Calligraphy Tools

Calligraphy ToolsIn order to learn the art of calligraphy, you need to have the proper calligraphy tools. When you are starting out, you can start out with basic tools, then experiment and expand your tool collection to better suit your needs as you master the techniques.

While admiring a beautifully done piece of calligraphy writing, it may be surprising to learn that when learning the technique, the tools you can practice with are surprisingly simple.

Begin with the very basics to include a pencil, pen, lettering guide and sketchbook. As with any new venture, it takes patience and practice to get the feel of it. In the case of calligraphy, the basic tools can help you learn the fundamentals and get the feel for it without investing a lot of money in advanced calligraphy tools. You can always add to your collection down the road.

It has been said you need to learn how to walk before you can run, and by practicing with very simple, basic tools until you master the strokes and expression of calligraphy, you’ll be up and running in no time!


A pencil can be used to trace the letters and really get a feel for the angles, lines and strokes required to create stunning calligraphy writing. If feeling less than confident when first attempting practice, try your hand first with a pencil.

The best type of pencil to use is a carpenter pencil because when you sharpen it, a more chiseled tip can be created. This allows you to write with either a fine or thick stroke, which is exactly the result you want to achieve with your calligraphy lettering. The carpenter pencil is more square than rounded, which may give you an easier grip and means to apply pressure as needed.


One of the most popular choices for your tool set is to begin with a fine point, felt tip pen. There are also special calligraphy pens with ink cartridges included, which are as easy to use as any regular, fine point pen.

In the beginning, it’s also much less frustrating to use a disposable calligraphy pen or fine point pen so the ink isn’t spilling, spotting or smearing on the paper.


For starters, using a sketchbook or even college-ruled notebook will work well for those practice lines and strokes. Unless you’re doing art, a ruled, gridded or lined paper is a must so the letter sizes, angles and strokes can be mastered.

Lettering Guides/Templates

Now that you have the basics to practice, you need to know what the actual letters and alphabets look like. There are templates and guides to help you study the letters and the thin or bold strokes required to capture the essence of writing them.

The goal of calligraphy writing is to complete the lettering in a single stroke. The tricky part is learning how to use those calligraphy tools to get this right.

Just by holding the pen at a different angle or using more pressure creates an entirely different lettering style. By learning calligraphy and then making it uniquely your own, it is almost addicting to bring your own hand to this art of writing.

Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can invest in higher-end calligraphy tools such as a light box, a stylus or two, ink, high quality paper, and a calligraphy pen with various sizes and styles of nibs (or tips).

Remember to walk before you run! As you practice and gain skill and speed at your craft, expand your calligraphy tools to grow with you as your experience grows. You may find that you love a certain type of pen, or even a brush in due time.

Let your calligraphy tools become an extension of your creativity and expression, from basic to advanced and every step in between.