Hand lettering is a creative form of art, and it does not fail to go unnoticed – it is everywhere.
Whether they are greeting cards, wedding invitations, restaurant menus, or even the everyday notes in your journal, it seems that every stroke speaks of creativity. The letters and words feature thick and thin lines and drawing styles that coalesce into an attractive and imaginative artwork.
With that said, many professional typography artists, hand lettering artists, and amateur ones dive into this craft to create artistic art pieces. Though it may seem intimidating for beginners, the good news is that everyone can learn hand lettering, much more easily if you have the right and the best pens for hand lettering.
In this comprehensive guide and review, I will walk you through the top-notch picks for the best hand lettering pens and the factors you should know before buying the perfect set for your skills.
- Best Pens for Hand Lettering Reviews
- 1. Boxun Hand Lettering Pens
- 2. PANDAFLY Hand Lettering Pens
- 3. Hethrone Calligraphy Hand Lettering Pens
- 4. MUJINHUA Hand Lettering Pens
- 5. Tebik Hand Lettering Pens
- 6. Sunshilor Hand Lettering Pens
- 7. Tingeart Hand Lettering Pens
- 8. TEPENAR Hand Lettering Pens
- 9. Sunacme Calligraphy Hand Lettering Pens
- 10. Prismacolor Premier Hand Lettering Set
- What to Look for When Buying Pens for Hand Lettering
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Pens for Hand Lettering Reviews
1. Boxun Hand Lettering Pens
One of the top pens for letter writing for beginners and experienced lettering artists is this set from Boxun. Like the ones I see on the market, this set looks pretty plain and mundane with its white box with four lettering pen sizes inside.
I did think they were like any typical pens at a first glance. However, it was then I discovered that they were all refillable. Personally, it is a big deal, especially if the longevity of ink is what matters to you.
Besides the refillable design, the ink itself is quite a treat because of its pigmented black shade. Plus, it is water-based, making the pens safe to use as you use them for artistic illustrations and decorative writing activities.
What is more amazing is that this pigmented black ink highlights the beauty of your art, especially if you are into precise and intricate details. Every stroke has a rich color that makes writings comprehensible and readable.
One more thing, I noticed that the ink flows nicely without bleeding and smearing. Thanks to its quick-drying ink, sharp and clean writing has never been easy to achieve. But of course, the paper you are using also makes a lot of difference. Therefore, make sure you are using reasonably thick paper.
In addition to these features, the variety of tip sizes also caught my eye: extra-fine, fine, medium, and brush tip to accomplish various lettering techniques.
Just some heads up, these are not the best choice for professional and modern calligraphy since the pens are not as smooth as they should be for calligraphy. This will do with the basics and practicing but may not produce the ideal results and features of calligraphy.
2. PANDAFLY Hand Lettering Pens
There is a lot you can do when you have versatile brush pens for hand lettering. The availability of different brush pen sizes, such as the ones included in this PANDAFLY pen set, paves the way for endless imaginative lettering artworks.
What I like about it is that you have a variety of sizes that can produce thick and thin lines. Apparently, you need such versatility in hand lettering.
Thus, the pen sizes ranging from extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad are quite a great deal. Plus, they are flexible, which is also a significant factor to create varied line widths.
While that complements the prerequisites of an excellent hand lettering pen set, the ink is definitely one of the outstanding features. Not to mention it is non-toxic, making it safe to use even for younger artists and kids.
Since the ink is archival, it can deter fading but rather deliver high-quality performance. I noticed that it is highly pigmented and non-bleeding, presenting clean and sharp lines for beautiful hand lettering and calligraphy.
If there is another practical feature that I would point out, I would probably go for the refillable design. Not only does it promote the pen’s quality and longevity, but also saves you money in the long run.
Of course, there is no need to purchase brand new pens every time one runs out; you can simply refill the pen and you are all good to go.
In addition to that, I appreciate the fact that you can find substitutes for the ink and not only the ink types from this same brand. For example, you can buy fountain pen ink from any local store and use it to refill the pens. Very practical!
