Working on different calligraphy styles seems like an exciting craft to pursue. But the truth is, it requires putting in hours of practice to perfect those scripts by repeating compound curves, underturns, overturns, and other basic strokes on the drill sheets. Even professional calligraphy artists will tell you that it’s boring!
If you want to set yourself up for success, invest in the best calligraphy set for beginners. Here are the three most important features to look for:
Type of pens
Calligraphers typically use brush, dip, fountain, and drawing pens. While there’s no written rule as to which pen one should use to start, it’s worth noting that dip pens pose some learning curve, and they are pretty high maintenance.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m not stopping you from buying a dip pen if you’re up for the challenge. However, if you think the process of assembling, disassembling, and cleaning the pen is keeping you from actually practicing, start with regular drawing pens and brush pens.
Experienced artists recommend choosing a specific script that you want to learn. From there, you can pick the best calligraphy nibs to help you achieve
But if you have not decided on anything, I suggest getting a set with a more diverse nib selection—both in size and shape—to see the kind of lines and font they can produce.
A good calligraphy kit for beginners comes with good-quality ink. In other words, it has to be vibrant, opaque, smooth-flowing, and fast-drying. This way, you can work neatly and avoid retracing where the ink skipped. Also, it’s fun to practice and experiment with dozens of color options.
In my research, I reviewed several best calligraphy kit beginner sets and found that the products below meet those three main criteria. But that’s just the bare minimum.
You need to consider other factors like ergonomics, nib quality, and so on, which we will discuss in length throughout the article.
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Table of Contents
- 8 Top-rated Calligraphy Sets for Beginners
- Factors to Consider When Choosing Calligraphy Set for Beginners
- Can Left-handed People Use Calligraphy Sets?
- Can I Use Calligraphy Sets for Other Types of Writing?
- How Long Does a Calligraphy Set Typically Last?
- Where Can I Buy Calligraphy Sets?
- How Do I Clean and Care for My Calligraphy Set?
- Storing Fountain Pens and Dip Pens
8 Top-rated Calligraphy Sets for Beginners
1. Mont Marte Calligraphy Pen Set
- No. of pens: 4
- Pen type: Fountain pen
- Pen material: Plastic body and metal nib
- Nib type: Pointed and broad nibs
- Nib sizes: EF, F, M, B, & EB
- Ink color: Multicolor
Before I built a collection of all the tools for my hand lettering projects, I purchased a Mont Marte calligraphy set to get myself started with practicing my strokes.
It’s an excellent entry point for a beginner as it comes with 5 different metal nibs that range from extra fine to extra broad, which is appropriate for any calligraphy style.
Mastering one of them is challenging in and of itself, so I’m glad that this set makes it easy to set up a calligraphy pen. What’s more, the nibs are quite sturdy and they dispense steady ink flow.
Speaking of ink, it has 7 colors to choose from, which is enough for me to play with. The black and blue ink comes in four cartridges, which is great since I often use them for my text body and outlines. Meanwhile, there are two ink cartridges allotted for yellow, green, pink, orange, and brown. They all appear bright and opaque on paper.
Overall, the pens, inks, and nibs in the starter kit are perfect. Sadly, the practice pages in the booklet are too thin for the kind of ink this pack offers, resulting in bleeding.
Also, the instructions in the calligraphy book for beginners are slightly confusing. But it’s not a big deal since I also bought a set of books and practice sheets.
- Appropriate for any calligraphy style
- Sturdy nibs with up to 5 different sizes
- Steady ink flow
- Easy to set up
- Hues are bright and opaque on paper
- The worksheets are too thin for the ink
- The calligraphy book for beginners is confusing
2. Piochoo Calligraphy Pen Set
- No. of pens: 8
- Pen type: Drawing pen & brush pen
- Pen material: Nylon tips
- Nib type: Chisel and brush
- Nib sizes: Chisel – 1mm, 2mm & 3mm; Brush: BR, XS, S, M, L
- Ink color: Black
Take it from me—practicing calligraphy is doable, even with a basic set of black pens. This lets me jump right into practicing calligraphy without overthinking which colored inks to get.
