I have been asked several times what items I use to produce my calligraphy. For this post, I’m going to tell you the best tools for those who are wanting to begin this new art form. Yes, it is a form of art, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
The two main things you are going to need are a nib and a pen holder. The pen holder is what you write with, also known as a “calligraphy pen.” There are two main types of pen holders I use: straight and oblique. As you can see in the illustration, the straight pen holder is straight, and the oblique has an extra part that is attached. The “limb” of the oblique pen holder is called the “flange,” and it can be metal (easily adjustable) or plastic. Choose which you think you’d like best. When I was starting out, I bought both. My go-to is the oblique! You can see calligraphy videos on my Instagram. You’ll also learn quickly that the supplies on this list range from 50¢ to $13 (USD). The nib is the sharp metal thing that fits into your pen holder or the pen holder’s flange. (You can adjust a metal flange with some pliers, just be careful!) I always suggest using the Nikko G nib when starting out, but some people prefer the Zebra G. I still use the Nikko G on a daily basis. It really depends on what I’m working on. Next, you will need ink. I prefer Sumi ink, but there are different brands. Pointed pen calligraphy is one of those skills that is very preferential. Test out various materials and see what you prefer! A large bottle of Sumi ink will go a long way, I’m talking possibly 6 months to a year. Personally, I don’t like dipping in the ink bottle (it’s impossible with the kind of ink I use anyway), so I pour my ink in little jars or ink wells. You can buy dinky dips, which are made of wood and hold small containers of ink. It’s a little over $5 and super helpful. If you think crying over spilled milk is bad, you don’t want to imagine spilling black ink! *shudders*
I put my dinky dips (calligraphy terms sure are fun to say, and you’ll learn them fast) on a piece of paper towel, just in case. Beside my paper towel, I have a mason jar of water. It’s finally time to discuss about paper for a bit! I usually use card stock or layout bond. I can use the card stock to scan my writing or print my guide lines on it. Layout bond is very similar to tracing paper, but it isn’t as fragile yet still see-through. The ink doesn’t soak into the bond layout as easily either. My favorite brand is the Borden & Riley Marker Layout paper. If you need to work on a project quickly or just can’t wait, Strathmore (Hobby Lobby and Michael’s carry it) is good as well. I keep that on hand as my backup, but I find it snags my nib more, which isn’t fun.
These are the main tools for beginning calligraphy and what I started out with, except my dinky dips were much smaller! For my next post, I’ll go through how to use a few tools. Be sure to use the link here to purchase the items. The delivery is pretty fast, and you can buy it all in one spot. ALSO, they have a rewards program, which I LOVE.
For a run down of all of the supplies and practice paper, you can click here! I’ve grouped everything together from my past students. Please let me know if you already have calligraphy supplies or if you ordered some! ALSO, I have a present for you. I am making my personal calligraphy guidelines* available FREE for you. Download and print as many as you need to practice your letters! If you are interested in the exemplar of my formal alphabet, please email me.
I’ll see you in the next blog post about using your calligraphy tools!
*Guidelines and all information is for personal use. Please do not redistribute any of the copy or guidelines for resell.