There’s something I must admit. I’m a cheapskate. I live by the saying that tools do not make a craftsman. However, in any form of art, quality materials are needed for quality output. Even if you are just piecing used cans together, you still need an effective type of adhesive to make sure it does not fall apart in the middle of nowhere. So allow me to list down the tools I love most, and have invested in, so far.
1.) Hourglass Adjustable Oblique
As a calligrapher, we normally would have tried (and would always try) various nibs to see if it matches our writing style. Not all nibs have the same arc for its base though; that being said, I used to buy different holders for different nibs. That is until I understood the "adjustable" part in the name.
It comes with different slots that match different nibs. If a nib is quite thick, as in the case of some Japanese nibs, there is even a small screw on its flange where you can loosen it for the perfect fit.
A do over of my drafts is such a pain, and most of the time I can't recreate the exact proportions for my final piece. The lightpad comes handy when it comes to re-tracing your work. It also saves you from drawing calligraphy guidelines over and over again, like how it is with writing names on envelopes. (Click to see the exact model I got from Amazon.)
3.) White Mechanical Pencil
For light colored papers, there's my lightpad. But what about heavy and dark colored ones? I use a white mechanical to outline, draft or draw guidelines. Chalk pencils are also available but if you need precision and thin lines, this is your guy. I got the Fons & Porter Mechanical.
4.) Magnetic Stirrer
I once accepted an envelope addressing job that required gold ink. So okay, sure, I got some gold ink somewhere. I haven't used it so I didn't know that the metallic particles separate from its base color too soon! Imagine having to re-close and re-shake your ink halfway through ONE envelope? It's one device you probably don't need everyday, but will make you wish you had one when you need it most. At first I couldn't find this stirrer online, didn't know it was something used for pool maintenance! Bought Taylor Magnetic Speedstir and then some small cups (with snap on lids) that fit the base, and just enough for ink.
5.) Moon Palace Sumi Ink
It smells bad, but this super-dark black ink is perfect for almost anything. It is almost never a question on what black ink I am to use on a project, it's always sumi. You can also use it (with a brush) for filling in your hand lettering pieces, use with a ruling/folded pen, brush calligraphy, etc. It's waterproof when dry, and a li'l shiny, too!
There you have my top 5. What's yours?
*This post was originally published on April 17, 2015 on my former website, thedesignhobbyist.com.