So you’d like to get started with calligraphy?

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I was well into my Arabic calligraphy journey when I came across Instagram videos on my explore page with all the flourishing glory of modern calligraphy. It’s safe to say I spent a good few hours scrolling Instagram watching every calligraphy video there was going for a few weeks, I was absolutely obsessed, I found the whole thing so therapeutic with the delicate lettering and all the flourishing. I had been doing Arabic calligraphy for about 5 years by then and although I quickly realised there wasn’t a big community of people in the UK offering modern calligraphy workshops at the time, I found a place that did and to my luck, it was local to me too! (The company has sadly shut up shop since). Unfortunately the workshops was completely booked out for months every time I checked in nevertheless I would set a weekly reminder (yes, really!) to refresh the workshop page to see if there had been any cancellations, an extra seat or anything new had come up until I FINALLY got a place in May 2017 which is when my Modern Calligraphy joinery started!

Now I remember how overwhelming it was when I first started out, with all the different size nibs and different penholders, oblique etc and how one of the first pieces of advice I was give, and I am now here to tell you – avoid the kits you can find in the big stores! Compiling your own kit is going to make it so much easier for you and last you a whole lot longer too. I wanted to write up this blogpost to point you in the right direction. I know when Lockdown 1.0 happened and I introduced starter kits they literally sold out in the first few days and I don’t have a team around me, so I didn’t restock, however with lockdown 3.0 with no end in sight (let’s not talk about all the rumours, I’m just sitting right now) if there were any of you still looking to get into calligraphy, here’s a little point in the right direction of the bits you’ll need; 

Speedball penholder – this universal penholder is easy grip, works for both left and right handed people and is made from plastic so easy to clean. It holds most types of nibs and it is still the one I use today. You can click on the link to purchase.





Nikko G Nib – the Japanese nib. My favourite, and again one that I use for all my projects to this day. I provide this as part of my kits for all my 1:1s and workshops and is included in my own starter kits. It’s super smooth and quite flexible and allows for fairly thick and quite thin lines. This nib is super inexpensive too. You can click on the named header for the link. Click here to purchase.

Lastly, ink. This one might depend on what you’re after, whether you’re choosing a certain colour palette or ink type – you’ll need to add ink to your starter kit order. My go-to to use for my workshops and my own work is the Winsor Newton black Indian ink. It’s fast drying and the pigmentation strength is opaque. Be careful though as once it stains, it’s  sticking around. Click here to purchase.

Now for super beginners and just getting the hang of things – this is all you’ll really need. However, some things you might want to pick up include coloured inks, Finetec palettes and the Rhodia pads. Remember to use smooth but slightly thicker paper for Modern calligraphy too for best effect. If you’re interested in a part 2 of this blog post where I can talk about the fancier materials, let me know by leaving a comment below.

Happy lettering!

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