Brush Pens for Lettering Part 2

brushpens_pt2In my Periscope Brush Pens for Lettering Part 1 video (see recap here) I showed you the first group of pens I like and why. This past Monday on Periscope I shared more pen recommendations, demoed them and also showed you how you can write using ink and a paint brush (one of my favorite ways to write). Here is a recap of the rest of the bunch, where to buy and the ink demo.

Using marker paper or tracing paper I demoed these 4 wonderful pens! (refer to Part 1 for explanation on papers).

brushpens_pt1_Pen_demo1. Tombow Dual Brush: A favorite of calligraphers. Writes smoothly, has a rich, dark color and the tip on the brush is medium-wide but pointy and allows for pressure sensitive thick and thin lines. The dual brush feature allows you to use the brush on one end and a small marker nib on the other for fine lines and touch ups. Comes in an array of colors and can be purchased on Amazon, Blick, and most art supply stores.

2. Kuretake “Fudegokochi” (or Fude) pen: This is a smaller tip brush pen. Glides well but writes best on coated paper like tracing papers. I like the finer point on the brush and it feels good in your hand with it’s smooth metal finish. Kuretake makes many brush pens but I prefer this one as well as “Zig” (in part 1) over the others I have tried.

3. Muji “Fude” Calligraphy Pen: Muji, a Japanese department store found around the globe has amazing stationery I love and I ran to my nearest store here in LA to get this pen when I heard about it. The brush is wide and very inky. It would work well for writing Asian writings and characters or anything you have a more ink wash look. It writes nicely on tracing paper and a little dry on marker paper. You have to write slow to control it but overall it is a good one if I want more of that “inky” look. Available on the Muji online store and in Muji stores.

4. Sakura Pigma Brush Pen: You can’t go wrong with Sakura pens and this is a great pen. Glides beautifully and has a fine tip that allows for small signatures and details. I really love how it moves on all papers. You can write fast and the pen doesn’t drag or look dry. It is a favorite of mine.

brushpens_recommendationsbrushpens_practiceAt the end of the tutorial I wrote everyone a phrase using a small paint brush and black calligraphy ink. This is a favorite technique of mine. Ink comes in so many colors and you can use it straight from the container. Ink is so rich in color and using a brush you can get a lot of different looks depending on how you apply the ink. ***Tip: when you scan in your lettering make sure the paper is dry. I messed many a scanner bed!

Leave a Comment

Brush Pens for Lettering – Part 1


I recently have joined Periscope and am giving video tutorials, demos and talks on creative inspiration, art techniques and tips, art supply demos and more. This Friday I spoke about my favorite brush pens and markers for lettering. Here is a recap and sources to purchase these great products. On Monday at 4:30pm PST I will do Part 2 and demo more pens and tips. Catch me there LIVE. My handle is @nettdesigns.


In the video, I started with showing the viewers the paper I write on. I recommend tracing paper and marker paper. Tracing paper has a coating that allows the pens to glide better and allow the ink to sit on top of the paper rather than soaking in and looking more dry or rough when you write. Marker paper has also has a smooth coating that allows for more glide too. Each pen performs differently on different kinds of papers. Rag papers (less or no coating) will allow the ink to absorb more and use more of the ink up, especially if you have to retrace your strokes over and over to get better coverage. I recommend testing the pens on multiple papers to see how they perform best for your needs.Tracing-paper


Here are the first 4 pens I recommend. I use them for different types of drawings, lettering and mixed media pieces. They all have different thinknesses, pigmentation and color that provide different results. I used all black pens here to simplify the demo.

1. Kuretake “Zig” Clean Color: This is one of those pens that you have to use on different papers to get the best results. In my video demo it wrote more dry on the marker paper which isn’t as coated as the tracing paper. When I wrote on tracing paper it glides and writes darker. If I didn’t try different papers I would have not used the Zig. Now I like it and love the fine tip when I need a thinner brush pen. They come in several colors and can be found at Blick, Amazon and Jet Penszip_onpaper


2. Copic Sketch Brush Pen: This is a dual pen with two heads on each end. One is chizel and the other is a brush. It is wider brush than the Zig and has deep, rich color. It writes well on all papers and is one I highly recommend. It comes in various colors, sold as single pens and in sets and is great if you are doing lettering, marker illustrations and mixed media work. Find it at Amazon, Blick or Jet Pens.

3. Faber Castell “Pitt”: This is a tried and true, good marker pen. It feels more like a marker with a brush tip. The color is pigmented, it glides well on most papers and the pen has a medium size tip that is a good, all-around brush pen. It comes in various colors and in various nibs. I like it best when it is brand new as the point on the nib can wear down a bit when you use it more and more. Get it in a big or medium brush size, fine or chisel nibs at Blick.

4. Pentel Pocket Pen: I know several artists who highly recommend this pen and they are absolutely right. The color is pigmented, it glides so well and gives you great thick and thins accurately with the pressure you apply to it. It is a perfect, medium-sized brush and comes with cartridges to refill it anytime you run out. It’s a great pen that you can have for a long time and can be used in lettering, illustration and mixed media. Get it at Amazon, Blick and Jet Pens.


