The Must-Have Pen for Creative Lettering

by Krystal Whitten April 10, 2017

The Must-Have Pen for Creative Lettering

So you want to try creative lettering but you don't know what pen to get. You're overwhelmed by all the choices you see, and you don't want to spend too much money because, hey, you're not even sure you're going to like lettering.

Does that sound right?

I get it! I've spent countless dollars on fine line pens, brush pens, watercolor pens, and on and on. But 98% of the time I reach for one pen. One pen for lettering in my Bible, one pen for lettering in my prayer journal, one pen for creating sketch notes and designs for my art prints.

It's my secret weapon - except it's not so secret, really. But you need to know this if you're just starting out. My favorite pen for all my creative lettering is this:

Tombow Fude

The Tombow Fudenosuke hard tip

This little Japanese pen goes everywhere with me, and it stars in almost all of my Instagram videos.

Now let's get the disclaimer out of the way. I'm not being paid by Tombow for this post - although I wouldn't mind it! - I'm not receiving free product for this post, either. But even if I was, I wouldn't lead you astray. I really want to share my best secrets in the hopes that you'll give this creative lettering thing a try. 

 Here are some pictures of what I've done with this simple little pen:

Bible Journaling with the Tombow Fude
Bible journaling page

Lettering Prayer Journal | creative lettering
Lettering Prayer Journal entry (with the help of some watercolors)

Sketch notes creative lettering
Creative sermon sketch notes

Hand lettering and watercolor drawing
Sketch that eventually turned into a card design  (with the help of some acrylics)
(How to draw a wreath tutorial here)

 Here's a video demo of the pen in action.

Why is this my go-to pen?

  • It's reliable - it doesn't skip or release too much/not enough ink.
  • The nib, or tip, is stiff enough that I can write in all caps or in regular writing, 
  • Yet it's flexible enough that I can add pressure and create brush calligraphy.
  • It doesn't bleed through my paper, even thin paper.
  • It's inexpensive! Just about $3.49.*

I keep these pens all over my house and in my purse, so there's always one close by.


Some things to know

Here are some things you should know about the Tombow Fudenosuke before you buy or try:

  • There are two versions - a hard tip and a soft tip.
  • The soft tip requires a bit more muscle control, so can be difficult for newbies.
  • The hard tip usually needs to be "broken in" just a little. Meaning it's pretty stiff when you first get it. After writing with it for about 10 minutes, I can tell it's sufficiently broken in.
  • You can't break it. Don't worry when you apply pressure (push down) - it might feel like you're going to break it, but you won't. It's built to flex.
  • Don't give up if you don't like it at first. Like any new tool, brush pens take some getting used to. If you start to get frustrated, put it down and come back later!

Where to get it?

Unfortunately you can't run out to your nearest craft store or superstore to get this pen. But have no fear, it's easy to order online and available in several places! 

  • You can order it straight from Tombow 
  • Find it on Amazon (although it's slightly higher - hello, Prime!). They also sell it with the soft tip so you can try them both.* 
  • You can also order it from my shop.
  • It also comes as part of a package with my Lettering Prayer Journal, a faith-based journal for creative time in prayer and scripture meditation.

So wherever you purchase your Tombow Fude, I hope you'll decide to give it a try. It's a minor investment for a pretty cool tool. It takes some getting used to, but with a little practice and learning, you'll be a lettering genius in no time. 

With love and lettering,

*Affiliate links are used in this post. If you try this out, post a picture of your drawing on Instagram using the #krystalwhittenblog tag! I can't wait to see. 

Check out my new book Faith and Lettering: An Inspirational Guide to Creative Lettering & Journaling (Amazon link)

      Krystal Whitten
      Krystal Whitten


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