Beginner Modern Calligraphy: My Essentials

Believe it or not, handwriting was one of my favorite classes in elementary school. I was new to the USA , was fascinated with learning the language, and writing English letters in cursive was almost an obsession.

When I discovered modern calligraphy, I fell in love with the beauty of writing all over again. So I want to share some of my favorite tools for beginners to help get you started on your calligraphy journey!

beginner modern calligraphy*Disclaimer: I haven’t tried every possible nib and holder out there. This is an overview of the tools that I am currently using.

This post includes affiliates links. This means that if you purchase the item using my link, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. I will only post products that I have personally used and would recommend. The small commission helps run this blog and its activities. Thank you!

calligraphy example


For dip pen calligraphy, there are two types of nib holders: straight and oblique. You can find plenty of straight nib holders out there.

Tachikawa Comic Pen Nib Holder

This one that I currently own is made out of wood with rubber padding. It’s very comfortable to use, and comes with a cap to keep your nib safe.

Speedball Oblique Pen Point Holder

The oblique pens are little harder to find. There are specialty stores that sell them. But you can find a very affordable one with the Speedball brand. The oblique pen allows you to write at a steeper angle. I personally prefer oblique pens to straight ones. I find that I write smoother, and have more control over the nib.


After much searching for advice, I decided to start with the zebra comic g nib.

Zebra Comic G Nib

Don’t forget to prep and clean your nibs before using. This nib is smooth, and the point is really thin so you can achieve very fine lines.

After using the zebra comic g nib for a while, I wanted a nib that did slightly thicker downstrokes. I found that the Brause nib would be a good choice.

Brause Pen Nib Steno B361Brause Pen Nib

I love how much ink this nib can hold. Plus it looks really cool. The downstrokes are thicker, but the upstrokes are still very fine. I’m excited to try out other nibs, but for now, these two are very good beginner nibs.


Rhodia Lined Notepad

By now you know that this is my preferred paper. The lined or graph version are really helpful so that you can keep your letters straight and evenly sized.

But if you want a more affordable option, even if it doesn’t have lines, the HP Premium Choice LaserJet paper is just as smooth. The best part is, you can use this paper to print your worksheets to practice on!

HP Paper, Premium Choice Laserjet Paper, 32lb


I bought the set of Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India Ink because I could use them for watercolor and calligraphy purposes. The ink colors are very concentrated, so a little bit diluted with water goes a very long way. The bottle tops have a dropper, so I use the dropper to place the ink directly on the nib. If you don’t want to buy the whole set, you can buy just the black ink.

Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay India Ink, 1.0 oz, Black

Warning: Do not let the ink dry on the nib. Bombay India ink dries permanent, so it will damage your nib and holder if you let the ink sit. You can easily wash it off with mild soap and water. Be sure to wipe the moisture off to prevent rust.

If you want to try white, I highly recommend Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof white.

Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White, 1.0 oz

Don’t be scared when you first get this because the ink is very thick and viscous. To use it, just put in several drops of water, and mix the top quarter inch of the bottle to thin it out. Or you can also take out a little bit of the ink and put in a separate small container, and dilute with water to get the consistency you like. If you go the first route, make sure to use distilled or filtered water so that you don’t contaminate the bottle.


There are some great worksheets out there, and I’m working on creating my own right now. But I’ve learned everything I needed to learn from The Postman’s Knock. Check out her worksheets here!

Have you tried some of these tools? What would you recommend I try?


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