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Sunday, 14 January 2018

Your Basic Kit for Modern Calligraphy

About 7 months ago (ok more like 15 months ago) I decided that I wanted to do Modern Calligraphy. Having always had an interest in art, pretty fonts and the infamous bubble writing that we all did when we were 14. However I dont think you have to be 'artistic' to do this. If you have the want to do it you'll be just fine!

Recently I have been doing little calligraphy challenges. For example in December I did Christmas Lyrics and it took me ages to decide and organise this as I decided to choose what I did each day. In January I’m currently following the #createinspirepositivity Challenge, and the creators have kindly decided what I do each day. 

I post these to my Instagram daily and a few of you have commented on how you would like to do this as a hobby too. I’ve decided to throw together the basics of what you will require to start calligraphy. 

First off you will need a penholder. There are two main types of penholder; the straight penholder (above) and the Oblique pen holder (below). The difference? When using a straight penholder you have to turn the paper you are using it on an angle. I believe this helps the flow of ink. The Oblique penholder is already at an angle so you do not need to turn the paper to angle. In honestly I find the Oblique penholder easier to use but I did use a straight penholder when I first started doing calligraphy. I would get both and see what you prefer. Quill London has a number of penholders ranging from £2 (ish) up to about £100. 

Nibs are next on your list. I am currently using the Leonardt Sterno 40 nib (is on the Straight Penholder) and the Gillott 303 nib (is on the Oblique penholder). The Leonardt has good flexibility and the Gillott is amazing for fine upward lines along with thick downwards strokes. Again you can get these from Quill London. 

I am funny with Ink, I absolutely love the Quill London Inks but Winsor and Newton do great inks too and this what I started off with. I got a set for Christmas in 2016, which had 8 inks, a penholder and nibs. However the nibs were the wrong kind (you can see the kit here). In modern Calligraphy you do needed pointed nibs. 

I also really struggled with paper when I first started out, everything bled - it was so annoying! I still play paper by ear. At the moment I buy Paperchase notebooks because the paper in their notebooks seems to work with the most inks. My brother kindly got me proper calligraphy paper for Christmas, which works a dream but can be quite expensive. 

If you don’t own a paintbrush go out and get a cheap one - a paint bush can be handy if you want to apply the ink to the nib, rather than dipping the nib into the ink. By painting on the ink you don’t get an over load of ink, which can splodge on to your paper. 

Things you will need from home:

Water to clean your nibs with, and to occasionally dilute the colour (dip the nib into the ink and then the water) a bit of tissue/kitchen roll (or if you're super lazy like me whatever piece of clothing you are wearing). You will also need a match or lighter - when the nibs arrive they have a waxy coating on to stop them from rusting. However the wax stops the ink flowing. Just light a match and run it over the nib and then wipe clean. 


I tend to work and understand things better if I am shown so I can see how people do things. So I decided to take an evening lesson (just one) to help me understand and confirm what I was doing was right. However if you have previously learnt things from YouTube I would 100% head there. 

Absolute necessaries 

You will need patience. I am going to sound like a Debbie downer here, but your first couple of things you try to create won't look like what you imagined. You will 100% think why doesn’t my 'g' look like so and so's on Instagram. This will come in time. I wouldn’t say this is a time consuming hobby as such but I do think you will have to be prepared to put the time in to practise and end up with work that you aren’t always happy with. 

If you would like to see more of this kind of content please let me know by commenting below or you can contact me on my socials just search @ohhsorosie on Instagram or Twitter.