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How to Learn Calligraphy – Getting Started

Learn the basics of calligraphy, including supplies needed & how to get started

To say that I’m excited is an understatement. I’m overjoyed to take you on this journey of learning calligraphy with me. Over the course of the next 6 weeks, I’ll be sharing everything you need to know to learn calligraphy including step by step instructions, practice sheets & more. I, along with calligrapher Madi Sanders, have designed this to teach you calligraphy in 5 “days.” Today, we’re going to get you started with the basics, so you’ll have plenty of time to purchase supplies & start Day 1!

Learn the basics of calligraphy, including supplies needed & how to get started

Recommended Supplies:

Zebra G Nib {firm, great for beginners}

Straight pen {I purchased an oblique & immediately felt overwhelmed. The choice is up to you, but whatever you learn with should be what you continue to use for sake of ease.}

Tracing paper

Practice grid

Black ink {I use Higgins Eternal Black Ink}

Paper in varying weights

Most of these items should be available locally, but are easiest to locate online. I receive numerous emails about where to purchase supplies. While you can find them at numerous stores, this is one I have used.

Let’s do this! To get started, insert the nib.

Learn the basics of calligraphy, including supplies needed & how to get started

Learn the basics of calligraphy, including supplies needed & how to get started

Dip the pen in ink.

Learn the basics of calligraphy, including supplies needed & how to get started

You don’t want to see the hole after you dip. The first time may take a little more. When you fill the hole, remove the excess ink on the nib on the side of the ink jar. Notice that Madi stabilizes her jar with a roll of washi tape. Genius, right? Don’t forget to print your practice grids!

Next week you’ll learn the strokes, how to create varying widths & loops! Everything you need to learn calligraphy is within these posts, but you can subscribe here to receive a bonus practice sheet {goes out once a month}!

PIN the tutorial for later here:Learn calligraphy from the comfort of your home with this step-by-step tutorial at julieblanner.com

The series, in order:

How to Learn Calligraphy

Getting Started

Back to Basics

The Calligraphy Alphabet

Practice Words

Practice Makes Perfect

Calligraphy Resources & Left Handed Calligraphy

Minuscules & Numerals

You may also like my online flower arranging workshop filled to the brim with beautiful centerpiece ideas you can recreate with step-by-step instructions.

entertaining expert and lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner

 

 

Credits:

flowers Emmy-Ray, photography Wheat Photo, calligraphy instructor Madi Sanders [show_shopthepost_widget id=”1746039″]

LET’S CONNECT!

90 comments on “How to Learn Calligraphy – Getting Started”

  1. Hi. So excited to start this. I’m getting supplies online and am wondering is a Zebra Comic G Nib what you have?

  2. Oops one more question….do you mean Higgins Eternal Ink?

  3. Do you know where I can find the pens? I’ve looked in stores like A.C. Moore and the have a handful of fountain pens but I haven’t been too successful in finding more than one fairly sad looking dip pen. Where did you find your pen? Btw, the second one pictured is very pretty.

  4. Thank you for the clarifications. 😉

  5. I was wondering if it was a good idea to purchase multiples of a nib? Do they break easily or would ordering 1 be all I would need?

    • They can break if you’re too aggressive. It definitely doesn’t hurt. I haven’t broken one to date, but then again, I’m usually enjoying a glass of wine while practicing!

  6. I missed signing up for he calligraphy emails! Is it too late?!

    • Not at all! I’m sending out a follow up with the link to the printables in a week or two. For now, start from the beginning of the calligraphy series & enjoy!

  7. Beautyful pen the black one, where did you get it?? 🙂

  8. my mom won’t let me start this but it’s wonderful.

  9. Will the Zebra G nibs fit in any pen? I can only find the Speedball brand.

  10. I’m having trouble with my paper. What do you suggest to use? I bought tracing paper from Michael’s but it seems “too scratchy” and I can’t get my pen to easily glide. Same goes for writing paper as well. What are your suggestions and where can I purchase? Thanks in advance!

