Lettering Week: Tombow like a Lefty with Lauren! 77

Lettering Lauren F.

Lauren Fitzmaurice is a left-handed calligrapher from Owensboro, Kentucky. She is also a full-time teacher, wife, and mommy to two sweet boys, Lauren enjoys a good doodle and working on lettering projects in her spare time. She believes that lettering makes life more fun and also loves to encourage and learn from other creatives.

Social Media Links:

instagram: @renmadecalligraphy

blog: renmadecalligraphy.com

Tombow Like a Lefty


Dear Lefty Friends, The first time that I ever picked up a brush pen, my left hand and brain had no idea what they were doing. I was totally discouraged and wanted to put it down and never come back… but I didn’t! After lots of practicing and trial and error, I was able to see that lefties can definitely “Tombow” like our righty counterparts! The key is to stick with it and understand how to use being a lefty as a strength, rather than a weakness. I am excited to share 5 ways that you can #tombowlikealefty … yes, I’m talking in hashtags. The teacher inside of me just had to use an acronym with the word “LEFTY” to illustrate these 5 things that lefties can do to feel comfortable with the brush pen, and lettering in general, and let their strengths and uniqueness shine through.


“L” IS FOR LEARN THE BASICS. The first step to feel confident as a lefty letterer is understanding how you grip the pen and write. There are two different kinds of lefty grips. Left-handed letterers are either underwriters, who write with their wrist straight, or overwriters, who curl their wrist. There is no right or wrong grip for calligraphy, however, its important for you to understand what kind of lefty you are so that you can have the best results with your pen. I am an underwriter for pointed pen and a slight overwriter with the brush pen. My wrist stays mostly straight but curls a little as I apply pressure to write my down strokes. One weakness of overwriting is that your hand can go through what you are writing, smearing and smudging your creations. To fix this, turn your paper to the right about 45 degrees and only curl your wrist enough to apply the pressure needed for thin upstrokes and thick downstrokes, comparable to a those of a right-handed letterer. This definitely takes practice, but seems to help!


Once you understand grip, take baby steps! Start with strokes, then work on letters, words, and eventually sentences. It takes a lot of time and tons of practice. I found great success with the brush pen after taking a modern calligraphy class with the pointed pen. Learning the strokes of copperplate calligraphy helped me understand how to apply pressure on down strokes, release pressure on upstrokes, and how each letter feels when written correctly. Though the grip is completely different from the brush pen, my pointed pen base really helped me carry over the skill to the brush pen. There are many great resources online to learn calligraphy, and I recommend learning as much as you can!


At the beginning, at least for me, it felt like there was only one way to write, and I
couldn’t do it. Almost every letter didn’t look like I thought it should or the copperplate version.
It was incredibly frustrating! The best advice I ever got was to write and form letters in the way
that works best for me. When you get to a letter that is difficult, write it out several times and try
to find a way that feels comfortable and still looks right. I’ve always heard that left-handed
people are creative because they are “right-brained” (don’t worry I’m not going into a long
speech about brain research), however, lefties can totally use this to make a style all of their
own. Be creative. If it doesn’t work, stick with it, think out of the box, and don’t give up. It will
work eventually, and when it does, you will truly start tapping into a style all your own!


Finding your style is not an overnight thing… it can take months and even years to
ultimately find who you truly are as a letterer. Trust me, I’m still in the process. The best way to
do this is to practice, practice, and practice some more. As you practice and find what works
best for you, your style as an awesome lefty will start shining through! Turn to instagram and
blogs to find inspiration. Engage in conversation with other calligraphers and learn as much as
you can about the craft of lettering. Find what you like and what you don’t like and let your style
emerge! Don’t be afraid to be different or think outside of the box. Leverage your leftiness and
find a style all your own.


“T” IS FOR TRY DIFFERENT TOOLS. It is so much fun to add variety to your creations by utilizing different tools. There are so many great Tombow products to use for lettering. The cool part is, if the Tombow Dual Brush pen isn’t working well, you can always try out some faux calligraphy using the airpress pen, colored pencils, or Mono Twin Permanent Marker. Write out a letter or word with the tool of your choice and thicken the downstrokes. To do this, trace over the word again and when you get to a downstroke, thicken the downstroke portions of the letter.


My absolute FAVORITE tools to use are Tombow Dual Brush Pens. The dual brush pens and the Fudenosuke Brush Pens are absolutely great for lefties, because the ink dries very quickly and the pens are very easy to control. The Tombow Dual Brush Pens are also super fun to mix with the Blending Palette! In many of my pieces, I layer the different brush pens and they complement each other very well.


