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Brush Pens for Beginners: A Review


If you want to get started with brush calligraphy but are unsure of where to start, you are in the right place. There are what seems like a never-ending selection of calligraphy pens on the market.

For some applications, you are going to want a large, soft brush tip and for others, you will want a tip that is smaller. 

Whether you want to do calligraphy, faux watercolor, or illustrations, we’ve included a little bit of everything in our guide to seven of the best brush pens for beginners. Take a look at our list to find the best ones for you.

Our All-Around Favorite

The Arteza Real Brush Pens set is a brush pen set that is created with a soft and pliable synthetic tip made from high-quality nylon brush hairs. 

The versatile brush pens can be used with water to create stunning watercolor works, or simply used dry for dry-brush painting, pigmenting, sketching and shading, calligraphy, and more.

Each pen is labeled with the color name and code for easy and quick organization.

Beginner Brush Pens for Dramatic Lettering

If you are looking for one of the best brush pens for beginners, the Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers are a great choice for anyone on a budget

These affordable markers have a durable nylon tip that can stand up to a variety of activities. The tip is self-cleaning, gives a consistent line, and won’t lose its shape.

This set comes with your 9 classic marker colors plus a colorless blender pen. The ink in these markers is water-based and non-toxic. The odorless ink blends easily and won’t bleed through your paper. The blender pen is great for blending colors, giving a watercolor effect, and softening lines.

For those that are in the market for a great set of markers to learn with, this set has you covered. The cost is super reasonable and each marker has a flexible brush tip and a fine bullet tip, making them versatile and perfect for learning how to do a variety of techniques such as faux calligraphy, outlining, lettering, illustrations, fine arts, and much more.

Overall, one of the best sets of markers for beginners and those on a budget would be the Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers. 

They have a brush tip and a fine bullet tip, they’re blendable, the ink is water-based, and they’re non-toxic. Whether you’re doing arts and crafts or learning a new skill, these brush pens are a great choice for beginners.

Beginner Brush Pens for Asian Calligraphy

A great option for portability and ease of use, the Pentel Arts Pocket Brush Pen offers the traditional black brush pen performance, with spontaneity and modern design. 

The black pigment is permanent, highly fade-resistant, and water-resistant. For a painting beginner who is going to focus on linework or Asian calligraphy will find a priceless tool in this pen.

The refillable pigment works with the premium bristled tip to provide perfect fine to broad lines and any gradient or combination of strokes that are needed to make your project pop. Next time inspiration strikes, you will have no excuse not to produce with this portable brush pen wonder in your supplies.

Best Small Brush Pen

Pentel Arts Sign Pen Touch, 12 Assorted Colors

Pentel has a great set of brush pens with the Sign Pen Touch line. 

The colors are so saturated, that with just a little water, you can achieve amazing blending effects. Not only that, but they can be blended with other colors to get beautiful gradients between the two. This can give you so much more value out of your pens. 

Techniques that really shine with these pens are feathering, cross-hatching, outlining, calligraphy, and other detailed line work. 

The pressure-sensitive, flexible synthetic tip resists wear and will provide unique blending and lining for a long time with proper care. 

These are great pens if you tend to be less than gentle with your art supplies. The tips will not smash easily, and they will not dry out if left out uncovered, and can easily be cleaned with a paper towel and some water. 

The pigments are ACMI certified non-toxic.

Best Large Brush Pens

Pigma Professional Brush Pen Medium, Black

If you are familiar with the Pigma Micron pens, check out the Pigma Professional Brush Pens. Another innovation from Sakura, these pens contain the same permanent ink as the Micron pens but with a brush tip. 

At the small end of the tip range, you’ve got a nice brush tip that is small enough to address envelopes and outline while the large one is nice and thick, perfect for wide strokes and elegant lettering.

These pens are waterproof, permanent, and have a deep rich black ink that you can use for a number of projects. You can use them to create fliers and invitations, decorate and address envelopes, or write in a journal.

Kuretake Zig, 12 Colors Set, Made in Japan

The water-based dye ink of the Kuretake brush pens is perfect for brush lettering and calligraphy, watercolor, sketching, and general coloring. 

The hard flexible brush tip is firm yet soft enough to allow broad deep strokes and fine delicate lettering, with the range and possibility of everything in-between. The Kuretake Zig pens are also great for coloring areas, as the brush tip is soft enough to allow wide deep strokes. The unique ink composition allows vibrant and full coverage without becoming overly wet or muddying the colors.

The composition of the ink allows you to blend and mix in any way you like. The deep, rich Japanese colors make it perfect for anyone looking to begin Japanese arts or Etegami. The colors and cases are xylene-free and ACMI certified for safety. 

This pack of 12 pens is great to get started with your art of choice, at only about one dollar per marker.

Crayola Broad Line Markers, Classic Colors 10 Each

Crayola is one of the most respected names in the coloring universe. This pack of 10 markers in assorted colors is one of the best for childhood art exploration

The high-quality and true to color ink allows a vibrant and bold color to be added to artwork, assignments, and both school and independent projects. This line up of classic colors engages and invites imaginative uses.

The Crayola Broad Line Markers are more robust than your typical brush pens or markers. The sturdy and solid conical tip makes the marker perfect for various projects. They excel at clearly lining out letters, making perfect dots, and filling in large areas with color. They leave lots of color on the page, without bleeding through or smudging.

These markers are created by some of the greenest methods in the industry. Crayola factories are completely powered by solar power, trees are planted to replace ones harvested for use, and plastic components like the marker case are largely made from recycled plastics. This keeps hundreds of tons of plastic waste out of landfills and dumps.

Wrapping Up

Choosing new art supplies can be a bit overwhelming with all the choices out there. Hopefully, this list has narrowed down your search to a few final contenders, and as always, the final decision is up to you. 

Once you know what you want to use the pens or markers for, primarily, then you should be able to make that last leap to the item that is best for you.

If you are considering getting into Asian art, lettering and script, or calligraphy, then consider either the Arteza set for colorwork or possibly the Pentel pens for the traditional black line & calligraphy. 

If you are looking for more all-purpose markers that can do lines and broad color and area work, then the Crayola Broad Line set is probably going to be perfect for you. They work for anything from first-grade art class through university portfolio work.

 If you needed something a little more versatile that did not require a wet ink, sets like the Arteza can function as dry panting brushes.

All the offerings here are great pens and markers, but to really make them exceptional, you need to choose them and then create something with them! Once you know what style or art form you want to practice, then choosing a set of markers from the list is fairly straightforward.

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