Best tools for left-handed calligraphers

Part 1: Meet the lefties | Part 2: Best grips for lefties Part 3: Best tools for leftiesPart 4: 7 tips for left-handed calligraphers

Now that you have met my lefty calligrapher friends and heard about their best recommendations on how to grip your pen, let’s learn about their favorite calligraphy tools!

While this post shares tools for lefties, it does not contain tutorials or demonstrations on how to use them. Each of the left-handed calligraphers in this post share their extensive experience on their individual blogs and social media accounts (check for links at the bottom of this post).

The information in this post was provided by my amazing left-handed calligrapher friends:

Jessie | Joann | Kathleen | Lauren | Younghae

Photo by: Kathleen Prumo (@kathleenprumo)
Photo by: Kathleen Prumo (@kathleenprumo)

Pointed Pen Calligraphy

Photo (left) by: Jessie Chen (@inkerellacards); Photo (right) by: Joanna Taguinod (@theinkcodr)
Photo (left) by: Jessie Chen (@inkerellacards); Photo (right) by: Joanna Taguinod (@theinkcodr)

Selecting holders, nibs, ink, and paper can be a challenge when the options are so vast. Here are some recommendations for lefties practicing pointed pen:


Hands down, each of my lefty calligrapher friends expressed their preference for the straight holder. They explained that the oblique holder did not feel right and that the straight holder felt more natural and easier to control. For beginners, try the Speedball straight holder since it is relatively inexpensive and does the job.

Photo by: Kathleen Prumo (@kathleenprumo)
Photo by: Kathleen Prumo (@kathleenprumo)


  • Hunt 101
  • Zebra G
  • Tachikawa G
  • Vintage Esterbrook
  • Gilliot 1068a
  • Brause 66ef
  • Brause Rose
  • Brause 511
Photo by: Younghae Chung (@logos_calligraphy)
Photo by: Younghae Chung (@logos_calligraphy)


  • Moon Palace Black Sumi Ink
  • Gouche (dries faster, thus less likely to smudge)
  • Watercolor (try the Finetec palette)


  • Rhodia notepads (smooth and nibs don’t get caught so easily)
  • Regular printer paper for practice (relatively inexpensive)

Brush Calligraphy

Photo (left) by: Younghae Chung (@logos_calligraphy); Photo (right) by: Jessie Chen (@inkerellacards)
Photo (left) by: Younghae Chung (@logos_calligraphy); Photo (right) by: Jessie Chen (@inkerellacards)

Here are some recommended brush pens for lefties practicing brush calligraphy:

  • Tombow dual brush pens (easy to use)
  • Tombow Fudenosuke soft tip (easy to use)
  • Daiso Zebra Brush
  • Daiso Platinum Brush
  • Daiso Red Chiyogami Fude Pen
  • Daiso Gold and Black Fude Pen
  • Aquash Water Brush
  • Princeton Select (rounded tip)
Photo by: Lauren Fitzmaurice (@renmadecalligraphy)
Photo by: Lauren Fitzmaurice (@renmadecalligraphy)

Where to buy calligraphy supplies

Research your town to see if there are local art stores that you can visit in-person. Otherwise, try ordering online from the following places:

See lefty-calligraphers in action!

For tutorials, videos, and demonstrations of my lefty friends using calligraphy tools, check out their websites and social media accounts:

Jessie: InstagramBlog, YouTube

Joann: InstagramFacebook

Kathleen: InstagramWebsite

Lauren: Instagram, Blog (coming soon!)

Younghae: Instagram

~ ~ ~
It’s your turn!

What are your favorite calligraphy tools?

Where are your favorite places to purchase calligraphy supplies?

What questions do you have about tools for left-handed calligraphers?

~ ~ ~

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21 thoughts on “Best tools for left-handed calligraphers

  1. What kind of calligraphy pen holder and nib is Kathleen using in in the first picture? I’m not a lefty but it looked really interesting!! I’m always up to expanding my calligraphy supplies! = )


    1. Hi Isabella! That is a vintage travel dip pen with a gold nib! I got it from Greg Minuskin at the IAMPETH convention. He also sells vintage writing ephemera online if you want to look for some goodies!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I need to know how to send you a picture of my pen. My husband made it. It reminds me of a snake in action. I do 2 newsletters & cut & paste is not foreign to me.


    1. Hi Kris! Are you asking if there are left handed nibs available? To my knowledge, they are not specific to left- or right-handers. However, as my lefty friends shared with me, they prefer the straight holder, as opposed to the oblique. Hope that helps!


