Everyone has their own handwriting. One more appealing than the other, but the beauty of handwriting is that it is completely unique. Several studies prove that your handwriting can even give away 5,000 different things about you and your personality traits as well. Analyzing handwriting is also known as graphology. And as the first alphabet goes back to at least 1000 BC – until today’s date, there are many different styles and ways to personalize and customize to them.
A great, and very soothing way to do so, is to perform calligraphy. Not only handwriting itself but also the art of calligraphy is a very ancient type of visual art and was mostly (and first) used by the Romans. To do so, a specific type of pen, ink, and paper were used. In modern days, this form of art is mostly used as a hobby, but it still is also found in China and Japan as a highly appreciated script.
When you are a big fan of handwriting or just interested to start with it, it is key to supply yourself with the good tools that will make the job a lot more fun and easier for you. Nowadays there are many beautiful, complete kits available to start calligraphy. But what supplies to look for, and what is the best kit for each category? It can be a hard choice – that’s exactly why we have listed for you today: the 8 best calligraphy starter kits reviewed.
When you are seeking more information about the art of calligraphy, do not hesitate to scroll down below to read our complete buyer’s guide to have your questions answered.
Our top choices on the best calligraphy kits of 2020
Calligraphy kits come in all different shapes, sizes, and contents. Below, you will find the perfect type of kit for each occassion, level of experience, and budget.
#1: Best Overall Beginner Choice: Mont Marte 33 Piece Calligraphy Set
Mont Marte is a well-known distributor of art supplies, so the fact that we chose this calligraphy kit as our best choice for beginners, is not for nothing! This calligraphy set allows you to create the most beautiful handwriting in the most radiant colors with the supplied 20 ink cartridges. The kit will enable you to develop your calligraphy skills and helps you express your creativity through a wide range of styles.
The beautiful kit comes with a clear and handy instruction manual and a practice booklet, as well as a letter-by-letter introduction to the art of calligraphy. All in all, a great choice for beginners for a modest and accessible price.
Pen Type: Fountain pen
What we like: the five different nib styles which help you find your preferred style
- A great choice for beginners in a matter of price as well as the included tools
- The nibs and ink both run smoothly
- Makes a beautiful gift as well
- Packaged well in a nice tin box
- Comes with a practice booklet
- The ink cartridges don’t allow you to switch colors before finishing them first
- It may be difficult to place the cartridges, as it requires a little more strength
#2: Best Runner Up: ASXMA’s Wooden Calligraphy Pen Set
Comfort is a big requirement when looking for the right calligraphy kit to get started with. And that all starts with a good quality pen handle. That’s why for our runner-up choice we have selected this beautiful wooden calligraphy set by ASXMA. The pen is made out of purely natural wood, which gives you the exact support you need – whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced artist.
The nibs selection includes different types of points, such as a broad, and sharp point. This allows a beginner to try different ones and find the one that fits best to write or draw with.
Pen type: Dip pen
What we like: The packaging is stylish and makes a great gift for any age
- Switching nibs is an easy job to do
- Has a clear introduction booklet included
- Comes with four different colors of ink bottles
- The barrel has a very stylish embellished, carved design
- The ink is of great quality and flows well
- Some nibs seem to wiggle in the holder
- Comes with a stylish metal rest for the pen to sit on the table.
#3: Best Budget Choice: Complete Calligraphy Pen Set for All Skill Levels by STAEDTLER
This minimalist tin set by Staedtler is a great budget find to add some color to your decorative writing skills. The supplied interchangeable nibs differ from extra-fine to extra-broad and can be used with any of the 4 fountain pen bodies included. Everyone knows that practice makes perfect, and so does Staedtler: the set comes with an instruction booklet, as well as with a practice pad to experiment with.
When you are looking to experiment and find your preferred nib type, this budget find might be the best option for you!
Pen Type: Fountain pen
What we like: Next to the affordable price – the design of the pens is fresh and attractive.
- A good choice for beginners
- The kit is very stylish and simplistic designed
- Comes with a metal ink cartridge that you can pump your own bottled ink into
- The nibs are high quality
- Next to a clear instruction manual, this kit comes with practice paper
- The nibs seem to get clogged easily
- The caps of the pens – while very secure – snap onto the pen very loudly and not easily
#4: Best High-End Choice: Gemba Art Calligraphy Set for Beginners
Whether you are looking to gift someone the most appealing hand-lettering set available – look no further. Or in case you want to splurge guilt-free: Gemba’s Art Calligraphy Set has it all. It starts with the luxurious black and gold packaging which has a mystical feel to it. The set has all the essentials you need to start learning calligraphy, including both a straight and oblique pen holder, four beautiful different colors of ink, and 14 practicing worksheets.
