cheap or expensive brush pen for hand lettering

The Truth About Cheap vs. Expensive Brush Pens for Hand Lettering

Are you someone who loves hand lettering but has trouble deciding between cheap and expensive brush pens? In this blog post, I’m going to break down the key differences between super cheap and high-end brush pens for hand lettering. And don’t worry, I have some middle of the road options too.

the truth about cheap vs expensive brush pens for hand lettering

Brush Pens for Hand Lettering: Cheap vs. Expensive

When it comes to brush pens, not all are created equal. I compared the cheapest brush pens I own and the most expensive brush pens I own. The cheapest is Crafty Clownfish, a generic brand I found on Amazon, and I got them in a pack of 40 and it broke down to 20¢ per marker. The most expensive is the Winsor & Newton watercolor markers, which can cost around $6 per marker. That is the most I’ve spent for a single marker, but I’ve also found them for around $5 or if you get a bigger set, it brings the individual cost down. However, that would be pretty pricey. The differences between these two markers were surprising and I’m going to share that with you here.

winsor & newton watercolor markers uppercase worksheets

Comparing The Brush Tips

Firstly, let’s talk about the brush tips. The Winsor & Newton markers have a smooth, firm, flexible brush tip. It effortlessly bounced back into place, allowing for beautiful lettering. The edges were crisp, and the brush did most of the work, making it simple to use. On the other hand, the Crafty Clownfish brush tips felt frayed and required extra effort to achieve smooth lettering. I kept needing to go back and smooth out certain areas here and there. The budget pens just couldn’t match the quality and performance of the expensive Winsor & Newton markers.

winsor & newton watercolor markers for hand lettering alphabet

Comparing The Fine Tips

Moving on to the fine tips, I found that the Winsor & Newton’s pigment-based ink and larger bullet tips were of high quality. However, the fine tips didn’t hold their shape well, which was a surprise given the brand’s reputation. They started to fray slightly after some use. In comparison, the Crafty Clownfish fine tips held their shape and could work for faux calligraphy or backgrounds. Their ink dried up quickly, indicating the trade-off for the lower price point. By the way, you can see examples of what I mean in my video below.

cheap brush pens for hand lettering

Brush Pens for Watercolor

I also tested the brush pens for watercolor. While the Winsor & Newton watercolor markers excelled, providing high-quality watercolor effects, the Crafty Clownfish pens had limitations. They were better suited for coloring and lacked the longevity and professional quality of the Winsor & Newton markers.

cheap brush pens lowercase hand lettering worksheets

By the way, if you want practice worksheets for hand lettering, learn everything you need to know to get started in my book Hand Lettering for Beginners.

Are Cheap or Expensive Brush Pens for Hand Lettering Better?

So, are cheap brush pens worth it? After my comparison, I recommend that investing in quality brush pens like the Winsor & Newton watercolor markers can improve your hand lettering experience. However, I understand that budget constraints are a real consideration. If you’re looking for affordable alternatives, I recommend Crayola markers. The Crayola Broadline and Supertips have great value for the cost. They are slightly more than the Crafty Clownfish per marker, but they are going to last a lot longer.

crayola supertips alphabet hand lettering

In conclusion, while not all pricey brush pens are exceptional, and not all cheap options are terrible, the Winsor & Newton watercolor markers stood out as a worthwhile investment. If you’re not ready to spend that much, you can definitely find a cheaper option that is still high quality. For a detailed breakdown of my favorite brush pens and my top recommendations, check out my comprehensive guide: 5 Types of Brush Pens You Need to Know.

Whether you’re looking for high quality pens or cost-effective options, I’ve got you covered. My goal is to help you make informed choices, experiment with different brush pens, and find the perfect fit for your hand lettering journey. I’m here to help you every step of the way.

You can see this thorough comparison from my recent YouTube video Cheap vs. Expensive Brush Pens for Hand Lettering.

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