Watercolor Brush Lettering - By Nicole Miyuki Santo

The following article was written by Nicole Miyuki Santo

When you hear the word watercolor you automatically think of using watercolor paper. Makes sense. However when I started to teach classes, I wanted something that was transparent so the students could use my letters underneath as a guide. I knew that watercolor paper was not transparent so I tried tracing paper and that did not hold up well to the ink. Then I went into my local art store and found Strathmore’s 500 Series Marker pads. From the first brushstroke I made on the paper, I was sold.

Nicole Santo

Yes I am using watercolor on marker pads and yes it does hold the ink! This paper is perfect not only for my students, but as a lettering artist this is now the only paper I use.

Here are a few reasons why this paper is perfect for lettering work:

  • I was continually frustrated when my scanner would pick up the little bumps and grooves from watercolor paper. That texture and look is great for creating watercolor florals or illustrations, but for my lettering projects I want a clean look. Strathmore’s Marker Paper is just the paper I needed!

  • The transparency is perfect when I want to try different flourishes or change a slight part of my letters. Instead of getting my light box out, I am able to put the marker paper over my lettering and see right through it. This allows me to make those little changes without having to start all over.

  • It is light and goes with me everywhere. Watercolor paper gets heavy and I like to work at coffee shops and travel from meetings to meetings. The 11x14 pad of paper fits perfectly in my bag and travels with me everywhere.

Nicole Santo

Nicole Santo

Now I teach my Watercolor Brush Lettering workshops throughout California and am expanding to teach in other cities this year. If you’re looking to learn you can check out my classes here.

Nicole Santo

A little about myself:

My college education was in graphic design so a lot of my work has been in print or web. A year after having a full-time graphic design job, I quickly found that I missed painting and drawing and using my hands to create. This led me to work at a wedding planning company creating wedding invites and day-of paper goods. I realized I could combine my graphic design background with my new love for hand lettering. There is something special about the brush hitting the paper and knowing that every time there is going to be a different result. That excites me and challenges me to continue to practice and hone in on my skills. And now being able to pass on what I have learned to other lettering artists has been a dream job I didn’t even know existed. Thank you Strathmore for having me here and for making such great products that help me live this creative life. Happy Lettering!


If you are interested in learning Watercolor Brush Lettering, check out Nicole’s workshops at www.nicolemiyuki.com or follow her work on instagram @nicolemiyuki 

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