Calligraphy Tools – Resources List
Below are the materials I referred to in the videos, plus a few extra.
To the right are links to the artist websites mentioned in the text.
(JN) refers to the item as listed on John Neal Books store.
VIDEO 1 – BROAD-EDGE PEN
Traditional Nib & Holder:
(JN) N09-S6. Speedball C Set of 6 Nibs
(JN) N02-S9. Brause Set of 9 Nibs
(JN) H65. Speedball Colored Pen Holders
Pilot Parallel Pen:
(JN) FP67. Pilot Parallel Pen (recommend 6mm and 3.8mm sizes)
(JN) FP70. Asst Color, 12 Refills for Pilot Parallel
(JN) P10-50. Boris 9x12 Layout Pad 50 Sheets
(JN) P39. Cotton Comp Pad
or any good marker paper pad, or try a sample pack:
(JN) P103. Pad Paper Samples
Fine paper: Arches Text Wove is a perennial favorite as it shows fine hairlines but also has a little texture. Or try a sample pack:
(JN) PS101. Calligraphy Paper Sample Sheet Pack
VIDEO 2 – POINTED PEN
(JN) N113. Nikko G Nib
(JN) N154. Pointed Nib Sampler
(JN) H95. Speedball Deluxe (Comfort Grip) Oblique Pen Holders
My rosewood holder is from Rodger Mayeda, RodgersPenBox (Etsy shop). (Note that Rodger will put his store in vacation mode when he has enough orders for the month!)
For help adjusting the flange on an oblique pen holder:
Smooth paper that doesn’t bleed, like Layout Bond or Pro-Marker:
(JN) P10-50. Boris 9x12 Layout Pad 50 Sheets
(JN) P36. Clairefontaine Blank Pad (Unlined)
Rhodia pads and notebooks, such as
(JN) P53. Rhodia Blank Pad (Unlined)
INK - see INK section below, plus McCaffery's for pointed pen (not broad-edged)
(JN) I37. McCaffery's Penman's Ink
INK & Stuff
I use Sumi ink with just about any pen; add a few drops of water to your small container (not the bottle) if it feels thick. (I avoid using sumi if my hands need to look clean; if it gets under your nails/cuticles, it can take days to get it out...)
(JN) I70. Moon Palace Sumi Ink
I used gouache mixed with distilled water in the videos. I also like sumi ink (above), but gouache doesn’t stain your fingers like sumi ink does (something I had to think about when recording!).
(JN) WNG331. W&N Gouache: Ivory Black
Lots of other ink will work too; everyone has their favorite. I use acrylic ink only when a waterproof result is necessary.
(JN) I27. Dr. Martin's Spectralite Ink
Dr. Martin's Spectralite Liquid Acrylic Color
This metallic ink is gorgeous with pointed pen, especially on black paper.
I apply a touch of gum arabic to a nib at the start of a session to make the ink stick better:
(JN) I84. W&N Gum Arabic: 2.5oz.
Along with a small container of water to rinse your nib, you’ll need a small container of ink to dip into – don’t dip into a full bottle of ink! Not only will your holder get dirty, but you’ll forget to put the lid back on and the ink may dry out and thicken.
I love these screw-top Dinky Dip containers from John Neal:
(JN) S934. Small Screw-Top Dinky Dip
Small Rectangle or Square Dinky Dip, with 4 screw-top vials.
(use one vial for gum arabic)
(JN) S935. Screw-Top Dinky Dip Refills
Packet of 8 vials. Refills for S934.
(buy refills only if you plan on buying lots of different inks)
If you buy lots of black ink, you’ll soon lose track of which ink is in which vial. I stick an Avery 3/4” round white label (#6736) to the top and write the name of the ink or color on the label.
(Note: I do not recommend the smaller dinky dips with the flip-top lids; I always get ink in my fingers when I flip the top off, the plastic tops crack and break easily.)
(JN) BR01. W&N 995 Chisel Lettering Brush
(JN) BR22. Escoda Brushes
Liquitex Freestyle Paddle Brushes, from Dick Blick and Amazon.com:
There are also ruling pens for expressive calligraphy, which I didn't have space to cover.
Happy Lettering with the Right Tools by Marika Koskimäki-Ketelä, published by John Neal, covers these ruling pens and cola pens in a fun little book. (Expressive calligraphy is actually where my interest lies these days; hopefully I will have time to cover these tools at another date!)
Tip & Tricks
Paper & Ink Arts' Blog is just started a series of Tips & Tricks:
Tips & Tricks Part One: Nibs & Holders (9/16/2015).
It includes a couple of tips I submitted:
• Create your own nib cleaner. Trish Meyer shared the following ingenious tip with us: “Carrie Designs (Carrie Imai) has a great tip: She breaks the top off a toothbrush and glues it (with Liquid Nails) to the inside of a small container. Fill it with water, and it makes it easy to clean and scrub your nib as you write. My cleaning dish is a sponge, clean water, and this toothbrush container – top right of pic (I use an old microwave dish as it’s heavy and doesn’t move).”
• Trish Meyer has also found a great product for cleaning nibs. She says, “I use Maas metal polish to remove dried ink and tarnish. You will need to treat the nib like a new nib afterward, but it will look like one, too.” Available at Amazon.
Society for Calligraphy, Los Angeles. My first guild; very active with lots of workshops and events by good instructors; SfC host a nice conference in February each year in LA.
If you have a question, there are many good Facebook calligraphy group pages, as well as The Flourish Forum, where you can do more research and ask questions.
Some sites have interactive tools, others are PDFs: