The number one question I (and all calligraphers!) get asked is "what tools do you use?!" and I feel like I could talk all day about the tools I use because a) I love em all! b) there's so much that goes into each project I do. But in order to keep it to the fundamentals, I've narrowed it down to the tools that I use every day.
My all time favorite brush is my beloved Princeton 3/0 Spotter Brush. It's the brush that I feel like I have the most control with! It provides enough resistance to ensure my hand doesn't wobble and can execute clean lines. Plus is also small enough to do thick and hairline thin lines.
What I use it for most: envelope orders, marble tiles, and spot calligraphy.
The second in line is my Princeton 5/0 Spotter Brush. It's v similar to the 3/0, but provides thicker lines. It's a size up from 3/0, and isn't as resistant but gives me the larger lines I need.
I usually use paint pens for this, but I recently started using brushes because I like the lines sooooo much better. For that I use a combo of the 5/0 for thin lines and Princeton Round Brush Size 6 for thicker lines!
If you're already a fan of calligraphy and have tried your hand at it, then odds are you have probably worked with Dr. PH Martin Bleed Proof White and Sumi Ink. If not, snag these two right now! Bleed Proof White is the thickest, most opaque white ink there ever was and it is a dream to work with. I use it for almost ever project that involves white calligraphy and it's never let me down. I use it on projects like wooden signs as well as envelopes and it handles each medium flawlessly. Sumi Ink is not only the deepest black, but it's really great when digitizing your calligraphy. I use it a ton for spot calligraphy and it scans/photographs really well.
Another one that isn't shown above (I just ran out of it) is Dr Ph Martins Copper Plate Gold! Although I don't use nibs, it's really great for nib and brush work and is v v opaque. Do you see a theme here? :) Clearly a huge fan of anything that's opaque-- unless it's watercolor, but that's for another post!
I just started using this gold on marble tile orders and it pops SO well. The only downside is you have to stir it a ton, but that's an easy solve with an Magnetic Ink Stirrer! Plus, it's not as pricey as some of the new ones that are coming out.
.03 SLIDER WRITER
Unfortunately, these aren't in production anymore.. I know, I can't figure out why either! It's such an amazing tool for envelope addressing and I'm a better calligrapher for it (not kidding, alignment isn't my friend!) But, there's good news... you can easily DIY/hack the shit out of this and get a laser level! I used to use this one and it's AWESOME! Pair that with a 12x12 grid and you're golden :)
UPDATE: A fellow calligrapher just told me that she emailed the parent company of SliderWriter and they said that these are eventually going back into production! They're going to announce the production date on Paper and Ink Arts instagram. Which means, if you're in the market for one, follow their gram right now! Pricing for these were previously around $50, which is a little pricey. If that remains to be the price point and it's out of your budget, then I would still highly recommend the aforementioned laser level!
.04 PAINT PEN
Can you guess what I look for in a paint pen? If you guessed opaqueness, you're spot on! I've searched high and low for my favorite paint pen and it's been a whoooooole lot of trial and error. But I think I've found my favorite and it's Molotow One4All Acrylic Paint Pen (this is specifically speaking for white paint pens).
I love all sizes, but 2mm is my favorite and I use it a ton for wooden and acrylic signs. Montana is also a great brand, but is slightly pricier, so I would definitely stick with the Molotow!
.05 INK HOLDER
Not only is this the cutest little ink holder ever, it's insanely practical. They're called Dinky Dips and have 4 plastic removable viles that sit in place in a wooden frame. The wooden frame is a lifesaver because it eliminates the risk of spillage!
I use it to store my pre-mixed BPW (Bleed Proof White) with the perfect ratio of water without worry about drying out or over watering the main jar. Cannot tell you how many BPW jars I've wasted because I forgot to properly secure the lid after use-- so this has ended up being a money saver too! Win win.
I genuinely hope this was helpful to you! When I first started out as a hobbyist, before I dove in and made this my profession, I was so lost and had no idea where to start. So I hope this is a great jumping off guide for you. If you have any questions, leave a comment below :)