    • Sorry, Agnes! It may actually be the angle your holding your pen. You can also visit the online resource I recommend – link is in the supplies post. Enjoy!

  11. Hi! I loved reading through your 5 days of calligraphy and just got some supplies. Is there any way I can still get the printables that were sent to emails through subscribing. Or is it too late??

    • I’m glad you’re enjoying it, Melina! All but one “extra” printable have been released in the posts, so just follow along! The extra was emailed to subscribers last week & will be again in November.

  12. Is it too late to subscribe to this series? I’d love to learn calligraphy!!

  13. I cannot tell you how excited I am to start this! I always try and learn a new skill every time winter rolls around and I’m stuck inside…and I have a feeling this will be perfect! I was wondering what brand/where you got your pen? I have found the speedball brand at most stores, but was just curious as to what else was out there! Thanks!!

  14. First of all, I think this is wonderful and thank you for sharing with the world! Second, I’m very new at this and was wondering what paper you are using and if I could find it on Amazon.com? The paper weights and brands are quite confusing and I’m not sure which ones would work well for being such a beginner 😉 Thank you for your help and time!

  15. I have been scouring the internet for good tutorials on calligraphy and when I found yours I was so excited! It was so clear and concise. Sadly though, I went to download the practice sheets and alphabets but the links keep going back to the post instead of the sheets. Is there any way you can email them to me or re-link them? Thanks!

  16. Hi! I just got the supplies to begin learning calligraphy and took your advice from this series. I purchased the Zebra G-nibs and a Speedball pen holder. The nibs do not seem to fit the holder, however. They easily slide in and out with no resistance. I have searched high and low on the internet and can’t find any resources as to what holder fits these nibs. My holder is a Speedball “B” pen holder, and it lists appropriate nibs to use on the packaging (A, B, C, 22B, 56, and so on) but no G. I’m quite confused with all the numbers and letters and would like to know what specific holders will fit these nibs. Thanks!

  17. Hi Kate!

    Hope your Christmas was Merry and Bright!! I was wondering if you have a recommendation for a “strong alternative” to a Zebra G nib. My local art store only carries Speedball and Hunt nib and I was wondering what nib number(s) could be compariables to G in the other brands. I am excited to being and look forward to your response!! Also, regarding the PRACTICE SHEETS, what size should they be when they are printed?? 11″ x 17″?? 8.5″ x 11″?? or does it matter? 🙂 THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!

  18. Greetings Julie!

    I truly hope this message finds you well and that your Christmas was Merry and Bright! I am so excited to begin your Calligraphy Series but am having a bit of a challenge finding local supplies. My local art supply carries Speedball and Hunt products and I was wondering if there is a comparable nib to the Zebra G in the Speedball or Hunt line. Could you please advise me on the best alternate or whether I should simply purchase the G nib in the Zebra line online from PIA.com? Thanks bunches and Happy New Year!! 🙂

  19. Hi Julie,
    I can’t believe I found your site that teaches caligraphy for no cost.
    I am ordering supplies on line and will be ready next week. I have wanted
    to learn for about 50 years!!! Finally, I will! Thanks! I look forward to following
    your emails and blog. Happy New Year to you and everyone using this site!!

  20. I signed up but never got the email to confirm my address.

  21. I am 79 years of age and I can write fairly well, but I do shake at times. I have wanted to learn this art form for years. Will I be wasting my time and money?

    • You may actually find it’s easier for you because unlike handwriting, you do a stroke at a time, lifting the pen as needed. It’s free, so give it a try!

  22. Hi Julie! So happy to have found this 5 day course 🙂 It might be helpful with my wedding coming up in a few months time 🙂 I have been looking for the files to download and all I can find is the practice grid.. would you be able to send the alphabet etc by email? Thank you so much! xoxo

  23. Will you be having this free class again anytime soon? I took a beginners class 10 years ago but would like to get started again. I look forward to attending.

  24. Hi,

    I just came across your calligraphy series!! So excited. I have been wanting to learn this for years now. I even bought all the supplies but never could find a class near home. I just subscribed. How can I get the practice sheets? Thankyou!

