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Brush Lettering Basics

Lesson 2 of 13

Tools & Materials

Laura Worthington

Brush Lettering Basics

Laura Worthington

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Lesson Info

2. Tools & Materials

Lesson Info

Tools & Materials

Okay, so, tools and materials. So let's talk about these kind of piece by piece. I mean, there's three main elements that get into brush lettering. So the first thing are, of course, the most important. You can't have brush lettering without a brush. And what we're gonna be using today is this pen tell color brush. Now, this is actually an incredibly popular tool amongst professional lettering artists, and what makes it so great is that it has a synthetic tip. It's actually nylon, and it's great because it's nice and springy. It bounces back into action really easily. It keeps its shape, which is kind of hard to do with natural brushes. They're always having to reshape them. But this one just pops right back into shape. And even better, it's like a fountain brush. So this part right here is actually a cartridge that you can either replace with the new cartridge once you run out of the ink Onda course. Another thing, too, and this is kind of a funny one. I have had a couple of friends c...

ome over who are lettering, artists as well, and we had this conversation about Well, do you guys replace the cartridges, and they all said no, I did. Are you a different guy Dip so you can actually dipped the brush into Sumi Ink. India Ink. Anything else like that? Whenever the whenever the color runs out, you can also get these in what's called a water brush format, where the barrel is actually just clear and you can fill it with water color water. One thing that's really fun to use because I've heard of Buddha boards or Magic Water paper. So this is something that I use at home pretty frequently to do warm ups because I hate wasting so much paper. So I'll use water brush that has never seen you know any any kind of ink and a today and will do my by painting that way. So Penn tell, makes a great product and absolutely love it. It's about $9. You can buy it. Most craft stores will have it, but I highly recommend going to like Daniel bookseller or paper and in cars which are to shop in the United States that specialize in in lettering supplies. And what's nice about that is that everything that they sell has been very very carefully vetted and curated towards lettering artists so you can't go wrong. A couple of other options that you can get for brushes are sable brushes. There's like Rafael Kolinsky sable brush, which is amazing. S coda also makes a good brush and Cottman. You can also get a couple of good brushes from Windsor Newton. What you always want to be looking for is a round brush, usually between the sizes of 2 to 6324 is kind of the most common size that you want to use, so it's up to you on what type of brush that you prefer. You know, you may really like a natural bristle brush, so that's kind of about it. For brushes, let's move into paper. You know, there's a lot of different possibilities that you can get with paper, you know, really kind of what you want to avoid as anything that's on either side of the spectrum. You don't want to get paper that's too coarse or too rough to absorb it like copy paper, kind of really the best for brush lettering. It tends to absorb some of the ink, and you don't get very sharp lines with it. On the other side of that, you also don't want to go with paper that's too slick, because then the ink sits on top of the page, takes forever to dry. All kinds of funny things can happen. So really, you know you want paper that has a little bit of tooth to it. But you know, it's it's neither neither too glossy or too porous. So really, what you can get with paper is you know, anything That's marker paper, cotton compass, really good vellum and Bristol. And there's a couple of other options. One thing that I really like about paper is I actually buy it and reams from John No bookseller. They had their own brand and they make this wonderful paper that is really only a couple dollars more than buying a ream of high quality copy paper. And it's excellent for lettering. And I buy that suss like you would not believe. I'll buy, like, five, get this huge box, that super heavy that I can hardly lift into my house, and then I go through that in about a month. So I got there a lot of paper, you know, use both sides of it, too. So that's our story with paper. So now let's talk about ink, watercolor and wash. So these are the different types of materials that you can use with the brush I use. Thats right here up obviously comes with its own special ink. It's kind of pigment ink. What I use at home, actually, assuming it's one of my favorite things to use, it's inexpensive. It's really dark. Has a really nice you know, kind of its not too viscous. It's not too runny. It's just like, you know, perfect little Goldie Locks of ink. You can all see his Chinese stick ink you can use like did I mention quash squash? Watercolor. There's really kind of a lot that you can use when it when it comes. Teoh ink, you know, on all of the other supplies. So I definitely recommend experimenting and playing around with it and seeing what works for you personally. Okay, Yes. So before we move on from the materials, we actually do have some questions that are coming in from home. And if you have any questions here in our studio audience, feel free. Teoh. Let us know so the question had come in from Emily J. Do you have any recommendations? Do you use brush markers? I've been looking at the tomboy and Owen Secure a koi. I love the Tom Biomarker. Yes, and I love felt brush markers. You know, it's it's kind of interesting when I was going to do this class. When I've done other brush lettering workshop, I've always kind of debated a little bit about which brush to you. Since this is a loose bristle brush, it's a little bit harder to learn, but it's the most versatile, which isn't that always the way it goes, the more complicated it is. You know, the more results you can get. But the felt markers, what makes them really unique is that because they have kind of a fixed tip to them, they're not, you know, loosey goosey. They tend to be a lot easier for for beginners to use, and Tom bows my favorite brand. It's really kind of one of the longest lasting felt brush Nibs, but also used cheap ones. You know, you like some prison, a color and pit and some others. This is from Cassie, up, who says how do you keep the brush it from bending and breaking. I have ruined a couple of Tom bows with the circular stroke going from right to left, and I don't see people have that same problem. What am I doing wrong? I you know, I get about what it is is. It's how she's handling it. So when it comes to brush lettering and see if I can right here, like you really are kind of holding the brush on the fight because the belly of the brush right here, this middle part is where you're going to get the thickest stroke. And so I think that she's probably pointing it, like maybe going directly on the tip, and that will tend to break down. The fibers were, you know, kind of moving around like this. So really, what she wants to be doing is a lot of these dragging strokes where the brush tip is on the side. Great. One more question about tools, Caitlin Low Flame said. Do you fill the pento clear watercolor brush with ink? Or should it be kept exclusively for water based creation? I think you can kind of do either, you know, I mean to me. I I know if a few people who don't buy these at all they just by the water brush and the only difference between the water brush and the color brushes, just one has Inc and the other one doesn't. But if you really if she really wants to use a lot of different types, you know, like maybe one of them is filled with Semi Inc Another one is filled with just Clearwater. Another one is filled with water color. Then maybe just stick with that because it definitely I mean, there's a little bit of savings, cost savings that you would get by just using a water brush instead because you could continue to fill it up time and time again with you make

