{Workshops} Added LA Workshop + Calligraphy Kit Tips

January 29th, 2014



Our first workshop taking place in DC this weekend is SOLD OUT! We’ve partnered up with Karson Butler Events, Petal & Print and Abby Jiu to make it an extra special Valentine’s themed workshop and we are so excited!

But we haven’t forgotten about you Los Angeles calligraphers! In fact, we are so looking forward to heading to LA in February that we added a second workshop at the SHADE Hotel in Manhattan Beach! You can find all of the details for both Calligraphy Starter Kits & the Workshops on our website here.

Now onto some Q&A from our dedicated calligraphers using the Calligraphy Starter Kits! Below are a few of the questions we’ve received lately. If you are looking for information on how to install the nibs and using different inks, be sure to check out our last blog post on the kits.

Q: What do the different nibs do?

A: The difference between each of the many nibs available is that they vary in their amount of flexibility. I’ve found in my work that there are a couple nibs I like, and I really stick with those. For the kits I chose the three I thought best for beginners, so I’d try practicing with each then selecting the nib you like best and continue with that until you are comfortable.

Q: When I am doing an upward stroke (or a semi upward stroke like when you go up to complete the stem or a lower case d) my nib get caught on the paper. Do you have any pointers for this issue?

A: With regard to the upstroke, you can try a different type of paper or a lighter touch when doing your upstrokes or possibly switch pen tips. Or possibly switch pen tips. It is not uncommon for the nib to catch in the paper and cause the ink to spatter during upstrokes, so try writing slowly on the upstrokes to see if this can be avoided. It is also best to work on your strokes (both up and down) for quite some time before moving into letters themselves.

Q: I am having trouble with the ink bleeding when I write. How do I remedy this.

A: There are a few different solutions to try with this problem. The first option is to try writing on different paper. Second, you might try shaking the ink bottle (make sure the lid is on securely first!), which can help distribute the pigments more evenly. Another thing that helps with bleeding is Gum Arabic. It is available at Michaels or Aaron Brothers in the paint aisle. It’s an amber color solution and when mixed with ink it can combat bleeding. I would first see if they have any smaller glass jars to mix it in, as you’d need a pretty large amount to mix in with the large Higgins bottle to get it to work. Just try a few drops at a time. If you add too much you just add water again. I do this all day every day with different envelopes – it just takes some practice.

Q: How do you get a thick line?

A: In order to get the thicker lines you have to press harder on the down strokes. Try working on your down strokes (just slanted lines will work) before you do the letters.

Hopefully these answers will be helpful for some of you and I will try to get some short videos up soon too! As always, please feel free to contact me directly with your questions/concerns at laura@lhcalligraphy.com or in the comments below.



  1. Charlene @ Sweetchic

    Hello! I’m practicing with your kit… how deep do you need to dip the nib into the ink? Just the tip, or do you dip the entire metal nib (but obviously stopping before the wood)

    I’ve been dipping just the tip, but keep running out of ink really quickly. Sometimes I can’t even finish one word before needing to re-dip! Thanks!

    • alyssa

      Hi Charlene,

      You dip the nib up to at least the hole in the top of the nib (about half way up), just don’t go all the way to the brass flange. It is fairly common, though, for beginners to need to dip more often until you get the hang of it.

      Good luck and let us know if you have more questions!

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Laura owns LH Calligraphy and is pleased to be a full time calligrapher. She creates and custom designs maps, invitations and envelopes with the traditional feel of calligraphy with a modern twist.

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