it's no secret that I have a true love with my aqua brush and black ink. I like other brush pens, sure. but nothing inspires me like the brushy ink acrosss white paper. (with good words, of course)
I think the question I get asked the MOST is about the aqua brush. How I use it? do I dip it? do I fill it? what kind of ink do I use? what kind of paper?
I've been there. Instagram makes things look so easy. well, the aqua brush isn't as complicated as you might think. So. today I'm going to break it all down and get you going with my favorite favorite favorite lettering pen.
first. where can you buy it? easy. amazon prime can get you one (or a pack of three) to your door in like 2ish days.
second. ink. I really am coming to like Higgins India ink. It is thin but black. it lets me get brushy strokes if I want, but thick enough to create dark lines too. I like to have creative control based on what I'm feeling, or how I want the lettering to look. its amazing how much of how the word makes you feel, by how it looks. that's a whole different thing though. ;) ANYWayyyys. look for India ink. you can buy it at hobby lobby in the drafting section. Walmart online sells it. you can buy a giant bottle of speedball ink that will last you your whole life too. (unless you're me and try to pack it in your carry on...... the security guy looked at me like I was straight up crazy. "ma'am, you're going to have to surrender this." yes. yes I am. ha) INDIA is the actual kind of ink. not the brand. that seems to be a little confusing? Does that help?! side note. what do I use to hold my ink? a water bottle cap. I'm so fancy, I know.
third. don't fill her up! don't do it! I know it has a barrel that is begging you to put something, anything in it. I mean, you can, but don't say I didn't warn you. ;) So. now that we're past the filling question, yes, I just keep it empty. This gives me creative power to decide what I want those letters to look like. if I'm wanting something more like watercolor I miiiiiiight put a little water in the barrel. but that's if I'm working on watercolor paper! and only if I'm using watercolor paper.
fourth. paper. printer paper. yep! nothing fancy. nothing even kind of fancy! Of course, if you're doing original artwork, I'd recommend something nicer like cardstock, but if you're digitizing your work, printer paper works just fine!
Fifth. Dip, letter, dip, letter, repeat. let it be messy. let it be brushy.
I don't know why black messy ink makes me so happy. but it does. and the trick to finding your own style in your lettering is to stop chasing it down, AND, to try a bunch of different things. see what "clicks" for you. what makes you want to create art. what makes you come alive. what inspires you. it might be ink. it might be watercolor. it might be gold ink and a traditional calligraphy nib. maybe its your daughters crayola markers. there is no right or wrong here! So. yes, I love ink. but that doesn't mean you have to love ink. thats the truly beautiful thing about hand lettering.. each of us are different. will letter differently. be inspired by different things. the imperfections in it are what make it beautiful, and you.