Calligraphy Tutorials

A Few Of My Favourite Things | Calligraphy & Art Supplies

Disclaimer: I am not a pen hoarder, and I like to keep my art supply collection as minimalist and functional as possible. I’ve been creating a long time, and I know what I like. So while there are about a million different options out there and I encourage you to find what works for you - the below items are what work the best for me, personally.

Calligraphy Supplies:

Zebra Comic G Nib

This nib became my favourite out of pure convenience. My boyfriend is also an artist - and he is a pen-hoarder lite. In the sense that every now and then he’ll order a bunch of pens/pen adjacent items online but then never use them, so I get to steal them and decide if I do or don’t like them. Well, he ordered a pack of these nibs, never used them, and one day I was working on an envelope order with a Nikko G (which is the first nib I ever used, took a long break from it and have now come back to for its simplicity and fine lines!) that was so was so worn down, I had to stop using it with just a few envelopes left to go, and I didn’t have a backup. So I grabbed one of these nibs and it was perfect and lovely, and basically the same as a Nikko G! Using the Zebra nib has been a game changer for me, because I can order them in a pack of basically a million at a time and don’t have to leave my house.

Honourable Mention: The Blue Pumpkin because it’s gorge, and was my favourite for a long time.

Dr PH Martin’s Bleedproof White Ink

As someone who loves a white ink on a dark envelope, this product is everything. It delivers gorgeous crisp white letters in a perfectly opaque white, with no fuzzy edges. There is a bit of a learning curve with it, though. You can’t use it just out of the jar. You need Liquid Gum Arabic to make this baby sing, otherwise it’s like dipping your pen in nearly-dry cement.

Mini Tutorial: In a separate container, mix Bleedproof White with a little bit of Gum Arabic at a time until the ink reaches your desired consistency. If you were mixing with water instead, stop that right now and do it this way, I swear it’ll change your life.

Honourable Mention: Winsor & Newton White Ink.

Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Markers

Okay so this one is kind of ironic because I actually kind of hate them. But, I am a slave to them because they work better than any other marker I’ve tried on pretty much every surface, are permanent (unless you use a paint scraper & acetone to remove and have strong biceps). Yes, you have to shake the living hell out of them regularly to get their ink flow going and the white ones usually require two coats in order to be truly opaque. But, they are my go-to for mirrors, wood, acrylic and all of my corporate calligraphy gigs where I’ve worked on everything from glass perfume bottles to ceramic tiles to rubber yoga mats. They are also the best thing to use for mirror seating charts - if you’re wondering how, head here, where my boo Sylvia explains perfectly how to create one.

Honourable Mention: Posca Markers. Oh, how I wish you were permanent.

Rhodia Paper Pad

Just the smoothest.This paper is my go-to for calligraphy practice, warmup exercises and client mockups. I’ll never understand how such a delicate paper can withstand nib & ink calligraphy without any ink bleeding, it boggles my mind, but I am here for it.

Honourable Mention: Not even. Just get a Rhodia pad.

Drawing & Art Supplies:

Sakura Micron Pens

These have been my favourites basically since birth. They come in a wide range of sizes so you can get ridiculously, crazy fine details (use the .005 for the teeny tiny ones), all the way through to very thick line work. I know there are a billion pens out there, but these are truly the only ones you will ever really need. Pro Tip (and this actually kind of goes against my anti-pen-hoarding philosophy): Keep your old Micron pens, even when they start to run out of ink. I like to write on my older pens with sharpie to know which ones are older & losing their ink flow, so I can use them to achieve less opaque or lighter effects! (Dispose of them when they really have no ink left, obviously!)

Honourable Mention: Sakura Pigma Sense Pens. Hello Sakura, I love you.

Fabriano Watercolor Paper

Just so good. I use this for watercolor painting as well as calligraphy, and I actually prefer cold press to hot press. However, most people would probably prefer hot press for using a nib and ink, because it has a smooth texture. When choosing between hot press of cold press watercolor paper, I think it’s a matter of personal preference. When deciding on which type of paper you’ll use for calligraphy, it’s a matter of preference as well as how long you want to keep your nib in good shape (the textured paper will wear it down faster).

Honourable Mention: Arches. Because it’s literally perfection but way too expensive for me to not feel too nervous to paint on.

