Font Design: 11 Modern Calligraphy Tools For The Aspiring Artist

modern calligraphy font design idea
(Credit: Victoria Vandenberg / Unsplash)

Penmanship isn’t dead! Or at least it isn’t on Instagram. If you’ve been keeping up with the social media app, you’d notice a growing number of artists postings videos of their calligraphy art. Even if you aren’t a calligrapher, just watching the pen move through each stroke and curve is SO satisfying! But don’t just sit back and watch! Try it out yourself! With modern calligraphy tools, the craft has become a lot more inclusive for people without any artistic background. Not sure where to begin? Then read on for some of the essential modern calligraphy tools you’ll need to get started!

1. Parallel pen

For someone new to modern calligraphy, one of your first thoughts might be, ‘How are the pen strokes so beautifully thick!?’ Fortunately, there’s a simple answer —  parallel pens. These special pens have flattened tips – unlike the ballpoint pens we’re used to.

modern calligraphy parallel pen
(Credit: , women clothing)

Parallel pens allow you to vary the thickness of your fonts. It might feel a little strange using this pen at first but with some practice, you’ll be writing scripts resembling those which came out of the ancient times!

modern calligraphy parallel pen font design
(Credit: women clothing)

2. Brush pen

If you love cursive calligraphy fonts, you’ll want to get your hands on a brush pen! Hobbyists love these pens for their versatility. We recommend newcomers to start with a brush pen for their first steps into modern calligraphy! These are one of the easiest calligraphy pens to help you master skills that are key to advanced penmanship techniques.

modern calligraphy brush pen designs
(Credit: thecyberlabel)
modern calligraphy brush pen zig everso
(Credit: TheTaiwan Store , Home, Storage, Kitchen, Beauty)
modern calligraphy brush pen tombow
(Credit: Art_Expert)

3. Flat head brush

Modern calligraphy isn’t all about fancy pens! Calligraphers also use paint brushes to achieve a textured effect that most calligraphy pens cannot provide. Flat head brushes create fonts that are a mix between what you can achieve with a brush and parallel pen. You could even achieve a gradient effect if you mix the paint well enough! Flat head brushes are also effective tools for creating patterns or coloured backdrops for your calligraphy art piece.

modern calligraphy flat head brush

4. Oblique calligraphy pen

Already have some experience in modern calligraphy? Then take it up a notch with oblique calligraphy pens! Oblique calligraphy pens require users to hold the pen at an angle, unlike how you’d hold a typical ballpoint pen.

modern calligraphy oblique pen holder
(Credit: everthinggooddown)

You’ll need to have a good grip and control of the pen to experience its calligraphic potential! We recommend using this pen to decorate any literary masterpieces you’d wish to display.

modern calligraphy oblique pen
(Credit: Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash [Cropped])

5. Ruling pen

With a ruling pen, look forward to creating thicker calligraphy fonts with rougher edges. Calligraphers often use this calligraphy pen to achieve an italicised font design with a rugged flow. These pens are also ideal for calligraphers who love gradient colours on their font designs. Try this essential tool of modern calligraphy if you’d like an edgy font design today!

modern calligraphy ruling pen
modern calligraphy ruling pen holder

6. Pointed brush

Sometimes the best font designs look good because of the patterns that complement them. With a pointed brush, you’ll have the freedom to create shapes and other pretty images that’ll enhance your font design.

modern calligraphy pointed tip brush

Modern calligraphy benefits a lot from the colour variations that pointed brushes provide. Just dab this brush into a brightly mixed palette and you’ll have a carnival of colours in your next font design!

modern calligraphy pointed tip brush head

7. Dip Pen

Feeling a little old school? Then try out the dip pen! We’re pretty sure you’ve seen one these calligraphy pens in a historical movie. Although once as common as a ballpoint pen, it is now a tool of art for calligraphers worldwide. Dip pens are great for any form of modern calligraphy as they produce a thinner font design compared to parallel and ruling pens. Calligraphers like using them especially for decorative writing, where they create a variety of patterns interwoven with their font design.

