In order to start learning calligraphy, you only need a few basic tools to get started. Let’s go over some basics.
Should I get a calligraphy set to start?
I actually don’t recommend this. Those sets that you can buy at arts and craft stores might look like they have everything you need, but honestly, getting a few high quality basic supplies will be your best bet.
What type of pen do I use for calligraphy?
First things first, there are a few different types of calligraphy pen holders, standard and oblique. Since this is about beginning calligraphy, I prefer to use the standard pen holder. My personal pen I use is a no frills Speedball Calligraphy Pen Holder-Black. Next you will need to pick out a nib.
What is a nib?
A calligraphy nib is the pointed metal tip of the calligraphy pen. I recommend getting 2-3 nibs in the beginning. This will help you develop your style and see what type of nib works best for you. I’ll need to do a post later on the best types of nibs for you to use but my favorite hands down is the Blue Pumpkin. Plus who doesn’t want to use something called Blue Pumpkin!
What paper do I use for calligraphy?
You want a paper that is going to hold up to the wetness of the ink and the scraping of the nib. I started off using regular copy paper. It’s fine to sketch out your ideas but if you use your pen on it, you run the risk of feathering. Even when you are just beginning, you want your sketches and practices to look good. My favorite paper that I have found is the Bienfang Calligraphic Parchment Paper – White 8.5 x 11. It is incredibly smooth and holds up to the scraping of the nib. The main attribute you want is something that will hold up under the ink.
What type of ink do I use for calligraphy?
I really love Black Sumi Ink. Hands down it is my favorite ink I have used yet. This ink is incredibly pigmented, dark, opaque and the most beautiful inky black liquid. It comes in different sizes so get the smallest amount to start off. Make sure you like it as well (but I’m sure you will). The brand I have linked is specifically Bokuju.
A few things to mention about sumi ink though. You will need to clean your nibs very thoroughly after you use this. It will cause your nibs to rust and oxidize. I’ll go over cleaning your nibs and breaking in your nibs in my next post. Go ahead and get your supplies ready, and then we can begin the next exciting step, actually practicing!