Beginner supplies for brush calligraphy

The number one question I am asked about brush calligraphy is: What supplies does a beginner need to get started?

My answer: All you need to get started with brush calligraph is a brush pen and some paper.

Really! That’s it.

Yes, you can get more fancy and throw in some other supplies, such as rulers, pencils, and erasers (still relatively simple). But what makes brush calligraphy the easiest way to learn calligraphy is the fact that the tools you need to get started are so easy.

beginner supplies

In this post, I will explain the supplies I first used as a beginner (most of which I continue to use!). This post is not an exhaustive post for beginners as there are plenty of supplies I have yet to try.

We’ll talk specifically about supplies in this post. For tutorials and videos on how to use the supplies and how to write calligraphy, check out my new page called, “Learn Brush Calligraphy.”

Brush Pens

To create brush calligraphy, you’ll need a brush pen. A brush pen is simply a marker that has a flexible tip, which allows you to exert varying amounts of pressure to create varying strokes with varying widths.

A great brush pen for beginners is the Tombow Dual Brush Pens. Having been the first pen I ever used myself, the Tombow dual brush is easy to hold and write with. You can also try the Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens, which have a smaller tip and come in a soft or hard tip.

Another great beginner brush pen is the Pentel Fude Touch Sign pen. This pen tip is a lot smaller than the Tombow dual brush pen, which makes it a little more easier to practice with.

You can read more about my favorite brush pens in this post.

beginner supplies


What is the best paper to get? Ideally, you want to get smooth, lined paper. My favorite type of paper comes in the form of Rhodia notepads. The two types I alway use are the Rhodia Dot Pad and the Rhodia grid pad.

Other types of paper that are easier to obtain are regular laser printer paper and legal pads. The great thing about brush pens are their durability. They do not require a specific type of paper. However, it is best to avoid paper with texture or rough surfaces, as they will cause your pen to fray faster.

Other supplies

Like I mentioned above, there are other supplies that are not necessary, but can be helpful for brush calligraphy. These include: a ruler, pencil, eraser, and lightpad. These supplies mainly help me with better formatting, alignment, and structuring of my calligraphy. I will elaborate in a future post the way I use these supplies.

beginner supplies

Those are my best recommendations for beginners learning brush calligraphy! Remember, this post was designed to focus on the supplies themselves. If you’re interested in tutorials, tips, and videos on how to hold and use the brush pen, and how to write in calligraphy, visit my new “Learn Brush Calligraphy” page.

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It’s your turn! Tell me in a comment below:

Are you a brush calligraphy beginner? What is one thing that interests you about brush calligraphy that you’d like to learn more about?

Do you already use any of the supplies I mention above? Tell me about your experiences with them!

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36 thoughts on “Beginner supplies for brush calligraphy

  1. I love this post cuz it helps me hone my calligraphy skills! Thank you so much for telling the supplies needed 😁


  2. I have learned that you can’t have the same expectations of a brush pen that you do with a dip pen. You simply cannot get the hairline upstroke with a brush pen that you can with the dip. As long as I don’t fret about my strokes all being thicker, then I can relax and just go with the flow.


    1. Hi Heather! The brush pen and dip pen certainly have their differences. The size, flexibility and type of tip your brush pen has a huge impact on the width of your hairline strokes. Take a look at my post on: “A comparison of my favorite brush pens” (you can find it in my “Learn Brush Lettering” page). Also, the way you hold the pen is important. The angle at which you hold the pen and the way you maintain your grip on the pen will help you achieve the hairline stroke. Hope this helps! Let me know.


  3. I love love love brush pens for their portability. Love the simplicity and to-the-point-ness (haha is there a real word for that?) of this post, Sharisse!


  4. Hello Ms. Sharisse! I’m now loving the Tombow Dual Brush Pen, and that’s because of you. After watching your tutorials, I’m now inspired to try brush calligraphy..and I can easily follow in your tips and styles!..and Tombow is the best pen! Thanks again!! 😊😁


    1. Hi Debbie! I’m so glad to hear you like the Tombow dual brush pens! Enjoy!!! Let me know if you have any specific questions about the pens or brush calligraphy. I’d love to hear how things go with your writing!


  5. Hi! So glad I landed here on your site and I’m hoping I’d learn a lot through this. I’ve been interested in calligraphy for a while now, although I’ve only ever browse throught the tags and never tried to do one (one reason being me not having the supplies just yet) so this post is really helpful. I’m planning to begin my calligraphy practice this month and I really hope I will get a lot of tips from you! Thank you! ❤


    1. Hi, Chin! So happy to hear you are interested in calligraphy! I have added a lot of content onto my “Learn” page in the past few weeks. Please take a look and let me know if you have any questions! I’d love to help you out if you need some pointers or advice. Happy writing!


  6. Yes, I guess I would say I’m a beginner.

    I love the art of hand writing. I started Calligraphy when I was a teenager but never attempt to keep at it and practice and learn more about it. Now I want to learn more and using brush pens is very new to me and what I’ve seen so far on Pinterest, Instagram, and over the internet is “beautiful” letters.