Perhaps, the only disappointment is the labeling – there are no markings in English. I am guessing the labels are for the tip sizes or types, which could have been improved and much more comprehensible if they were written in English.
3. Hethrone Calligraphy Hand Lettering Pens
When looking for the most functional pens for hand lettering envelopes, greetings cards, signatures, and practicing calligraphy, we can all agree that versatility is a crucial factor. That means a diverse selection of lettering pens that present various tips sizes and styles.
Impressively, this Hethrone hand lettering pen set has an amazing selection of pens that can execute different lettering styles. It includes brush tips for flexible applications while fine tips work great for intricate lines and details.
Because of the variety of tip sizes and styles, capturing the aesthetics of illustrations and letterings has never been easier. For beginners, this selection would suffice as an essential tool to practice calligraphy and other lettering activities.
When it comes to ink, the blackness of the pens features highly pigmented quality. So far, I have not seen any smudges or bleeding, especially when shading and writing in cursive notes. Since it is water-based, the ink is non-toxic and odorless, making it safe to use for artists of all levels and ages.
One more thing, I find quick-drying ink a fundamental factor for hand lettering pens, and thankfully, the ones in the set dry quickly. This prevents any leaks or smears, allowing you to create crisp and clean lines.
What about the design? They are sleek and ergonomically designed with really nice grips and thick barrels. This lends a comfortable feeling when you hold the pen and write with it, making it easier to write and draw even for long periods.
Just a heads-up, do not expect professional-quality ink and performance from these pens. Don’t get me wrong, they all work great but not the best for modern calligraphy or professional commissions; these pens are ideal for practicing.
4. MUJINHUA Hand Lettering Pens
There is so much to do when you have a wide range of pens that can create thick and thin lines. This is because the selection of nib designs varies from extra-fine to broad, making them suitable for artistic lettering designs.
Having said that, that is what MUJINHUA hand lettering pen set is all about. At a first glance, I did not expect the pens to be much smaller in actual form. However, they are still sleek and comfortable to use.
Though they seem to lack aesthetics, these pens have something to offer in terms of versatility and ease of use. This is why many artists consider this set a reliable kit for beginners who are starting with calligraphy and hand lettering.
One of the first of many merits is the collection of nib styles and sizes. As always, I sift through their quality and performance. Impressively, there are brush pens that feature soft and flexible tips that can create thin and thick strokes.
The set includes chisel tips for versatile applications while some of them have ultra-fine tips for precise lining, especially when drawing and writing very fine lines.
I also appreciate the fact that it uses archival and water-resistant ink to preserve the pigment and ensure promising results. Unfortunately, the ink did not seem to be water-resistant when I tested it. It does dry quickly, which is a major point, but the ink has smeared slightly when exposed to water.
With that said, it can be quite cumbersome to know that these pens do not work as they were described. However, they still did not fail to impress to produce various line widths and versatile writing styles for lettering.
Moreover, I discovered that with the use of the correct type of paper, it can resist water. In my experience, the pens did ward off the water on thick paper with some texture.
5. Tebik Hand Lettering Pens
Upon opening this pack, this Tebik hand lettering pen set surprises you with an extensive array of pens. For its affordable price range, this is definitely a steal. What is more fascinating is the variety of tip sizes, which can deliver versatile line styles and writing techniques.
Mind you, these are micro tip pens, which are perfect for rendering detailed lines and intricate strokes on your illustrations. Aside from that, I found these micro pens very useful in making accurate, superfine, and clean lines. Not to mention the ink is quick-drying.
What else makes this pen set stand out? Besides the durable tip sizes and availability of brush pens, the pigmented black ink does the trick as well. If you delve into the color quality, it lends smooth and messy-free lines. Plus, the ink is non-bleeding.
Thus, you can come up with new craft ideas, including greeting cards, invitations, scrapbooking, do-it-yourself projects, project illustrations, and even sketches.
Since I love bullet journals, I took the chance to use these pens for my sketches and lettering project. And the great part of this item is the labeling on the top of every cap, allowing you to identify which pens to use.
