Who hasn’t dreamed of signing a document with the flourish of a Founding Father? Calligraphy is one of the oldest visual art forms in history, with diverse practices developing among disparate civilizations, from Greece to China to the Middle East. By definition, calligraphy is the act of lettering with a brush or other suitably tipped instrument. That, of course, simplifies the process that, in its modern form, ranges from fine artworks, to wedding invitations, to death certificates. This is one medium that necessitates using the best quality tools available; an implement’s bleeding script or skipping ink will frustrate any effort. Browse below for our recommendations.
1. Plotube Calligraphy Pen Set
The vintage-style design of this set will help you embody the spirit of a Victorian scribe. It includes a dip pen, four bottles of ink in red, green, pink, and brown, an antique-looking holder, and 11 stainless-steel nibs for text in roman and italics. You’ll find the ink glides over paper easily, just lightly dip your nib into the ink and take off. Do be careful to hold the pen with a gentle hand to avoid bleeding through or leaving large ink splotches. The pen is made of sturdy wood for long use.
2. Mont Marte Calligraphy Pen Set, Pack of 2
This calligraphy set, offered in a pack of two, is suitable for learning a range of calligraphic forms. Each set includes four calligraphy pens, five nibs in extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, and extra-broad; 20 ink cartridges in seven different colors; an exercise book; and an introductory booklet on the art of calligraphy. While very informative about the history of the art form, the booklet could benefit from more instructions on assembly and cleaning of the pens (novices may have to seek help online on that front). Share this pack of two sets with a friend and learn a new skill together!
3. Kuretake Calligraphy Pen Set
Disposable calligraphy pens are ideal for those who want to practice the art before attempting the process of using a dip or cartridge pen. This set offers 12 double-ended, square-tipped markers capable of drawing lines both fine and thick. The vibrant, water-based dye ink can be blended to create gradations of color. The tips are durable too, resisting the rounding that often results from time and prolonged use. Take note though, this set’s selection of colors leaves something to be desired.
4. Aen Art’s Dual-Tip Brush Pen Set
This is hands-down the best beginners’ calligraphy set on this list, and a good addition to any classroom. The dual-head markers—one end a flexible brush and the other a fine tip pen—are user-friendly and perfect for coloring, hand-lettering, and calligraphy, and they offer the choice of fine lines and bold strokes. The ink is nontoxic and water-based, so completely safe for children. The pens come in 18 colors, and their color-coded caps make them easy to organize and store in the classroom or playroom. The colors are bright, and the ink provides a smooth flow, quick drying, and no smudging; the caps seal well to prevent the ink drying out.
5. AIVN Calligraphy Set
This handsome set is for those who would like to get more serious about their calligraphy practice. The dip pen, made from lightweight rosewood, comes with stainless-steel nibs, which ensure maximum stability and precision while drawing. An extra 11 nibs, including italic and chiseled, offer wide variety of line weights and styles. The ink, two bottles of which are included, is dark, smooth, and long-lasting. The set is packaged in a beautiful black gift box, though you may want to switch to a sturdier container for greater protection long-term. It is best suited to those with some calligraphy experience, as the instructions are limited.