My 10 Favorite Scribal Materials and Tools

I’ve been a scribe way over 20 years and along the way I have collected materials and tools. Some end up in a bin never to see the light of day again. Other’s become as necessary to me as water. 

Here’s my 10 favorite scribal materials and tools, except for paint and paper towels. Things I can’t do without when I create an original scroll. 

  • Ames Lettering Guide— This helps me draw goofproof calligraphy guide-lines with consistent line spacing. I’m also able to have the letter height different from the space between lines. It’s well worth learning how it works.
  • Brause Calligraphy Nib—  I like these stiffer nibs because I still have a heavy hand. Their top reservoir and keen edge help me make clear, sharp letters.
  • Calligrapher’s Bible by David Harris or another letter example.– I like this book because it lays flat and is a smaller size. I sometimes use my own hand-lettered examples that I’ve done on 3″ x 5″ cards.
  • Computer– I use this for inspiration research such as scroll recipient’s interests on Facebook and original manuscript images. It saves time contacting friends for information and searching through university books.  
  • Light Box— Mine is a Light Tracer Light Box II. I’ve had it for years. While it is slanted I have a large book under the back of it to slant it more. That makes for easier viewing and better ink flow.
  • Pearl Ex Brilliant Gold pigment. I mix it with gum Arabic and a drop of water. It is so brilliant I add purple to dull it. It mixes easily and spreads like gouache. Mixed with gum Arabic you can let it dry in the pan and reconstitute like gouache and watercolor. Pearl Ex pigments can be mixed with most binders including nail polish and glue.
  • Pergamenata heavy weight– I love this because it looks, feels and acts like real leather vellum while being economical. It’s easier to use than Bristol board, although that is cheaper.
  • Sakura Pigma Micron Pens— These acid-free, archival precise permanent pens can’t be beat. Their ink does not feather, bleed, or spread through paper. And it doesn’t fade. I use a black or sepia 005 for designing and larger for image edges when they are done. I prefer to buy these in person where I can open the pen and check the tip’s condition.
  • Twin swing arm lights. Having two light sources on my page, angled from different directions, prevents shadows and makes it easier to see my work. I have my own antiquated system and can’t give you any maker. Sorry.
  • Westcott C-Thru Plastic Ruler— I have the 1″ x 12″ size of the plastic 8ths graph ruler. I use the zero center scale to locate the middle of any area. The graph grid makes it easy to create diaper patterns. Wouldn’t know what to do without it.

These are my 10 favorites. You may have a different favorites list. I’d love to know what your’s includes. Please, post them below in the comments section. 

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