Tombow Talks To: Nicola Bufton | Tombow

01 February 2023

Tombow Talks To: Nicola Bufton


When did you discover your love for lettering?

I’ve always enjoyed creating, but never seemed to have any time to focus on making art. In 2020 when lockdown started, I found myself on furlough with a lot of time on my hands. I’d always wanted to learn calligraphy and finally I had the time. So I bought some beginners supplies and have been lettering and playing with pens and paints ever since!


How do yo pick the colours you want to use in your art?

I love bright, bold colours so tend to go for those. Sometimes I’ll have set colour palette in mind, but often I end up using all the rainbow colours as I struggle to pick.


How do you use Tombow products in your work?

The Dual Brush Pens are my go-to pen as they are so versatile. My favourite technique is using water to blend the colours into each other directly on the paper. It’s so satisfying to see how the colours mix, and they always produce an unexpected result!



Where do you find inspo for your set ups?

I’m always taking photos of things that catch my eye, so I can look back at them when I need some inspiration. Half my phone camera roll is photos of random adverts, packaging, art I’ve seen on Social Media, colourful plants, unusual buildings or colourful patterns! It’s important to credit other artists if you’ve been inspired or influenced by their work, so I always try to do this where possible.



Pinch me moment?

Being selected as a Tombow Collective Member!




What advice would you give to anyone wanting to learn hand lettering?

Use the supplies you already have at home to get started – there’s lots of free content online using basic felt tip pens which most people already have. You can then invest in artists supplies when you know how to use them!

And join in with lettering challenges on Instagram, where you have a list of words/phrases to letter on set days. It’s a good way to get ideas and inspiration by seeing all the different interpretations of each prompt, plus it allows you to connect with other artists and creators who are all participating in the challenge.


What do you hope from 2023?

To find more time to create, and to keep practising and improving.


Best advice you’ve ever received?

Find a hobby or passion that you enjoy and have no intention of ever monetising. Just something you do for yourself, which makes you happy. You’ll find it a lot more fulfilling without the pressure of trying to turn it into a profitable side hussle!



Quick Fire 

Black or white paper?

Both! White for pens, black for paints.

Favourite artist?

There are so many it’s impossible to pick just one! In terms of colour and expression, the great 20th Century artists like Rothko, Pollock, Matisse, Picasso and Mondrian all spring to mind. And I’ve always been fascinated by the work of Rachel Whiteread, Cornelia Parker and Anish Kapoor.

Favourite gallery or museum? 

I live in London, so am very fortunate to have so many galleries and museums close by, but the Tate Modern is my favourite.

Soft tip or hard tip pen? 


What should we be watching on TV right now? 

Pressure Cooker on Netflix

Pastel or neon colours? 



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