Saturday, 16 July 2016

Lettering {which tools do I use?}

So, a quick second post about lettering.

The last post I told you about where I get my inspiration, so I thought I could now share about the pens/brushes I use.

It's been a journey, really. As I started off with Bible Journaling, I started off with pens for that, and progressed from there. I have two photos for you, and I will talk you through them all, and tell you where you can buy them.

1. Staedtler Triplus Fineliner

This is one of the first pens I started with. They come in a fantastic range of colours, but in order to do calligraphy type, you need to do "faux calligraphy".  For this, you need to add a second line on the downstrokes of your letters. Then, fill it in. I have demonstrated this technique on the photo. It works well, but you can sometimes end up with very tiny lines where you don't "keep in the lines". It's probably imperceptible, but I see it! lol  You can get these pens many places, including Amazon (UK) . 

2-4. Pigma Micron 

These come in a variety of thicknesses and colours. These pens, and the Staedtler Fineliners, are both pretty good for using in Bibles, as they don't bleed unless you do very thick and heavy lines. The very fine ones are great for print style lettering, or for very small lettering. All these first 4 pens don't work very well on watercolour paper, though, as they tend to gouge into the heavier weight, with their harder tips. 

This (UK) set has a good range of the nib sizes, all in black, including a brush pen (which I just don't like at all) and a thicker "graphic" tip, which is a nice thick tip for solid lines. You can also get them in sets with colours, but with that you have to decide on one nib size, as they are all the same in the multi-coloured pack. 

5. & 9. ( 9 is in the image below) Tombow Dual Brush Pens

These are a MASSIVE treat to myself. I got them for a knockdown price (with the pre-Brexit exchange rate!), and a friend who was returning to the UK kindly delivered them to me, so no postage costs!! I got the full set of 96, and have been LOVING them. I had already bought the primary set from Amazon to try them out, and had fallen in love with them. It's these pens that I have used for my entire series of pictures that went with the #animalpartychallenge on IG. Because they are water based, you can blend them on watercolour paper with a brush and water. You can also blend two colours together and create your own blends (simply just blending them on a piece of plastic)! The tips are self cleaning, so the new ink runs through and it goes back to the original colour. One end has the brush tip pen, and the other end is a finer nib. It takes a bit of practice to master using these (I initially didn't like them, because I didn't crack it as quickly as I wanted to!!! - patience.... ), but once you have, they write like silk. The textures and tones are beautiful, especially on very smooth paper. These are best for doing BIG lettering, although some people seem to be able to achieve much smaller text than I can! 

If are wanting to get serious about your lettering, the 96 box set is a very sound investment, as it's a lot cheaper per pen than buying the smaller packs. It's also massively reduced in price over this side of the Atlantic, compared to a matter of months ago when it was over £200 to buy it!!! 

6. Pentel Fude Touch Sign Pen

These pens are the ones that are able to give a lovely look to a more "normal" sized lettering. As with all the brush tips, you need to master the basic technique of modern calligraphy to be able to use them best. The ladies in my last post have videos that demonstrate the technique - think upstroke, thick down stroke. You can get practice drill sheets for this on many sites - free and "pay for" ones. 

These pens are a bit trickier to track down in the UK. The cheapest way I have found to purchase them is from an Etsy store. They come in a range of colours, and you can get the full set of 12 for £17 including shipping from Japan. You have to be patient, as it takes time to get here! If you can't wait, you can also get them here for a little more money.

I really love the gold and silver in the multi-pack, and the black is a pretty fundamental piece of kit, in my opinion.

7 & 8. Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen - soft tip and hard tip

These, like the black sign pen above, as what I would consider "essential" if you are serious about lettering. They give slightly different effects. The soft one gives a thicker line, and the hard one gives a very fine line on your upstroke.  These are available on Amazon, and are best value in a 5 pack - soft and hard are both available in these 5 packs.

10. Pentel Aquash Water Brush

I love, love, LOVE this tool!!!! This is a watercolour brush, in essence, but has a water barrel attached. You can either fill the barrel with liquid watercolour inks, or keep dipping it into liquid or solid watercolours. I just love the variation in tone that you get with each stroke. It's simply beautiful. There are three sizes available - think medium and thick brushes. Obviously you can achieve a different look with each. They aren't overly expensive, and are available as a three pack on Amazon. These absolutely work best on watercolour paper, as it's far more absorbent than other papers.

11. Paintbrush (I used a Taklon Size 3)

A good old fashioned paintbrush is also a tool you can use. This is one of the ones I found hardest to crack, and I still don't feel I have mastered it completely, but it gives a lovely effect. Again, like the Aquash brush, you have to use watercolours with it. But, you have to keep dipping it into either water then paint, or a liquid watercolour. I found I had to get my grip right with a paintbrush, moreso than other pens, and also the quality of paintbrush MASSIVELY matters. A round brush is best, and don't just use a child's cheap one. You just won't get the brush to move smoothly enough, in my experience.

So, there we have it.

Those are the pens and brushes that I use, and my limited experience with them so far! You don't need expensive pens to get lettering. You can even use Sharpies (which I have never tried!) or Crayola supertips!

Just grab a pen and start trying, and then take it from there!

I think I also need to do posts demonstrating each of these pens, just to give a better idea about how they write and look. No promises as to a time scale for doing that, but I will get started ASAP.  Any questions, just ask away in the comments below, or find me on IG @thejoyfulkeeper and ask there. I will also start trying to record which pens I have used on my IG pictures.

I am SO far from being a pro at this, so I hope this has been useful!?

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