Calligraphy Tools – My Recommended Tools of the Trade

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I remember when I first started learning calligraphy. I first saw it through Instagram and I always wondered “How is that done?” or “what is that cool pen he/she used?” It took a while to find out what the heck they were using, and even longer to find out which ones I liked. So I have compiled a list of the tools that you will need to start calligraphy or start a different script.

FREE SHIPPING WITH AMAZON PRIME FOR 30 DAYS!

The tools I use are most often acquired from Amazon, so I thought I would let anyone who doesn’t know about Amazon Prime. If you plan on purchasing any calligraphy items here and don’t have Prime (which is a yearly subscription service offering free two day shipping in select areas).

I just want to let you know that you can skip the shipping costs and then cancel your subscription at any time (if you want): How to End Your Amazon Prime Membership.

Anywho, ONTO TO THE CALLIGRAPHY TOOLS!

Quality Paper

Now one thing you will need regardless of what type of calligraphy you are interested in learning, is paper. Nice paper though, not printer paper, as shown below it hairlines/bleeds and looks all fuzzy. You could use bad paper if you don’t mind your writing looking terrible (no matter how much effort you put into it). The main thing you are looking for with “good paper” is weight. For calligraphy you will need at least 90 g/m2 but may not want to go any higher. You may want to go check Below is a comparison of printer paper (70 g/m2) and business paper (90 g/m2).

Weight: in paper terms it refers to is the weight per unit area. This can be expressed as the weight in grams per square meter (GSM or g/m2).

I used to use a nice set of 90g/m2 calligraphy paper with a pre-printed grid (HERE) can be used for some calligraphy practice.
Since I’ve used so much paper, and now have my own practice sheets, I use the following paper types:

Best for practice on the go, and Calligrascapes! Doesn’t bleed with any ink that I am aware of and has a very subtle dot pattern that is less intrusive than gridlines.

Rhodia Black Dot Pad Nº 19, 8.3 x 12.5

However, choosing paper for calligraphy projects and practice may not be cut and dry. To make sure your tools match your paper check out my in-depth post here: http://calligrascape.com/best-calligraphy-paper/ 

Practice Sheets

If you’re just getting started or practicing a new type of calligraphy, I highly recommend using practice sheets. Practice sheets provide example letters as well as guidelines to help you form letters consistently. Print these off onto the 90 g/m2 paper you bought (right?) and you’re ready to go!

You can download the modern calligraphy and blackletter (Gothic lowercase & capitals) practice sheets I created and personally use right here:

Other Calligraphy Practice Sheets

Pointed Pen (Modern Calligraphy/Copperplate Calligraphy)

The pointed pen is a coming back into style in a big way. Modern calligraphy is the hot script to learn. Lucky for you, it’s also on the easier side of calligraphy scale. Once you are comfortable with that you can move on to learning Copperplate. Below are the tools you will need to get to start diving into either of these scripts.

Recommended Tools:

Oblique Holder set (with nibs)

Oblique Holder

This set is a great starter kit for any pointed pen scripts. The angle that the pen adds allows your writing to have a consistent angle throughout. Not required, but I have noticed it helped me when I switched from a straight pen. The above link comes with one holder.

Speedball Oblique Pen Set:This kit comes with 6 nibs and an oblique pen  holder. The only problem is the

Ink

Ink is one of the tools that can be the most unruly. It can be too thin which blobs on your paper, too thick and it won’t come off of your pen at all! Buying a good ink is important for calligraphy pens. If you already have ink, make sure it is the right kind for calligraphy as this could cause problems when you are writing.

Speedball Super Black Calligraphy Ink

Speedball Super Black India Ink

Recently picked this one up and I wish I had started with it! Glides perfectly with no issues. Perfect for beginners, highly recommend.

Bulk ink with 6 different colours. Totally worth it.

Windsor and Newton Calligraphy Ink

TSWIINK001

Walnut Ink Crystals 2 Ounces/Jar-

Great ink, goes a long way. All you have to do is mix 1 teaspoon of crystals with 1/2 cup of hot water. My favourite part is being able to adjust the shade by adding more or less water.

NOTE: I would not recommend this if you are a beginner calligrapher

Nibs

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Zebra Comic G Model Chrome Pen Nib, 10 Nibs (1 Pack) (PG-6C-C-K)

Best beginner nib. Hands down. No questions. The one I started with was in a pre-made set and was intended for more advanced calligraphers and it was really hard getting used to the pressure. Almost made me give up. Since I have gotten these it has allowed me to get much better consistency and less mistakes.

Alternative nibs in case they are sold out:

Read how to properly care for your new nib!

Brush Tools

Tombow Brush Pen

Tombow Brush Pens

Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers, Bright, 10-Pack

A type of marker that simulates a paintbrush without paint. Lasts pretty long and once you get the hang of it looks really cool. Great for learning letter forms and getting used to writing with pressure.

Great! Now that you have the tools of the trade, you can get on the fastest track to learning modern brush calligraphy:

Crayola Markers

Crayola Markers

Crayola Broad Edge Markers

Wait a minute you can do calligraphy with these? Yep! check my post here: How to do Calligraphy with Crayola Markers

Blackletter Calligraphy

Recommended Tools:

Pilot Parallel

Pilot Parallels

All four: Pilot Parallel Calligraphy Pen Set, 1.5 mm, 2.4 mm, 3.8 mm and 6 mm with Bonus Ink Cartridge (P9005SET)

One: Pilot Parallel 6mm

An absolutely fantastic pen that for 10 bucks sounds steep but you will only need to buy another if you are interested in buying another size. (Yeah I bought all 4) In the calligraphy world, this will be your best bang for your buck. Above is a link to all four which could be a great start to your calligraphy pen collection. Comes with two ink cartridges one black and one red. If you buy one its $10 but 4 for $23 not too bad. You can see my full review of it here: Best Tool for Blackletter Calligraphy

Refills:

Pilot Parallel Cartridges

Pilot Parallel Cartridges

Pilot Parallel Refills – 12 Colors Assorted
Pilot Parallel Refills – Black

The Pilot Parallel does have a super convenient ink cartridge system, but it, unfortunately, goes through ink pretty fast, so I would suggest getting at least one pack of extra ink.

Ecoline Watercolour Inks

Of all the inks I have tried this has to be the best ink you can get for blending, mixing and refilling the pilot parallel. However, I should inform you, some people are adamant that this will clog up your fountain pens and potentially your Pilot parallel. I have used it for 6 years and never has it clogged up. You can learn a bit more about the different types of ink on my other page here: Calligraphy Ink Vs Fountain Pen Ink

If you are in it for the long haul, this is the ink you want to buy to give you infinite colors and basically lasts forever. Note: eyedropper not included and I heavily recommend getting one from the dollar store.

Ecoline Watercolor Ink – Set of 10 30ml

Now that you have the tools, head over here to start learning blackletter alphabets.

Lettering

Recommended Tools:

Chalk Markers 

If you want to write lettering or faux calligraphy on windows, metal, blackboards or whiteboards chalk markers are your tool. These chalk markers write smoothly and vibrantly but wipe off with just a wet cloth!

To get 10% off your purchase use the promo code RICHARD10 on their webstore here: Chalkola Store

If you want to see how they write check out my full video review:
Chalkola Chalk Marker Review

That is my list so far. I’ll be adding to this as I learn more things about calligraphy. Is there a calligraphy tool that that should make this list? Please let me know in the comments. I am always looking to try new tools and styles, and I am always open to learning new things.

Thanks for reading til the end 🙂

-Richard