  3. Ok since clearly being a lefty means a lot of hardship well not quite as I got accustomed to dip pen writting a bit too quickly here’s my tools
    pen holder
    Tachikawa comic nib holder, because this is a universal nib holder so you wouldnt need to spend more if you need to use quill nibs while it doesnt exactly fit proprietary nibs but it will still accept most common nibs
    Nibs I use
    Esterbrook 358 nib it isnt as rough as say a hunt nib or a brause rose so I would recommend it for beginners quite easily
    Nikko G pen nib a firmer nib than it’s Tachikawa counterpart
    Tachikawa G nib a bit softer than the Nikko nib but in anycase I just included both nibs to my list in anycase they do not know how it feels
    Zebra G nib rumored to be the softest of the 3 major nibs but personally I havent written with one yet it also happens to be the rarest nib in my country 😦
    I use the underhand method since pretty much thats the only way can you produce swirls in a natural way
    majority of my inks are FP inks since most calligraphy inks dry so insanely slow for a lefty
    I would recommend stuff like Sailor Kiwa-Guro/Sei-Boku or Platinum Cabon ink to get you started I have yet to try Dr. Ph Martin Hydrus inks but the iridiscent inks also take some time to dry, J. herbin 1678? Rouge Hematite is also a good contender
    next Italic calligraphy
    it may seem odd I would add this but it should be important to note pointed calligraphy and italic calligraphy use different set of rules because your nib is just one broad static tip there are no pressure and swirls involved and is actually more handedness sensitive because of how the letters are majorly drawn in the right hand perspective hence left handed perspective would seem to form “odd” letter shapes. While this is currently based on my observation
    Tools I use
    Pilot Parallel pens any of the “nib” sizes would do but I would recommend the 2.4 and 3.5 “nib” sizes.
    I normally dont use left handed nibs though just to proove that point but I’ll just put that also into suggestion since again other people’s writting styles are different
    For this I use the over writing grip while not perfectly nuanced I find that this grip nearly emulates those right handed letters.
    Of course some say if you dont like to change your grip or if you think other grip styles tire you out like me it is often suggested to actually change the angle of the paper, but since I’m a left handed person “trained” in the right handed rules I can’t seem to get used to having to turn my paper in different angles.
    Because the Pilot parallel is a fountain pen I use fountain pen ink typically the expensive Pilot Iroshizuku…
    As for Brush pens
    I’m still studying the methods again the lack of resource makes it hard to know which is “right” and “wrong”, so I’m not in the best of position to say what to recommend but perhaps try out some stiff felt tip brushes first like the Kuretake Bimoji and the zig Cocoiro felt brush pen and see if you think brush pens are for your style. And then I’m ashamed to say this but try to copy other people’s fonts at least this could make use of a good benchmrark on how the letters are formed and on what angle the brush was initially laid. I’ll just update this as I go


      1. Leftie here, and products I LOVE are:
        Straight Pen Holder: Tachikawa Comic Pen Nib Holder – Model 40
        Nibs: Nikko Comic Pen Nib – G Model
        Brush Pen: Pilot Pocket Brush Pen – Soft
        I find this brush pen is more forgiving to different angles you maybe using when trying to right with your left hand, easy light and dark strokes.
        You can find all three of these products on


  4. I live in Ireland and searching for these supplies is hard (why is postage so expensive!!!). I’m a lefty and was taught calligraphy aged 10 in school with a basic calligraphy pen and am thinking of giving it a go for my first time starting back.


    1. Hi Shannon and hello, Ireland! I’m hoping to put some affordable calligraphy kits together soon and make them available for purchase. In the meantime, I hope you are able to find some supplies! Check out Amazon, Paper and Ink Arts, and Jet Pens only. So happy to hear you are interested in calligraphy.


  5. Lefty and a guy here, which seems doubly rare in the calligraphy world. Came across this since wanting to get back into calligraphy and I noticed Younghae was featured here! I saw that some of the recommended equipment were the ones I had been told to get for myself! Glad to know I’m on the right page moving forward!


  6. I am having a very difficult time getting a smooth, consistent flow of ink from my fountain, calligraphy pen. It has a reservoir cartridge. I am wondering if it is because I have my hand angle wrong? Do I need a nib for lefties? Can’t figure out what I am doing wrong!


    1. Hi Debbie, I’m afraid I don’t have any feedback for you as I only use brush pens at the moment. I do not believe you need a nib for lefties, but there could be issues with the wax on your nib and the type of ink you’re using… Try to find some pointed pen calligraphers online and see if they can share insight. Hope you can figure it out soon!


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