Hi Everyone! After seeing the ongoing comments about what ink, nibs, pens I use in my Instagram posts, I’ve decided to make an official blog post that lists all of my favourite calligraphy supplies, to date. Unlike my beginner’s guide, which primarily covers the basic materials to get you started in calligraphy, this list is more based on MY personal preferences and experiences. So it’s important that you spend the time to try out different supplies and see what works best for yourself as well.
I will include links to websites you can buy the supplies from. However, do note that many of these materials can be accessed in many different stores depending on your location, so have a browse online before placing that order! (;
Let’s start with one of the most commonly asked materials, nibs. There are so hundreds of options and I love to explore as many different types of nibs as I can. I have recently fell into the world of vintage nibs, so I will also cover that a little bit. Contemporary nibs are quite easy to access and there are a list of commonly used nibs. I no longer use stiff nibs such as G nibs as I have developed a light hand for writing after practicing Spencerian script and flowy modern script. Moreover, soft nibs work better on more surfaces, including delicate handmade paper.
I have included links to Instagram videos where I used each nib!
- Gillott 404
- Leonardt EF Principle
- Blanzy 2552 (vintage)
- Blanzy Poure Incomparable (Vintage)
- Hunt 101
- Nikko G
Ink & Gouache
Surely you guys already know that I can’t live without my Finetec Palettes! If this is new to you, no they are not eyeshadow (people have asked me that before!), Finetec pearl colors and metallic gouache with extremely fine pigments and they really reflect the light.
And extra points for those delicious looking pan textures!
A good quality and versatile white ink is a must if you are doing calligraphy. The traditional Dr Ph Martin’s Bleedproof white has been my favourite white ink since I started using it. It is widely used by artists in many fields so it can be found in most art stores. When you first open the bottle, it might come in a thick suspended paste, all you have to do is add water to it mix it until it feels like an inky consistency.
Pearl Ex: Like Finetec mica watercolours, Pearl Ex by Jacquard Products are metallic pigments that can be used for a variety of purposes. Mixed with Gum Arabic and water (Approx. 4 parts pigments to 1 part Gum Arabic), it produces a lovely shiny ink that often dries with a raised or embossed effect! I also love to add Pearl Ex pigments to matte inks sometimes to produce an iridescent effect, and add finishing touches to my wax seals.
Tip: I always keep a little bottle of Gum Arabic next to me as paints and inks aren’t always made perfect for every situation. Writing on some surfaces can require more Gum Arabic than writing on other surfaces, so it’s always convenient for me to reach for that drop bottle and remix my ink.
Gouache: It’s a water-based paint medium that’s a little more opaque than watercolour. I love my Winsor & Newton Designers’ Gouache because they produce very fine lines and come in beautiful colours. I often mix a tiny amount with generic inks to achieve subtle colour variations or ombre effects.
Now it’s time for these beautiful handcrafted tools. I absolutely love collecting pen holders, not that I have many yet though! The wooden holder in the middle is a basic wooden oblique holder ($23 eBay) while the two on either side are handmade by Huy Hoang Dao. I have also recently ordered a beautiful resin holder made by Luis Creations and I can’t wait to show you guys. (Updates on Instagram) Functionality is a different story however, while custom made holders can be jaw-dropingly beautiful, I use my $23 wooden oblique holder just as much as the other two. A few features to take note on when purchasing new pen holders, other than aesthetics, are:
- Length – Can depend on how much movement you use in your writing.
- Regular vs Thick (I love small chubby ones!)
- Shape – I’d say more for aesthetics than functionality 😉
I love my set of Pentel Aqua Brushes as they are so convenient and versatile. They are sold in three sizes and I find them extremely useful for detailed work and also brush pen lettering.
Laser level for guidelines: The one I’m using here is the Bosch Laser level and it saves me SO MUCH time. There are many small laser levels and I’m sure they all work the same way. I normally line up my writing paper and laser adjacent to lined paper so that I can follow a consistent spacing.
From making a card with metallic ink to addressing 300 wedding place cards, this pretty has saved me so much time! Forget the laboratory magnetic stirrers, this one is certainly a calligrapher’s statement piece. It is designed by the Australian Designer and Pen-maker Luis Creations. This ink stirrer is specifically designed for calligraphers so it is a light and portable battery-run magnetic stirrer with incredible aesthetics! What’s even better about it is that it comes with very tiny magnetic bars with a raised centre, allowing it to fit nicely in small ink jars and also work quietly. I am also excited to have the chance to stock some of these ‘Soap’ ink stirrers and you can find them here.
And that’s it for now, hope you enjoyed this blog and that it does come into use! I may come back and edit this blog every now and then just to add the new magical items to my family. ^_^