    I don’t own any supplies yet. But will buy a couple to learn and practice more bursh lettering. I have not attempt to learn just yet but will very soon. Thank you for sharing your “How To” videos.


    1. Hi, Anetria! So happy to hear about your love for handwriting. It is a shame how much technology has taken over our world. We must preserve the beautiful art of handwriting, lettering, and calligraphy!

      Were you able to get any supplies? Even if you do not have the proper supplies, a simple pen or pencil is enough for you to practice letterforms, basic strokes, and even simple flourishes. Even the most experienced calligraphers and handletterers still pick up a pencil to sketch out their work and practice.

      Let me know if you have any questions! Happy writing.


    1. Hi Lisa! I just updated my post to include links to the supplies I mention. My favorite places to get brush pens are Tombow USA and JetPens online. As for notepads/paper, I like Rhodia the best. You can search for any of these brands online or click on the links I added above. Happy writing!


  7. What a great post for beginners! I’ve always wanted to learn calligraphy properly to achieve better handwriting and add some creativity to my life and this blog comes across as one of the best resources that I can find on the Internet! I invested in a whole pack of Kuretake brush pens to practise my calligraphy – have you ever used these before? I really like the idea of dot pads as well. I’ll probably invest in some when uni is over. Happy Handwriting 🙂 -Y.K-

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so happy to hear that! I have not used Kuretake brush pens, but I have heard a lot of good things about them! Have you tried them out yet? And yes, the dot pads are AMAZING. The Rhodia dot pads especially are super smooth and the dots are so much more pleasant to write on than the grid lines. (Although I still do use grid lines, especially for practice). Happy writing!!!


  8. This is great!
    I’be been keen on starting with lettering for a while, but it’s just very recently that I have taken it seriously! Your blog has given me a push as well😊 Thanks.


  9. Hi! Your posts are amazing.
    I love calligraphy but here, in India, I am not able to find a good calligraphy pen. Could you please suggest from where can I get these?


    1. Hi Kavya! Great question – I am afraid I am unfamiliar with overseas suppliers. You will have to order online and have the supplies shipped to you. Have you checked Amazon or jetpets online? Let me know if you still need suggestions and I can ask around. Best of luck!


  10. I’m just getting started with brush lettering, but want to write in white ink. Do you know of any brush pens available in white? Or would I have to actually use a paint brush dipped in white ink? Thanks!


  11. I just purchased some brush pens on Amazon and I can’t wait for them to arrive so I can start practicing 🙂 Thanks for the post. I’ll be following you on Instagram and Periscope!


  12. This is going to be so random, I’m sorry.

    But would you say that the tombow pens bleed through the rhodia paper? Like would the ink show on the reverse side of the page that you wrote on?



    1. Hi Bel! The Tombow dual brush pens do not bleed through the Rhodia paper, but the paper is a little bit see through, so you can slightly see the color from the other side. When you especially create thick strokes, the paper really soaks up the ink, so you can see that there are very subtle crinkles in the paper. Not very obvious, but it is noticeable. Hope that helps!


  13. Hi Sharisse! You are a gift from heaven! Finally found a page that has everything i need to know about Brush Calligraphy. I’ll get all the supplies that i need tomorrow and will start practicing!
    Much love from the Philippines! ❤❤❤


  14. Hi Sharisse, I’m a graphic & textile designer from South Africa and we are moving to the USA soon. I’m also shifting gears from the “rat race” workspace and become a stay at home mom… very nervous about this. To get to my point, I’ve been hunting online (esp youtube & Pinterest) for ideas on how to explore my more artistic side. I’m very into pen art, esp mandalas but though my graphic design day job I’ve become obsessed with typography. I stumbled onto your youtube channel and now blog. I’m so so excited I can barely contain myself. I wanted to say that I’ve been looking through your blog and can’t wait to get State side to get all my “tools” and love that you interact with your followers. I can’t wait to get started. I also wanted to ask you if brush script is a good place to start if you are wanting to go onto dip pen calligraphy? I love the looseness of it but would really like to get into the more structured side of Calligraphy too? Again thank you, thank you, thank you so much for sharing your artistic gift. Have definitely become an avid follower. 🙂


    1. Hi there! Thank you so much for stopping by. Certain concepts I teach in brush calligraphy are applicable to dip pen (pointed pen), such as letter forms, using gridlines, and how your strokes should look. The biggest difference is in the grip of the pen and the positioning of your hand in relation to your paper. Melissa Esplin of has an awesome introduction to pointed pen online class. Hope that helps in the meantime! Let me know if you have any questions.


  15. I love your blog!

    I’m just getting started with brush calligraphy and am planning on buying some supplies. I was wondering what the difference is between a hard tip and a soft tip, does it look different on paper or feel different and which one is easier to use as a beginner?



    1. Hey Amber! The difference really is in how hard (or soft) the tip is when you press it down against the page. As a beginner, start with the hard tip as it will be easier to control and maintain the thin hairlines. But truthfully, I really love the soft tip as well and think you would be fine with that one. Hope that helps!


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