A Beginners Guide To Choosing Calligraphy Nibs

October 10, 2008

 A selection of nibs – Wm. Mitchell on the far left

and Brauser in the middle
There are 2 basic types of calligraphy pens. These are cartridge pens and dip pens. Dip pens are the most versatile for calligraphy and either come with their own built in reservoir as do Brause or, , need one adding as in the Wm. Mitchell. Dip pens enable you to put ink through them and change colour at will, by a quick shake about in water. More importantly, serious calligraphers use Gouache Paint rather than ink (more about this later). A calligraphy nib gives 2 basic strokes, a thick one, when the nib is drawn towards you and a thin one when it you slide it to the side.

With slip on reservoirs it’s a little more tricky to get it so that it’s in just the right place, but with practice this becomes easier. If you are heavy handed (like me) I would recommend Brauser nibs. Also if you are left handed, you need to choose a pen with an oblique nib, which is a nib cut slightly shorter on the left hand side. While Brauser nibs are more expensive, the difference in cost is negligible and they will last longer.

There are many other pens available to the more experienced calligrapher these range from Automatic Pans, Ruling Pens, Parallel Pens and many other mark making tools. I will talk about them in detail at a later date.
Any questions: Please add a comment

All the materials you need to start calligraphy!

October 8, 2008

I must admit, these days, to having a wry smile on my face when I look at the list of Basic Materials I used to give out to my first term beginner students and I’m sure those who are still doing it many years later will have one too!

The list was as follows:


DRAWING BOARD: ¼” ply or 6mm MDF, 15” x 18”


PAPER: A layout pad or Printing paper


PENS: Wm Mitchell Dip Nibs, A couple of reservoirs, and a couple of pen holders


INK: Black Ink, Liquid Chinese Stick Ink is preferable


ERASERS: A plastic eraser or at least a soft white one


PENCILS: A 2H and a 2B will do for starters


RULER: 18” see through plastic


GLUE: A Pritt Stick or similar or look for 3M scotch magic tape


A NOTEBOOK: For taking notes in class


Total Cost…. Around £15 – 320


Other Useful Items


A Scalpel, Masking Tape, Steel Rule for cutting and a cutting board (Put this on your Christmas List)


Why the smile?

Well if only life was that simple. As I look around my studio I realise that this is only the beginning, and if you become obsessed (like I did) with the wonder of letters then you will never have enough pens, papers, paints, glues, brushes, cutting and measuring implements, frames, canvases…. Oh I could go on…. I think we all accumulate items that we just HAD to have, some more useful than others. Funnily enough, for the beginner the list above hasn’t really changed…. But for those with the passion…. Well, the list is endless. In the nest article I will discuss the various writing implements both conventional and unconventional. Any questions on Pen, nibs etc. Please email me HERE and I’ll try to answer them on my blog. Happy Scribbling!

Calligraphy Groups in the UK

October 8, 2008

Here is a list of Calligraphy Groups in the UK 

North Yorkshire Calligraphers


Eden Valley Scribes

Gloucestershire Scribes

The Cinque Ports Scribes

Mercian Scribes:

Nottingham Calligraphers

North West Calligraphers

Oxford Scribes:

Peannairi Irish Scribes

South Hampshire Calligraphers

South London Lettering Association

York Scribes



If you would like your group adding or know of any other groups not on this list please email me via my contact page.

Calligraphy Societies in the UK

October 8, 2008
There are 2 main Calligraphy Societies in the UK.
These are:
CLAS – The Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society
The Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society exists to promote the study, practice and teaching of the subject in all its forms and to generate awareness and appreciation with the widest public. The Society is a charity registered with the Charity Commission No. 1046526 and is therefore a properly constituted, non profit organisation. It belongs to its members who each have equal voting rights.

SSI – Society of Scribes and Illuminators
The Society of Scribes and Illuminators, based in the UK, is one of the most well-established and respected calligraphy societies in the world. This Internet site gives information about the Society, its aims, membership and activities. There are also pages giving information about what is currently happening in calligraphy and about other sources of interesting information.

Welcome to my World!

October 8, 2008

Hello. Welcome and thank you for coming to my blog. I aim to create a place for you to enjoy and share in the wonder and magic of Calligraphy and the Lettering Arts. I offer hints, Tips, Techniques, Ideas and also a question and answer session. All geared to inspire and motivate letter lovers everywhere. So please, come in, take a seat and lets get connected!

The blog is aimed at those with at least the basic knowledge of Calligraphy and I can’t stress enough how important good teaching is. Books are all very well, but you can’t beat the ‘Hands On’  approach.  I plan in the future to open a message board and forum, but in the meantime, whether you are beginner or more experienced, please don’t be shy to ask questions, it’s what I’m here for.

If you have any questions or queries regarding the Lettering Arts, please email me at inspiredbyscript@yahoo.co.uk and I will answer them on my blog… or leave a comment.