I am here telling you (and myself) that we totally can do this. Is it always easy being a
lefty? NO. It often seems like it’s a righty world and we are living in it, but this isn’t true! Being a
lefty can be a gift if you learn to use it to make your work unique. And when you fail, have a
back up! What is it they say, “You cannot have success without failure?” Let’s face it, we are all
going to fail every now and then. Sometimes things go very smoothly when lettering and other
times, it can be a struggle. Start out by using a pencil. Sketch out designs and make sure that
they are exactly how you like them before you start “inking up” the final page. Many of my
pieces are created by using a light pad. I create several rough drafts on grid paper. When I find
the design I like, I do it in ink on the grid paper. Then I use the light table to complete the final
copy of my piece on the paper I choose, whether it be mixed media, vellum, or watercolor paper.
I love them all!


What happens when you mess up? Well, if you are working on a piece and mess up, the Tombow Sand Eraser is totally going to save the day. It erases color pencil and ink. I also use it often fix mistakes on envelopes when using the pointed pen! It is so great! Watch this video to see me using the Fudenosuke Brush pen in real time.

And that is how you “Tombow” like a lefty! I hope you finish this post encouraged and with the realization that no one is perfect and we all have to start somewhere. If you aren’t a beginner lefty, I hope I did our “little club” justice in this post and maybe gave you a new perspective about some aspect of our super awesome hobby! The cool thing about being a lefty is that it is unique, but you are never alone! There are so many lefty letterers out there. So, are you ready to start? Join me in using the hashtag #tombowlikealefty . When you use any tools from Tombow use this hashtag. Learn from other brush lettering lefties and help create a collection in the instagram lettering world that left-handed newbies can turn to for inspiration and support! Love this post? Post an image on instagram using the hashtag, telling what you’d like to improve on or learn as a lefty. Not a lefty? We love our right-handed friends. You can participate too, but you must use your left hand! Want to learn more about being a lefty? Keep tuning in to @piecescalligraphy ’s blog series on lefties, which I helped collaborate on, and check out my new blog at renmadecalligraphy.com. Happy lettering!

Your new lefty friend, Lauren

If you want to Tombow Like a Lefty too you obviously need this Tombow Lettering Package! Leave a comment on this blog for the chance to win it! If you want more chances leave comments on the other posts from this week too!


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77 thoughts on “Lettering Week: Tombow like a Lefty with Lauren!

  • Maggie

    Love your work, Lauren. And I did not know about the to bow sand eraser. Definitely need to get that. Thanks for sharing.

  • Abby

    As a lefty who holds her pen with a slightly curled wrist and turns her paper completely sideways, I thank you for this blog post! I just started lettering a few months ago and I love blog posts dedicated to us lefties! Thank you!

  • Laura Sue Johnson

    What a great post, Lauren! The brush pens are my very favorite. I’m definitely hoping to win this amazing giveaway & add to my tools for practice!

  • Lisa P

    I saw this post was for lefties but knew I would get something out of it even though I’m right-handed. I’m just getting started with this hobby and your tips are great no matter which hand a person writes with. Congrats on starting your new blog!

  • Nicole halzack

    This is awesome! I don’t know if I am doing this correctly but I am commenting to enter the giveaway 🙂

  • leah

    I’m not a lefty, but these tips are great! I want to tombow like a lefty if it means my work can be as good as Laurens lol hahaha.

  • Elissa

    I am a righty but I still loved this post. I am new to lettering and I found this advice very encouraging.

  • Rachel Ray

    I’ve been practicing hand lettering but haven’t been able to get my hands on some of your markers yet. I LOVE the difference in line width that can be achieved with them! I wish I’d known about these when I was doing hand rendering in school!

  • Daisy

    Awesome tips. I am also a lefty and there has been many times I wanted to quick brush lettering because I could not get the angle, up and downstrokess right. But after seeing your page I will go try it again!

    Thanks fellow lefty

  • Christina

    Wow…the world of calligraphy and lettering surely need more people to join in! I am a righty but I would love to welcome the lefties to blend in this culture. The more the merrier. Thanks Lauren for sharing your knowledge to all. Lefties are lucky to have you guys as their guidance.

  • Christina

    Wow…the world of calligraphy and lettering surely need more people to join in! I am a righty but I am happy to welcome lefties to blend in this art culture. The more the merrier. Thank you, Lauren for sharing your knowledge. Lefties are lucky to have you guys as their guidance. Keep it up!

  • Isabella

    LOVE!! Tombow products are the best! And really great for leftys! I so need to get a sand eraser it looks so cool! Thank you so much!!!

