So, what do you really need for calligraphy? Not much. A writing instrument, some ink, and paper. These are the absolute basics.
Pen & Nib
For calligraphy, you assemble your own pen. This isn’t as complicated as it sounds. You take a wooden pen holder, your nib and insert it. I’ve done a video on how to do this the right way.
What kind of pen holder do you need? Just take the most inexpensive straight holder you can get, made out of wood, it’ll be good enough.
What kind of nib should you use? Since we’re doing pointed pen calligraphy here (yes, there are different kinds of nibs), I’ll recommend my go-to beginner’s nib, the Nikko G.
It’s a robust, trusty nib great for beginners. If you have trouble finding one, try online calligraphy stores. I’ve found that most brick and mortar art supply stores (at least in my corner of the world) don’t have a great variety of calligraphy nibs.
Paper & Ink
For practice, you’ll need very smooth paper, so the nib won’t scratch and bleed all over the surface. You can use layout paper, marker paper, or even some kinds of printer paper (more here). Bonus if you can slightly see through it so you can put a guidesheet underneath.
As for ink, you could theoretically start out with that jar of school ink you still have tumbling around in your drawer, yes, that’s completely fine as long as you’re still learning the basics. Or just get a bottle of inexpensive black India ink or China ink.
So really, tool-wise that’s all you need. Of course, you’ll want some practice materials, guide sheets to print out and worksheets with script letters – you can find all of this right here on my blog. And that’s it really. All of this will cost less than 20 Euros/Dollars/Pounds/insert your own currency here, and you can’t go wrong with buying these supplies even if you find out after a while calligraphy is not for you. You can use all of these supplies for other creative pursuits.
P.S. Now comes my secret weapon tool, you guys. :)
This blog has a blog post archive that many readers haven’t stumbled upon. I don’t blame you, it doesn’t jump exactly in your face, but it’s still there, sitting way down on the right menu bar (Go to the archives) holding the knowledge of all past blog posts there. It’s a gold mine if you want to delve in. Seriously – I have taken a lot of time assembling these blog posts and poured a lot of what I know into them. People have told me I could make a book out of this. If you want to explore older posts, head over to the archives and read your way through.
P.P.S. If you want more guidance on your journey, I’m preparing an online course for beginners right now. This will be an in-depth-course for calligraphy enthusiasts wanting to learn the essentials. Make sure to sign up to get notified when it launches!