Hello, calligrafriends! My name is Catherine. I am the calligrapher behind Everlace Design Co and I teach modern calligraphy workshops in the Bay Area. Throughout my calligraphy journey, I have been trying out different things and I am excited to share with you my recommended list of calligraphy supplies! Here's a video on how I set up my workspace and some calligraphy tips and tricks. Scroll to see the products I recommend for calligraphy beginners.
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Moon Palace Sumi Ink This is a great black ink in general. I use it for my workshop and commission work. (I am currently on my third 15oz bottle!) It is ready to use out of the jar, it has a good, smooth consistency and gives a slight sheen when dry. I tried this ink on wooden clothespins and it worked quite well. No bleeding whatsoever and the color stays on beautifully.
Below are some photos of my work using the Sumi ink.
Tom Norton Walnut Ink
This ink is much thinner in consistency compared to the Moon Palace Sumi Ink. I use this ink when I want to give a vintage and soft look to the project. Walnut ink is more acidic in general so make sure to rinse your nib often and before storing to prevent the nib from getting rusty!
Below is a sample of my work using walnut ink.
Dr. Ph. Martin's Iridescent Calligraphy Color, Copperplate Gold
My go-to gold ink for many projects! It is a little thick out of the jar so I like to transfer it to a small vial and add a few drops of distilled water to thin it out. It is good on paper, tiles, marble, cosmetic compact case and more.
PRO TIP: make sure to stir the ink often during use because the pigment settles quickly at the bottom of the jar.
Watch me write using this ink on a frosted bottle! Video below.
Dr. Ph. Martin's Pen-White (Non-waterproof)
Another favorite from Dr. Ph. Martin's. The white is bright and opaque, looks amazing on black or dark paper.
This ink tends to be pretty thick straight out of the jar so I recommend transferring them to a small pot/dinky dip and mix with a tiny bit of distilled water to thin it out. Add a few drops at a time until you reach a smooth consistency when writing (aim for a heavy cream consistency)
Note that this ink is NOT waterproof.
This is an acrylic-based ink. I used it on glossy and frosted tiles for wedding place cards recently and it worked great! It is slightly less opaque compared to Ph Martin's Pen-White but it makes up for it in its waterproof quality.
Jacquard Products Pearl Ex Metallic Calligraphy Set
If you want to channel your inner potion-making skill, try this powdered pigment set from Pearl EX. I featured this set because it is such a great value for the variety it offers. You get 9 different colors and 3 jars of gum arabic that you need to bind the pigment. With the set, you can try several different colors and/or mix and match them before purchasing the bigger jar. If you are ready to purchase a bigger jar, try your local Blick or Artist & Craftsman store. Paper & Ink Arts sells them as well.
1 tsp of powdered pigment
1/4 tsp of gum arabic (add more if needed)
1 tsp of distilled water (add more if needed)
I used my 10 ml jar to mix it in. You can find it here.
Watch how I mix the pigment in the video below.
This is my favorite G nib out of the three that I have tried (the other two are Nikko G and Tachikawa G). It has just the right amount of flexibility and bounce and the point is nicely rounded. It is great for pointed pen beginners and I include this nib in my starter kit available for purchase in my shop!
Brause EF 66 Nib
This nib is much smaller and more flexible compared to Zebra G. It is my favorite to use with metallic or acrylic inks. It can be a bit tricky to use at first because of its flexibility but once you're used to it, you'll find that the thick and thin of your strokes will be much more visible compared to when using a G nib! My tip is to use a light hand with this nib.
Brause Steno Nib (similar to Hiro 40 nib)
This nib is in between Zebra G and Brause EF 66 in terms of its flexibility.
If you find the Brause EF 66 too difficult to use, try this one to help you adjust to a more flexible nib.
HP Premium 32lb paper.
This is a great paper for practice and for reprinting the workbook that I give my workshop students.
Rhodia Dot Pad, 6x8.25in
Great practice pad with fine dots printed on the paper which you can use as guides. I include this pad in my starter kit here
Borden & Riley #37 Boris Marker Layout Pad, 14 x 17 Inches
This is good for tracing over workbooks or sketches. I get the bigger pad and trim it to size.
From left to right: Speedball Oblique Holder, Peerless Oblique Holder, Moblique Dual Holder, Ash Bush Carrot Pen, Moblique Dual Holder (flange removed, to use as a straight holder), Ink Slinger 66 (pre-adjusted to fit the Brause EF66 nib)
Speedball Oblique Holder
This is a very affordable holder for beginners who are just starting out. It fits the G nibs nicely. The Brause EF66 will fit but it takes a bit of pushing and wiggling. Please be careful when inserting the nibs! Hold the body of the nib instead of the tip/tines to avoid splitting, use a folded paper towel to hold the nib while inserting to use as padding because the edges could get quite sharp.
You can also find this at Paper & Ink Arts or your local art stores like Blick or Artist & Craftsman Supply at a lower price but I included the Amazon link for when you don't have time to visit the local store or you live far from any art supply stores or you want it in TWO DAYS! #thePrimeLife
This holder is a good one if you want to upgrade from the Speedball. It is under $10, it has a nice, soft rubber grip and the flange is removable so you can use it as a straight holder.
This one is very similar to the Deuce but the body is made of hard plastic instead of rubber and the flange is not removable.
This is a fun one to have! Like the Deuce, the flange is removable and the body is a soft rubber finish. It comes in various colors and accessories. They look so adorable I got four of them and use them as a prop in my photos. You can twist the body open and fit a couple of nibs inside for storage. I do find that the body is quite small for my grip so it is not my first choice for doing projects that require me to write for a long period of time but if you have smaller hands than mine, it might work really well for you!
If you LOVE using the Brause EF66 nib and want to have a dedicated holder for it, this is a good one as the flange is pre-adjusted to fit the tiny-but-mighty 66 nib.
I love this holder! When I taught a couple of workshops in Indonesia back in May 2019, my dad took my workshop and as he was practicing at home, he was comparing it to the Speedball one and he found this holder to be more comfortable to use. He liked it so much I gave mine to him and now I miss writing with it so I am getting another one for myself!
This one feels similar to the Pointed Oblique Holder except that it is slightly lighter and longer. It will fit the G nibs nicely but it will be too loose for thinner nibs like Leonardt Principal or Hunt 101.
Ash Bush Carrot Holder
This is a cute one to have. It has a wider body that sits nicely on the web of your hand between your thumb and index finger. You can find it in her Etsy shop: AshBushInk
A4 Light pad
I use this pad when I need to trace a sketch into a final piece for digitizing.
I also use it as an alignment guide for when I do envelope addressing or place cards. It only works when you are writing on light-colored paper.
For writing on dark-colored paper, I use a laser level to keep my lines straight!
I like to transfer my inks into these tiny vials because it is easier to mix and travel with and I prefer the screw tops for extra security. You don't want your ink to spill all over you or your work or your carpet!
If you are interested in learning pointed pen calligraphy, I have an online class and starter kits that you can purchase here! https://www.everlacedesignco.com/calligraphy-online-course
I also have a class on how to do calligraphy on different surfaces such as mirrors, acrylics, tiles, and chalkboard, how to do hot foiling and how to hand paint on leather surfaces. Click here for details!
If you want to know how I got into calligraphy, I wrote a detailed post about it here.
That is all for today's read. I will update this post when I have more tools to recommend. I hope you find this article useful and if you haven't followed me on IG, what are you waiting for?? IG: @everlacedesignco
Let me know which tools you are getting and if you have any questions, send me a message on Instagram or comment below!
Everlace Design Co is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.