Beginners Guide to Pointed Pen Calligraphy – Essential Tools

New Year, New Hobby #AmIRight ? I’m all about learning new things and if you’ve decided to learn pointed pen calligraphy, here’s the beginners guide to the essential tools you need to get started. 

PS – Blog post on basic strokes and actually using your new tools coming soon!

 

PAPER

  • Rhodia – My favorite practice paper. You can’t go wrong with dot or grid because it helps with learning your letter proportions.

  • HP Laserjet Paper – Very smooth and slightly heavier than regular copy paper. Also a nice alternative to Rhodia since it is cheaper. Tip: You can print out guidelines on this paper and practice directly on it. Available at most office supply stores or here. Also, DON’T use copy paper guys! It’s rough and will fray your pens faster.

NIBS

  • G Nibs – Less flexible nibs and perfect for beginners or those with heavy hands. The three G nibs vary in their flexibility, but no matter which you try, you can really apply the pressure. Don’t be scared of those downstrokes! The Tachikawa is my favorite G, but Nikko Gs and Zebra Gs are popular as well.

  • Hunt 101 – Another great nib and personal favorite. It’s more flexible than the Gs and produces larger downstrokes and thinner upstrokes.

  • Note: Nibs are personal preference. Once you’re comfortable with one, try others so you can find a few favorites because you may need a different look depending on your project. Popular nibs are the ones above + Blue PumpkinBrause 66Gillott 303 and Hunt 22.

NIB HOLDERS

  • There are three kinds – oblique, straight and carrot (aka kinda chubby). You’ll see obliques and straights are most commonly used. I personally use an oblique with a bullock flange so it can easily fit more than one size nib. You can find holders here.

  • NOTE: If you don’t get an oblique with an adjustable flange, make sure you order a holder that is already fit for your nib. It will say something like “fit for G nibs” for example. And you don’t need to spend a lot. Plastic holders are a good value.

INK

  • Black: Moon Palace Sumi is my favorite. It dries slightly raised and shiny. Do yourself a favor and don’t use Higgins Ink commonly found at art supply stores. It’s runny and feathers. Save yourself the frustration.

  • Ink Container: You’ll need to pour ink into a smaller container like a jam jar or something like a dinky dip (seen below).

GUIDELINES/DRILLS/STROKES

BOOKS

  • In case you can’t make it to an in person class or like to have a physical resource you can reference, check out this book on modern calligraphy and this one on copperplate. I have both of these and it’s great to have books to pull out when beginning.

  • Remember anything in these books will help with both your brush and pointed pen practice

ONLINE STORES

MISC NOTES/TOOLS

  • Water cup: Have one ready and dedicated to your calligraphy practice since you’ll need to rinse the ink off your nib every few words.

  • Paper towel: For drying your nib after rinsing. Make sure you get the kind like this, where it’s woven vs having fibers. You don’t want those fibers on your nib.

  • Prepping nibs: Remember nibs must be prepped so the manufacturer’s wax is removed. Use windex, toothpaste or even your spit to prep your nib. 

Some of these items contain affiliate links – meaning it doesn’t cost you anything extra but I receive a small commission.

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