A couple of months ago, Hernán (the web developer behind TPK — also: my husband), had a great idea that sounded terrible to me at first. He suggested that I start sending out a newsletter every Monday. I immediately balked that people’s inboxes are too full as it is, they don’t want to hear from me that much, and aren’t newsletters a bit antiquated anyway? Nevertheless, he insisted, and I reluctantly decided to give it a try.
Now, I’m so glad that I took his advice! It’s a real pleasure to get to sit down and write a short newsletter every week … I mean, really, it’s like writing a letter to someone. In the newsletter, I generally include behind-the-scenes information about TPK, things I’m working on, and the occasional coupon code. However, my favorite part of the newsletter is getting to ask questions. A few weeks ago, I requested that readers around the world tell me about their favorite sources for calligraphy supplies so that I could create a master list.
As a result of the newsletter request, I received responses from artists/calligraphers in 23 different countries. It was fantastic to observe how many people around the world have access to supplies! Even if they’re not the exact supplies that I recommend here on TPK, many countries have formidable equivalents. You can find the list by clicking here.
I would love to keep the list updated, so my hope is that you will let me know if you have a resource to add. Similarly, I realize that stores sometimes go out of business or change their stock. If you notice that a link on the list no longer works or no longer stocks relevant supplies, please contact me!
First of all, I used to hear from a lot of Australian readers who had trouble finding supplies. Usually, Australians had to order from the US. Shipping times weren’t bad, but the cost was! However, for the past couple of years, I haven’t heard complaints from a lot of Aussies. Now, I realize that that’s because some store owners took the initiative to make sure that the Australian artist/calligrapher has access to what s/he needs! I am particularly impressed by Calligraphy Supplies Australia and Not Just a Card.
It was also great to see that a Canadian retailer, Wonder Pens, is finally stocking Brause EF66 and Nikko G nibs! For years, Canadians have had to order these nibs from US retailers, resulting in high shipping costs. Combine these nibs with Winsor & Newton matte black ink plus 32# laserjet paper from Amazon, and Canadians don’t have to order from the US anymore. Hooray!
I was pleasantly surprised to observe that countries like Malaysia and Indonesia have copious calligraphy supply stores! You can buy just about anything you need there. Brazil also has several resources for calligraphy, which was great to see, as many Latin American countries haven’t latched on to calligraphy quite yet.
The UK and the US are the easiest places to find virtually any calligraphy supply you could possibly want. Germany is also right up there, which I suppose isn’t so strange given that many calligraphy brands are German (Finetec, Schmincke gouaches, Brause nibs).
Many readers who live in countries that don’t have access to calligraphy supplies advised that they order from either the UK or the US. People from Sweden and Norway reported ordering from Scribblers in the UK due to reasonable shipping costs and times. Artists/calligraphers in countries closer in proximity to the US, like Trinidad and Tobago, reported that they usually save up to make purchases from US-based retailers (usually Paper & Ink Arts). Ordering internationally isn’t ideal, but it’s worth it when you receive your supplies!
First of all, things work differently depending on where you live. In some countries, it’s very common to order things online. In other countries, eCommerce hasn’t really caught on. If you live in a country where eCommerce isn’t really a “thing”, the list suggests brick and mortar shops. To save yourself a trip, you might call ahead and make sure the shop has what you need before you swing by!
Secondly, I often receive questions about what the international equivalent is for the 32# laserjet paper that I recommend practicing with (and printing out worksheets on!). In the course of creating this list, I found that 32# is equivalent to 120 gsm. Most countries stock 120 gsm laserjet paper — if you can, try to buy HP Premium brand. For example, if you’re in the UK, this paper is what you’d want to purchase.
Finally, it’s okay to make substitutions. If you absolutely cannot find something that’s recommended on the TPK website, do your best to improvise! If the results aren’t ideal, you can always try something else. For example, if the ink that you purchased simply refuses to cooperate, try writing with watercolors. If you can’t find any well-known nibs in your area, just buy what you can and see what works for you. Creativity is all about flexibility, and sometimes working with limitations helps us to innovate!
Improving the List
The only way that I can improve the list of international suppliers is with your help. So, if you have some tips or information to contribute, I’d love to hear from you! You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact page here on TPK. I also want to reiterate my thanks to those who took the time to contribute after the newsletter request. I so appreciate your time and thoughtfulness!
Again, if you’d like to subscribe to the newsletter, you can sign up by clicking here. I love the direct contact that the newsletter can facilitate, especially in endeavors like compiling this list of international suppliers, so I hope that you’ll enjoy receiving it! Thanks very much for reading TPK, and have a great rest of the week!