Tips and Tricks for Starting Out in Modern Calligraphy

Did you know this tip for modern calligraphy?

That there's actually a secret sauce, a harmony between the tools and the writer? In calligraphy, you'll usually need 4 main things - paper, ink, nib and pen. But in order for modern calligraphy to work, you'll need the right tools, and the proper techniques to write smoothly. 

I still remember the first time I went to Michaels to pick up some supplies, as I was starting out in modern calligraphy. I definitely picked out the wrong tools because I had no idea that there were so many kinds of calligraphy and lots of different pens, nibs, and ink that didn't all work together (oops!). So when I started teaching modern calligraphy, I had to source the right tools so that my students would be able to write properly and confidently. 

And of course now, we design and create supplies and tools that marry both function and design because calligraphy is part of your creative journey and we want you to be excited to write! We made this resource guide for you and you can also watch our mini workshop to help you get a sense of what modern calligraphy is and how to get started. 

Basic 4 Tools

Modern Calligraphy needs these 4 things to be able to write: 

1. Flexible Pointed Nib: These are metal tips that split in two, so that you can create thin/thick lines. I usually use the Nikko G the most. 

2. Pen or Nib Holder: These are special calligraphy pens that can hold nibs. I personally prefer oblique pens, where the nib is offset and so you can write easier on a slant. Some people prefer straight pens, which I usually recommend for lefties. 

3. Ink. I quickly discovered that there were so many kinds of inks #facepalm and that even fountain pen inks sometimes doesn't work as well as it's more watery. So, my best bet is the Moon Palace Ink and Dr. Ph Martin's Inks for colored ones (you might have to dilute a bit depending on which one!) 

4. Paper. Because we're dealing with wet ink, you'll need the right paper for it for sure! My fave one for practicing/printing is still the HP 32lb Paper and of course our own Practice Pads and Vellum Paper. The resource guide has more. 

Calligraphy Starter Kit

But that's also the reason why we came up with the Calligraphy Starter Kit, it has everything you need and a little bit more.

  • Technical Pencil Leadholder, Sand/Rubber Eraser - for practicing and erasing ink/pencil marks 
  • Workbook - different from the practice pads, it has the worksheets you need for the Creative Calligraphy Course
  • Dropper Bottle - to help you apply ink onto your nib more evenly. 
  • Silicon Mat - we use this as a blotter, and to protect your surface from ink spills 

Now you've got the tools... now what? 

Modern Calligraphy is unique because you will need to learn the technique of how to hold the pen and then how to write with it. I give a preview of that in my mini-workshop here.

Then, I like to start off with doing practice drills! The practice drills are very important because they are the building blocks of the letters. And calligraphy is a skill where practice makes progress. So as you get better at the drills, so will your letters. You can watch this video of me showcasing the practice drills and also get some free practice worksheets with it, too!

Calligraphy Course + Premium Membership will be reopening April 3-10, 2024!

 If you want a more assisted approach to learning modern calligraphy, it's always a good idea to take our Creative Calligraphy Course with our Premium Membership, that way we can help check your homework and give you the feedback you need to grow your skills! Join the Waitlist Here.

Do you want to see more tips? We often share them on Instagram - check out the Tips and Tricks Highlights here and on Youtube, as well!

xoxo, Karla

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