Besides the brush lettering, the brush tip is excellent for Asian characters. On the other hand, the chisel tip mimics the fountain pen’s flat nib, which is apt for most classic and contemporary calligraphy fonts.
With fine, medium, and broad tip sizes for each nib type, I can create different lines with varying thicknesses.
Not to mention, these pens are not strictly calligraphy tools—they are suitable for any kind of illustration project, whether it’s coloring, outlining, or detailing. Lefties won’t have to worry about smudging because the ink is waterproof and fast-drying. Plus, it flows out continuously.
It’s a nice set to start with if you’re not prepared to bear the responsibility of cleaning and maintaining calligraphy fountain pens and dip pens. Like ballpoint pens, these Piochoo calligraphy pens only require you to remove the cap if you’re going to write and place it back when you’re done.
Let me add that the black ink appears vibrant on paper. Its acid-free formula will surely make my lettering fade-proof. Unfortunately, I ran out of ink quickly.
- Excellent for Asian characters
- The chisel tip mimics the fountain pen’s flat nib
- Create different lines with varying thicknesses
- Ideal for any kind of illustration project
- Waterproof, acid-free, and fast-drying ink
- Run out of ink quickly
3. Plotube Wooden Pen Calligraphy Set
- No. of pens: 1
- Pen type: Dip pen
- Pen material: Wood body with alloy-steel nibs
- Nib type: 5 Italic and 5 round nibs
- Nib sizes: Fine to broad
- Ink color: Black ink
In my experience, this Plotube calligraphy pen set turned out to be a good stepping stone in leveling up my calligraphy skills. Besides that, I still use this wooden dip pen to this day, even though I’m no longer a beginner, which speaks volumes about its durability.
Many first-time dip pen users struggle to get the ink flowing, but I find that one is fairly easy to use. I never notice the nibs scratch or leak ink on most paper types. The ink just flowed out very smoothly. I also love how the pen can hold a fair volume of ink, thus reducing the need to dip it constantly.
To add the icing on the cake, the nib holder rests on my hand comfortably, giving me excellent control when I’m working on my calligraphy writing projects. Because its bottled ink has a rich black color, I used this pen even more often than the others.
Knowing that this is touted as a newbie’s starter kit, I managed to put a calligraphy pen together effortlessly, thanks to its intuitive design. I also think including a golden pen holder is a nice touch. Finally, my pen has a place where I can rest it when taking a short break!
I just wish it added a pamphlet with instructions and information about all the nibs included in the box. I had to Google to learn about the nib’s name and function!
- Easy to assemble and use
- No nibs scratch or leak ink
- Rests on the user’s hand comfortably
- Bottled ink has rich black color
- Doesn’t require constant ink-dipping
- Had to Google to learn about the nib’s name
4. Artworx Calligraphy Pen Set
- No. of pens: 5
- Pen type: Fountain pens
- Pen material: Metal nibs
- Nib type: Italic & pointed
- Nib sizes: 0.38mm, 0.7mm, 1mm, 2mm & 2.5mm
- Ink color: Multicolor
In terms of functionality, these beginner calligraphy pens for adults are the most versatile set. Apart from hand lettering, I draw and write letters and invitations to my friends using these pens.
Coupled with high-quality ink and 5 nib sizes, the pen glides effortlessly on paper, allowing me to maintain neat handwriting. I take advantage of the finer nibs to scribble the text body and add details to artwork, while broader italic nibs are for headings. Suffice to say, this set is ideal for those trying to explore all the aspects of calligraphy.
For those who are curious about the ink quality, I would say that its consistency, opacity, and vibrancy are on point. I’m glad that the manufacturer threw in four ink cartridges for black and blue; and two for the greens, oranges, pinks, and yellows.
