The Absolute 4 Best Hand Lettering Brush Pens for Beginners!

Unlock your creativity with the best hand lettering brush pens for beginners. Explore a curated selection of brush pens that offer precise control, varied line widths, and vibrant colors.

The Best Brush Pens for Hand Lettering & Calligraphy - feature image

Calligraphy, the art of beautiful writing, has captivated hearts for centuries with its elegance and precision. Whether you’re a seasoned calligrapher or a curious beginner, the right tools can make all the difference. In this blog post, we embark on a quest to uncover the best brush pens for calligraphy, unearthing a treasure trove of creative possibilities that will elevate your lettering to new heights.

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What is a brush pen?

A brush pen is a writing instrument that combines the characteristics of a brush and a pen. It consists of a barrel or body that holds the ink and a flexible brush-like tip made of synthetic bristles or felt. The tip is designed to mimic the strokes and flexibility of a traditional paintbrush, allowing for varied line widths and expressive lettering.

Brush pens are commonly used in calligraphy, hand lettering, and artwork where control over stroke thickness and line variation is desired. They offer the convenience of a pen with the expressive qualities of a brush, making them a popular choice among artists, designers, and lettering enthusiasts. Brush pens come in different sizes, colors, and ink types, including water-based, dye-based, and pigmented inks, offering a wide range of creative possibilities.

Woman's hand holding four colorful brush pens. In the back of the brush pens there is a blurry hand lettering worksheet titled I Am.

How to use a brush pen?

Using a brush pen is easy! Grab your brush pen and a piece of paper. Put gentle pressure on the pen to create thick strokes and put less pressure on the brush to create thin strokes. You create thick strokes when drawing lines downwards and thin strokes when drawing lines upwards.

A video speaks louder than words, please watch the video below to learn how to use and hold a brush pen:

Where can I find hand lettering worksheets?

Check out my collection of 40+ hand lettering worksheets. Use code BRILLIANT20 to get 20% OFF your order!

Video Review

The Best Brush Pens for Hand Lettering

For my visual learners, I created a video review with the same content found in this blog post, please watch it and leave a comment 😊

The Best Brush Pens for Hand Lettering & Calligraphy

I tested several brush pens to find the perfect one so that you don’t have to! These four are the winners. I explain which pen is the best and which pen I recommend if you are on a budget. Don’t forget my comment section is always open if you have questions or recommendations.

Create stunning lettering masterpieces with these top-rated brush pens. Perfect for both beginners and experienced artists, these pens will take your hand lettering and calligraphy game to a new level!

Tombow Dual Brush Pen

For the spirited souls who embrace a touch of whimsy, the Tombow Dual Brush Pen awaits.! With dual-ended tip design combining a flexible brush tip and a fine bullet tip, it unleashes a realm of vibrant colors and endless lettering possibilities. From playful bounce lettering to intricate floral designs, this pen’s versatility makes it a must-have companion for any calligraphy adventurer.

The brush tip of Tombow Dual Brush Pens is made of high-quality, resilient nylon fibers that retain their shape even with frequent use. This durability feature ensures consistent and smooth lines, which is crucial for creating beautiful hand lettering designs. The pens are made with a water-based ink, which makes them blendable. You can create gradients, ombre effects, and smooth transitions between colors, adding depth and dimension to any hand lettering project.

Tombow Dual Brush pens sitting on top of a hand lettering worksheet from Life is Messy and Brilliant. There are four brush pens with colorful caps displayed on the left side of the image

Tombow pens have been one of my favorites for years! You will always see me using them in my blog posts and videos. The brush is thick enough to hold the ink and the tip is thin enough to deliver the right amount of ink on the paper. The tip of other brush pens are very flimsy and when the ink touches the paper, the letters look distorted. If you have to choose a brush pen, definitely buy Tombow. They are not cheap but you get what you pay for which is quality.

A video speaks louder than words when it comes to choosing pens. Here is a short video I created to help you get an idea of how to use the brush pen and why I enjoy using it. I did the same short videos for the rest of the collection. Please watch them and let me know your thought in the comment section 😊

The ink used in Tombow Dual Brush Pens is acid-free, which means it is safe for use in artwork and won’t cause yellowing or deterioration over time. Tombow offers an extensive color range with various shades, from black ink to pastel and earth tones. This wide selection allows artists to choose colors that best suit their hand lettering projects and themes.

