Calligraphy Resources

download and print my free modern calligraphy alphabet and guide sheets

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Calligraphy alphabet

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My free beginner's modern calligraphy alphabet can act as a guide for your modern calligraphy practise. With notes on up and down strokes for each letter, this is the calligraphy alphabet that is provided in my workshops. 


calligraphy letter guide sheet

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My printable calligraphy letter practise sheet guides you through the strokes for each letter in my calligraphy alphabet, providing helpful guide lines, angle references and plenty of space to practise.


Calligraphy practise sheet

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This blank calligraphy guide sheet is perfect for practising your lettering, experimenting with flourishes and developing your own modern calligraphy style.

 

My short & sweet guide to:
The best modern calligraphy tools

PUT down the laptop, drop your phone and learn to love the lost art of beautiful handwriting. Here is my simple guide to the best supplies for beginners and where to buy them.

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When was the last time you actually broke out your best pen and wrote something by hand, be it a long note to a friend or a card to your granny?  In the era of email/text/WhatsAp/Facebook/Snapchat, probably too long ago to remember. However, there’s light on the horizon. In what seems like an act of defiance towards the lack of personal touch in our modern, digital lives, a newfound appreciation for modern calligraphy and other forms of hand lettering has started to blossom.

 

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the best kit

It’s tempting to jump into the deep end, but the best way to start a modern calligraphy practice is to start with a simple set of the best tools. Here are the contents of the beginner’s calligraphy kit I give to my workshop attendees to get them started in their pointed dip pen modern calligraphy practice.


NIBS

Modern calligraphy is done with a flexible nib pen, which you can assemble with an assortment of different nibs and a nib holder. In my opinion, the best nibs for beginners are the Nikko G and my personal favourite, the slightly more flexible Nikko Zebra-G. Both are sturdy, reliable and excellent quality nibs that are easy for a newbie to control.

The nib is the most important part of modern calligraphy and the anatomy of the nib you use really affects what your work looks like. When pressure is applied to any flexible nib, the two tines in the open up, resulting in thick downstrokes. Upstrokes require less pressure and are swift and thin.

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A straight nib holder

Next you need something to put the nib into – a nib or pen holder. Don’t be tempted to go for a fancy oblique nib holder right away! I have been practising for years and still prefer a straight holder to an oblique one.

Straight nib holders are the easiest to get started with and work for both right and left-handers. A basic plastic nib holder like this one from Speedball, or a straight clip penholder similar to this one from Manuscript are the best holders for beginners.


INK

My favourite ink is Kuretake Sumi ink. Originally used for Japanese Manga drawing, it’s the perfect ink for modern calligraphy – perfectly opaque, free flowing liquid onyx with a matte waterproof finish when dry.

Can you tell I totally love it? Unfortunately Japan isn’t always on time with shipments so a good alternative when it’s sold out everywhere is black Higgins Eternal Ink. It is slightly thinner and can bleed on some papers, however it’s a firm favourite with all calligraphers.

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PAPER

What paper you use for your practice is crucial. For a beginner, I recommend a smooth cartridge paper from your local art store of at least 120gsm or thicker.

Avoid things like office printer paper – which is thin, causing ink to bleed – or heavily textured or handmade papers, whose fibres can snag in your nib, causing all manner of drips and splatters.


Best suppliers

You can find bits and bobs at your local art store, but I buy my supplies online speciality calligraphy from Blots Pens, Penman Direct and Cult Pens. They have a great selection of holders, inks, nibs and other helpful tools to get you started in your calligraphy practice.