the first 5 calligraphy tools you should buy as a beginner

One of the struggles with starting to dive into hand lettering calligraphy is the big question:

What calligraphy tools do I buy?

My first piece of advice is to forget the notion that there is one perfect and essential tool for everyone.
My second piece of advice is to try a lot of different varieties of materials until you find the ones that work for you.

That being said, why not give you a few recommendations of my fave tools for lettering + calligraphy beginners!


My Top 5 Tool Recommendations for Calligraphy Beginners

1 - Brush Pens

Brush pens are a WAY easier introductory tool to calligraphy (rather than the whole dipping a nib into ink way). They’re more flexible and easier to manipulate, so they’re a great way to start getting the hang of adding and releasing pressure as you write!

My favourite brush pens:
Any by Tombow! My favourite are these ones in particular. You can get many different colours and thicknesses, so they’re super fun to play with.

2 - Pen holder, nibs, and ink

These are the tools of traditional calligraphy, where you have to dip a nib in ink and re-dip it when it runs out of ink after writing! There are a lot of options here, but my best advice is to get 1 pen holder, a variety of nibs, some sumi ink - and start experimenting!

THIS is a great kit - and it’s only $28 USD!

3 - Tracing Paper

Nope, don’t use regular printer paper for practicing your writing with your fancy pens. The fibres of brush pens will start to fray because copy paper is (surprisingly) rough - so keep your brush pens alive by using a smoother paper! Nibs also snag on copy paper, but run smoothly across tracing paper, so best to practice with those on here too.

Another perk of tracing paper is you can easily put guide lines and graph paper underneath to help you write straight and consistently.

Any tracing paper pad will do - I just grab whatever is available!

4 - Sand Eraser

Did you just make a really pretty piece and then notice a small smudge just as you completed it? Meet your new best friend, the sand eraser. It rubs of un-wanted ink like magic and saves final pieces of artwork. For real, I’ve done a 300 word vow piece and then smudge the last word - and this eraser saved me from needing to re-do it.

This sand eraser is the best.

5 - Laser Level

Rather than needing to draw lines on a pieces of paper, I use a laser level to project my lines across a piece of paper (or whatever material I’m using) to make sure I write straight! Nothing fancy necessary. I got mine at Home Depot, but something like this would do just fine!


Did this post help you? I’d love to know!

What are your favourite calligraphy tools?


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