Furthermore, the overall representation of the pen gives simple yet satisfying results, especially when you are after crisp and clean lines. It is also a good start-up art material in developing your skills in hand lettering.
Because of the little tip, it is less of a hassle, and I can emphasize the lettering in my diary, not only in terms of design but also in terms of my writing.
Although this is not quite a big deal, I think it would have been better if there were more options for bigger or thicker brushes. Since it has more micro pens, I guess it works best for applying small details and very fine lines.
6. Sunshilor Hand Lettering Pens
These pens for hand lettering surprisingly capture the flow and consistency I like when working on my journals. Like what I have always looked for in a beginner set, this Sunshilor pen kit has straightforward features yet delivers satisfying results.
I know it resembles any lettering pen set, but this one stands out for its practicality. Every single pen is a different nib design, and with a total of eight pens, I bet that is more than enough to start with lettering and calligraphy practice.
This includes brush pens with flexible tips, extra-fine, chisel, and broad tips for all kinds of line styles you want to try. As for me, I take delight in chisel tips for broad and precise lining while the brush pens with soft tips are for seamless broad strokes.
It is crucial to have various sizes of tips so you can control the line of your sketches, calligraphy, lettering design, or art drawings, especially for beginners. Having said that, this set has the essentials to start with lettering.
Sunshilor Hand Lettering Pens provide me with inspiration and fun while I work on my writing projects, particularly the superb details in my writing. It is also lightfast no matter how long you use it.
In terms of ink quality, I found it pigmented and working pretty well, leaving no messy smudges or bleed-throughs in every stroke. It also claims to be water-resistant, which seems to be true because it does not bleed or smear at all when exposed to water. Thus, this makes practicing and learning calligraphy much easier.
It is good for beginners especially if they are on a budget. However, leave the pens without the cap, it tends to dry out too quickly.
7. Tingeart Hand Lettering Pens
This set of calligraphy brush pens is suitable for any handicrafts ideas, such as greeting cards, scrapbooking, calligraphy, sketches, or other labeling material. It helps to engrave or to highlight things with these brush pens.
These acid-free, odorless, and water-based brush pens deliver super ink quality for satisfying results. This also means better pigment quality that you can present on many different artistic projects, including invitations, envelopes, and more.
I like how pigmented the black ink is, and I know I can totally use this for labeling materials, especially for practicing calligraphy. If you look closely at the nibs, some feature flexible brush tips and hard tips to enhance the quality and characteristics of letters.
Although the brush tip is a little hard at first, this is due to the fact that it is fresh, the brush will soften over time. With that said, it is still good for crafts and do-it-yourself projects.
I use this often, especially on holidays, where I give greeting cards or label gifts. I did not have a hard time using them since the pens are compatible with almost any paper type.
I have even tried using the pens to customize and name my books. And the fact that it does not bleed too quickly, it never occurred to me that my book would be destroyed at the very least.
Besides the non-bleeding hand lettering pen, it is also blendable. Not to mention the non-toxic ink, which ensures safety even when you use these pens around kids. However, I would be careful using the hard-tipped pens on delicate paper as they tend to feel scratchy at times.
8. TEPENAR Hand Lettering Pens
This TEPENAR hand lettering pen set is one of those refillable designs that can get me going with calligraphy and lettering practice. As this promotes longevity, these pens become a practical option for limitless creativity.
My experience in using this pen is beyond satisfying because of the reusable feature. Should it ever run out, I can just fill it up with ink. But I must say that its original black ink is pigmented, which showcases the beautiful features of hand lettering.
Besides the cost-effective and reusable design, these pens provide a smoother writing experience. Thanks to its waterproof, non-bleeding, and fade-resistant ink, it becomes much easier to produce lines and strokes without messy smudges.
As a beginner, this pen aids in the development of my writing, engraving, and styling talents. The pens were surprisingly simple to use, and the ink flowed effortlessly.
