It’s 14th August, which can only mean one thing… World Calligraphy Day! The aim of this multi-faceted date is to get more people into calligraphy, the creative art of writing.
To start learning writing beautifully, there are five essential items that every calligrapher needs on their writing desk. Each have their own purpose, can be tailored to your end goals.
To practice calligraphy with a traditional nib, the ink must be pigmented enough to adhere well to the nib and not too viscous, so not to clog the reservoir. Several types of inks can be used, such as pigmented ink (mainly on coloured papers), Chinese/Indian ink for drawing and calligraphy ink for Latin calligraphy. It is also possible to use writing inks for certain watercolour effects. However take caution with this, as some inks can be a little too fluid on certain types of paper.
Herbin calligraphy ink is based on pigments. Available in eight colours that will both cover and adheres to your nib. Herbin Indian ink (or ‘Encre de Chine’) is very rich in shellac and is appreciated for its permanent colour (the colours are translucent with the exception of black, which is pigmented). It becomes shiny as it dries and is appreciated for the permanence of its colours. Herbin also offers pigmented, fluorescent and perfumed inks for drawing, so you’ll always have a variety of choice to carry out as many projects as you desire.
The nib is the traditional writing instrument of calligraphy. It is dipped in ink, directly into the pot or through a brush to fill its reservoir.
There are a large number of nibs with different shapes and characteristics that enable you to achieve varying effects. We can distinguish fine from bevelled, as well as soft and hard nibs.
The fine nibs are used for drawing and Copperplate in particular and will allow you to make lines of great finesse. For example, these are available in the ‘Ecolière’, ‘Rose’, or ‘Cito Fein’ nibs from Brause. Depending on its flexibility, the pressure applied will separate the tip of the nib in half through a slit and the line will be thicker. This can be known as “pressure writing”.
The cut nibs are called “bevelled” and are used for the Roman Capital, the Uncial, Carolingian Script, Gothic, Chancery or even the Round Hand styles of calligraphy. For this, we recommend the ‘Bandzug’. Thanks to its solidity and looseness, with its removable reservoir and varying tip widths, it is possible to obtain beautiful thicknesses. As it is rigid, the thickness will not change as a result of the pressure applied to the nib, but it appears naturally by the movement of the nib on the paper.
3) Nib holders
An essential tool for pen calligraphy, there are several models available from Brause, each adapted to different calligraphy practices and expertise levels. These include traditional penholders made of solid wood, coloured and marbled; ergonomic penholders or with cork tip, ideal for beginners; a hexagonal penholder with double entry and an oblique penholder for advanced copperplate or left-handed writers.
For best results your surface must be smooth, grain-free and non-absorbent for successful, clean writing. If you choose an acid-free paper with a neutral pH, your work will not change colour (particularly yellow) as it ages. A number of available Brause pads suit this criteria.
Brause calligraphy pads are available in A3, A4 and A5 formats and by choosing the 125g pure Cotton Vellum paper, you’ll already be on the route to success. There is also a coloured calligraphy pad available in A3 size, designed for original and creative projects using mainly pigmented ink.
You’ll also need some additional tools to make sure your calligraphy is perfect. It is advisable to have easily available office equipment (pencil, eraser, ruler) at hand. It is recommended to draw lines to guide your work. A small brush is required to fill the reservoirs with the nibs that have them. Finally, it is recommended to have a step-by-step learning booklet for beginners.
Brause offers pads and learning sheets specifically for calligraphy, which contain slope guides, step-by-step techniques, alphabets and professional examples to help even the most amateur beginner on their route to calligraphy discovery.
Discover more by visiting Cult Pens, who offer the ‘widest range of pens on the planet’.