Another reason I bought them was that the patterns on barrels and caps are aesthetically pleasing. More importantly, the pens’ excellent stability means they can sit comfortably on my hand, allowing me to maneuver them with precision.
As a newbie, I didn’t have pen storage, which is why I am so glad that the manufacturer included a durable tin box for the pens and accessories.
Just don’t expect to learn a lot about beginner calligraphy from the guide in this starter kit. To be fair, it’s hard to squeeze in all the lessons in such a small booklet.
- A versatile set with 5 different nib sizes and 6 ink colors
- Glides so effortlessly on paper
- Excellent stability for easier maneuvering
- Included a durable tin box for storage
- Great ink consistency, opacity, and vibrancy
- The instructional booklet isn’t informative enough
5. Speedball Calligraphy Collector’s Kit
- No. of pens: 4
- Pen type: Crowquill, oblique pen, and standard dip pens
- Pen material: Plastic
- Nib type: Broad edge and pointed
- Nib sizes: Varies
- Ink color: Blue, black, and red
Speedball cultivated a sterling reputation among traditional and contemporary hand-lettering artists mainly due to their high-quality products. Despite the soaring popularity of calligraphy markers, it continues to sell high-quality dip-style pens.
Though sold as pens for calligraphy beginners, they are also suitable for professional use. All the nib holders are compatible with a brand’s wide selection of flexible nibs, pointed nibs, and many more. Nevertheless, the kit already includes 8 nibs and 3 colors of pigmented acrylic ink in jars, which can go a long way.
Aside from the excellent ergonomic design, I find it easy to get the ink flowing from the dip pens. If I have to pick a favorite, it’s the oblique pen holder since it lets me create perfect italic calligraphy without slanting my paper.
Knowing that the previously reviewed modern calligraphy set had only a few lessons in the booklet, I’m sure beginners will love how detailed the included Speedball Textbook is. This guide walks the reader through the history of the craft and provides various instructions for pen and brush hand lettering techniques.
My only gripe with this set is the wooden box loose hinges. However, since it doesn’t affect the writing experience, I don’t mind this drawback that much.
- Apt for professional use
- Compatible with a wide selection of flexible nibs, pointed nibs, and many other kinds
- Excellent ergonomic design
- Easy to get the ink flowing
- Various instructions for pen and brush hand lettering techniques
- The wooden box had loose hinges
6. STAEDTLER 899 SM5 Calligraphy Pen Set
- No. of pens: 4
- Pen type: Fountain pens
- Pen material: Plastic
- Nib type: Italic nibs
- Nib sizes: EF, F, M, B, and EB
- Ink color: Multicolor
While it’s not explicitly advertised for left-handed, Staedtler provides an easy calligraphy pen for lefties to use because it doesn’t scratch on paper or splatter. Plus, the colorful inks in this calligraphy starter kit dry very quickly, reducing the risks of smudging.
With five nibs and a generous ink supply, this set keeps me busy practicing different strokes to master classic and modern hand lettering. Not to mention, it comes with a converter, so I can use the ink bottles I have sitting on my shelf. Outside the calligraphy practice, I use the extra-fine and fine nibs for journaling or note-taking at work.
As far as quality is concerned, I’m impressed that I can increase the pressure or switch directions without breaking the nibs. Thanks to the balanced and ergonomic barrel design, I can control the fountain pen with so much ease.
Even better, I love how bright and opaque the ink appears on my paper. Like most of the best calligraphy pen sets, it includes an instructional guide to give first-timers an idea of where they can start in their hand-lettering journey. I love how comprehensive the guide is. If I were a beginner, I would certainly learn a lot from this booklet.
The only criticism I have about this calligraphy set is that the ink cartridge installation is a bit challenging—but not impossible! It just takes some time to figure out.