To top this all off – the set is both appropriate for beginning calligraphy artists as more experienced ones, and stores all your calligraphy tools perfectly away for re-use.
Pen type: Dip pen
What we like: Comes with an ultra-stylish wax stamp to step up your love-letter game with.
- A very luxurious, aesthetic packaging
- High-end, but great value for money
- Contains an ink dipping jar and -dropper
- Comes with different colored ink jars
- The nibs are easily attached and removed
- Doesn’t include a big amount of practicing paper
- The nibs seem to be a little less flexible
#5: Best Choice for Gifting: Wildflower Art Studio’s Calligraphy Starter Kit & Lettering Set
When gifting a calligraphy set – you just want to be sure to give something that is, well, perfect. Of course, the quality of the product plays a big part in that – but what is a gift that doesn’t have an appealing packaging and contents? Exactly. This award-winning set by Wildflower Art Studio meets all the requirements. Suitable for both left- and righthanded artists, this set is a winner. It contains all the tools you need to explore the art of hand lettering and calligraphy.
And by the way – the price of this starter kit is very friendly as well.
Pen type: Dip pen
What we like: The traceable alphabet, to practice letter-by-letter.
- Comes with a helpful instruction guide and traceable letters
- A great buy for beginners
- Contains black ink, an ink dropper, and a container with a lid
- Packaged well, truly a pleasure to look at
- The supplied ink is of great quality and flows easily through the nibs
- Includes just black ink
- A quite limited set if you are more experienced in calligraphy
#6: The Calligraphy Set that Covers All the Basics: Faber-Castell Getting Started Calligraphy Kit
If you’re looking for nothing more than good quality, basic set to get yourself started with, this calligraphy kit by Faber-Castell will probably be a hit. This toolkit allows you to learn and master the art of contemporary calligraphy lettering, using step-by-step illustrated instructions. It is a fun and simple alternative compared to the more extensive sets as described in the rest of this review list. What you see is what you get! And that is a big plus for us.
Pen Type: Brush pen
What we like: Faber-Castell is a classic name in the artistic world and delivers great quality.
- The simplicity of the package is just right
- Perfect choice for beginners
- The instruction booklet is extra clear because of the illustrations
- The pens work well, good quality products
- Might be a little too simple for a starter kit
#7: Best for Creating Classic, Chinese Arts: Teagas Chinese Calligraphy Sumi Brush Writing/Painting Set
As Chinese calligraphy is slightly different (and a little harder) than the ‘classic’ calligraphy, this set contains a few other tools than the above-listed kits. Instead of nibs, this calligraphy set is very practical and uses four brushes. The brushes lend themselves perfectly to also paint with as well. The design is beautifully crafted and suitable for both beginners and more experienced calligraphers.
Either way: if you are interested in a new style of calligraphy, and you love Chinese culture you will love this set as well. Practicing Chinese calligraphy is even a proven new method to reduce stress.
Pen Type: Four brushes
What we like: The beautiful, original design of the set: you will find many dragon and phoenix images (Chinese mascots) all over the packaging and porcelain
- All the supplies have a very luxurious feel to them
- Great quality for an affordable price
- A good option for more experienced calligraphers
- The ink flows very smooth
- Contains four different types of brushes
- Less appropriate for beginners, as there is no manual supplied
- The use of an inkstone might take some more time to master
#8: Best for Right Handed Writers: Calligraphy Pen Set – Complete 3 Pen 17-piece Calligraphy Set by PABLO
Packed with many great tools to start exploring calligraphy, this complete kit by Pablo contains nothing less than 3 great fountain pens, specially crafted for right-handed artists. The supplied ink is water-based and comes in four different colors. Water-based ink doesn’t stain and is incredibly easy for beginners. Another big plus: when you run out of ink, the cartridges are available for re-order.
The step-by-step guide is very clear and easy to follow, the pen has a great grip, and the set is very budget-friendly: need we say more?
Pen Type: Three fountain pens
What we like: The grips are extremely comfortable to practice endlessly with.
- A basic set, but exactly what you need
- The ink flows very smoothly onto the paper
- The supplied ink converter lets you use the pens with your preferred ink
- The water-based ink doesn’t clog the nibs
- Contains four different colors of ink
- This set is only suitable for right-handed people
Our best choice: Mont Marte 33 Piece Calligraphy Set
As a beginner set does have some expectations to live up to – it needs to contain easy to use tools, but also price plays a big part in it. If you are finding out if calligraphy or modern hand-lettering is something for you, you likely wish to stay on a budget. That’s why this 33-piece calligraphy set by Mont Marte is our favorite.