Rewatch my Part 1 Periscope video on I am saving my videos there so tune weekly in to see the latest. The recap can be seen at I warn you – you will see my EPIC FAIL with the camera stand. It was pretty embarrassing and hilarious. Oh and the camera will also turn sideways so proceed with caution. haha. I was laughing days later. I am new to “scoping” and improving more and more – I promise. It is watchable and I recover but still hilarious. I have proper gear now and my scopes going forward should be “fail” proof (let’s hope). :) Tune in Monday at 4:30 PST to see Part 2. I will do a recap here for you and provide all links to purchase these great pens.



1 Comment

October Desktop Wallpaper

Just one step at a time! It’s something that I constantly remind myself when I begin to feel overwhelmed. I make an effort to push myself out of my comfort zones as I believe it is so important for my personal growth. I recently took a leap and made my first Periscope video. I have been watching Periscope videos daily and finally got up the nerve to do one. It was wobbly, imperfect, poorly lit but very exhilirating and I felt so proud of myself for taking that step. You have to just do it. Now I know how to improve it next time and I am sure it will get better and better. I plan on doing more videos and make it more of a regular routine around here. Enjoy this desktop wallpaper and hope you all take the first step to doing something that you have been wanting to try! Download it here for your computer and mobile device: 1680 x 1050  / 1280 x 800  / ipad / iphone5 / iphone6


1 Comment

It’s Fall Y’all!

It’s Fall. Time for boots, sweaters and pumpkin everything!



Leave a Comment

Adding texture to digital art

add_texture_in_PhotoshopIn the previous post you saw the photos from the “banana-themed” wedding style shoot that I designed the invitation suite for. I have been asked how I created the texture on the leaves and thought it would be a great tutorial to show you. You can create these leaves by taking your scanned drawings into Illustrator and Photoshop and applying a few tricks.


First I sketched several leaf shapes. Nothin fancy. I used pencil and markers.sketchesAfter scanning, I opened them up in Illustrator and live traced it.

  1. click on the scan
  2. click on the “image trace” button at the top in the menu
  3. click on “black and white logo”
  4. click “expand”

Sometimes I use different settings in live trace but because these are simple black and white drawings the special settings aren’t necessary.

livetraceexpand_livetraceexpandedOnce you have it expanded you now have vectorized art to work with. Your drawings are now digitized and can be manipulated. Here I recolored them and positioned them on top of one another.vector_with_colorThe texture is cool but I wanted to do more with it. I copied and pasted the leaves into a Photoshop document (set to the card size at 300 DPI). When I paste them in I paste them in as a “Vector Smart Object” so I keep the leaf in vector. vector-in-PhotoshopHere I painted different green paint colors on watercolor paper with a palette knife. Nothing fancy here either. Just creating texture I can drop into my leaves.paintedtextureUsing the lasso tool I selected a section of the paint texture that will fit over this particular leaf and dragged it onto the page. I named that layer “texture”.textureinPSD I applied the texture to the leaf shown here:

  1. hold option key between the “texture” layer (what I named the paint layer) and “Vector smart object (leaf layer).
  2. Once you see an arrow come up click. The texture will go into the shape of the leaf!applytexture_PhotoshopI selected different sections of the painting and applied it to several random leaves. Lessen the opacity to bring out the green of the leaves and voila!finishedcardI  added a linen texture I made (drawing random horizontal and vertical lines in Illustrator), lettering and type to complete the invitation suite. Here’s the final. Pretty cool huh?Bananas_invite

Photos by megtsang and me

Leave a Comment

Featured on:

swizzlesticks_bananasWhat a fun shoot to be a part of! The genius of event planner, Andrea, of Party Task Force was evident in this “Bananas-themed” wedding style shoot. Not only was I asked to design the invitations, letter the placecards AND real bananas but I was a model!

If you check out the post on Grey Likes there is one shot with me in it (sigh) but here I included some of the photos that didn’t make the post! Take a look below to see how this off-beat concept was beautifully executed. (Oh – that’s my hand above!)

placecardsplacecards2Here are the placecards (cut with a Cricut machine) and lettered by me! I love how the vibrant colors look against the white wall with the texture of the yellow wire circles. Such a clever idea for a placecards display.

wedding_cakeThe tablescape was a graphic black and white with pops of green and yellow. So good!

WeddingCouplebridesmaidsLook it’s me!

Bananas_inviteHere is my invite and save the date! They were so much fun to make. ***Come back FRIDAY and I will give you tips on how it was designed!

Here are some photos that you didn’t see!


The talented team: Photographer: MEGAN TSANG STUDIO // Event Planner, Styling & Props: PARTY TASK FORCE // Co-Producer, Location Rentals: PREMIERE EVENTS  // Florals: VELVETLEAF STUDIO // Invitation & Menu Design, Calligraphy: JEANETTA GONZALES // Hair: KRYSTAL HARRIS // Make-up: RISA RODRIGUEZ // Bride: DESIRÉE ANDERSON // Groom: Richie Chance // Groom’s Suit: THE BLACK TUX // Bridesmaid:JEANETTA GONZALES // Swizzle sticks: THE ROC SHOP // Venue: LOT 613

Leave a Comment