Tools of the Trade

In theory, calligraphy can be an inexpensive hobby – a few pens, some paper, and you’re set, right?

Right. In theory. It’s awfully easy to go a bit overboard, though…

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These are my homemade nib holders, made following instructions from GardenofWelcomeLies over on Reddit. They’re very easy to make and remove the problem of having to swap out nibs when you want to move to a different size. From left to right:

  • Speedball – great starter nibs, a little flexy.
  • Tachikawa – I’m still not sure about these. Picked them up on a whim, but haven’t gotten much use out of them yet.
  • William-Mitchell – these are my newest, and I don’t have them quite figured out yet. I put the little clip-on reservoir on some of them, but it’s not much help.
  • Brause – These are my go-to nibs right now. Firm, easy to work with.

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Inks. Oh gods, inks. Fountain pen inks are generally easy to work with and offer a lot of variety. The samples come from the fine people at Goulet Pens, who have an ink sampling thing you can sign up for – give new inks each month. And boy, do they add up…

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The calligrapher can also use gouache, but it’s something I’m still working on figuring out. When done right, calligraphy done in gouache looks beautiful. I, however, do not do it right as yet. Maybe I’ll make this a sub-resolution for the year…

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And, of course, paper. It’s tough to do calligraphy without paper, really, but finding the best paper can be a challenge. You don’t want it to bleed through or feather or do any of the number of terrifying things that paper can do. My current go-to paper is the Mnemosyne (with the black cover) – it writes well and behaves itself.

So that’s pretty much a rundown of what I use in my work. Now you know, because I know it’s been preying on your mind.


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