Calligraphy 101: The Necessary Supplies

Calligraphy 101: The Necessary Supplies

Calligraphy, the art of “beautiful writing”, as it translates from the Greek (κάλλος (kallos) = beauty and γραφή (graphe) = writing).

Calligraphy is easy to learn, but like any craft, it needs practice. And actually, in this case practice is a lot of fun: it’s very enjoyable and calming to fill pages and pages with letters and curls and different words. But in order for you to practice calligraphy, you must know first the necessary supplies/tools you need.

You’ll need a few essential supplies to get started. If you use quality tools from the beginning, everything will be much easier and you’ll see great results more quickly. Calligraphy isn’t very expensive, though. All you need in the beginning is a writing tool and a surface to write on.

1. Nibs

The first thing you’ll need is a nib.

These nibs have pointed tips and are very flexible – this is what makes the letters look so interesting.

There is an overwhelming variety of different nibs, but for starters, you can focus on one or two models until you become comfortable using those. As a beginner, it’s a good idea to look for a large, stiff pen nib, which makes it easier to control while practicing. Avoid tiny, tiny nibs! Those are considered advanced, and you can give those a try once you’ve mastered the techniques. I recommend the Nikko G for beginners – it’s a very reliable and sturdy nib.

We will have a future post regarding how you can use nibs but for now let us focus first on the supplies you need.

2. Nib holder

You will need something to hold on to the nib and that is called a straight nib holder or simply a nib holder! – these are available in plastic or wood. To insert the nib, wedge the back end of the nib between the metal ring and the inner prongs (not between the prongs) and make sure it sits tight as it might fall while you are writing and ruin your work!

3. Ink

Now, you would need something to dip your nib in in order to write (hence the name “dip nib”). Just look for an ink that flows nicely and has a rich, black color (you can have fun with colors later!). Kamei Indian Ink is common to find and is greatly inexpensive compared to other inks that you might find.  It's a great practice ink for beginners and with its cost effectiveness, it allows you 

4. Paper

Of course you would need something to write on and paper is very important to a calligrapher! High-quality, smooth paper will make all the difference.  But that doesn’t mean you have to invest heavily in fancy stationery.  Sometimes, it will depend on your country and paper availability. If you live in the Philippines, I would  recommend the Paper One 100gsm Premium Bond Paper (the cherry colored packaging). They are very inexpensive and very easy to find. This paper creates high quality output.

And that’s it!  These are the  basic supplies you need in a nutshell. I hope you enjoyed this beginner’s guide to calligraphy. And more importantly, learned from it. Stay tuned for the next Calligraphy 101 blog!

About the Author
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I am a 21 year old Architecture Student living in Cebu. I am someone who enjoys creating art and learning art. This has been my passion since I was kid. This is probably the reason why I took up Architecture. Creating something makes me happy. I have been into calligraphy for 2 years.

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