Starting Calligraphy

Calligraphy done with Ecoline Brush Pens Now that some of you might be finding that you have more spare time on your hands than usual, you may have thought of calligraphy or hand-lettering as something to try or get back into if you’ve dabbled before. It’s a great option; all you need to start with is a pen - or pencil if you’d prefer - and some good paper. You’ll find lots of guides and inspiration online for starting out but if you’d prefer a good old fashioned book, we have plenty of choice.

In particular, Creative Lettering and Beyond is perfect for beginners, a great book to open at any page and just get cracking. It offers lots of ideas and examples of lettering to try, ranging from different alphabets and also including design and layout examples, plus space to practise in.

Now let's talk paper! Good quality paper is essential. Most calligraphy pens put down more ink than usual, especially brush pens and dip pens which are often used for modern calligraphy, so the paper needs to be able to take this. Rhodia offers some of the best with plain, ruled, dotted and squared options as well as a range of sizes.

Calligraphy done with Pentel Touch Brush Pens Next up, tools. As mentioned above you could just use a pencil if it’s all you have handy, and it’s a great beginner’s tool: easy to erase those mistakes or strokes you aren’t happy with. Calligraphy is the ‘art of beautiful writing’ and that can be achieved by anything really: even charcoal if you have it handy, although it might be a bit messy! Fortunately, we’re experts in the pen and pencil industry so you can trust us to know the right tools for the script.

Brush pens are a great starting point, especially for modern calligraphy scripts where there tends to be obvious thin and thick strokes on each letter. You just pick up the pen, remove the lid and off you go. No messy ink pots or refilling. They are disposable though, so for some this might outweigh their other benefits. For a smaller tip size, we’d recommend Pentel Touch Brush Pens, which offer lots of colours to choose from. For a larger, more ‘juicy’ tip, Royal Talens Ecoline brush pens use their famous watercolour inks: beautifully vivid colours which blend really well. Calligraphy done with dip pens(Almost) last but certainly not least, are dip pens and nibs. As a starting point, and even beyond, the Nikko G nib is famous in calligraphy communities. The nib is nice and strong. It's perfect for beginners who might accidentally use too much pressure, or be worried about using too little, as this nib can take it. It also produces lovely thin hairlines, much finer than a brush pen can create. To use a dip pen you simply slot the nib into its holder (Brause nib holders are a great option for the Nikko G), dip the nib into ink and off you go!

Some bottles of calligraphy ink And what about inks? Well, Diamine are well recommended for choice of colours and quality. And there are many more to choose from.

30 March 2020

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