Lettering and calligraphy on a budget

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So you've stumbled across all the beautiful calligraphy and brush lettering on Instagram and have completely fallen in love. You want to give it a go, but those brush pens look expensive, and watercolours too! And those pointed pens... You wouldn't even know where to start! Well don't worry, I felt exactly like you when I first wanted to jump into the world of lettering and calligraphy. I was nervous about spending a lot of money... what if I didn't enjoy it? So I want to give you some ideas of inexpensive tools and supplies you can use for your lettering. They are also perfect for beginners!

Trusty pencil

Pencils are fab, and don't forget your rubber and sharpener, all of these you can probably find lying around your home. If not just pop down to your local stationery store. But how will I get those lovely thick down strokes and thin up strokes you ask! Faux calligraphy is your friend, and it's a fab way of learn how to draw each letter. As you can see in the image below I have drawn in the thick lines to imitate the style of calligraphy or brush lettering.

The best thing about pencil is you can rub it out, so if you are struggling with a particular letter than you can try it again and again. It's also useful if you want to experiment with longer quotes, as you can play around with the layout of words and easily edit the position of words and letters. I still like to start creating my lettering pieces with pencil, just so I don't waste lots of paper trying out layouts in pen!

Crayola pens

You may be surprised to hear this but those pens you used to colour in and draw with when you were a kid are great for calligraphy! In fact a whole new trend called crayligraphy can be found all over Instagram. These pens are great, because they are super cheap, easy to find (if you have children you may already have some). They also come in a huge variety of fun bold colours! There different types ofCrayola markers, from the standard Broad Line Markers to tiny Pip Squeaks. I personally use the Supertips as I prefer lettering with smaller nibs and the length of the pen makes them easier to hold.

Unlike brush pens that have super flexible nibs, Crayola markers have a very small tip perfect for thin up stokes, and then the side of the nib is used for the thicker downstrokes, therefore your hand movement will differ slightly compared to using brush pens but the same principle of how each letter is formed and where to create thick and thin lines stays the same.

Paper

The smoother the paper the better, this means simple printer paper is ideal and you most likely already have some at home. So no need to go and splash out on fancy paper. If you struggle writing straight then you can easily draw guidelines in pencil to help you out. I like to draw dotted lines as it's less likely to leave a mark after you have rubbed. If you do have a bit of extra money or haven't got any paper available so will need to buy some anyway, I would definitely recommend Rhodia pads. I think they are great value for money and are excellent for beginners as you can get ones with faint dots. This is great for ensuring consistency in your calligraphy and lettering.

Pentel Fude Touch Sign Pen

Although these aren't much cheaper than some other brush pens out there, I had to include them as I rave about them all the time to anyone who will listen to me.

It was the first brush pen I bought and I found it easy to letter with. The nibs can take a fair bit of punishment, so even though they aren't super cheap I think they are fab value for money as they last for a long time.

They also come in a beautiful variety of colours, what more could you want! (Little warning: don't get confused with the Pentel Sign Pen, these do NOT have flexible nibs, as I discovered when I accidentally bought one. They are still a fun pen to create faux calligraphy with though!)

These are just a few awesome lettering tools that won't break the bank. If you'd love to know about some other budget tools, I'll be revealing more ways to keep costs down and still create beautiful lettering in the next Blink Newsletter, click here to sign up.

So what are you waiting for? Pick up your tools and let's get started. Post on Instagram using #blink_budget to share your lettering and calligraphy pieces you create with these budget tools or send me a photo by email to hello@blinklettering.co.uk.

I can't wait to see what you create and if you have any questions pop them in the comments below.

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