Calligraphy Supplies.

It's been years since I've written a post about my favorite calligraphy supplies and I am always getting questions on what to buy and where to buy it. We sell our calligraphy kits as a starter pack that will get you started right away. BUT if you need to re-stock, here's all that you'll need!!

AND I am currently working on reprinting our calligraphy workbook after selling out over the holidays. For those of you who have it, is there any extra info you would love to be included?! Thanks for your help!!

For practicing and draft work, I only use Marker Paper. It is super smooth, won't bleed and is see through so you can trace things or use lines to write straight. 

For final pieces - custom quotes or place cards - I love Bristol Smooth Surface Paper. Be careful not to get tricked by purchasing vellum. It has a slightly bumpy surface and will make your nib splatter.

I also use watercolor paper if I'm using watercolor paints!

For anything that I digitize, I use black Sumi Ink. It's absolutely amazing - so smooth and dries raised off the paper so when you run your fingers over it, you can feel that it was hand done. If you have our kit and need more ink, I suggest buying the big bottle and refilling your small jar. It will make much less of a mess!

When I need a colored ink, I make it myself with gouache paint. I love WInsor and Newton because the pigment is so rich and beautiful. Buy the paint and then use small jars to mix it with a little bit of water until it is the same consistency as the sumi ink

If I am using a paint brush, I will also often use watercolors. You can get tubes of watercolor and make your own palette OR you can get a set that is already dried

Pens + Brushes
For modern calligraphy, there are two types of pen holders.

Oblique Pen Holder and Straight Pen Holder - I tell all my students to try both and see what you prefer. I really do think it is personal preference and how you learned to write as a child.

I use round brushes for all brush lettering. I am partial to the Winsor and Newton University brush. I suggest any size from 000 to 2 for normal writing (you can go larger for big signs and such). Another option is a brush pen!

I only ever use two kinds of nibs although there are thousands of different kinds depending on what look you are going for!

Zebra G Nib is really great if you have a naturally heavy hand. If you don't, like me, you will get a really delicate, feminine calligraphy. One super tip for this is that if you are struggling using this nib - the ink won't hold in the well or releases large blobs - stick it in a potato over night OR run a q-tip with nail polish remover over the nib. The manufacturer puts a coating on the nib to keep it from rusting, but it also causes some issues when you first start using it!

My all time favorite is the Leonardt Extra Fine Principal Nib, which can only be purchased from a speciality store

I use lots of erasers!

And a lightbox. Instead of having to draw on a paper with a pencil and erase the lines, I will draw on a paper and then place the final piece of paper over the drafted piece on top of the light board. Or if I'm addressing envelopes, I can draw out lines on a paper and place the envelope over the lines so that I can easily write straight. It is my very best investment. 

Chicago Calligraphy Workshops.

hannah-hoggatt-photoraphy_0001 We had such luck to have an amazing photographer at our classes in Chicago. Hannah is a long time friend of mine and not only did she lend us her cute apartment, but she photographed all three classes! (AND if you are in Chicago or can get to Chicago easily, she is offering all of our followers $50 off a photo session - this could be for your own portraits (she is one of the only people who takes photos of me that I actually like myself) or family sessions for holiday cards. You can email her from her site and tell her that you're a friend of Be A Heart for your discount!


I so loved being able to relive those days that were so full of joy. It's one of my favorite things about teaching - not only do I get to pass on something that I love, but I get to experience the joy of my students. It's a moment of friendship - some making new friends and some spending time with old friends. It is a time away from our phones and computers and a time to learn something new.





It's not often as adults that we get to learn brand new things. Most of our days are spent doing the dishes, cleaning the floor, folding laundry, sitting at our desks doing the work we are good at. So I think my favorite part of the three hour class is seeing everyone in the first five minutes of using the calligraphy nib and ink. It is so different than using a regular pen so it takes us back to our first years of school in learning how to write.







You can check out the rest of the gallery here!

We have a Modern Calligraphy class in Los Angeles at Makers Mess on November 3rd, Calligraphy and Brush Lettering in Phoenix on the 10th and 11th and then a Calligraphy class in Tucson on the 12th. And if we haven't come to your city yet, comment below with where you want us to go! We are in the process of creating a winter Calligraphy Tour. Or you can buy the kit that is used in the class here!

