A few weeks ago, I shared some watercolor texture tricks using brush pens and I thought it’d be fun to follow it up with lettering effects! If you’re short on space, brush pens are a great alternative for creating beautiful + vibrant watercolor creations. In this week’s video, I’ll take you through 3 of my favorite watercolor lettering effects using brush pens!

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3 watercolor lettering effects using brush pens


3 Easy Watercolor Lettering Effects Using Brush Pens

Mentioned in the video

Here’s a quick look at the 3 effects we created!

3 watercolor lettering effects


tuesday tips

Here’s a quick overview of what we did for each effect in written format!

Effect number 1: horizontal ombré/gradient

horizontal blend

  • Create your base lettering using a very light colored brush pen or pencil.
  • Choose 2-5 colors depending on the length of your word (keep it to 2-3 colors for short words). Color each letter as you go throughout the word and add extra dots of color where color transitions occur.
  • Use the waterbrush to blend the color, cleaning off the bristles as you change between colors so as not to muddy them.

Effect number 2: vertical ombré/gradient

vertical blend

  • Create your base lettering using a very light colored brush pen or pencil.
  • Choose 2 colors that mix well together. Color the very top of all letters one color and the very bottom, the other color. Leave transition ‘blank space’ between them.
  • Use the waterbrush to blend the color from top to bottom, cleaning off the bristles between each new letter so the color stay as vibrant as possible.

Effect number 3: character shadows

shadow blend

  • Create your lettering using one color. For more advanced outcomes, use the previous 2 effects for different looks!
  • Blend the color so it appears as watercolor vs. the brush pen texture using the waterbrush. Allow to fully dry.
  • On a separate/scrap piece of watercolor paper, use a darker hue of the original lettering and use the brush pen to color a small circle.
  • Add water to the circle so the ink transfers to the tip of the waterbrush.
  • Use the waterbrush to paint in shadow areas within your lettering. This creates a more realistic/subtle look than using a brush pen directly on the lettering.
  • Done!


Written by
Every-Tuesday designer + founder. I help ambitious graphic designers and hand letterers level-up their skills and creativity.
Latest comment
  • Love this! I need to buy some watercolour brushes 🙂

    Probably a dumb question but I’ve been meaning to ask, is there a particular way to hold your brush/pencil when doing lettering? Or is the same as when you are writing regular?