This allows me to name items in a professional manner, as if I were going to customize my items with my own branding. With that said, there is no trouble writing and working on artistic lettering styles.
Needless to say, I want to emphasize the brush marker pen sizes that pave the way for endless creativity. This helps me to experiment with different lettering styles, especially for someone who has just embarked on the field of decorative writing.
On the other hand, I do not have any issues with the performance. The diverse selection of nibs makes an excellent set for beginners. I just wish the packaging was sturdier for better storage. Additionally, the labels on the caps are in a different language.
9. Sunacme Calligraphy Hand Lettering Pens
This is a fantastic beginner lettering set that can be used for any form of creative lettering. It comes with ten Calligraphy pens, each having thin light brush tips and a variety of strokes.
The black ink is pigmented; you can use it on printable paper, scrapbooks, or designing products. Mind you, the quality is not what you expect with professional quality pens. However, these pens are decent tools for beginners who want to practice calligraphy.
It comes with protective plastic, so you can store it properly when you are done. Aside from that, I love how the set provides its own plastic container, providing an easy way to use my pen and keep them well organized.
Moreover, the pens are easy to use, making them accessible for artists of all levels and ages. They are waterproof, non-toxic, odorless, and non-bleed, which is perfect for my journaling, especially for the header.
The one thing I like about this is the label on the top of the cap so you can easily sort out and identify the tips you need to use. Having said that, these pens come in different tip sizes, making them suitable for versatile applications.
I use every single one of them for formal use, even for my creative stuff. It brings me joy with the variations of it, allowing me to explore the characteristics of calligraphy.
The ease of use and decent quality can give a sense of freedom to be creative as well as express craftsmanship in lettering. Plus, it comes at a price that will not break your bank, making it an ideal option for amateur artists.
Although the calligraphy pen has pigmented ink and excellent features, it soon dries up; this has to be improved, and the quality is otherwise excellent.
10. Prismacolor Premier Hand Lettering Set
Prismacolor Premier is known for producing high-quality art materials such as this advanced hand lettering set. I have always been a fan of this amazing brand, and I am pretty sure this set can help you experiment with pigmented colors.
For me, this can be a complete set because it has the essentials for hand lettering. It is pretty impressive to find graphite pencils, a kneaded rubber eraser, dual-ended markers, and permanent illustration markers in different sizes.
Of course, it is not always easy to create hand lettering styles. Thankfully, this set has graphite pencils that aid in the undertone of your illustrations and provide the necessary flow while working with the material.
Layout with a subtle touch is achieved with a 2H pencil, whereas a dark layout is achieved with a 2B pencil. It provides you the shade whether to lessen or to add up a tone as to what you prefer.
One of the best add-ons here is the kneaded rubber eraser. This allows you to correct any errors or alter your ideas for your work; plus, it molds in different shapes. Besides that, it helps you be more creative as well as gives you inspiration on how to sketch some ideas prior to the actual artwork.
In addition to that, a rich color saturation and excellent ink laydown are provided with a dual-ended art marker. All seven illustration markers use acid-free, water-resistant pigmented ink that would not bleed through paper.
This hand lettering material challenges me more to create artistic letterings, and I find them really useful in expressing fun ideas and highlighting more important details. Plus, beginners would love this set since it comes with a tips and tricks booklet inside that will help them establish their crafts.
Perhaps, the only slight drawback is the availability of shades, which would have been better if there was a bit of color variety.
What to Look for When Buying Pens for Hand Lettering
Consider Your Writing Style
First things first: determine your skills and style in writing or lettering. In this way, you will have at least an idea of where to begin and which writing tools to try. For a budding lettering artist, it can be quite challenging to find the perfect hand lettering set. But the good news is a lot of manufacturers provide a lineup of pen sets that are specifically designed for beginners. Hence, they are easy to use.
Aside from that, working with different lettering techniques involves myriads of line consistencies. Precise and intricate strokes need smaller tips whereas broad strokes call for flexible brush tips or wider tips. Therefore, whichever category your lettering styles and skills fall under, the ultimate set and the best tools for hand lettering should have the tip sizes you need.
