Beginner Modern Calligraphy Supplies

 
Photo: Angela Liguori

What are the best, basic, affordable tools that a very beginner can buy for learning modern calligraphy? I've been asked this question at least once a week for the past six years but have always hesitated to write a post about it. For starters, there are already tons of articles like this floating around the web, and most of them offer pretty great advice. But perhaps more importantly, there are so many techniques for doing modern calligraphic styles that I would be remiss if I pretended I could craft the be-all end-all kit for every beginner. However, I have taught in-person calligraphy workshops to 700+ students over the years, so I do have some opinions about the tools that work for beginner students! And of course I have preferences as to which ones I personally prefer. So without further ado, here are my favorite supplies for beginners.

 
 

The images below are linked to online stores, all of which ship internationally!

 

Level 1: Black Ink on White Paper

These are the basic supplies I give all my students and are all you need to get started putting pen to paper for the first time. If you get these items you'll have a bare bones kit and will likely want to branch out quickly, so I've offered add-on ideas below.

 

Level 2: Expanded Tool Kit

These tools are great additions to the basic tool kit. In fact, you can skip the two plastic pen holders above if you want slightly nicer pens from the start.

 

Level 3: White Ink on Dark Paper

I consider using white ink an early intermediate technique because it has its own set of technical hurdles (mixing the ink or paint to the right consistency, for one!). Nonetheless, most beginners want to give this a try pretty quickly, and I can't blame them because the results are just so gorgeous.

 

Level 4: Add-Ons & Splurges

Here are a few book ideas for your learning library and some supplies to consider when you're ready to spend a little more and try new techniques. Of course the Calligraphy Resource Galleries are brimming with even more ideas on this front!

 

Looking for gifts? Don't miss our 2017 Holiday Gift guide, which is of course applicable year round!

 
 
Molly Suber Thorpe CALLIGRAFILE FOUNDER & CORE CONTRIBUTOR Athens, Greece Molly is a calligrapher, teacher, and author. Her first book, Modern Calligraphy, has reached tens of thousands of budding calligraphers, and is available in Spanish and Chinese translations. Her second book, The Calligrapher's Business Handbook came out in May 2017 and addresses the business side of lettering arts. Molly graduated from UCLA's Design Communication Arts program in 2009 with a concentration in typography and layout design. Prior to that, Molly studied art history, comparative literature, and creative writing at The American University of Paris. After spending nearly a decade in Los Angeles, Molly now resides in Athens, Greece, where she works with clients all over the world.

Molly Suber Thorpe

CALLIGRAFILE FOUNDER & CORE CONTRIBUTOR

Athens, Greece

Molly is a calligrapher, teacher, and author. Her first book, Modern Calligraphy, has reached tens of thousands of budding calligraphers, and is available in Spanish and Chinese translations. Her second book, The Calligrapher's Business Handbook came out in May 2017 and addresses the business side of lettering arts.

Molly graduated from UCLA's Design Communication Arts program in 2009 with a concentration in typography and layout design. Prior to that, Molly studied art history, comparative literature, and creative writing at The American University of Paris. After spending nearly a decade in Los Angeles, Molly now resides in Athens, Greece, where she works with clients all over the world.