I have a lot of friends tell me that they want to learn how to write beautiful calligraphy but feel a bit confused by it all; they're not sure what nibs to buy and what ink to use. I completely understand as it was rather overwhelming to me too when I first started. So, here's my guide to your modern calligraphy beginners kit!
1. Calligraphy Nib
I've tried a few nibs over the years but I've always come back to the one I first learn with during my calligraphy course, the Nikko G nib. This nib is perfect for not only beginners but all people wanting to give modern calligraphy a go. It's smooth and holds a good amount of ink to keep you going whilst writing. This nib cost me around $2.50 from the Vancouver Pen Shop but I've also bought them online when in the UK from scribblers for around £2 each. Similar nibs to the Nikko G are the Zebra G nib. I recommend you buy them both and see which you prefer.
2. Calligraphy Pen Holder
There are so many pen holders out there to choose from but for beginners to calligraphy I suggest going with something like this, a plain straight pen holder. You can then move onto oblique pens if you want after that but get the basics first is the key. I've treated myself to a merino glass pen when I was in Rome which is safely stored away in the UK but I definitely miss it, I feel so much more fancy when I use that one ;) Again, I picked up my holder here in Vancouver from The Pen Shop but you can also buy them online in the UK from Scribblers.
3. Calligraphy Ink
I always recommend investing in a good black ink. You'll easily use black ink throughout your calligraphy projects and it's much easier to use than some of the more elaborate gold inks you can buy. I personally recommend the Higgins Eternal ink, you don't need to water this down and it flows really nicely out of all the nibs I've used. The jar travels well and last for ages! I've bought this from Amazon*, Michaels' in Canada and Quill London in the UK
4. Calligraphy Paper
Now, this is a super important to know, you can't really use any paper when working with ink, you always want to find acid free paper and more importantly paper that you know works well with ink. This can be frustrating when you just want to pull out some paper from the draw and give it a go. When you don't use acid free paper you get bleeding like in the image above. The ink runs through the paper and makes your words look fuzzy (not great when you're trying to create a fancy wedding invite etc). I therefore always go for Bristol Paper, you can easily pick this up from craft stores, Amazon*, Opus art supplies in Vancouver and The Range in the UK. Other type of paper you can use is Marker Paper.
Now you've finally got the list you've been looking for, I wish you luck on your calligraphy adventure. I'll be posting soon some tips for lettering the calligraphy alphabet, along with some practice paper. Why not also download last year's holiday calligraphy guide, perfect for following with any type of pen!