib to use. The tines are a little less flexible than some other nibs which gives you more control over the ink flow. Also, it fits in the oblique holder I recommended above! Getting 3 nibs for 7 dollars is a great place to get you started and should last you at least a few months before you need to buy new nibs!

Sumi Black Ink– This is a good ink for beginners because it runs smoothly, is inexpensive, and very very black. However, because it runs so smoothly, you’re more likely to accidentally get a pool if you have too much ink on your nib.

Dr. P.H. Martins Iridescent Acrylic Ink – This ink comes in SO many different colors and is SO pretty. It’s my favorite ink to use and I wish I had an endless supply of envelopes to address using this ink. The way the color catches the sunlight is amazing. Also, because its acrylic ink it’s a little more viscous than something like India ink or Sumi ink. Personally, I find it easier to use acrylic inks than those other inks because it doesn’t flow so freely, although most people do recommend beginners start off with Sumi or India ink so what do I know!


If you’ve picked out a few supplies and don’t know where to start for learning how to USE your supplies, check out my post all about what my favorite books to learn hand lettering are!!



  • di

    July 1, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    Oh girl thanks for this! I just started bullet journalling a few months ago and got some great fine tip pens (9 different colors – because I’m addicted) but was looking for some brush markers etc.

  • sarah camille

    July 1, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    I’ve been wanting to get better at calligraphy and lettering but haven’t known which pens to get. The pentel ones sound really nice!

  • ananda

    June 30, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    i love the micron and tombow brush pens! great collection and i should just get everything here!

  • David Allen Elliott

    June 30, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    I have never heard of hand lettering before honestly. I know calligraphy and have purchased some things for that before. I will have to check out more about it.

  • lau

    June 30, 2018 at 2:39 am

    i always loved letters and handwriting. i kept lots of journals where i wrote song lyrics and quotes…


  • Tonya Michelle

    June 29, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    I really admire people who can do handlettering, it’s hard, but so beautiful. I myself cannot write in a straight line lol.

  • Holly Lasha

    June 29, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    I adore hand lettering. It is one of my most relaxing hobbies. There is just something about the pretty pens!!

  • Kayla

    June 29, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    For Christmas last year I got a beautiful feather pen and a beautiful diary from my husband. I haven’t been doing a lot of writing in it, but I think is so beautiful.

  • Rachel

    June 29, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    My mother in law has taken some classes in hand lettering. This is super helpful for me so I know what I can get her for her birthday.

  • Joanne

    June 29, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    This is something I would be interested in learning. Great list of all the supplies I would need to start!

  • Stephanie

    June 29, 2018 at 8:04 am

    My mom has the most beautiful calligraphy writing and I’ve always wanted to learn. She did all of my wedding invitations! This is a great list to get started and give ideas since there are so many options and you’ve narrowed them down. I didn’t think about the crayola markers, my boys have so many of those around the house, I just need to see what shape they are in!!

  • Elaine

    June 28, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Wanna know something crazy? I was on Skillshare today browsing for new classes and found a ton on handlettering. I saved them for later because I knew I didn’t have the supplies, and then your post just fell into my lap. Kismet!

    1. admin

      June 28, 2018 at 7:37 pm

      that’s so awesome! hope this helps you prep for those classes! 🙂

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