Nib Design for Line Widths and Appearances
The best thing about hand lettering pen sets is the variety of nib designs. This is a crucial factor to consider since lettering is all about diverse features of line widths and appearances. You need a specific nib design that can seamlessly execute broad strokes as well as superfine and precise lines.
Fortunately, hand lettering pens come in sets where you can have vast options to use for thick and thin lines. Some sets have brush pens with flexible tips while other brands focus on micro pens for excellent precision. For hard-tipped pens and smaller nibs, as much as possible, skip the ones that feel rough or scratchy because they do not usually write smoothly.
Although many of these are beautifully curated to help make artistic lettering styles or even practice calligraphy, settle for the one that best complies with your needs and preferences.
Quick-drying and Smearproof Ink
Hand lettering looks more pleasing and attractive without those messy ink smudges or bleed-throughs. If I am not mistaken, it is every artist’s dream to present beautiful hand lettering artworks brimming with crisp edges, precise lines, and effortless strokes.
To achieve such artistry, it is important to look for pens that have quick-drying and smearproof or smudge-proof ink. This minimizes and even wards off ink bleeding or pooling. If the ink dries fast, you can blend the colors or add more layers without ruining your artwork.
Comprehensible and readable labels are a given feature on a lettering pen. Although some may not consider this necessary, it can help you accomplish your tasks much simpler and faster. Just imagine getting a condiment or seasoning without proper labels while you are cooking. Too cumbersome, right? You will probably end up with either too salty or too sweet.
Just as true with pen labels, you can’t keep on removing the caps to tell which tip size or style you are using. Unfortunately, some brands do not have proper labels, making it difficult to identify nib designs. It can slow you down and strain your focus. Thus, hand lettering and making illustrations are much easier with organized and correct pen labels.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Supplies do you Need for Hand Lettering?
There is actually no need to invest in high-end lettering tools or an extensive array of pens. For a beginner in hand lettering, you can already get started with pencil and paper or pen if you prefer.
However, as you build your skills and learn more lettering techniques, you can gradually upgrade your tools from the basics to something a bit more complex. If you have started with a brush pen and would like to move forward from broad strokes, you can challenge yourself with smaller pens with different nib designs. Chisel nibs or bullet nibs, for example.
You may also use paper of your choice, but always consider the quality of your pens. Most hand lettering pens are highly pigmented and would bleed through on delicate paper. Thus, you may opt for a thicker kind. If you are meticulous about details and errors, you can add a kneaded eraser in your hand lettering kit to remove pencil marks or rectify your mistakes.
Is Hand Lettering the same as Calligraphy?
The quick answer is no. The common misconception is that every decorative writing or hand lettering is considered calligraphy. But although they may seem to have similarities because they both involve writing, the major difference lies within the writing methods.
Calligraphy focuses on the art of “writing” letters whereas hand lettering is all about the art of “drawing or illustrating” letters.
Calligraphy is a traditional form of art that usually requires pressure-sensitive tools that will present cursive or script style (downstrokes are thick while upstrokes are thin). This includes a brush and ink. Nowadays, many call it modern calligraphy or brush calligraphy, pertaining to a contemporary approach to calligraphy using specific types of pens or brushes without eliminating or compromising the features of calligraphy.
On the other hand, hand lettering lets you create and illustrate words according to your mood or preferred shapes. This can either be illustrated using pens or digital tools. It is safe to say that hand lettering is much more versatile since you can use both modern or traditional styles to construct creative prints and graphics for book covers, greeting cards, establishment banners, and more.
Have you found the best pens for hand lettering yet? With the plethora of choices in your local store and online art shops, it seems challenging to find the perfect pick. However, it is not just about the most expensive brands or sets with the most number of pens but the essential tools that will deliver the results you want.
Luckily, many brands curated lettering pen sets that will match your skills and writing styles. Just make sure to settle for versatile nib designs and bleed proof and quick-drying ink to showcase your best hand lettering artwork.