  25. I went to our local craft store and could not find a Zebra G nib – if I can’t find that, what would you recommend? Then, I couldn’t find your ink – is it waterproof or non-waterproof? So aggravating when you can’t find what you need. Please advise. Thanks so much. : )

  26. Do you do your own calligraphy on your site? Very impressive! I’m brand new in learning. 🙂

  27. Thank you so much for these lessons. I’ve been all over YouTube to no avail & have found the perfect learning resource right here on your beautiful site. So appreciative. Thank you!

  28. i would like to learn calligrophy

  29. I am left handed and would love to learn calligraphy is it to late to sign up for one of your classes.
    I have most of my left handed supplies. An what is the cost for your class.
    Pat Hubbard
    patben@comcast.net

    • Completely free – just follow the series from post to post. You’ll see the posts listed at the bottom of each. They include free printable practice sheets as well and there’s a post to specifically address left-handed calligraphy! Enjoy!

  30. Were do I find the series to get started

    • You’re in it! This post is about the supplies, and teaches you how to load the nib and properly ink it. At the end of this post you’ll see the posts in order with links.

  31. I am very exiting to lurn callygraphy

  32. Hi, I brought the oblique pen and the zebra G nib but couldn’t find the higgings eternal black ink.
    Can I use some other ink?

  33. I am very excited to get started. I purchased the actual practice pad or do you recommend that I just use the tracing paper with calligraphy paper?

    I am also confused about using the tracing paper with the provided practice sheet. Do I place the tracing paper just over the provided practice sheet and go from there. Thanks!

  34. Hello Julie,
    This series looks fantastic, thank you for providing it for free 🙂
    I am on the site you’ve provided the link to for supplies and I’m looking at purchasing my supplies soon.
    I’m just wondering whether I’m getting the right things? My cart contains: Zebra Comic G Nib, Higgins Eternal Non-Waterproof Ink, Speedball Marbled Penholder.
    I also have the Copperplate Practice Pad in my cart but I am wondering if I need this as you’ve provided practice grids.
    Also, do I need to buy specific paper, you mentioned ‘paper in varying weights’, I looked at the sampler pack on this site, however, it is $20.95 and also very extensive so I wondering if it was necessary or better to get a recommended few sheets and if so, do you have a recommendation please? I only ask because the options in the paper section are a touch overwhelming when all you have ever bought is basic printer paper.
    I already have a tracing paper pad, is there anything else I need to get started?
    Also, I am ordering these to the UK so would you recommend getting multiple nibs, any other specific nib types or multiple pen holders?
    Thank you for your time and I hope you receive this (as I’ve noticed the last comment was from August).
    Kind regards,
    Rachel

  35. I find it very easy to write in different calligraphy styles after seeing your site. It has helped me a lot.

    I would like to share something.The sentence’ A QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER A LAZY DOG’ contains all the letters of the English alphabet. By practicing this sentence, we get to practice all the alphabets in calligraphy in one go.

  36. This is just awesome it can be used in so many places.

  37. I started your at home course, and I am having trouble running out of ink too fast. Are you using a reservoir? I also can’t seem to make thinner loops when I go up without pressure. When I first dip the pen there is a lot more ink on it than I should it should have!

  38. Hi! Julie, can I use William Mitchell copperplate fountain pen with its nibs??? Is it suitable for Beginners???

    • These are just recommendations. You can use whatever you’d like…this was just what I found to be easy and comfortable when getting started. Enjoy!

  39. Hi I am wanting to start this and I have no experience at all with this I just wanted to ask. If I should just go for it or eat up on it?

  40. Hi Julie are starting you class’s again as I could a refresher.

  41. i just found your site on pinterest and was hoping to try some of your calligraphy ideas but the links for the practice grid and lower case alphabet seem to be broken and just redirect me to the same page. any ideas?

    • I’m so sorry, I think I have it all corrected now. I recently had my site redesigned and there have been a few hiccups. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  42. The practise grid link just keeps opening this page again ☹️ could you update the link please?

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