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Beginner's Toolkit

By Thursday, April 02, 2015

Hi again & welcome back to SCRIPTS! 

This blog post will run through a few of the basic essentials you will need to start learning calligraphy.

First and foremost, let's do a little gushing.

I have been following Laura Hooper-Leader on social media forums for about a year now. To give you a little background, she is a calligrapher that has been practicing the art since she was 12! She runs her own business selling art prints, invitations, calligraphy kits, etc. You can find examples of her work here, and items for sale on her Etsy shop here. I am a huge fan of her work, and hope to one day be as accomplished in calligraphy as she is!

My reason for talking about Laura Hooper so much? Well, I just purchased her Intro to Calligraphy Starter kit, and am so excited to use it! You can purchase the kit shown below here. Included in this kit are all of the beginner tools you will need--plus, you can add on extra practice sheets and a gold kit if you'd like!

1. Pen Holder & Nibs

I know what you're probably thinking: "Woah, what a weird looking pen." I totally agree. However, the angle of this pen makes it easier for us beginners to write smoothly, without snagging the paper!

Righties: obliques and straight pens are recommended.

Lefties: straight pens are easier to use and are recommended. However, if you'd like to try an oblique, make sure it's made for lefties!

Try These on for Size!
Tachigawa T25 (straight)
Pen & Inks Arts (left oblique)

Nibs, nibs, nibs! These are the small, very sharp, little devices that you need to create beautiful letters!

More on the anatomy of these little things later! 

For those purchasing items separately, start with the Nikko G nib!

Nibs Included in LH Calligraphy Starter Kit: 
Nikko G
Hunt 56 
Joseph Gillotts 40

2. Ink

Every calligrapher needs thick, silky, ink! Higgins Eternal Black Ink is included in the Starter Kit, and it is beautiful!

I also have a few colors from Winsor & Newton, which I adore!
More on these later.

My Favorites

3. Paper

This is the instructional packet from LH Calligraphy. It's filled with tips, tricks, a few alphabets to find inspiration, and practice paper!

Other Starter Kits:

Every beginner needs a super cute practice journal! Mine is from LH Calligraphy, once again. This one is a little smaller than I would've liked, but you have to start somewhere :)
For an additional ten dollars, you can add on a gridlines notepad to practice on! What I like about this is that the slanted lines are supposed to make it easier to write in italics! Rhodia is also another higher end brand that sells calligraphy practice pads! In doing my research on different materials to use, most calligraphers advise that you save Rhodia pads for later, once you've started to really get a hang of your techniques.

4. Alphabets you love

There is nothing better than the feeling of seeing something you like, and replicating it well! You can search for "Copperplate Alphabets" on Google, or browse My Fonts for inspirational alphabets!

5. A water cup & towel to clean your nibs!

Nobody likes wasting paper because black ink mixed with your white, making a sloppy grey mess! Make sure to gently clean your nibs between projects! Let them dry on a paper towel.


That's it! This is all you need to begin! I'll be posting more on additional supplies calligraphers use to enhance their craft. So keep an eye out :)

Until next time! 


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  1. Mia, your blog is beautiful! I love the fact that you are learning a new art as you go. You're off to an amazing start, keep it up!

  2. Love the photos on this post. Awesome aesthetic. You might like my post about Hatch Show Print on my blog. They've inspired a lot of the typography trends you see today. Check it out: https://whatisyoursphere.wordpress.com/portfolio/hatch-show-print-a-grandfather-in-nashville/

  3. I've always been a big fan of calligraphy because my dad used to write it all the time, but I've never gotten around to actually trying it out myself - I think you've inspired me! thanks for sharing.

    The White Corner Creative

  4. That's true that you might need to get pens that are made for lefties. My husband is left-handed, so I've become more aware of that need. It would be fun to try an oblique pen. I've never used one before. http://www.BeautifulCalligraphy.com