modern calligraphy

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

Learn the beautiful art of Modern Calligraphy


My last modern calligraphy workshop of 2017 took me to Harrogate Garden & Flower School. Owned by Jo Banks, the school runs lots of gardening & floral workshops as well as other creative courses such as watercolour painting. Jo was a wonderful host & looked after us all terrifically well - keeping us fed & watered with lovely Christmas treats.

I try to keep the workshops' numbers fairly small to enable to me give each student the individual attention they need so with a workshop of 8 we got started. The 3 hour workshop is a laid back, relaxing & inspirational look into the Introduction of Modern Calligraphy to give students the basics to enable them to leave with an ignited interest in calligraphy, in the hope that they continue to practice at home. A message from one of the lovely ladies who attended said:

"Loved it Sally, thank you. One of the most mindful things I've done in ages!"

calligraphy workshop drills

We start off with learning the basic strokes & letter forms - the main aim is to keep your upstrokes light & downstrokes heavier thus creating the beautiful script that is calligraphy. Like any new skill to be learned; it does take some practice & guidance but you'll have a great time while you're at it!

The class was full of a huge mix of people, across all ages groups & they all did brilliantly well - it's lovely to see the different styles emerge over a few hours of playing with their nib & ink.

modern calligraphy workshop yorkshire

After some practice strokes, shapes & drills we move on to look at alphabets & joining words - as it was near to Christmas we each had a gift tag & envelope to practice on too! 


As we move into 2018 - I've booked 2 more calligraphy workshops at The Northern Tea House in the centre of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. A fabulous café & relaxed environment for teaching - calligraphy & coffee, two of my favourite things!

I'm heading to the Northern Tea House on:

Sunday 11th February - 10.30 - 13.30

Friday 16th February - 10.30 - 13.30

Follow the link here to book yourself a spot on one of the two workshops available.

Would be lovely to see you there.