What’s in a calligrapher’s pencil case?

I thought it might be interesting to show you the tools and supplies I use for calligraphy every day.

All of the magic of modern calligraphy is in the pen and nib. The rhythm of pen strokes and smoothness of the swirling letters are what makes calligraphy look beautiful. It takes practice to achieve hairline thin strokes, but with the right equipment and time, anyone can learn modern calligraphy.

These are the tools I use every day to write and teach calligraphy with.

What’s that bendy calligraphy pen for?

The oblique pen holder is really helpful for right handed calligraphers (including beginners) who struggle to maintain a comfortable pen angle. I use one often, but many calligraphers prefer a straight holder.

If you’re curious about pen angles, my brand new calligraphy practice worksheets include a line to guide you, so you’ll always be aware where your nib should be pointing towards.

The best nibs for modern calligraphy – used by professional calligraphers

I have a handful of favourite nibs for modern calligraphy. I use a Nikko G for simple or fast work, or teaching. I use a Gillott 303 nib, a Leonardt EF Principal or a Hunt 22B for small, fine calligraphy work. (For example, calligraphy poem commissions where delicate hairlines and precision are required.)

Papers to use for modern calligraphy (in the UK)

I’m a paper lover… sometimes a paper hater as well!

Choosing the right paper for calligraphy’s crucial so your nib can glide and dance. The wrong papers can be like writing on carpet. That’s why I buy from the best manufacturers and suppliers. I’m especially partial to Saunders Waterford paper made at St. Cuthbert’s Mill, and why I buy speciality papers from the fabulous GF Smith.

Rough cotton papers are notoriously tricky and yet eternally popular for wedding calligraphy. For these, the best I’ve found have been from Northern Printing Co. and Indian Cotton Paper Co.

Modern calligraphy kits for beginners

All of the ingredients for happy calligraphy practice are in my modern calligraphy kits: G nibs, smooth practice papers, silky smooth ink… they even include video tutorials with extra worksheets so you can perfect your calligraphy practice at your own pace. You can buy my modern calligraphy kits in my Etsy shop and on Not On The High St.

The black ink I use is a Sumi ink, which I dilute with water.

I make my own colour inks and sell them ONLY at my calligraphy classes in Cumbria. You can find upcoming dates on my website and by following me on instagram – I’m @bymoonandtide.

For anything where a metallic finish will add something special to a calligraphy piece – especially writing on darker backgrounds, Coliro colours imported from Germany are impossible to beat!

modern calligraphy in colourful shimmer inks on black paper modern calligraphy set