If you are a beginner to calligraphy don’t be confused by all the expensive calligraphy supplies recommendations. These are the only ones you need to kickstart your calligraphy journey right away!
I have been into calligraphy lately although I haven’t posted anything so far on the blog. I am assuming your love for calligraphy has brought you here so join me on my Instagram account for more frequent calligraphy updates or check here for more calligraphy posts as I update my blog with more information. For now, I will be sharing the details on the calligraphy supplies I started which and the ones I added eventually when I got serious about calligraphy.
For those who are new to calligraphy, its is not a rocket science but an art that can be mastered with disciplined practice. As always, there is a learning curve for calligraphy and all you need is regular practice and you will be calligrapher in no time. When I started my calligraphy journey which I did since I wanted to save on sentiments stamps and wanted an option to have pretty sentiments handlettered in my handmade cards, I had very less resources for starting out in India. Just like you, I started by searching on google for calligraphy supplies, practice sheets, videos etc and I ended up with so so so much of information that I was sure to be a calligrapher in no time. I had a brand new folder created in my PC to save all the free calligraphy worksheets which eventually turned out to be forgotten or whichever I tried, never just suited me. I bought anything calligraphy from sites which never helped me with anything!
That is when I realized I missed out a step of understanding my own handwriting before jumping into learning a new style and buying every possible calligraphy supplies available. I started writing things just normal stuff like a journal into a notebook with normal ball point pen and I did this like almost everyday. Slowly I started noticing how I write each alphabet and how better it can be it I write it this way. I also started following instagram accounts of people who are into handlettering/calligraphy so everyday whenever I like somebody’s work I would try them out in my little book with normal pens nothing fancy.
Over a period of time I had developed my own style of writing, an adaptation of styles from different people from around the world and the font just came out automatically instead of having to look into it and force the strokes which I did in my initial days. Even today, I keep trying different font and styles but unfortunately I cannot mimic fonts like switching fonts in MS Word 🙁 I have only one style which is my own which keeps evolving every time I practice 🙂
Now that I say its my own style, that is called modern calligraphy. You have the freedom to try anything and need not adhere to rules of strokes, ascender, descender and what not! How exactly did I start calligraphy and with what calligraphy supplies?
Take the pen you have with you and a piece of paper and that is all you need to kick start your calligraphy journey. Counsciously write a few words everyday and enjoy the way you write. Add a few little calligraphy supplies to keep the journey interesting and always remember to share your works so that people appreciate your efforts and you know how far you have reached. I am here to share my little calligraphy supplies list and from where you can buy them.
I started with brushlettering and truly thats my comfort zone. I love how pretty brushlettering is and how easy it is to master them as long as you learn the brush that you use. When I started, I was using a normal local round brush in the smallest size, the type of brush that wouldn’t last long and the one which come off from its metal cap. Well thats how we all start right 😛 Don’t wait for the right calligraphy supplies, just start with whatever you have in hand. Later on I purchased these monte marte gallery series brushes for acrylic paints just because they were on discount but I love how well they work for my brushlettering.
For inks, I used royal blue bril ink for a long time till I switched to camel drawing inks which had more color options. They aren’t that vibrant in shade but they are good for beginners who are on budget when it comes to supplies purchase. Many international calligraphers use Dr.Ph Martins ink and Ecoline drawing inks for calligraphy which is unfortunately not available in India but these camel drawing inks serve my purpose and are pretty cheap. One another really good calligrapher Mayank who I had interview long back on my blog has recommended camlin photo inks which I haven’t tried yet but seems to be cheap alternative.
Almost all international calligraphers use tombow fudenosuke brush pens and I very badly wanted to try them. They arent cheap but now that I was this serious about improving my work, I really wanted add this pen to my calligraphy supplies. The fudenosuke comes with soft nib and hard nib version, of which the tombow fudenosuke hard nib one was available for Rs.450/- at amazon so I purchased it. The soft and hard nib combo pack costs Rs.1300/- so I refrained from buying them 🙁 The hard nib is not as flexible as a brush but they are flexible enough to get thick downstrokes and thin upstrokes. I love the fact that unlike the case with brushlettering, these can be used to write in smaller font size as the brush is really small.
Another set of brushpens I use are zig clean brush pens. I had purchased a set of 12 shades zig brushpens for use in my cards but I recently started using them for brushlettering. This particular set is a bit expensive side for a beginner as it costs around Rs.2300 where instead you can invest on the much sought after tombow dual brushpens which comes at half the price works well for handlettering.
To be true I wasted a a few bucks in purchasing supplies that never helped me. One such supply were these brustro technical burshpens which somehow doesn’t seem to work well with me even now! I also did purchase these calligraphy pens with interchangeable nibs for god knows what. I thought since the pen was cheap the quality was bad so I went for calligraphy pen from parker and I realised I wasn’t buying the right thing at all. I went back in search of Nikko G dip nib that was recommended by calligraphers worldwide and finally I had to import them from outside. My first even dip nib! I had to buy a universal nib holder which I fortunately got from amazon and it fitted well with the nib. Now if you ask me, Nikko G is available on amazon and its pretty affordable if you are serious about calligraphy. I also added two other nibs – hunt 101 and brause 76 to my collection ( although I am yet to come in terms with my new nibs :P)
For dip nibs, you definitely need specialized inks that hold in the nib well and write well. Many recommended speedball indian ink which I purchased from amazon at Rs.650 and I used in my initial days. I recently purchased Zig manga Sumi ink and I think I like these better than the speedball, more so because they came at half the price and I don’t feel guilty about practicing with them 😛
My very recent addition to the calligraphy supplies collection – a much needed one, which should’ve been my first purchase is this set of 5 Sakura pigma micron pens. I purchased these at a nominal price ( Rs.470) from amazon and I use them to doodle around in my calligraphy and also wherever I need to write in capitals.
I also do a bit of watercoloring sometimes to add interest to my calligraphy and for that I use camlin artist watercolor cakes which is a great value for money for Rs.250/-. I recently purchased the much hyped about japanese gansai tambi watercolors (set of 36 shades) which is just awesome but I sparingly use just because they are so expensive and I don’t want to waste them in my practice 🙁 I bought them from amazon for 3k but you can also ship through amazon.com ( I have lost so many international purchases at customs so I dare not import anything from now on! But the one I bought is like the cheapest deal in India so if you are an artist or want to put in a good investment, go buy it before the seller hikes its price!!
These staedtler metallic markers are a recent addition and I love how well they work on plastic and ceramic 🙂 They came as a set of two ( gold and silver) and cost 224/- which is quite nominal I feel.
The most crucial part is the paper you use. I want to buy rhodia papers but again expensive 🙁 I’m still practicing on normal 75gsm printing paper and sometimes on my fabriano dot matrix book when I want to post the work on instagram.
Well so these are pretty much the supplies I own so far for my calligraphy practice. As I mentioned don’t wait for the right supplies to start! Start with what you have and then keep adding supplies as you excel. And do tag me in your practice posts – I would love to have partners 🙂 Hope this helped 🙂