Travel lettering: 5 things you need to letter on-the-go

*None of the following content is sponsored or paid for in anyway. No affiliate links are used. The following article is personal opinion.

Kids are out of school, vacations and traveling are constant. Throughout the summer the habit of lettering every day is out the window. Am I right? Well, sometimes lettering is the most fun when traveling and discovering new things. There’s a misconception that lettering is harder when bringing ink, dip pens, and the whole desk. There are five tools essential to travel lettering that go into my carry on to lettering anytime, anywhere!

1. Notebook


You can’t letter on the go if you don’t have something to write in. Recently, I received the Chic Sparrow leather notebook and have fell in love with it. In the past, I’ve also used Rhodia and Moleskine, but there’s two main reasons I’ve switched to the Chic Sparrow: 1) it’s a durable leather that comes in a protective bag and 2) Paper notebook inserts are easily replaceable and customizable.

Chic Sparrow journals come in multiple sizes and the inserts are replaceable. Put in one notebook or four. I have one for sketches, one for writing ideas and one just for travel lettering.

2. Writing tools

Stick with the basics. It’s easy to get carried away and bring every brush pen and the water pen and the dip pen. However, I love writing in black and white. A letterer (I forget who) once said, “If it doesn’t look good in black and white, it’s not going to look good in color.” So stick to black and white for a change. If you need color, Muji 0.5 sized pens are great for detail and embellishment work. Here’s a list of some of my favorite black pens (some pictured). Don’t forget the pencil and eraser too!

  • Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens (hard and soft)
  • Faber-Castell PITT pens
  • Precise V5 or V7 rolling ball pens

When bringing a ruler, pick a pocket-sized, smaller ruler for the trip. Stay away from metal. Although a metal ruler is small and can get easily missed, it can also cause problems when forgotten. The TSA scans for metal, so make sure to pull out any metal pens or rulers and put it in a bucket so they can see it clearly. This is especially true for foreign countries. Speaking from experience, it is better just to bring a plastic or wood one.

3. Pen case or pouch


Your pens and pencils will need a case, pouch or bag if you are going to bring them! It took months of research to find one small enough to fit in a purse and big enough to fit lots of pens! Finally, I picked the standard size of the Lihit Lab case. It has a divider in the middle, providing three sides for pens and one with three small mesh pockets for my erasers and small items.

The pictures show that I can fit my Tombow pens and pencils in one side, my Muji pen set in one and my Faber-Castell set in the last. Lihit Lab cases are made with a durable fabric and zipper with two outer pockets. Because its shape is sized like a book and flat (not rounded or cylindrical) it easily fits in a purse or backpack.

4. iPad and Apple pencil

Digital lettering can be the best thing when crammed on a plane or stuffed in a car. Digital lettering makes it easy and quick to letter photos or other digital content collected on the trip without waiting until you get home to share the adventure with family and friends.

The iPad and the Apple pencil, along with the Procreate app, are the digital go-to favorites for just this situation. Digital photo lettering can also be used to look back on a trip, post for #ThrowbackThursday (#tbt) or even for the family Christmas card! The possibilities here are endless. Here’s an example of a past Instagram post showcasing a picture I took in Venice, Italy from my trip in May 2018.

5. Imagination

Lastly, don’t forget you are on vacation! This is a time to relax, letter something that is meaningful. Letter something you find passion in. Open up to a whole new world around you. This new atmosphere can inspire you to letter and draw new things in new ways. Or try new lettering techniques you observe or never would have thought of.

If you want to learn new styles and are getting stuck, Click here to download my free style guide sheet or visit the freebies page. Remember, travel lettering is supposed to be fun-explore more styles.

Don’t forget to tag @fontabulousdesigns in your travel lettering adventures this summer and use the hashtag #FDlettering. Happy lettering!

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