A good calligraphy set for beginners is one of the best ways to jump start anyone’s learning. That paired with the free practice sheets and resources here at Calligrascape will definitely boost your learning.
When I first started learning about calligraphy there were so many tools out there that the Instagram users I followed were using. I had so many questions about what to buy: What was good? Would I be able to use that? How hard is it to get the hang of it? This post was written to answer those questions and give recommendations to completely new writers on the best tools to start learning calligraphy with. If I was going to make a list of beginner friendly all-star products every item here would be on it.
The 4 Tools you need for Modern Calligraphy
1. Oblique Pen Holder
I originally started with a straight pen holder when I was learning modern calligraphy, but after much practice, I purchased an oblique holder. This increased my quality of letters, and my consistency quite considerably as I was holding the straight pen at different angles every time I went to dip it again. An oblique holder keeps the nib at around a 52 degree angle to allow consistent angling on letters. The holder is an important tool but is nothing without a nib. You can get an oblique pen set with assorted nibs, as I first did, but the nibs they include with it are very touchy and wouldn’t recommend for a beginner. Therefore, I heavily suggest just get just the holder for half the price of the set and get the beginner friendly nibs below.
2. Nikko G Nib
You can definitely tell how serious I am about this nib by checking my entire post devoted to it. To summarize it in this tiny paragraph, without how to use it and care for it: This nib is the best modern calligraphy nib for beginners, hands down. Its flexibility allows new learners of the craft some play and is very forgiving compared to other nibs. Not only that but compared to the average, the Nikko G nib holds much more ink in the well. This allows for less dips and more writing. When I bought the pack of 10 nibs my first one lasted over a year! So you are definitely getting value if you choose to get these fantastic nibs.
3. Speedball Super Black Calligraphy Ink
Ah, calligraphy ink, the art creator and clothes destroyer. Without the proper consistency, the ink sticks on the nib too much or slides right off. I have found that Speedball Super Black Calligraphy Ink is a great balance of fast drying and consistency. I personally bought it in bulk (up in the header image) as you get much better value and it will last for such a long time.
4. Rhodia DotPad or Southworth Linen Paper
Rhodia Dotpads are a great practice paper. You can take it anywhere and it works well with any calligraphy tools out there. However, I would say it is a little on the pricier side of things and if you are just starting I can understand not wanting to spend too much. Because believe me, you will fill a book like this really quick. So an alternative would be to buy Southworth Linen Paper in bulk for the best value. If you want to a visual comparison of the two mentioned papers head over to my in-depth paper comparison post here. The bonus of using sheets of paper instead of a book is to print off some free practice sheets to get a jump start on your practice.
Example of Lettering with the Mentioned Tools
Above is an example of what you can expect with the Nikko G nib in an oblique pen holder, on Southworth Linen Paper, written in Speedball Super Black Ink. If you now have the tools, you can start learning modern calligraphy from my post here: Modern Calligraphy for Beginners – Basic Strokes & Free Practice Sheets
Optional Tools for a Beginners Starter Kit
There are two more tools that any beginner in calligraphy may want if they want to learn different kinds of calligraphy. I have included them even though they aren’t for modern calligraphy.
Pilot Parallels are my favourite calligraphy tool for sure. They are resilient, never clog (if you use their ink cartridges) and write blackletter beautifully. There is really no equal when it comes to this kind of pen. Highly recommend if you want to Learn Blackletter Calligraphy. Pictured below is an example of Blackletter calligraphy on the Rhodia Dotpad. You can get them for $24 for 4 pens or $8.50 for just 1.
Tombow Brush Pen
There are many types of brush pens out there and I definitely haven’t tried them all. But of the ones I have tried, the Tombow Brush Pen has been my favourite. Its flexible broad tip lasts quite a while for being a marker. Like all brush pens they come in so many colours that you may get accidentally get too many haha.
Now Over to You…
What tool did I miss?
Is there something better than the products I have mentioned?
Any questions and comments are encouraged.
Thanks for reading the whole thing!