modern calligraphy dip pen

8. Fountain Pen

View this post on Instagram

TO LOVE & TO CHERISH & TO ANNOY… and I’ll be 100% real and admit that I’m the more annoying one 😂 (Probably it’s because I’m a bouncy ball and my husband is a rock, according to one of my bridemaids!) · We had a “wedding-themed” party over the weekend and it was better than we could have ever expected! (Side note: Hopefully this explains my radio silence on Instagram for the last several days 😬) We definitely are a non-traditional couple. We’ve been together since 2009, eloped in 2015, bought a fixer-upper house, adopted two dogs, and finally, in 2018, we threw a party for our friends and family! Honestly, due to time and money, we almost didn’t go through with it (call us Crazy Frugal Asians, or maybe Crazy Financially-Responsible Asians), but when the day came, we are so glad we did. · Anyway, I’m super glad to be back! Thank you for all your lovely messages about our “we’ve been married for three years but here’s a party” day! · 🖋 Ferris Wheel Press Brush Fountain Pen 💙 Ferris Wheel Press Bluegrass Velvet (Canard Turquoise) fountain pen ink (available on Oct 12 through Kickstarter! Tap the link in my bio to find out more!) 📖 Leuttchurm1917 lined notebook · · · #FWPBrushFountainPen #ferriswheelpress #fountainpen #saricawrites #pengeek #penaddict #pennerd #fountainpens #fountainpennetwork #penandink #handlettering #print #handtype #handwriting #penmanship #writing #FWPinks #writingvideo #asmr #oddlysatisfying #relaxing #moderncalligraphy #stationary #satisfyingsounds #ohwowyes #satisfying #handwritinggoals #livelovepolish #creativelifehappylife

A post shared by Sarica (@saricastudio) on

Grandpa’s fountain pen isn’t just for signing important documents! These pens have a place in modern calligraphy and they’re often used to create more intricate forms of penmanship. From scribbles to letter-esque designs, fountain pens are the go-to pen for any calligrapher who wants to include interesting paragraph patterns into their artwork. But sure, you can also use this calligraphy pen to achieve a signature even John Hancock would approve of!

modern calligraphy fountain pen
(Credit: Leaden Arts & Fine Writing ,

9. Calligraphy markers

Looking for an affordable way to get into modern calligraphy? Then try calligraphy markers! They aren’t as expensive as traditional calligraphy tools and you won’t feel too bad about wasting the ink over several failed attempts. Sharpies make good calligraphy markers if you’re a beginner.

modern calligraphy markers sharpie
(Credit: DeaMikeOnline)

Feeling confident? Then grab a couple of Copic markers! Copics are a popular choice among artists around the world. They have markers in an exhaustive range of colours that’ll help you create font designs in any way that you want!

modern calligraphy copic marker
(Credit: , GNeStore)

10. Fine line pen

modern calligraphy fine line pen sakura zebra
(Credit: Healthylife)

Fine line pens aren’t common in the world of modern calligraphy but it can be useful for creating intricate designs to enhance the overall look of your art piece. You can start out with a bunch of Sakura fine line pens. These pens offer a lot of versatility when it comes to drafting shapes or patterns. If you’d like to include pointillism in your font designs, these are the pens for you!

modern calligraphy sakura micron zebra
(Credit: sunrise)

11. Sketch journal

modern calligraphy sketch book
(Credit: Grief grocery

The best way to excel in modern calligraphy is to always practice, practice, practice! That’s why having a companion sketch journal is a great idea. Try getting palm-sized A5 journals. These are portable and easy to fit into your bag whenever you’re on the move. Having a sketch journal is also a great way to draft ideas as they hit you! Trust us, human memory is unreliable and you won’t want to forget something that inspired you on the ride home!

modern calligraphy sketch journal
(Credit: Grief grocery

Looking for more ways to channel your inner Picasso?

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of some tools of modern calligraphy, it’s time to try it out yourself! Bet you wish you took art classes more seriously back in primary school, yeah? But no worries, with enough patience and determination, you’ll achieve nice handwriting, eventually! Happy writing! 🙂