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Brush pens for Calligraphy Beginners

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

Wondering which supplies you should get as a calligraphy beginner?

There are several types of pens that you can use to create calligraphy but my personal favourite are brush pens. If you're unfamiliar with brush pens, they are similar to felt tips but the tip is designed to create thick and thin lines dependent on the pressure that you apply to them.

Top brush pens for calligraphy beginners

I've tried out numerous brush pen brands as a calligrapher. I have several reviews of brush pens on my YouTube channel if you're interested, but today I just want to sum up my top 4 brush pen recommendations for calligraphy beginners.

Tombow dual brush pens (4th place)

You may hear this brand name a lot as they're one of the most popular brands in the calligraphy community.

The best part about them is that they offer a massive variety of colours which are available to buy in groups or individually. This is ideal if you're looking for specific colours/ palettes. They have any colour that you could need which hundreds of colour options available.

However, they do fray rather easily and are a little more expensive than my other recommendations in terms of value for money at around £25 for 12.

They have a larger tip than some other brands I'm going to suggest. This means that they can be more challenging to use. I'd personally categorise these as an intermediate brush pen, but an easier to use larger brush pen which is why it has made this list.

You can learn more about intermediate brush pens in my Calligraphy Confidence course.

If you're interested in purchasing a Tombow set, you can get started with this primary colour set or go for a nicher colour palette such as pastel colours, florals, galaxy, etc.

Tombow Dual brush pen pastel set - brush pens for calligraphy beginners

WHSmith brush pens (3rd place)

These are another brush pen with a larger tip, similar to Tombow's size, but I'd recommend these over the Tombow as I've personally found that they're slightly more durable. These are a UK specific brand though, so you may not be able to find them if based elsewhere.

Again, because of the larger tip than some other brands I'd place them on the trickier side of beginner pens but they are great value for money as you can buy a 12 pack of these £15 and they're regularly found at half price!

The base pack of 12 offers enough colours to get started, but there's also a 24 pack if you're looking for some additional colour options. This is plenty of colour options to get started but is one of their limitations if you eventually want to use a lot of different colours in your calligraphy.

These are available to purchase from the WHSmith website or in WHSmith stores.

Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens (2nd place)

Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens are a very popular beginners brush pen as they're very user friendly. Unlike the Tombow Dual Brush pens, these have a smaller tip making them easier to control.

The black version of this pen comes in 2 different tip types - soft tip and hard tip. You can purchase these individually or as a 2 piece set which is ideal as a beginner as you can see which tip type you prefer.

Hard tip is considered easier to control than the softer tip version but the version you prefer tends to be personal preference. Even as a beginner I preferred the soft tip version. These can be differentiated by the thickness of the stroke created, the flexibility of the tip and the colouration of the barrel.

The hard tip version of this pen comes in pack of 10 colours. This includes all of your basic colours including black, grey, brown and your rainbow colours.

They dry out more quickly than the brush pen in my number one spot though and have less colours. For context, I went through 2 of these before my Pentel Fude Touch brush pen started to dry out.

These are definitely user friendly though so are a great option.

Pentel Fude Touch Brush Pens (1st place) 🏆

I recommend these for all beginners. They are versatile, vibrant and long lasting. Not only that, they are very user friendly and help beginners to create thick and thin lines with ease.

These are the most durable of the 4 recommendations, my set are still going strong despite three years of frequent use with only the black brush pen needing replacement after two years of regular use.

Because of the tip size, they are more versatile than Tombow and WHSmith as they work well for bullet journaling, card making and more.

You can get a pack of 12 for £25, so they are more expensive than WHSmith brush pens but in my opinion they are well worth the investment given how long they last and how often you're likely to use them. You can also buy individual colours though for around £4.

Colour wise, you can get them in a rainbow colours set of 12 or in a more muted tones set of 12.

Pentel Touch Brush Pens Rainbow Set review - brush pens for calligraphy beginners

Something to watch out for though - Pentel offer a near identical felt tip pen that doesn't have the calligraphy nib and the distinctions between the two aren't always easy to spot. Be sure to read the description/reviews to check you're getting the correct ones. The brush pens are also referred to as Pentel Sign brush pens. It definitely can cause confusion.

To sum up

There are several benefits to using brush pens including ease of use, user friendliness and affordability.

There are numerous brands of brush pens, but the top four that I would recommend are Pentel brush pens, Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens, Tombow Dual brush pens and WHSmith brush pens.

There's no "right" brush pen to start with though and you'll only get used to different brands by trialing them out.


Get started with modern calligraphy with brush pens and my workbook collection. If you're in the early stages of learning modern calligraphy, you may also want to join one of my upcoming calligraphy workshops.

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