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Assembling a beginners pointed pen calligraphy set

Even though it’s no secret that I love languages and handwriting, it’s only very very recently that I’ve started to look into the fine arts aspect of it.

I guess it’s because fine arts and I never quite go hand in hand. I hated water-colour and any sorts of painting during art classes, even the colouring book craze never got to me. (I’ll probably get pissed off colouring all the tiny tiny parts)

So while I love all the lettering and calligraphy pictures on Instagram, it never quite occured me to learn it.

Also because I’m left handed and I had the perception that most calligraphy stuff are only for right-handers! Tried using an Italic-nib cartridge pen when I was a kid and THE INK DOESN’T FLOW OUT when I used my left hand. So I had to learn using my right, and gave up not long after.

To be honest, I still have no idea how such nibs can work for lefties so … never mind.

As someone who is totally clueless about the terms used in calligraphy until yesterday, here are a few resources that are extremely helpful.

A very concise introduction to pen / nib styles

The Postman’s Knock – probably THE resource for calligraphy that everyone has referred to at some point in time

So, after a night of googling, I decided to try out pointed pen calligraphy, using a dip pen.

Reasons? It’s cheaper than cartridge pens and it’s just awesomely cool and old-school to be using bottled ink and dipping it every now and then! (:

I thought that I would have to order the supplies online (seeing how I’ve never really seen it in SG stores) but turns out I just didn’t know where to go.

With a bit of googling, I made a trip down to Straits Art at North Bridge Centre (opposite the Central Public Library) and got all I needed, at a very reasonable price!

So if you are thinking of assembling your very first beginner calligraphy set in Singapore, you now know where to go!

I’ve actually walked past Straits Art countless of times but never thought of entering an arts supplies store. Apparently it’s well-known amongst those who know their arts stuff.

The service was great too and the lady knew exactly what I would need.

I was contemplating getting a Speedball calligraphy set but after reading up (especially The Postman’s Knock), I decided that I would want a Nikko G and a cork pen holder as my first kit!

The lady kindly taught me how to insert the nib properly and when I said I needed ink and paper, she immediately got me something suitable.

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Here’s my kit which I’m super happy with:

  • Canson paper (REALLY SMOOTH)
  • Ecoline black ink
  • A cork pen holder 
  • Nikko G nib 

Cleaning the nib

Apparently you need to get rid of the oil that coats the nib in order to get the ink to coat the nib well and get smooth writing. I followed the instructions here, using Korean toothpaste brand 2080 (LOL) and a soft toothbrush. Make sure you brush lightly to avoid the bristles getting caught in the nib and then rinsing it well. When drying it, just pat it with a cloth to avoid getting fibres tangled in the nib.

Faux calligraphy

Since calligraphy handwriting isn’t like normal handwriting, you need to learn how to write with that kind of style. I guess there are many styles available, but I went with the Amy Style Calligraphy on TPK. She mentions how it’s helpful to learn faux calligraphy by writing with a normal pen and then shading it for the downstrokes to create the same effect.

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This is so therapeutic!

If you are curious, I used a Pentel Energel Liquid Gel Ink for this. Love this pen as it’s really smooth and the tip is just nice for doing shading. And the ink is great! (:

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I feel like I’m a kid again. 😀

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Seeing how it’s only Day 1, I guess I still have LOADS to improve on.

Using the Nikko G nib

As this nib is not that flexible, you don’t really see that big of a difference of thickness for up and downstrokes. Or maybe because I’m a leftie, so I can’t seem to get the strokes to look thick with the way I write / hold the pen (?).

In any case, here’s a peak at Day 1 of #30daysoflettering (hashtag taken from Weixin, who sparked off this new obsession hobby).

No photos of what I wrote with the nib, because I forgot to take one (and it’s too ugly hahahhaa).

Looking forward to sharing more writing and lettering progress 😀

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    meloncreme
    12 September, 2016 at 12:01 AM

    I have been wanting to try calligraphy but since I’m also a lefty, I have contemplated whether or not I should try it out. But I decided to give it a try. I bought the Speedball holder, Nikko G nib and sumi ink. I agree that Nikko G nib is not that flexible and you really have to put a lot of pressure on your downstrokes to get the desired thickness. I’m planning to buy a more flexible nib.

    There are a lot of lefty calligraphers on IG. Some of my faves are inkerellacards and gracesongcalligraphy.

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