The 10 Calligraphy Supplies I'm Always Reaching For
There are so many amazing calligraphy products out there! From 100’s of different nibs, to pen holders, to papers - the list could go on for days! Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to know where to even begin or what new items to get next. But even with all the supplies out there, over the last several years, I have found there are several pieces that I am always, ALWAYS reaching for - I use most of these on every project - and I wanted to share them with you!
Check out the 10 things that I’m always using:
Huion Lightbox - It’s one of the first things that I got when I was learning calligraphy. I loved it in the beginning and I still love it! I use it all the time on everything from prints and invitation design to envelope addressing. It is so useful on anything that I need to have a template shining through, or where I have the sketched out the calligraphy and am then writing it in ink.
Brause EF66 Nib - This is the nib that I first learned calligraphy with, and it’s the one that I still use most often. I like to think of it as a medium flexible nib - there are nibs that are a lot harder and would produce thin strokes, and there are nibs that are a lot more flexible and would produce a lot thicker strokes. With the EF66 being in the middle you’re able to easily create thick upstrokes and also the thin hairline strokes!
Wooden Pen Holder - For the longest time I used a plastic nib holder. It’s what I learned on and is super affordable! But it’s hard to deny that the wooden pen holders are beautiful and comfortable (and will actually hold your nib in a more proper position!). I found this little wooden pen holder, which still had all the benefits of a wooden holder, but since it’s a smaller size, also came at a smaller price. The smaller size hasn’t been an issue, and it feels just like a normal pen holder to me!
Black Sumi Ink - This is my go to ink whenever I am working on anything that involves black ink or needs to be scanned and digitized. It’s smooth and opaque, and great for so many different projects. The ink can have a tendency to bleed on thinner paper, but it’s nothing that some Gum Arabic can’t fix! Which brings me to my next favourite item...
Gum Arabic - It’s an agent that is used to bind things together, and therefore makes it perfect for helping your ink not bleed. If I’m having trouble with ink bleeding, I simply add a few drops of gum arabic, stir, and then test to see if it still bleeds. You might need to play around with how much to add till you reach a point where your ink isn’t bleeding but it’s a pretty fast, easy and effective process! If you add too much it will be really hard to write with your ink, and it will most likely just stick to your nib - in that case just add more ink till the ink to gum arabic ratio is a better fit!
Lined Pages - I have several (okay, probably more than several, the stack is pretty big!!) lined pages that I’ll use when working on layouts for prints, or for addressing envelopes. I have several templates of different envelope sizes on these lined pages, so that when I’m addressed I just need to grab my lightbox, and the right lined sheet, to get everything lined up.
Small Containers/Dinky Dip - When using ink that I already have on hand and doesn't have to be mixed, I use my dinky dip. Although they look tiny, the little comportments hold enough ink to get through quite a bit of work, and their shape makes dipping your pen really easy. Also great is that they come in a little holder and you don’t have to worry about knocking them over! For custom inks, I’ll use the small containers (the dinky dips just don’t have enough space to stir everything), and add in the colors (usually using gouache or watercolor paint), water and gum arabic till the consistency is good for writing with and the color is right.
Plastic Water Dropper - I’ve learned my lesson not to try and pour my ink from it’s jar into the container - INK EVERYWHERE. So now if I need to transfer ink to a dinky dip, or other small containers for doing calligraphy, I always use a water dropper. It’s also great if you’re mixing your own inks using paints - just squirt some paint in a small container and then use the water dropper to add water until it’s at a good consistency (oh, and then maybe some gum arabic to make sure it doesn’t bleed!)
Rhodia Pad - This paper is like butter! So smooth to write on and it holds ink really well! I love using the blank paged notepad if I ever have a project that needs to be scanned or digitized. And if I’m practicing or still working on a layout of something I’ll start on the grid paper notepad.
Micron Markers - Alright, so this one is not technically a calligraphy product, but I use them a ton in my processes. They come in a wide range of sizes, from super thin - perfect for hairline sketches, to thick - which are perfect for filling in larger illustrations or lettering. I’ll use these markers if I am still working on narrowing down a design/layout. Once I have it all sketched out using the markers, then I bring in the ink and nib.
I hope you enjoyed this overview of my favourite and most used supplies! Have you ever used any of these products? Or do you have different supplies that you love? Let me know!
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