Calligraphy by Liam Quin

up to Calligraphy

Online Resources

Some online resources for Calligraphy

Some tips

Liam doing calligraphy

Calligraphy set-up, showing a wooden drawing board on an easel. Usually I would tape the paper down, but here I was just doing some rough work to design a logo.

calligraphy closeup

Close-up showing how I was holding the pen. You should find a way that's comfortable for you. The pen-nib is wide and thin, like a chisel, and you need to keep the entire width of it touching the paper.

showing the angle of the pen

The lines show the constant angle of the nib. As you move the pen, move your entire hand so that the nib stays at the same angle. Here I have twisted the pen slightly to make a curved stroke, but this is unusual.


Here is a separate page I wrote about some books on calligraphy that you might like or find useful.

Stores in Toronto

If you are downtown, Midoco (on Bloor E. of Bathurst, conveniently and dangerously near Seekers' Books; there's another branch on Queen West near the Beaches) is an art supply store that looks like a discount or convenience store at first, and isn't.


Most of the work I do is for my own pleasure, and I most often use felt tip marker pens that have a calligraphic edge. Sometimes I use brushes. Windsor & Newton make the best pointy ones, but Daler and some others do good flat-edged ones for single stroke work. I get most of them at Midoco, including the Series 7 watercolour brushes for doing really fine hairlines.

If I use a steel pen, it's a William Mitchell nib; don't bother with the Speedball ones - I find them too stiff and unresponsive. You can get a small brass reservoir that makes the William Mitchell nibs easier to use. Note that the nibs aer coated in oil when sold; you need to put them quickly in a candle flame, or to lick them, before the first use.

The best way to do calligraphy is naked. Er. Well, barefoot at least. You should work so the paper is at a 45 degree (or so) angle to the ground, not flat on a table. One way to do this is to rest a large board in your lap, and another is to use a drawing board with a firm support.

If you don't have a broad-edged pen, tie two pencils together with olots of rubber bands or with some masking tape, and write huge!

I use a table-top easel made by Best Artist Products of Kimberly, WI, USA (+1 920 738-0744); I use the Deluxe model, which is very sturdy, and put a wooden drawing board on it. We bought the eazel at Curry's, on Yonge Street in Toronto, as they tend ot have a wider choice of larter items than Midoco.

Now go here to find out about some books.