Equipment suggestions

When I first start to learn anything new I am always tempted to go and buy lots of fun things to play with and more often than not they turn out not to be what I need and end up in a box not used. I am going to give suggestions of things that I find useful and necessary and suggestions of where you can get them.

Living in Australia, I try to use Australian suppliers wherever possible, and we are lucky to have 2 good calligraphy equipment suppliers, both based in Melbourne. I am not recommending one over the other, the choice is entirely yours. They are ; and .

In the UK you have more choice and you can often find calligraphy equipment in high street art supply shops, however there are also specialist shops which sell a broad range of equipment and do a good, reliable, international service, such as ; ; and

And in the US, two suppliers which provide reliable, international service are and

And as far as the basic things like pencils, protractors, erasers and rulers are concerned, you can buy these in any good stationery supply shop near you.

Basic Equipment for ruling up

Clockwise from the left: pencils – a mechanical pencil with a fine line; 2 ordinary pencils – B & 3B; erasers – white and black; protractors – you only need one but this photo shows 3 different styles; a rolling ruler – not essential, but some calligraphers like them; a ruler which also has a grid – these are very helpful when ruling parallel lines; the whole set is sitting on a green cutting mat which also comes in useful at times, but not essential when you are beginning.

Pens and Nibs

Left – top a set of Brause Broad-edge nibs; below some pen holders; Centre – top a calligraphy felt tip pen with 4.0mm nib; next a Lamy Joy pen with 1.5mm nib and at the bottom a Pilot Parallel pen with a 2.4mm nib. These are all Broad-edged nib pens with ink included; Right – top 3 pairs of Pointed Nibs – Brause Steno; Zebra G, and Gillot 303 and underneath the nibs are 3 Oblique pen holders each with a nib inserted.


A selection of inks which can be used in calligraphy dip pens; The bottled inks are Sumi Ink which allows you to just head straight to the bottle and dip the pen nib; other options are Stick Ink and a grinding stone which needs to be prepared before use. The small dropper bottle contains filtered water which can be used to grind the stick ink and also to thin down the liquid ink if it is too thick. The small glass jar allows you to use small amounts of ink rather than dipping the nib into the bottle and risking spillage.