calligraphy tools

My Favourite Calligraphy Tools

Sally Writing.JPG

I'm often asked, both on my calligraphy workshops, which are held throughout Yorkshire & on Instagram messages, which my favourite & most used calligraphy tools are.

Once you've got the calligraphy bug there is an abundance of pens, nibs, inks and papers to try.  It's pretty important not to get too carried away in the beginning though as you need to nail the basics with the right tools. The kit I provide my students at the workshops is perfect for beginners (and tbh, I still use all of them when working even now) & includes:

A Speadball Oblique Holder

A Zebra G Nib

A pot of Sumi Ink

Rhodia Practice paper

The Zebra G nib is perfect for a beginner - its very sturdy & long-lasting, meaning you can put a lot of pressure on the nib when practicing those downstrokes & it won't break or leave you as frustrated as many other more flexible nibs can do when you're first starting out.

I like an oblique pen over a straight; its personal preference but I also tend to find students respond better to an oblique pen & are less likely to grip the pen like they would a 'normal' pen, which I think is what people try to do with a straight holder. Pointed pen calligraphy needs a lighter, more delicate hold than with your usual handwriting style - which also forces students to slow down, an important part of learning calligraphy! 

Sumi Ink is my all time favourite calligraphy ink to use. It dries a little slower than others but I love the way it dries still with a bit of a sheen. Higgins Eternal Ink is also a good one. A little pot goes a long way & if you feel it begins to become a little too thick you can always add a little water to it. Having knocked a whole pot off my dining room table once, I can unfortunately confirm that it is pretty difficult to fully get out of a cream carpet!

Not all paper is created equal! Especially where calligraphy practice is concerned. You can't just whip out the printer paper as it's just not up to the job & will leave you frustrated as the ink spreads. Rhodia paper is a dream to write on - so smooth so no getting your nib caught on any pesky fibres & it won't cause your ink to bleed.  Daler Rowney Layout paper is also good, although I find it a little thinner than Rhodia. With some testing you may find a premium printer paper that will take the ink but the Rhodia paper has the added bonus of being light enough that you can use a guideline sheet underneath - super helpful for keeping your lines straight & spacing parallel.

If you'd like to come along to one of my next Yorkshire Introduction to Modern Calligraphy course, you'll find the links to book your space below.

Friday 8th June, 10:30 - 13:30 at Jervaulx Abbey nr Ripon. Click here to book.

Sunday 24th June, 10:30 - 13:30 at Northern Tea House, Huddersfield. Click Here to book.

Any questions about any of the above tools just give me a shout...


Sally x