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  • Nusaybah

*UPDATED* - The Best Supplies for Arabic Calligraphy

Updated: Aug 7, 2021

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We always get asked which pens we use for Arabic calligraphy (especially after the video we shared on Sunday) on Instagram so finally here they are! After my Summer Creative Retreat lesson on Friday, I'm also especially excited to share more about the supplies we use, as so many of you were interested in Arabic calligraphy and using the Pilot Parallel pens!

Pointed vs Broad Edged nibs

When you're doing Arabic calligraphy you want to make sure you're using a broad-edged/ chisel tipped pen (they look like the tip of a highlighter!). That's how you get the beautiful contrast between the thick and thick strokes. You can't use a pointed nib or brush pen like you might use for modern English or Copperplate calligraphy as you won't get the broad strokes in the right places. See the picture below for what a broad edged nib looks like!

I've divided all the supplies we use for Arabic calligraphy into three groups:

1) Essentials

2) Adding colour/ metallic effects

3) Arabic calligraphy on different surfaces

There's only one pen we use for almost everything so to learn Arabic calligraphy you don't need to buy a whole load of expensive equipment!


Our absolute favourite is the Pilot Parallel Pen and that's what we learnt with and what we use for something like 90% of our work!

The Pilot Parallel Pen is available in 4 different sizes (we have three) and we have quite few of the medium-sized (green - 3.8mm) one so that a few colour options are available of each at any given time.

The Pilot Parallel Pen is great as it comes with a two cartridges and a few tools for easily cleaning your pen too!

You'll need ink cartridges too (there are two with the pen already) - the coloured set has a beautiful range of colours, and the black ink set is handy to have too!

A few simple and good quality drawing tools will also come in useful if you want to put your calligraphy in different shapes, like in the gold cards below!

Adding colour

One of our favourite ways to make our Arabic calligraphy colourful apart from using coloured ink cartridges is to use metallic and handmade watercolours! That's what we used in the cards above.

Metallic watercolours

We love using the Kuretake 'Starry Colours' paints, as well as the Coliro ones (more expensive, but much better quality - they are so much smoother to write with!) - there are soo, so many colours and a huge range of beautiful finishes available. I've linked the Coliro set of 24 here - it's the best value to try new colours, since the pans are a little smaller. We also love the set of golds!

Handmade watercolours are also amazing, and you can support some amazing small businesses at the same time - and there is an endless range of colours and amazing effects available! Some of our favourite handmade watercolours are @kmswatercolor's watercolours and if you use our link you can get 10% off all Katelyn's amazing paints! In the UK, I love Renneeissance Colours on Etsy (amazing colour shifts and great sample dot cards!) and COSwatercolours (stunning colours made of recycled make-up!) - have a look at our Instagram to see how I use them!

When adding these watercolours, use a medium-sized round paintbrush (doesn't need to be a fancy, good-quality one) to paint the tip of your Parallel Pen (or a different broad-tipped pen) and write. This takes a lot longer to write with than a normal ink cartridge as the pen's tip has to be repeatedly painted, every few letters sometimes, but the effects you get with these are amazing!

You can keep an ink cartridge inside the pen if you like for a cool effect - if you have a black cartridge for example inside your pen, and then paint the nib in gold you'll get beautiful gold and black writing!

Arabic calligraphy on different surfaces

We most frequently do Arabic calligraphy on paper so don't usually need to use Posca pens for Arabic calligraphy, but the few times we have done it on another surface, we always use a chisel-tipped Posca pen. You need to make sure it's chisel-tipped otherwise you won't be getting the Arabic pen effect, you'll need to go over all your strokes to make them thicker and it won't look as consistent or neat. The Posca pens we have are very broad, so you may prefer a thinner pen.

Posca pens are available in a huge range of colours and metallic options are also available!

These are pretty much all the pens we use for Arabic calligraphy and we really hope this is useful! If it's useful or if you've got any questions or suggestions for future blog posts, let us know in the comments or feel free to DM us on Instagram!

Next week we're hoping to do our favourite supplies for English calligraphy or a tutorial on foiling with a laminator!



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