How to Practice and Learn Calligraphy

Calligraphy appears complicated—but by learning basic techniques, you can start to create your own beautiful letters.

To begin, you’ll need several tools—a nib, a straight pen, ink, and paper—along with other helpful supplies. Here’s a list to get you started.

Nibs: Nibs are a vital part of your calligraphy supplies. Sold individually, they make it possible to create the wide lines and fancy flourishes for which calligraphy is known. Nikko G nibs come recommended for beginners, as does the Brause brand—specifically the EF66, Rose, and Cito fein. Of course, finding your favorites will take some trial and error, so it’s best to test out a variety of brands and tip points before you decide what to use in your everyday calligraphy.

Straight pen: Nibs are interchangeable, and they all go in one straight pen holder. This tool is less fussy than nibs, but you’ll want to find something that’s comfortable for you to old. Look for brands with a “universal insert” that will hold any type of nib.

Ink: Go for a rich black ink such as Japanese sumi ink; it’s opaque with a nice fluidity that’s not too thick nor too watery.

Paper: To avoid things such as bleed through or feathering, look for paper that’s ultra smooth—this will allow your pen to glide gracefully over the paper.

If you’d prefer to purchase your supplies all together, the Staedtler Calligraphy Set and Sheaffer Calligraphy Maxi Kit are considered some of the best calligraphy sets for beginners.


Understanding the basics and techniques of calligraphy will only help your practice, as they allow you to gain a foundation in the art. Instructions from book and online classes are a great place to start; once you complete them, you can build on your skills with plenty of practice.