For as long as I’ve been writing about calligraphy, I’ve been encouraging people to DIY their own calligraphy kit. It’s very easy to find pre-made calligraphy kits in big box stores, but manufacturers are — rightly — concerned with pricing. As a result, commercial kits are attractively priced. However, in lieu of high-quality materials, most kits include cheap tools that are ill-suited for a beginner. At the same time, I know from emails that I’ve received over the years that DIYing a calligraphy kit isn’t for everyone. It was a problem that I discussed with Tona Bell, owner of the Paper Seahorse, when I was in Tampa a few months ago to teach a workshop at her store. As a solution, we designed two amazing calligraphy kits, which Tona made available just in time for the release of the Beginner’s Modern Calligraphy Online Course.
Getting to Know The Paper Seahorse
Before I get in to the calligraphy kits, I want to describe The Paper Seahorse a bit. I think that the artistry and care put into the calligraphy kits is a direct reflection of the store, so it’s nice to know where the kits are coming from!
I first set foot in The Paper Seahorse in December of 2016. It is — indisputably — a dangerous place for your wallet, and a paradise for your creativity. Leather notebooks, vintage postage stamps, perfect little bottles of inks, and Blackwing pencils, among many other treats, all patiently wait for a new home. The shop offers a true creative experience that’s the result of Tona’s curiosity and artistry. In short: it’s a real treat for all of us who love paper, art supplies, and pretty things!
The Calligraphy Kits
I’ve encountered two people in my life who can whip up a package presentation that makes you giddy. The first is my friend and college roommate, Jess (of Greenleaf & Blueberry). Tona is the second. I’ve been fortunate to receive two packages from Tona in the past, and opening them both offered a tactile, visually engaging experience. She really knows how to make a person feel special, which is why I jumped on working with her to design a calligraphy kit!
We decided to offer two versions of the kit: an Essential version and an Ultimate version. The Essential version is the more basic of the two, while the Ultimate version is more of a splurge and includes supply perks. Both kits feature an impeccable presentation, a print of an original pen and ink illustration, and a calligraphy exemplar. Arguably, the kits’ coolest asset is access to a “roadmap” for learning calligraphy. When you receive your kit, you’ll also receive access to a specific link on the TPK website. That link includes guidance on how to get started with calligraphy, project suggestions, and an exclusive printable calligraphy drills sheet.
Please note that, while I love these kits, I do not consider them to be a budget option. A lot of thought, care, and time goes into them, and that’s reflected in the cost. Your cheapest option is always going to be to DIY your own kit, which you can learn how to do in this blog post! However, if you want to treat yourself, the kits are a worthy way to do so.
The Essential Modern Calligraphy Starter Kit (priced at $50.00) is the more basic version of the two kits. In addition to the perks listed above, its basic components include:
- A straight pen
- Silky smooth sumi ink
- Glass jar for ink
- Nikko G nib
- Cotton cloth
- Practice Paper
The Ultimate Modern Calligraphy Starter Kit, priced at $75.00, includes everything in the Essential Kit, plus:
- Right oblique pen (a quality pen with a brass flange – read why I love this pen here)
- Brause EF66 nib
- Leonardt & Co. nib tin
- Glass holder for water
Again, I want to emphasize that these kits are a fun, beautiful way to treat yourself. We priced them like the thoughtful compilation of treats and materials that they are. That said, I never want anyone to feel like calligraphy is a hobby that’s too expensive for him or her! If the kits are out of your price range at the moment, please consider DIYing your own kit! Start with the basics: a straight pen, a Nikko G nib, some ink, and some laserjet paper. As your skill and budget grows, you can always add to your collection of supplies.
Thanks very much for reading, and good luck in the giveaway! I hope you have a wonderful week, and I’ll be back on Friday with a refreshing tutorial.