when i first started as a professional calligrapher - i dived wholeheartedly into it, and purchased a staggering amount of supplies. i was so-oooo excited to use everything, and wanted it all so i could experiment. i think my husband thought i was loony. check that - he didn't think: he truly thought i'd gone bonkers as package after package arrived from places like blick and paper ink and arts.
years later...i still have all of these inks and whatnot. and, unfortunately, do not use a lot of them. sometimes, for my personal use, i will dip into the beautiful hues of magenta or lemon. but, professionally speaking, there are not many projects that require them.
so if you are just starting out in calligraphy, this post is for you! of course, get all those lovely inks if you'd like, but if you want the nuts and bolts of inks - i have highlighted them below:
+ sumi moon palace black ink: smooth. shiny. flows beautifully off your nib, and works with all types of papers. this is my everyday standard black ink. i buy it in the big 15 ounce bottle, and pour it into dinky dips when writing and practicing. i prefer this so much more over higgins eternal (which i find will bleed on some papers, whereas the sumi does not). this ink also is intensely black, and is great for digitizing.
+ walnut ink: i use daniel smith walnut, but there are a ton of other options. all of them are great. i use walnut ink on envelope orders, for clients who want that lovely sepia tone and romantic vibe. it is just hands down, awesome to work with.
+ gouache: get tubes of black, white, gold and silver to start. copper if you really want to splurge! gouache is fantastic for those tricky envelopes - ones that have a sheen to them, are slippery, or are very porous. gouache will sit on top of the paper, as opposed to absorbing into. mix gouache with filtered water, till you get a viscosity of coffee creamer - add water little by little, until you get the right flow off your nib. gouache is great for creating custom colors - but make sure to mix the gouache first, before adding the water to liquify it.
+ dr. ph martin's bleedproof white: incredible ink. perfect white tone. like gouache, you need to add water to get it to work correctly. this is my number one go-to for white ink! it is awesome.
so these are what i use on a daily basis as a professional calligrapher! hope this was helpful, and you have a ton of fun using all these great products.