No doubt you have already taken a trip to your local art supply store and found they have a very limited range of calligraphy supplies. Usually it's possible to source a few basic nibs, a pen holder and some ink to get you started but the further involved you become with calligraphy the more specialist materials you'll need. Fortunately there are a few great online stores from where you can purchase everything you could possibly want.
Up until recently the only online store were International and shipping could end up being quite a large percentage of your total order costs. Luckily for us a couple of Australian calligraphers have taken matters into their hands and started up their own online stores to provide us with cheaper products, yay!
Calligraphy Supplies Australia
Calligraphy Supplies Australia was started earlier this year by Danielle, a pointed pen calligrapher based in Melbourne. I haven't yet bought anything from her online store but did manage to purchase a few items in person at her stall at the Summer School in Winter bazaar. Looking forward to testing out the Brause 66EF nib I was recommended!
Range: A small range of inks, pen holders, nibs and accessories
Best Buy: Beautiful metallic Finetec Palettes and replacement colour pans
Shipping: Shipping costs are calculated at checkout. Standard and express options are available.
Not Just a Card
Not Just a Card is owned and operated by Cyrus, a committee member of the calligraphy Society of Victoria. I only just discovered his online store at the recent Summer School in Winter Bazaar where I purchased one of his fantastic pen rolls. I didn't spot them on his website but perhaps they'll be available to purchase in the future.
Range: A small range of ink, nibs, paper pads, Parallel Pens and accessories
Best Buy: Japanese Gouache which I haven't seen anywhere else! Available in non-metallic, metallic and pearl.
Shipping: There is a minimum order amount of $30 to cover card and handling fees. Shipping costs are determined by the weight of the parcel and are calculated at checkout. Standard and express options are aailable.
Paper Ink Arts
Paper Ink Arts is my favourite online store for calligraphy nibs and pens. They have just about everything calligraphy related which saves you the hassle of buying from several stores. I've never had any problems ordering from them in the past and the shipping is quite reasonable if you choose the slowest shiping method. Their online store is based in Nashville, Tennessee (USA).
Range: Very comprehensive range including pen holders, nibs, folded pens, ruling pens, Parallel pens, automatic pens, all major brands of inks, paints, art mediums, brushes, pens & markers (fineliners, brush, gel), books, accessories and much more!
Best Buy: I absolutely love my Hourglass Adjustable Oblique Pen Holder - many (including me) consider it to be the finest production oblique pen holder available today.
Shipping: All orders are shipped with UPS. Costs are calculated during checkout and you are given options for how fast you wish to receive your order.
Jet Pens is an excellent store for stationery nerds like me. They have a very decent calligraphy section but their specialty lies in the amount of different pens they stock. So many brush pens... drool. Another great feature of the website is the hundreds of informative guides they put together which are extremely helpful when deciding exactly what to buy. The store is based out of San Jose, California (USA).
Range: All types of pens including a lot of great brush and calligraphy pens, ink, pen holders, nibs, cases, paper, pencils, erasers and office accessories
Best Buy: Favourite purchase from here has to be the Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens in Soft & Hard. They are inexpensive at only US$2.50 and are great for small brush lettering.
Shipping: Are calculated at checkout and you get a standard and express option.
As a quick experiment I tested how much it would cost to purchase one Finetec Gold Palette from each store with the cheapest shipping method available. The results turned out to be closer than I thought!
Jet Pens - $48.78
Calligraphy Supplies Australia & Not Just A Card - $52
Paper Ink Arts - $54.44
(Prices from the International stores are based on todays exchange rate - 26.07.2016)
When choosing where to buy my materials in the future I think it will all come down to availability of products. Where possible I want to support our local Australian stores but if they don't have everything I am looking at buying I'm happy to buy from an International Store. As the experiment shows the shipping costs are quite competitive unless I'm after something big!