Accessible, good value for money, and great to start with! It truly contains everything you need and the ink cartridges are easy to use – they don’t bring any hassle with them as some calligraphy pens with bottled ink would maybe would.
What to look for when buying a calligraphy kit
Before you purchase the calligraphy starter kit that meets your requirements – there are a few things to consider.
The type of pen
It probably caught your eye that we have talked about dip pens, fountain pens, and brush pens in the review list above. To guide you a little bit more into them, see below.
Dip pens are the most classic style. As the name states, a dip pen is used to be dipped into the ink to write with it. The big benefit of this type of pen is that you can use them with any type of ink that you like and they don’t leak ink when storing them away. That saves up a big mess.
Fountain pens work with smaller, finer lines. This type is also quite classic and mostly used for every day. This type is great for beginners, as they are both suitable to use to dip in the ink or with cartridge filled pen.
A brush pen is also a great option for beginners, as they are flexible and release the ink in response to pressure. Brush pens are good for creating elegant strokes. This is the type of pen that is used in Chinese calligraphy. Performing calligraphy with a brush pen results in very elegant art but is also a very soothing activity to do.
The metal pin that slides into the pen holder is called a nib. They come in many shapes and sizes. The important part when choosing one is to understand the difference between them. There are nibs with a flat nib, italic, and a flex nib. All of them work by applying pressure, which makes the ink flow proportionally. The kind of nib that fits you, depends on the style of lettering you desire. If you want to create flowy calligraphy, a flex nib may be your best choice. If you prefer modest and angular fonts, an Italic nib is made for you.
As you will practice a lot with, a good grip on your pen is a must. Most pens are crafted out of wood, plastic, and some even out of glass. The pen shape, of course, has to match the way you hold it perfectly. Try and experiment with which pen and material work best for you.
Luckily, most kits also include the ink you need to start calligraphy. Important things to note are that some ink dries quicker than others (often colored inks take longer to dry), and there is a variation in waterproof ink as well. To find your preferred choice of ink, try and always allow the ink enough time to dry!
The Complete Buyers’ Guide to Calligraphy Starter Kits
What calligraphy means
Calligraphy is simply the art of producing decorative handwriting or lettering with a pen or brush. It comes from the Greek ‘Kalli’, which means “beautiful”, and in this case, it means artistic, stylized, and elegant.
What should a beginner in calligraphy buy?
There isn’t much that you will need to start. The key items you will need, are as follows:
- A calligraphy pen of your choice
- Bottled ink or ink cartridges
- The right paper (read on below)
- A ruler, pencil, and eraser
Almost all items above are usually included when buying a complete starter kit. The benefit of buying a starter kit is, that they often come with clear guidelines and step-by-step exercises.
How can I learn calligraphy at home?
Nowadays, there are many ways to learn this form of art at home! Where many starter kits come with user manuals, many people find it also very useful to browse YouTube videos, read blogs, and find inspiration on Pinterest, for example. A calligraphy book also may be a great choice, such as David Harris’ ‘The Art of Calligraphy’, for example. The book is the complete guide to both the skills and techniques.
Do you need a special type of paper for calligraphy?
As ink can bleed out when the paper is not absorbent enough, you do indeed need a special type of paper to perform calligraphy on. Even if you’re just practicing, good quality paper is key. If the paper is too slippery, you will have a hard time properly rendering characters.
But, in contrast to that: when the paper has too much structure, the nib will scratch – and can even result in breaking it. Our recommendation to avoid both scenarios would be #32 Laserjet paper for an inexpensive but very professional sheet to work on.
Can you do calligraphy If you have bad handwriting?
Yes! How logic it may seem that handwriting and calligraphy are of influence on each other, it doesn’t matter what handwriting you have to be proficient in hand lettering or calligraphy. Calligraphy can be looked at as drawing. When you set the right traces for yourself, you are definitely able to create beautiful letters. And an important thing: jotting down some notes is often a rushed activity. And calligraphy requires a lot more concentration. Practice makes perfect!
Is calligraphy hard to learn?
A simple answer to this question is no, almost everyone can learn how to perform calligraphy with the right tools, instruction, and practice. It is very accessible and there are many tutorials available to make it easier for you.
Performing calligraphy is a very calming and creative way to combine a passion for art and writing. It is an accessible hobby for both young and old, experienced or beginners. Hopefully, we have made it easier for you to find the best starter kit for calligraphy. Happy hand-lettering! Have you tried calligraphy yet? Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and questions below!