These are my "go-to" supplies that help make the many pieces that you see featured in pictures both here on my website as well as my instagram account. Of course, these are not all of the ones I use nor are they required to make beautiful pieces. Questions? Head on over to the contact page and let's chat! Enjoy!
Ask just about any letterer and they will tell you the same thing... you just can't beat a Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen. They have two types: soft tip and hard tip. Which one is better? They are both great! However, I typically prefer the soft tip because it seems to help my lettering be a little more consistent. The best part? They are both super cheap. Win Win!
Micron Pens are durable, long lasting, and completely bleed-proof. They come in various sizes are are perfect for pairing with the Tombow Pens listed above for various styles in one design. I use these pens for sermon note lettering at church, envelope addressing, and more. They are more expensive, but worth every penny.
Elmer's Painters... I can't praise these enough! This paint pen is opaque, long lasting, dries quickly, and only requires 1-2 coats. It comes in several colors and different sizes: ultra fine, fine, medium (my go-to size), super, and chisel tip. They write on wood, plastic, clay, glass, metal, foam board, fabric, and more. They really are the best!
NIB AND PEN HOLDER
If you are asking, "what the heck is a nib?" you are not alone. I had no idea what they were either at first. In layman's terms, a nib is the pointy, metal thing at the end of the pen that holds the ink. They come in many sizes and shapes, and each create different thicknesses based on their flexibility. My personal favorite is the Brause 361 Steno Blue Pumpkin Nib (pictured above), or just blue pumpkin for short. It is not as flexible as other nibs, but I prefer it that way because my lines tend to be more defined and straighter. Many starter kits from craft stores come with a variety of nibs and my advice is to just practice with each one - you will find one that works best for you.
Nibs are mounted in a Nib Holder or Pen. There are two types: straight and oblique and many different styles of each. I prefer the straight nib holder with rubber rings at the tip to hold the nibs. Mine (pictured above) even has a rubber grip, making it more comfortable to write with. Like the nibs, you have to play around with styles to find the one that is right for you.
Dr. Ph. Martin's Bleed Proof White is literal magic. This ink is completely opaque and truly doesn't bleed (duh, it's in the name). It is a thick ink, almost paint-like. For envelope calligraphy, I tend to pour some in a separate container and add a very small amount of water. This allows the ink to flow more easily off of my nib or watercolor paintbrush. It works perfectly on darker paper or surfaces, especially kraft paper.This truly is a "must buy" material in my opinion!
Dr. Ph Martin's Bombay Black India Ink is my go-to ink for most projects or even just for practicing. It doesn't bleed as easily as other inks due to its thickness, but still requires a heavier sheet of paper like cardstock or project paper (discussed below). There truly are so many types of ink that work well, this just happens to be my ink of choice.
For practice, you will find me using standard white cardstock that you can buy just about anywhere. It's a cheaper option and is just thick enough to stand up to the pointy nib.
For final products and commissioned pieces, Canson Bristol Paper (100 lb.) is the way to go! It is super thick, durable, and the ink glides on the surface - it's so smooth - without bleeding. It can be purchased at your local craft store for cheap. Many calligraphers will recommend actual calligraphy paper. However, I write pretty hard and I found it always curling or bowing on me, causing the ink to dry differently across the page.
Similarly, I also love Canson Watercolor Paper (140 lb.) for final watercolor pieces because it does not bleed. It is thick, durable, and like the bristol paper, it is super cheap. Want some advice? A trick I learned to help paper not curl (no matter the thickness) is to put painters tape around the edges, like a frame, keeping the paper secure.