Brush Lettering Basics, Alphabets & Tips!

Want to try your hand at Brush Lettering? This beginner’s guide covers everything you need to know, from the must-have supplies to the foundational strokes. Start creating stunning lettering today!

Brush Lettering is basically learning how to write with a Brush Pen. It is super satisfying once you get the hang of it. Today’s post is geared towards beginners with videos showing everything you need to know. I am mainly using Tombow Dual Brush Pens in this post, but these principles are applicable to any Brush pen you might have.

Ready? Let’s start with the basics.

brush lettering smitha

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Brush lettering is creating thick and thin lines by applying pressure to pen tip a create these dramatic letters on paper.

I’ve been lettering for a few years now and it is one of the most satisfying hobbies I have. Once you get the hang of it, your options are endless!

brush pen tutorial tombow

Is brush lettering easy?

I am a self-taught letterer, learned it by watching YouTube videos. If I can do it, you can do it too. So yes, Brush Lettering is easy, all it takes is practice. It will take you a few sketchbooks of practice, but the journey will be amazing 🙂

hand lettering with brush pen: WHERE TO START? What to BUY?

So to begin your brush lettering journey, here is what you need: The right paper, pen, practice and patience.

  • For pens, these Dual Brush pens are the best and come in so many colors! But I would actually recommend that you start with the smaller Fudenosuke Pens. I loved the Hard Tip pen as a beginner as it is the easiest to control.
  • For paper, start with this ream of HP printer paper, it is smooth and perfect for lettering. If you prefer to keep your progress in a sketchbook, this Canson XL Mixed Media book or Rhodia Notebooks are great options too.

What is the best paper for brush lettering?

Using the right paper is critical in brush lettering, you want to maintain the brush tip and not fray your pens. Make sure to check out this previous post here – Everything You Need to Know About Brush Pens + 4 sketchbooks to buy!

brush lettering TERMS:

  • upstroke: drawing a line (or part of a letter) by moving your pen from bottom to top. In brush lettering, you want your upstrokes to be as thin as you can get them. To do this, apply less pressure to your brush pen and keep a steady hand while moving upwards.
  • downstroke: drawing a line (or part of a letter) by moving your pen from top to bottom. In brush lettering, you want your downstrokes to be as thick as you can get them. To do this be heavy-handed with your pressure and the brush pen and let the pen glide downwards.
  • transition: when you move your brush pen from a thin upstroke to a thick downstroke (or vice versa)  mid alphabet.
  • muscle memory: by practicing upstrokes and downstrokes, your wrist gets accustomed to moving its position and you develop muscle memory. If you take a break from brush lettering for a week or two when you restart you will first want to practice drills and warm up your wrist.

how do you do brush lettering?

The brush tip of your pen or marker is what allows us to do brush lettering. It is flexible and pointed. If you use just the tip you can create thin lines by applying no pressure. But if you use the entire width of the brush tip and apply heavy pressure you can create thick lines.

Rule of Lettering: Apply pressure to your pen for all downstrokes, that is when your pen is moving from up to down.



Now, pick up your pen and try lettering. Start with the alphabets, you simply vary the pressure you apply to the tip of your pen. On downstrokes apply more pressure vs upstrokes.


Your first attempt might not look pretty at all. Don’t give up. Simply keep lettering all the words!

first-few-attempts lettering

Below is my Brush Lettering Tutorial VIDEO which covers most of the basics. I share a peek into my first sketchbook (which wasn’t the right paper for brush lettering, a mistake I learned from) and many more tips!


You can easily teach yourself to brush letter!

Download and print my FREE Lettering worksheets. I have more than 30+ worksheets that you can start tracing right away. It takes a bit of practice to get used to until you develop that muscle memory then there will be no stopping you!

How to Write with a Brush Pen: Do’s and Don’ts:

Don’t hold your brush pen like a pen you use to write every day. Instead,

Hold your pen parallel to the paper. Rest your wrist on the paper, rotate your wrist downwards till the marker tip touches the paper.

Don’t try to master lettering in a day.

Start with just your upstrokes and downstrokes. Press down the brush tip with as much pressure as you can. A smooth paper lets the brush pen slide nicely and won’t fray the tip. Start by practicing just upstrokes and downstrokes for pages and pages when you first begin. Then try working on curves/ transitions.

Hand lettering for beginners

Don’t look at other people’s videos online and get dejected

Enjoy the process. Relax and write words. Again and again. And you will get there. While you brush letter, make sure you are writing your letters super slow. In real life, hand lettering is a super slow process, all videos on Instagram are sped up timelapses.

Now make your Brush Lettering Colorful!

Once you have mastered the basics of Brush Lettering, there are so many ways to make it colorful and unique with details.

Tombow brush pen lettering spread love every where you go
Tombow brush pen lettering live love sparkle

In this Colorful Brush Lettering VIDEO , I letter many many different Love phrases with different colors and I hope you enjoy the video!

As you evolve as a lettering artist, you will develop a style of brush lettering that is completely unique to you and you only!

brush letter vs super thick brush letters
lettering alphaber super thick


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Smitha Katti creativespace e1577349763159

Hi I’m Smitha! I live in Minnesota with my husband and two daughters. You’ll always find me painting florals in my sketchbook. And I love the sheer joy of making something with just my hands! But my bigger love is capturing it all on camera Read more.

Thanks for stopping by today! If you learnt something from this tutorial, do share this post with a friend or on social media! Tag me @smithakatti #smithakatti I’d love to see what you create!


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