Here are a few of my current calligraphic favourites to recommend (I'm sure I've forgotten something!) if you're thinking of giving the gift of calligraphy.
Links to the products on the website are below, but here are some Coles Notes thoughts to share. Don't forget we have Beginner Calligraphy Kits (for left-handers, too). They are not fancy, but the tools are there (no instructions).
Nibs & Holders: Without doubt Mitchell Roundhand nibs are my favourite for broad-edged lettering. They are flexible and sharp. For pointed pen, I like the Gillott 303 (also very flexible and even sharper - never buy just one) with an Oblique Nib Holder because of the major slope in the letterforms. The Cork Grip is a nice change if you've been working with other nib holders. It's a bit wider grip, but you might prefer it, or it might just be that a change is as good as a rest!
Ink: I use Higgins Eternal all the time. It's best if you leave the lid off to thicken a bit! (yes, really!) It is a carbon ink, so it will not fade (lightfast) but not waterproof. It makes great thins in your letterforms, which is a requirement for any ink. Pelikan 4001 is a good practice ink - comes in colours that blend. It is not lightfast or waterproof, so don't do anything with it and hang it on the wall!
Walnut Ink is another calligrapher's gem. When mixed with water it letters like a charm. It can be mixed to any strength and with anything else for backgrounds. Yup, a staple in my studio.
Paper: For practice, I'll use any of the layout paper pads I carry. They're all very similar. (The Cotton Comp might have a little more tooth to the surface.) I like them because I use liners all the time (*gasp* You think I want to waste time drawing lines??? I'm far too lazy for that.) and it's easy to see them through the practice paper. These papers allow you to get great hairlines. Just make sure you use a guard sheet! If you get any oil from your hand on these babies, you'll know it. Nasty! At first you wonder what the heck is going wrong...For finished pieces I always go to Arches 140lb Hot Press Watercolour paper. Yes, 90lb is cheaper, but it's easily dented, and since calligraphers often don't stretch their watercolour paper, those crescent shaped dents show. Art supply store assistance don't know that you're not going to stretch it and are very cavalier in how they handle it.
You know that you can letter on a lot of scrapbook papers pretty easily. But you won't know until you try them....
Brushes: Pentel Color Brushes are absolutely awesome for pointed brush lettering. The hairs have great "snap". Flat brushes are fun for broad-edges lettering. You can easily load each side with a different coloured paint or ink and away you go! Working with flat brushes is different than with a nib because you cannot push them!!!
On the Go Supplies: Felt Markers are a great thing to throw into your purse (or whatever) and take along. They work on virtually any paper, but remember they are markers and a nib won't do exactly the same thing. (You can push markers where you can't push nibs sometimes) Try a Parallel Pen. I do a lot of my lettering for the Silhouette (digital cut files) with these. My favourite is the 6mm, but it makes very big letters! Ha, you won't need your glasses! The smallest is my least favourite, but closest to handwriting size.
Other Cool Tools and Accessories: Automatic pens are great tools. They are larger in size and come split as well as solid broad-edges. Use them with ink and thin paints.
I use Magic Tape all the time. Remember I said I use liners? I use Magic Tape to adhere the practice paper to the liner. If you do create lines - the Clic Eraser has become my favourite. Since you shouldn't be dipping your nib directly in your ink, use the Pipettes to load your nib (have a look at our YouTube videos if you wonder what the heck I'm referring to!
Do you send a lot of decorated envelopes? Try one of our Sealants. Some calligraphers rub candle wax over their artwork, but it leaves a horrible shine. Our sealants leave a matte surface which can be buffed to resist moisture.
And that's the whirlwind tour of our calligraphy supplies! There's lots more, but those are the meat and potatoes supplies!
These are thumbnail links to the products on the website. There is more information on the detail pages. If the link doesn't take you to the product you are expecting, then it may be sold out. If that happens, my apologies! If the item is a real favourite of mine and I can get it again, you may see it reappear! Just email for an update!
Thanks for taking a look.
Create without limits! Suzanne