- Easy calligraphy pen for lefties
- Comes with a converter for filling the pen with bottled ink
- Ergonomic design for easier control
- Bright and opaque ink
- Includes comprehensive instructional guide
- Slightly difficult to install the ink cartridge
7. Trustela Calligraphy Set For Beginners
- No. of pens: 2
- Pen type: Oblique & standard dip pen holder
- Pen material: Wood
- Nib type: 5 round, 5 flat nibs, and 7 assorted calligraphy nibs
- Nib sizes: Varies
- Ink color: Black ink
When I saw Trustela’s calligraphy sets for beginners, I didn’t think twice about getting one since it offers up to 19 nibs. I can focus on making artwork without worrying if its dip pens are compatible with the nibs from other calligraphy pen brands.
Assembling the nibf and the nib holder is a breeze. Upon testing, I noticed that the pen tip glides fluidly, creating opaque black strokes with crisp edges. The round and flat nibs account for over half of the selection.
I use the round nibs when designing sans serif fonts and modern calligraphy, adding stylish borders and illustrations. Meanwhile, the flat tip is most apt for Roman and Italic lettering. The other seven are helpful for general writing tasks, calligraphy, and sketching.
Also, let me give the manufacturer extra points for the beautifully-designed gift-ready packaging. I don’t need to wrap these calligraphy kits when giving them to my fellow artists as Christmas presents.
Overall, its quality is comparable to a professional calligraphy set; I don’t need upgrades for a while. But alas, the box doesn’t include information about each component, and the oblique dip calligraphy pen could not fit in the provided ink jar.
- Complete with 19 nibs suitable for a wide range of applications
- Assembling the nib and the nib holder is a breeze
- Creates opaque black strokes with crisp edges
- Beautifully-designed gift-ready packaging
- Comparable to a professional calligraphy set
- Doesn’t include information about each component
- The oblique dip calligraphy pen is too big for the included ink jar
8. PANDAFLY Calligraphy Pens
- No. of pens: 10
- Pen type: Drawing pens & brush pens
- Pen material: Plastic
- Nib type: Brush, bullet, and chisel
- Nib sizes: Bullet – 0.5mm, 0.8mm; Chisel nib – 1mm, 2mm & 3mm; Brush tip – XS, S, M, L & BR
- Ink color: Black
Whether it’s details or borders, letters or illustrations, my trusty Pandafly drawing and brush pens never fail to deliver. Given that they are low maintenance and non-toxic, they are one of the best calligraphy kits for first-time practitioners of any age.
Unlike the fountain pen, these have built-in ink chambers, allowing me to use them like any ballpoint pen. Without the need for periodic flushing ink or changing nibs, I can focus on practicing a wide array of calligraphy styles.
Despite their cheap price tag, these calligraphy pens for beginners are also suitable for rendering final artworks since their inks have a deep black color with archival quality that does not bleed, smear, or skip.
The nibs—especially the brush tip—can retain their shape even though I’m a bit heavy-handed.
Whereas a standard fountain pen typically has more girth, the average Pandafly drawing pen is slender and can only house an average-sized ink reservoir.
Though these pens are still working after drawing with them for months, I cannot tell how much ink is left unless I dismantle them.
- Ideal for first-time practitioners of any age
- Can be used like a standard ballpoint pen
- Suitable for rendering final artwork
- Nibs can retain their shape
- Don’t require regular maintenance
- A hassle to gauge how much ink is left
Factors to Consider When Choosing Calligraphy Set for Beginners
One way to tell if the brush pen or calligraphy nib is of good quality is that the tip glides smoothly on different kinds of paper. Even if they are flexible, they should be able to retain their shape despite applying pressure.
There is no one best calligraphy pen for beginners, especially when we’re factoring ergonomics. After all, lefties and righties hold their dip pen, fountain pen, and brush pen very differently. Likewise, the shape and size of our hands are as unique as our DNAs.
Test the pen body for yourself. Try writing for hours with it to see if you can control it easily or if your hand gets sore quickly.