Winsor & Newton Watercolors

My go-to watercolors. Highly pigmented, smooth and reliable- and not ridiculously expensive either, especially for the quality level. You can buy them in a variety of different forms - I usually do tubes so I can mix custom colors easily, but I’ve recently realized that I have a bad habit of letting the tubes dry out, so I might be switching to the tray of colors next time I replenish my supplies!

Honourable Mention: Holbein. I lust after them, but only own 3 because $$$.

So those are my top picks! If you want to check out my other favourites, I have my very own little shop on Amazon where you can see all my preferred art & calligraphy supplies.

*Please Note: This post contains affiliate links for Amazon’s Influencer program, which means if you make a purchase using my referral links, I get a small commission. I never promote anything I haven’t tried and loved myself - Plus buying something you would be buying anyway with an affiliate link is a really nice way of supporting creatives who give away so much of their knowledge and time for free!*

My #1 Calligraphy Practice Exercise for All Levels

Okay so, I know I started this whole Someday Art Club thing, got everyone all excited and then DISAPPEARED from the face of the earth. The Wedding Season rush of August and September pretty much consumed my life - but now that it’s almost October and I have some pumpkin-spice flavoured caffeine coursing through my veins, it’s time to get back on track!

So, in order to do that, I am sharing my all time favourite Calligraphy Practice Exercise with you guys. The Someday ABC’s !

I’M EXCITED. I hope you are too.

Calligraphy Practice; November 2015

Calligraphy Practice; November 2015

Calligraphy Practice; September 2018

Calligraphy Practice; September 2018

A little back-story for you: When I first learned calligraphy, my teacher (the wonderful and amazing Joy Deneen) would have us do this great exercise to practice words. You pick a Category (So for example - Cities) and you fill an entire page with an alphabetical list of cities, with one for every letter of the alphabet (So like - Athens, Barcelona, Chicago, and so on). Despite my earlier mention of pumpkin spice, I’m not exactly the most basic person, so I would get REALLY specific when doing my Alphabets…. As you can see by the alphabetical list of Lana Del Rey song titles (at one point I even did Quentin Tarantino movie characters). As much as practicing things like days of the week, colours, and individual letters, is fun and very useful - there’s something about getting weirdly specific about things you’re SUPER into that makes practice just that much more enjoyable (which means you’re that much more likely to actually do it!). Not only is practicing words that make you happy a fabulous self-care exercise, it allows you to truly enjoy taking the time to practice your craft & develop your own unique style.

Since I’ve been so crazy busy working on seating charts & other wedding signage since May, there are two things I’ve been MAJORLY missing in my life - actually practicing calligraphy, and doing calligraphy for FUN. Doing this lettering exercise forces me (and hopefully you) to do BOTH. 

ABCImage5.jpg

You can use any medium and tool you want! Nib and Ink, Brush Pen, Paintbrush, Pen, iPad/Apple Pencil - whatever you’re most comfortable with!

It would make my so heart happy to see you using this practice method! Use the hashtag #SomedayABC and TAG me in it so I can see your work! (I always try to repost them in my Stories!) This is a great way to hold yourself accountable for your practice AND see who else is into the same oddly specific things that you’re into!

Enjoy the process, see your work improve and help encourage others along the way by engaging with their work! Also, hang on to the Alphabet practice pages that you do during these 4 weeks, and try doing them again a few months from now to see how your skills improve and how your style evolves! My teacher encouraged us to keep all of our practice sheets, and I’m so glad that I did since it allows me to look back at how far I’ve come and feel good about the difference that practice and experience has made.

From Left to Right - Lana Del Rey Song Title Alphabet done in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018

From Left to Right - Lana Del Rey Song Title Alphabet done in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018

The Story behind The Someday Art Club

The Story behind The Someday Art Club

I decided to combine two of my favourite things - wine and watercolour - and teach beginner watercolour classes featuring free flowing wine and of course, lots of snacks. I started by explaining that I wanted to teach my students technique, but that I wanted them to feel free to use their “artistic license” - to paint according to their own taste and not force something that doesn’t feel right. I noticed quickly that even though I was showing them all the exact same basic exercises, everyone’s work looked different. Some of them had never picked up a paintbrush before and yet they already had an inherent style that was immediately noticeable. I felt exhilarated, seeing them take the things I had taught them and translate it into their own unique artwork.