The TWO things you need to start lettering!


When you first start lettering it can seem overwhelming to see all the different kinds of brush pens & supplies that are circulating out there.
What do I actually need to get started?

When I first started lettering I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on supplies, but I wanted to try different pens. The brush pens that I was able to find were not very cheap and I had a really hard time using them. A lot of the pens available at local stores were very difficult to manage and I thought that I would not be able to do brush lettering at all.

Now that I have been lettering for over a year, I feel like I’m able to give beginners a pretty good idea of the supplies that they will need to get started with!

ONE. A brush pen or two.
I think the temptation is to purchase multiple brush pens of all different kinds because you are excited about getting started. I can’t blame you for that because I definitely did the same thing. The downside to this is that you are more likely to ruin your brush pens because you haven’t quite learned how to hold them or use them yet. I recommend buying one or two brush pens to get started with and/or even beginning with a Crayola marker!
Click on the photo below to find what I think are the three best pens for beginners:


TWO. Soft paper!
Once you have some brush pens, it is important to take great care of them! The Tombow Dual Brush Pens* are often some of the most popular pens around, but they are easily frayed and can be ruined just by writing on one wrong sheet of paper. The best paper that I can recommend to you are the Rhodia Notepads*. The paper is quite possibly the smoothest you’ll ever feel and comes in many different sizes. These are available in blank, dot grid, and grid styles!


Once you have started to learn how to hold the pen, practice basic strokes, and begin to feel comfortable when building your letters THEN you should move toward buying some more brush pens. There are a lot of things out there on the market that it may feel like you NEED, but if you are looking to try a new hobby and spend the smallest amount of cash possible- I recommend buying a brush pen and a dot pad to get yourself ready!

Beyond those items, you may want to purchase an online class or a lettering guide to help you learn the basics. You can also look for calligraphy workshops within your local area!

*This post includes affiliate links.


7 thoughts on “The TWO things you need to start lettering!

  1. Ria says:

    Hi Alyssa! Your work is absolutely lovely… Do you have any particular preference for white brush pens that are good for writing on mirrors or glass?


    • alyssarowe says:

      Hi Ria! Thank you! For mirrors and glass I tend to use Sharpie Oil Based Paint Pens. The only draw back to these pens is the fact that they are not brush tips. You have to do some faux-calligraphy to get the right look! They are also permanent- if you want to be able to get the ink off later, I would recommend using a round tip (NOT chisel tip) chalk marker!


  2. Janina says:

    Hi Alyssa,
    I just found your blog and feel instantly inspired and would love to start just now, but I am still wondering, what would you recommend to get started?
    Learing everything with a brush pen or a crayola? I am wondering what to buy for just learing and see if I will have the disicipline to stay with it?
    Thanks a lot for your help!

    Liked by 1 person

    • alyssarowe says:

      Thanks so much! I think it’s up to you – if you already have some Crayola markers, then you can get started right away! But if you want to buy some supplies, then one of the brush pens from the “best brush pens for beginners” would be great!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Shelly Stilke says:

    Hi, like the lady above me, I somehow just found you and I am so thankful I did!! I’m brand new to this and I’m very excited. I have a coupla questions. You mentioned it would be helpful to do an online class. Do you offer one? You also mentioned a lettering guide. Where can I find one of them. Thank you so much (:


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