Online Modern Calligraphy Class!

modern calligraphy online class In some of our most exciting news yet, we just published our Modern Calligraphy Class ONLINE over at Skillshare. This summer they are offering a special - 3 months of Premium membership for .99 if you're a new user! That means you can take the class and many other amazing classes for just .99 with this link.

Our class goes through my favorite supplies, how to use them, basic line strokes, common errors, letterforms and connecting letters. Then a quick brief for a final project! The best part (I think) is that Skillshare allows you to engage with the teacher, so as you need help along the way, I will be available.

As an added bonus we are offering all enrolled Skillshare students a free download of our Beginner Modern Calligraphy workbook and a discount code for our Modern Calligraphy Kit.

We can't wait to be adding more classes to the series like Brush Lettering, Advanced Letterforms and Digitizing your work.

Share the link with your friends and they can get 3 months of Premium membership for .99 as well!

Upstate New York Wedding.

Shane and Hanna came to me after seeing Jacky and Tyler's wedding invitation. They had a vision of an elegant garden party with various dusty blues and greens for their Upstate New York wedding. They sent me pictures of their venue, Bristol Harbour and I immediately got a vision of the invitation. Upstate New York Bespoke Wedding

I knew we needed a more traditional calligraphy style and thought that the beautiful shape of the mountain backdrop and foreshadowed trees would tie the blue and green together perfectly. On the day of the wedding, when I saw a photograph posted to Instagram of what the actual ceremony looked like, my mouth dropped open. It was perfect! All photography is by Mary Dougherty Photography.

Upstate New York Bespoke Wedding

Shane and Hanna were so lovely to work with and I knew their big day would be gorgeous.

Upstate New York Bespoke WeddingUpstate New York Bespoke WeddingUpstate New York Bespoke Wedding Upstate New York Bespoke Wedding

welcome-bag-copyUpstate New York Bespoke Wedding Upstate New York Bespoke Wedding Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 2.27.59 PM

The couple lives in Manhattan so they wanted to bring in a city element to the day. I hand painted the New York skyline with the same blues as the invitation. They had guests "find their neighborhood" for their seating assignments.

Upstate New York Bespoke Wedding

We also made custom menus duplicating the cute food drawings that we had on the RSVP card.

Upstate New York Bespoke Wedding

Upstate New York Bespoke Wedding

Hanna and Shane, many blessings to you in this first year of marriage and always!

Upstate New York Bespoke Wedding

Interested in your own bespoke wedding stationary? Contact us here!

Washington DC Wedding.

Last winter, Nikki came to me with an idea to highlight her beloved city of Washington DC on her wedding stationary. She attended college there, met the love of her life there and was now building a life there. I loved the idea. We started with a full skyline for the save the date, which was printed in a beautiful gold. IMG_0828

Then, we expanded on this for the formal invitation. I like to say that it showed me how it wanted to be laid out. We highlighted the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial. I hand painted each piece, including a map of the DC area. We paired it with a simple calligraphy to feel formal and traditional.

Nikki worked with a local printer to pick out the perfect paper and envelopes. One of my favorite details is that the wedding venue cross streets fit right on the flap of the envelope!

Washington DC Bespoke Wedding

Wow! What a stunning couple that Zack and Nikki make. I love this shot that was taken by 1513 Photography with the monuments in the background. Once again the invitation is a beautiful foretelling of what guests would experience on their big day as a beautiful Washington DC wedding.

Washington DC Bespoke Wedding

The couple had the idea to use these cards from Paper Source as their escort cards. I wrote the names of each guest on the outside and their table number on the inside. Then, the couple included another card inside that had a special, individual note for each guest! I love that thoughtful detail.

Washington DC Bespoke Wedding

Nikki's cousin handmade their cake and I did a little painting tribute to highlight Ellie and her beautiful work.

Washington DC Bespoke Wedding

Nikki, what a beautiful, beautiful bride you made! I absolutely loved working with you and am filled with gratitude that you asked me to be a part of your wedding day.

Washington DC Bespoke Wedding

photo credit: 1513 Photography