Class Description

Be sure to check out our other Brush Lettering classes on Flourishes & Ornamentation and Putting Together a Final Piece.

Brush Lettering is a fun, analog activity that can be applied to personal and professional projects. Put a personal touch on your brand, and evoke a playful spirit without changing the words themselves. In this class, type designer Laura Worthington covers the tools and techniques you need to get started brush lettering, including:

  • How to hold the brush, best posture, body mechanics
  • Basic strokes
  • Trying different styles of lettering using adjectives and themes
You’ll learn the basic strokes that are the building blocks of the alphabet, and you'll start rendering upper- and lower-case characters and numerals. Take this class, and you'll receive an easy-to follow guide you can use to practice.

Class Materials

Free Download

Worksheet | Lined Paper

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Basic Strokes & Alphabet

Resource Guide

Expressive Lettering Adjectives List

Alternate Letterforms

Tools & Materials List

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Wow!!! Great class, terrific presenter! Easy to follow, professional, enthusiastic, fun!!! Most CL presenters have at least one of those attributes, but not all. CL Management: have potential new presenters learn from Laura's class. Only one suggestion: Laura's constant hair interference gets really tiresome and irritating. She frequently tosses her hair over a shoulder, and moves her hair behind her shoulder with her hands, and "fights" her hair being in the way during the whole presentation. Very distracting. Laura obviously loves how her very long hair defines her personality, and I'm not suggesting that is a bad thing. But for these short presentations, perhaps Laura would consider corralling all that hair with a loose ponytail, behind her back? That said, I bought the course anyway, as she is an outstanding teacher.

Debbie Smith

I loved loved loved this class. So wish I had been there in person. Although I'm not so great with the brush lettering, Laura was so perfect in her teaching and I definitely have some ideas to put into practice.


This class was amazing it had high energy lots of details . It shared new ideas on where I could use such beautiful lettering I'm super excited to use it in my business and on my note cards! Buy it!