  • Caitlin brown

    Finally some encouragement for a lefty! I so appreciate it, I definitely struggle but still love lettering. Thanks for the advice!

  • Lauren

    I am a beginner when it comes to lettering. I just started using the Tombow Dual brush pen. Still trying to figure out the best way, but I’m getting there. Your post was very encouraging. It’s hard to find information on left hand lettering techniques. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Rianna Ronquillo

    This is great calligraphy! I want to learn more and I can do so if I win this giveaway! Hehe:)

  • Allison Rogers

    I’m so glad you posted this. SO GLAD!!! My mom is a lefty and has wanted to join in on the fun but has been under the impression that it’s impossible. She is going to be thrilled to read this!!!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!

  • Sheryl

    I chanced upon the many many accounts that were sharing their journey with watercolours/lettering and I FELL IN LOVE. I grabbed whatever I could find and I started to try it out too. It was all so therapeutic and amazing. I can’t believe that I have never tried my hand at using watercolours/brush pens/doing letterings. Now that I’m hooked on it, I find myself spending most of my time designing and making new creations. Although they’re not as good as yours, I sure hope to one day be proud of my work too. THANK YOU for inspiring me.

  • Amy

    I always thought brush lettering would be a good way for a lefty to gain confidence with pointed pen. That’s really interesting that the opposite is true for you!

  • Sephra

    I love tombow dual brush pens! I’m just beginning to practice hand lettering and incorporating it into my sketchbook art. Thanks for the great tutorials and for this chance to win a set of markers!!

  • Karen Post

    You always give such great advice Lauren & you know I’ve been a fan & friend from the beginning! So proud of you~

  • Lauren

    Thanks so much for all the kind words and encouragement! It was so fun to be a part of this week and write this post! Thanks also to Tombow for asking me to be a part of lettering week, so honored:)

  • Melanie

    Thanks for all of the tips! I am a beginner lefty. From this post I learned about great new tools and realized that everyone has to start somewhere, it’s okay that I’m not par with those I follow on Instagram. 🙂

  • Fey Wood

    Trying to learn to handlettering as a lefty has been HARD! It’s so nice to know I’m not just imagining the difficulties that come with left-handedness. So far so good, but I definitely need to try some new TOOLs. Tombow, I’m coming for you!

  • Abby

    I love your work Lauren! Congratulations on this awesome blog post. I can’t wait to see what else you have to offer as I continue to follow and support you!!

  • Emilee

    I’m not a lefty but I think this is a great post! It definitely applies to everyone. Thanks for the tips!

  • Lindsay R

    Thanks for the lefty tips! I learned calligraphy as a young girl. It’s so fun to learn some brush lettering now!

  • Janis in ID

    I’m not a lefty, but I really found your post interesting!!! Many of your tips carry over to this letter-challenged totally left-brained (I am never sure where I left my brain!!) and totally right-handed (what is that useless appendage attached to my left shoulder?????). Ha. Thanks for sharing your enjoyable post!!!
    <3 J

    jwoolbright at gmail dot com

    CAT LOVERS HOP coming Oct. 26-30 at HerPeacefulGarden.blogspot.com

  • Lavonne

    Great post! I too am a lefty and have been having trouble with learning lettering as well as calligraphy. But, I am determined to get this! Thanks for the chance to win. 🙂

  • Kirstie Glace Amansec

    Hooray for lefties! I’m a lefty myself and this post has encouraged me greatly! 🙂 Thank you! God bless you! 🙂

  • Ciarra

    Hello Lauren,
    Thanks so much for this article! I am a lefty lettered and I struggle with brush pens, this gave me the encouragement to jump back in and try again! Thanks so much!

  • Athirah Kamal

    I love your work! Wish tombow pens are available here in malaysia. I’ve been trying to find a suitable pen for this type lettering. Anyway, you are such an inspiration

  • Jordan

    Yay lefties!!! Thanks so much for the informative post. I am new to the lettering world, but am looking forward to giving it a try with Tombow brush pens, everybody raves about them! 🙂

  • Kacey

    I just recently started lettering and I picked up a pack of Tombow Dual Art Brush Pens and when I tried to learn, I was so discouraged because I just couldn’t get it to look how it was supposed to and I haven’t really tried to use them until now! Thanks so much for posting this 🙂

  • Denise

    Thank you so much for this. Felt the same way for a long time. Today I got my fudenosuke soft and I’m so happy I purchased it!

    Greetings from Germany

  • Marimba

    As a smudged lefty i am relieved to find solutions. Thank you for the post. It was very helpful.