Let’s talk about the price

A pack of 10 runs around $14 – $30 on Amazon, the price depends on a flash sale deal. I suggest you get them during their Black Friday sale as they always discount several of their products. You may also find them at Target and Walmart.

Tombow Dual Brush Pen pack of 10

BIC Intensity 2-in-1 Dual Tip Fineliner Pen

The BIC Intensity 2-in-1 Dual Tip Fineliner Pen is a versatile writing instrument that offers double the creativity in one pen. With its innovative design, it features two different tips, allowing you to switch seamlessly between fine lines and bold strokes.

This pen is similar to the Tombow one, the big difference is the intensity of the ink. By intensity I mean the amount of ink the pen releases when I put pressure on it. You have to be a little bit more gentle when putting pressure as the brush tip creates a thicker stroke with less force. I love the vibrant colors. 

Let’s talk about the price

These pens are affordable, running around $9 for a pack of 6 and $13 for a pack of 12. If you are looking for great brush pens with a tight budget, I highly suggest these ones. 

BIC Intensity 2-in-1 Dual Brush Pen

Zebra Pen Mildliner Brush Marker

The Zebra Pen Mildliner Brush Marker is elegant and multi-functional. It’s similar to the Tombow brush pen when t comes to performance. It has a  thick brush and a thin brush. A smooth ink flow is essential for hand lettering, as it ensures consistent lines and strokes. All the Mildliner pens provide a smooth ink flow with just the right amount of ink that creates neat and precise titles.

This brand is very popular along college students and bullet journal lovers and now I know why. The pen glides over the letters with minimal effort and the colors are beautiful! 

female hand holding 2 Zebra Pen Mildliner Brush Marker, one of the best hand lettering pens for beginners

The Mildliner Brush Marker offers a soft and subtle color palette, which is perfect for creating aesthetically pleasing and calming hand lettering designs. The colors are not too intense, allowing for gentle blending and layering effects.

The water-based ink used in the Mildliner makes it easy to blend colors, create gradients, and achieve unique effects. It also means that the markers are less likely to bleed through paper, making them suitable for double-sided projects.

Once the ink dries, it becomes smudge-proof, ensuring that your hand lettering remains neat and clean without any accidental smudges or smears. The brush tip is made of high-quality material that retains its shape and resilience, even with regular use. This ensures consistent and smooth strokes throughout your hand lettering projects.

Let’s talk about the price

A pack of 10 milliners costs around $14 – $20. The best time to treat yourself to luxurious pens is during Amazon prime day sale, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas. Prices tend to drop significantly during those events. 

Sharpie Brush Tip Pens

The Sharpie Brush Tip Pens are suitable for beginners but have some drawbacks. When you press down, the brush creates thicker lines, which can be challenging to control. Unlike other popular brush pens, the Sharpie doesn’t have a thin tip on the other side of the pen. Depending on the hand lettering worksheet you are using, this might be a feature that might cause a problem for beginners.

Sharpie Brush Tip Pens are relatively inexpensive compared to some other high-end brush pens. This makes them accessible to beginners and artists on a budget. They are widely available in many stores, making them easy to find and purchase.

These pens are known for their long-lasting and durable tips, which can withstand heavy use without fraying or losing shape quickly. The brush tip allows for both thin and thick lines, making it suitable for various hand lettering styles and techniques.

Let’s talk about the price

A pack of 12 Sharpie Brush Tip Pens costs $26. However, for the same price, I would recommend choosing the Tombow or the BIC Intensity Pens instead, as they offer better performance and more options.


None of the brush pens mentioned in the blog post offer refills. If the ink runs out, you have to buy the whole package. Sometimes you can buy individual pens at Michael’s. Although this list offers some amazing beginner-friendly brush pens, I suggest you try each one of them to find the perfect pen to fit your needs.

Each company offers a wide variety of colors, but my ultimate favorites are the Tombow and Mildliner pens. Both pens offer the right amount of ink, colors, and the tip of the pens are flexible with just the right amount of firmness.

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