Do you need a follow-and-learn calligraphy kit with practice sheets? If so, check to see if the included instruction is comprehensive enough for your needs.
To be fair, most beginner kits are designed to provide pens, nibs, and worksheets that are apt with the fonts in the guide. It eliminates the need for spending hours Googling about whether you got the right pen-and-nib setup for the scripts you want to study.
Can Left-handed People Use Calligraphy Sets?
Absolutely! Manufacturers are now developing leftie-friendly illustrations and calligraphy supplies, which include oblique pen holders, nibs, and fast-drying inks.
Can I Use Calligraphy Sets for Other Types of Writing?
Most calligraphy starter kits are versatile. If you want to treat your journal like an art project, then it’s all the more reason for you to put your calligraphy fountain pens into good use!
How Long Does a Calligraphy Set Typically Last?
The lifespan of a calligraphy pen depends on its design. Dip pens can outlive you if you care for them. Similarly, high-quality fountain pens can last a century, while well-maintained entry-level pens can last at least a decade or two. By contrast, disposable calligraphy pens should be discarded when they run out of ink.
Where Can I Buy Calligraphy Sets?
The quick answer is Amazon or similar e-commerce apps. But checking out stationery and art supplies shops like Dick Blick is also a good idea since you get to test the products to find the best calligraphy pens for your needs.
How Do I Clean and Care for My Calligraphy Set?
Disposable calligraphy pens for beginners do not require elaborate cleaning processes. For instance, you only need to put the caps back on to your Panda and Piochoo’s chisel and brush pens to prevent the ink from drying up.
Meanwhile, the fountain pen and dip pen are the two types of calligraphy pens that require an elaborate cleaning and maintenance process to keep them functional for decades.
So, besides learning how to use pens for calligraphy writing, you also need to know how to care for them properly. Here are some tips:
- The fountain pen’s ductile nibs gradually conform to your writing. Hence, they must only be used by the same person.
- Be sure to apply even pressure on each half of the nib when writing.
- Once a month, take out the converter or cartridge and rinse the ink with cool water. For built-in converters, pour some water up to the nib to push the ink out.
- After each use, dry the nib and gripping area with a paper towel. Feel free to repeat the steps until you clean the pen thoroughly.
Avoid the pen from getting wet, and do not dip the nib into the inkwell past its reservoir. If you accidentally get your pen wet, clean it immediately with water and a Q-tip.
Here’s why: Even the best calligraphy pens are vulnerable to moisture. Oblique dip pens, for instance, have glues to keep the flanges attached to the body. These components can wobble if they often come into contact with water or ink.
- Have a cup of clean tap water, a toothbrush, baking soda, and a non-fibrous cloth on standby while you write.
- You can quickly whisk the nib to flush away the drying ink and remove the residue in the nooks and crannies using the brush. For stubborn dried inks, you can apply baking soda to get rid of them.
- Be sure to dry the nib with a non-fibrous cloth before writing again. Unlike paper towels, these fabrics do not have tiny fibers that could stick to the nib and ink.
Storing Fountain Pens and Dip Pens
If the pens are full of ink, store them upright with their nibs facing up and place them in a case to protect the finish against scratches.
When the pens are empty, you can keep them in either a horizontal or vertical position (with the tip pointing up); just make sure the writing tools are in a cool, dark, and dry place.
While repeating strokes might be boring for some folks, practicing hand lettering can be meditative for others. Beyond that, it’s an inexpensive way to improve motor skills and create beautiful artwork. Unlike other hobbies, you don’t need to buy expensive gear. Even the best calligraphy set for beginners is affordable.
Hi, I am Eveline Kessler, a content creator. My love for colors and arts draws me here to join the Intermediarts team with Leilani. I am responsible for testing new products and techniques with her and providing honest reviews and tips based on our experience. I have gained a lot of knowledge from this, and I believe you will find her suggestions to be invaluable as well.