The beauty of calligraphy is that you don’t need a lot of stuff or the fanciest supplies to get started. Though it should be noted, while it isn’t the biggest financial commitment to get started, it does take a lot of disciple, hard work and practice. Learning the different shapes and letters, and learning them well only comes from lots of repeated practice! So, to get you off the ground and underway on your own calligraphy journey, below you will find the list of supplies that I used to get started (and to let you in on a little not-so-secret secret – I still use these on regular basis!)
1. Pen Holder
From day one I have been using one of these plastic oblique pen holders. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. You can change out your nibs fairly easily (some are a little harder than others, with some gentle force required – just be careful not to bend or break your nib!). Check it out here!
Brause EF66: This was the nib I started out using and is still the one I reach for the most frequently – so much so that I have two pen holders with EF66 nibs attached! You can achieve beautiful, thin hairline strokes as well as thick down strokes by simply adjusting the pressure applied. It’s strong, it’s sturdy, and an all-around great nib (I feel like I am writing a bio for this nib to be on The Bachelor…). It will take some getting used to, especially if you are just starting out, so give yourself time and grace to practice and learn how nibs works. Check it out here!
3. Dinky Dips
Despite the funny name, Dinky Dips are genius tools! It is a wooden base that has four holders for small plastic ink wells. Whenever I’m working on a calligraphy project, I’ll add my ink into one of the ink wells and can easily reload my nib with ink by simply dipping it into the little ink well. Also, a bonus is that the ink well doesn’t tip over easily, therefore avoiding mass chaos as ink runs all over your desk and floor (I wish I didn’t speak from experience). Check it out here!
Sumi Ink is an easy-to-use ink that is great for getting started. I found a big bottle at Michaels (still haven’t finished it!), but it is also easy to find different brands online.
Normal printer paper isn’t the best option when working with Sumi Ink – it will bleed through and your calligraphy will end up looking like a blotchy mess. Any thicker printer paper should do the trick. And if you want to splurge a little, Rhodia Paper Pads are AHHMAZING. So smooth, and no ink bleeds! Check them out here!
Mastering Copperplate Calligraphy by Eleanor Winters – Copperplate was the first style of calligraphy I learnt (a classic and traditional style that acts as a great foundation). This book covers it all, from tips for before you even set your nib to paper to practice drills to going through how to write it each letter in detail. Check it out here!
Modern Calligraphy by Molly Suber Thorpe – Another great guidebook offering information on supplies, different variations on letters, and different projects such as envelope addressing and digitizing your work. Check it out here!
So there you have it! Those are the basic tools that I used when I was getting started. Amazon and Paper Ink Arts are by no means the only places to find these things, I would do a little searching around the internet and at local art stores to find what suits you best. I have added to my calligraphy supplies since then, and have also established some favorites, but I’ll save that for a whole separate post. If you’re just starting, this is all you need! Enjoy!