Lettering: Inking your way to success

Instagram has helped take lettering and calligraphy to new heights of popularity. There is something so satisfying about watching a pen making slight scraping noise while a hand sweeps it over the paper, making a perfect letter. Lettering and calligraphy is used all over Instagram, using a slew of materials. It has brought attention to some age-old techniques that have been revived in a modern way.

It isn’t just the fountain pen though. There are a whole variety of different pens, nibs, inks, watercolors and brushes that you can use. Lettering will only bring you joy if you work with what you love. Lettering nibs are incredibly sensitive and the way you handle them is key. Choosing a nib and body that work well together is the first step on your journey. If you are a beginner or even an expert, Manuscript nibs are one of the best. They have an amazing range of nibs that anyone can chose from.


If nibs are not your thing, consider a brush pen! These are great for lettering on the go, working with different colors, and having a constant, steady flow of ink at the ready. Most of them are alcohol or water based so blending colors together is normally quite easy. Winsor and Newton pro-markers or Tombow watercolor pens are both great options and will out-perform any other brush pens on the market! However, if you need something a little simpler but will still do the job, ICO brush pens come in two different sizes!

Second is the paper. Most people on Instagram use watercolor paper when using brush pens or ink, but you might want a hot-pressed sheet, as texture might take away from the fine nature of nib tips. However, if you want true lettering paper, Strathmore has real parchment in the 400 series, in packs of 50 pages! This parchment has the perfect thickness, grain and color for lettering. 


Ink is perhaps the most important part of all of this. Choose an ink that is meant for lettering, it can be in any color. Manuscript has ‘Dip Pen’ ink. This is ink that is the right consistency for dipping a nib into it and writing straight away. India ink from Dr. P. H. Martin is also a great option.

So, with these tips, go forth and write your message across the internet, spread the word of lettering and discover what a joy it can be to do and share!

PRO TIP: Invest in a nib cleaner. It will make your nibs last longer and quickly get your nib ready for a new color.