My Favorite Calligraphy Supplies: Nibs

I always encourage students from my Modern Calligraphy workshops to try out different nibs. Each nib have different personalities and lead to different styles and results. I definitely found my favorite nibs through trial and error.  

Related: My Favorite Basic Calligraphy Inks

Here's 4 of my favorite nibs I often use: 


Hiro 41 - Hiro 41 and I didn't like each other at first. It was in the bottom of my nib box for quite some time until I began practicing Copperplate calligraphy. This nib is perfect for it. I have yet to find a nib that achieves the square top and bottoms in Copperplate like Hiro 41 does. 

Nikko G - Like Hiro 41, Nikko G and I first didn't like each other. It's a very stiff nib and in the beginning, I wanted to achieve that super thick downstrokes. It's always a hit in my workshops though and a great beginner nib. If I ever want to achieve a more romantic, and sort of dreamy kind of style or practice Spencerian calligraphy, I go straight to Nikko G.

Brause EF 66 - Speaking of super thick downstrokes, Brause EF 66 was my very first nib soulmate. It's not beginner friendly and the most flexible out of all my favorite nibs. It's a pain to clean cause the nib is so small. But if I want that nice contrast of thick and thin strokes, Brause EF 66 is it. 

The Brause Steno Pen Nib aka The Blue Pumpkin - The Blue Pumpkin (its nickname) is a great beginner nib and even now, it's what I use everyday. It's stiff but has a little bit more flexibility to it. One of my favorite nibs for modern calligraphy.



The May Modern Calligraphy workshop at Silver Spoon Bake Shop was a smaller group, most likely from it being the day after the Memorial Day holiday, but that didn't stop us!

My favorite part of the workshop that night was seeing which quotes each student chose to write. I sometimes think I should provide some quotes, but what's the fun in that?  I encourage students to write their first quote on cardstock so they can look back at where they started. Often, even if you think there's no progress being made, all you have to do is look back and see how far you've come. 

I'm taking a break for the summer and won't hold a workshop till September so make sure to subscribe to the mailing list to be notified first of upcoming workshops and all things calligraphy. Or book a Private Party or One on One Session anytime. 

From left: Rebecca, Donna, and Anna

How To Mix Inks for Calligraphy Use

I'm not sure when I began mixing non-traditional "inks" to use for calligraphy. It's probably when I stumbled on Bleedproof White and it definitely needs to be mixed before it can even be used. 

First, pick a non-traditional "ink" that you'd like to mix. 
I've used watercolors, gouache and even $1 craft acrylic paint to mix for calligraphy use. The sky is the limit and I encourage you to experiment.

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Then you'll need water, an ink container, and something to stir it all with. Simple as that. 
I've heard of other calligraphers using gum arabic, but I ended up using what I had on hand - tap water and a toothpick. For the water, I often take it straight out of the faucet, letting it slowly drip or I use an empty ink bottle with it's dropper. 

Consistency is absolute key. The goal is to create a milk-like ink consistency. 
The ink must have a consistency like that of milk. The true test is if it flows smoothly out of your nib. If it blobs up in the nib and doesn't come out, it's too thick and need more water. If it's too runny, there's too much water. Add and mix in a little bit of your "ink" back in. 

It's trial and error, but when you get the hang of it, you can have all sorts of inks available at your fingertips.