The iPad Pro has done some amazing things for digital artists, hand lettering artists included. In addition to letting us work wherever and whenever we like, apps like Procreate have also made it possible for us to create incredibly real, traditional-looking work on a digital device.
The brushes that come built in to Procreate are incredibly realistic on their own, however sometimes you need something more tailor-made to lettering - that's where this list comes in.
Here are my 5 favourite brush sets, specifically for hand lettering, that look and feel just like their real-world, traditional counterparts.
Ian Barnard needs no introduction here, he's one of the most well-known lettering artists online thanks to his willingness to experiment with different mediums and writing instruments, as well as his awesome YouTube channel.
So it's no surprise that his custom-made lettering brushes are a joy to work with.
I'm a big fan of the range of thickness you can get with the amount of pressure you exert while writing; it makes these brushes feel incredibly malleable and organic, and it's very easy to forget you're writing on a screen.
As well as that, the amount of detail within the strokes themselves is lovely, and the variation on this detail every time you draw adds to this organic, real-world feel. Awesome job by Ian.
On top of all of this, the set includes worksheets to help you hone your lettering skills, and these are also a great starting point to get used to how the brushes themselves feel and behave.
I return to Alif's brushes more than almost any other brush set when I'm lettering, as they are always high quality and draw beautifully. This is actually the third in the DevBrush series, so he's no newcomer to the Procreate brush creation game.
DevBrush 3.0 is a huge 35 brush set, with 20 brushes catering specifically to calligraphy and the remaining 15 to lettering artists.
Think of the calligraphy brushes as your standard brushes used to create the letters in single, flowing strokes, and the 15 lettering brushes for touch-ups, sketches, drawing letters in multiple strokes etc.
Alif's gone to great lengths to make sure his brushes are as close to their real-world counterparts as possible, so you can create some beautifully accurate pieces.
One scroll through Stefan's Instagram feed will show just how wide-ranging his lettering creativity is, with brush lettering, digital lettering, paint pens, pencil work, chalk lettering, and so much more all being featured.
So while most Procreate lettering brushes seem to focus on brush lettering, this is a great opportunity to showcase Stefan's Paint Markers brush kit, filled with a variety of wonderfully realistic paint pens, sharpies, and paint markers.
These are less like your usual single stroke brushes, but used just like actual paint pens - for filling in large surfaces, going over letters multiple times, and creating layered textures and thick ink coverings.
There's a range of textures, thicknesses, and effects, as well as a tutorial video and PDF guide included, so definitely one to try out.
I've always admired Ryan's lettering work due to how wide-ranging the styles he works in is; he can go from a thick, rich brush lettering style vector to delicate, thin cartouches without any shift in quality.
As such, his brush lettering pack reflects this variety in style, and with names such as Folded Pen, Gel Pen, and Parallel Pen, he's definitely basing them all on the feel and effect using the actual tool gives.
I'd recommend this pack if you love working in a range of styles, and want to be able to experiment and play with how different brushes work in different ways.
Another from Ian here, but if we're talking about realistic Procreate lettering brushes we can't go past his Chalk Dust set.
Working with chalk has always been a staple in lettering, especially as a common starting point for client work is cafe chalk boards. However its popularity as a medium also stems from the amount of effects you can play with when working with chalk - you can be incredibly creative with shading, shadows, line work, and so on.
Ian's brush set lets you play with all of these elements, without getting messy. They look and feel incredibly life-like, and given they were created using actual chalk textures, so they should!
Ian's also included 6 blackboard Procreate documents and a tips and tricks sheet to get you started, so you'll have everything you need to create amazingly realistic chalk lettering pieces, using just your iPad.
And there we have it! Do you have any other favourites? Let me know in the comments!