Anonymous: Hey sorry to bother you but what do you use to do calligraphy and what is the difficulty level? I'm very very interested but won't bother you further.


I always have time for calligraphy questions!

I write just about everything with Pilot Parallel Pens, available at a zillion different stores for 8-12 bucks.  Here’s Amazon, but I really like and for my writing needs.  Massdrop also gets their hands on sets of all four sizes of pen for a discounted price pretty often.  If you’re outside the US, maybe there’s a Norwegian version of Jetpens?  Ask around!

The pens are all super fun and easy to use.  If you have two, you can play around with color blending, which is extra fun.  Alternatively, you can just have more than one color available at a time. 

I found the 2.4mm pen the easiest to work with at first.  I use the largest, 6.0mm nib, more and more because it’s so fun, but I think it’s by far the hardest to use.

You could get away with starting out with a single $10 pen, but I’d go ahead and grab a decent pad of paper to work with.  It makes a huge difference!  I like Rhodia dotpads.  (It’s a fairly cheap hobby to get started in, but the allure of new inks, pens, paper, etc can make it a pricier pursuit if you lack willpower, like I do.)

The overall difficulty level of calligraphy ranges from “pretty easy!” to “this is impossible!”  Starting out, if you’re used to writing by hand (which is already enough to impress some people!), you can produce something clearly related in some way to calligraphy pretty quickly.  I have no illusions that I am amazing at this, but I’m way better than when I started, 9 or so months back!  Even so, there is stuff I made a few weeks in that I got compliments on!  Producing really shitty calligraphy is not that hard!

Now, mastering calligraphy…I dunno.  There are so many different scripts to explore, personal touches to develop, you can add dramatic drawn capitals…it’s an amazing art form to explore, with basically unlimited potential for artistic expression.  I’m still working on consistency, keeping letters straight, all that basic stuff.  But I try to work on it while also having a ton of fun playing with different inks, embellishing my pieces, using different pens.  Like anything else, the more you practice, the better it feels.  I’m coming out of a stretch where I was not doing a little calligraphy every day.  Picking the pen back up, it felt really, really rusty.  I couldn’t see calligraphy as the kind of thing you did once a month or whatever.  I love doing it every day, and the more I do it, the more satisfying it is.  I know I’m improving, and I can look back at old stuff I made and see the difference.  I don’t know that I’ll ever be much good, but what I lack in talent, I make up for in goofy enthusiasm.

I’m happy to answer any more questions you have, as well as point you at the amazing scribebynight blog.  Follow scribebynight for amazing calligraphy on your dash every day!  It’s super inspiring and you can find some legit calligraphers who can tell you how wrong I am about everything!  :D


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