Workshop | The Trafalgar 6th November 2016

Hello! Today I am going to share with you some pictures from my most recent workshop at my new venue, the gorgeous riverside pub The Trafalgar. I absolutely LOVE this location. Greenwich has become one of my favourite parts of London with its stunning buildings, village feel and just general beauty, so I fell in love with The Trafalgar when I had my first meeting there. My workshops take place upstairs in a private room which overlooks the river filled with masses of natural light...absolutely perfect for a calligraphy. Not to mention there is a bar downstairs if you fancy a tipple.

As always my workshop was filled with a talented bunch of ladies and they all did brilliantly, I am looking forward to seeing lots of Christmas cards and tags being made this year! The gorgeous Maxeen Kim was there snapping away and as you can see below she got some pretty good action shots of the class in action. 

All my 2016 workshops are now sold out, but I will be releasing dates for early 2017 super soon so if you are interested then sign up to my newsletter below and follow me on Instagram to be the first to hear when I do!

Tools | Favourite Basic Calligraphy Tools

This weeks post is all about my favourite basic calligraphy tools. To start off with I am keeping it simple, the ultimate basics kit that you need to get you started and the items that I still use day in day out. I will extend on these in future posts about other tools that I use frequently. But for today let's start at the beginning.

When I first started to teach myself calligraphy I was using a little calligraphy kit that I bought in an art shop which was full of squared off nibs (the kind used for traditional calligraphy) so I wasn't getting the modern look that I wanted. I then went on a hunt and bought a load of vintage nibs off eBay, very pretty and I still have them in little jars, but not the most practical. It wasn't until I started Molly Jacques Skillshare course and bought Molly Suber Thorpes book that I finally found the tools that worked for me and to this day, I still pretty much stick to these basics.

Nib - Nikko G

The Nikko G is my absolute favourite nib EVER. I have a box full of different nibs, which I will go into further detail in another post, but I always go back to the Nikko G, it is without a doubt my number one workhorse. The Nikko G is a strong but flexible nib making it great for beginners and those with a slightly heavier hand, myself included. 

Nib Holder - Speedball Straight

I have a whole pot full of nib holders yet it is this cheapy one that I always pick out. Light and comfortable to use you really don't need anything else from a nib holder. From the beginning I have always used a straight nib holder over an oblique one. It is what I started with and it just works for me, but this is purely a preference thing. Many calligraphers prefer an oblique holder. They are cheap enough so I would advise trying both out once you are more confident with your calligraphy skills. To start with I personally would recommend a straight holder, it's less scary and complicated! 

Ink - Higgins Eternal & Sumi Ink

My ultimate favourite ink has always been Higgins Eternal however recently I have fallen in love with Sumi Ink, it has such a shiny finish and looks great. However, Higgins is still my go to as it dries much much quicker than Sumi. So if I am doing envelopes or place cards that I can leave to dry then I will use Sumi, however if I need to scan soon then I will use Higgins as it just saves time! For drills and practising, I would recommend Higgins-less chance of smudges everywhere. 

Gum Arabic - Daler Rowney Gum Arabic Solution

Gum Arabic is great and essential in my opinion for beginners and day to day calligraphy. At the beginning of your calligraphy journey you may come across some ink flow problems, I definitely did, and Gum Arabic was my saviour. If you are and you have made sure that you have first prepped your nib by cleaning it with some toothpaste, saliva, or running it through a flame quickly (new nibs come with a film on them to stop them rusting) then dip your clean nib in gum arabic, then in clean water and wipe off with kitchen roll this should help with your flow problems. 

Paper - Rhodia Pads and Daler Rowney Marker Paper

Both of these papers are really smooth and easy to write on as well as being really great for scanning in if you are going to digitalize your work. Generally there is no bleeding or catching and both types of paper are thin enough to put guidelines underneath and see them through. Rhodia pads also come in gridded and dot paper which are really useful for sketching out and practising letter forms. 

Also always good to have to hand is kitchen paper, pencil and eraser.


So there you go, that is a list of my absolute favourite essential items and those that I would recommend for beginners, armed with these tools your calligraphy journey will hopefully be easier. Sign up on the homepage to receive emails when I post new blogs about further tools and other insider information!