In Tuesday’s post when I introduced my newest course, Brush Lettering with Watercolor, I mentioned that when I started brush lettering with watercolor, it was the first time I had ever used watercolor. This is actually kind of awesome for two reasons:

#1 Since I had no idea what kind or brand of watercolor was best for lettering, I experimented with everything.
#2 If you want to brush letter with watercolor and you’ve never used watercolors before, I’m an example that is 100% ok!

Throughout all of my experimentation, I learned what the 3 best watercolor types are for brush lettering. These are watercolors that blend nicely together, are flexible for being creative and all behave in different ways compared to one another. Yay, options! Read on for examples, my favorite brands, plus links and reviews!

3 best watercolor types for brush lettering

The Best Watercolor Types for Brush Lettering

Type #1: Tube Watercolors

tube watercolor

tube watercolors
Tube watercolors really are the sweet spot when it comes to brush lettering. They’re vibrant, affordable, and blend beautifully together. The two brands of tubes I’ve experimented most with are Koi Sakura and Pentel. The Koi’s are slightly more vibrant in my opinion, and a little thinner, so they mix quickly and easily with water.

Type #2: Pan Sets

pan sets

pan sets watercolor
If the only pan sets you remember are the crayola ones, you probably aren’t alone 😉 When it comes to lettering, it helps looking for pans that are as concentrated as you can find, since your base is always a generous helping of water. Pans typically dry a little more muted, but are equally as beautiful as any other type. They take at least twice as long to mix, but the color variations you can achieve are far greater because of all the pans that come in a full set. My favorite pan set is a Winsor & Newton Half Pan Studio Set.

Type #3: Concentrated Liquid

concentrated liquid watercolor

concentrated watercolors
Concentrated liquid watercolors were kind of a game changer for me when I decided to invest in purchasing them. They’re definitely the priciest of the 3 options, but they are by far the most vibrant. If you’d like to create really color-saturated artwork, then concentrated is the way to go. The other nice perk is being able to fill your waterbrush chamber with them for some other really cool effects. My brand of choice is Dr. Ph. Martin’s, though there are many letterers who use Ecoline, which are extremely similar and may be more readily available depending on your part of the world.


For more info on the proper water ratios for each type and the best blend techniques to use with them, check out my new class, Brush Lettering with Watercolor!


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Every Tuesday's content creator and founder. I help creatives build and improve their digital skills to open new opportunities.
Latest comments
  • Thank you so much, Teela. This is great timing for me because I’m gearing up to buy some supplies!

  • I’ve been using the Crayola watercolors (cringe) and just purchased some tubes last week because I wanted more color variations. Well, I’ve been at a loss as to how to use them for my lettering: do I blend the colors as I go, or transfer them to a palette and let them dry then use them like a pan set? SOS!!

  • Awesome Teela, Yet another useful share by you.
    Thanks for sharing.


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