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All you need to take drab, normal letters and transform them into stunning works of art is the right pen, and for those who are mad about calligraphy, the pen makes all the difference.
Whether you’re just getting into calligraphy or perhaps an experienced artist looking for some new tools, we provide you with a list of the best calligraphy pens and offer you some useful shopping tips in our buying guide.
We’ll discuss everything about nibs and clear up any doubts you may have about which is the right tool for your style and skill level.
The nib is where the magic happens, so as you compare and contrast calligraphy pens; make sure you understand what each type of nib (the tip) will do.
Pointed Nib. If you plan to use the pen to write script or practice calligraphy that is more modern, then opt for a pointed nib. The tip on these nibs is very fine, but the level of “fine” can vary based on the size you purchase.
Some tips are extra fine while others are broader, and these small differences make a big difference in the style of lettering you achieve.
Ballpoint Nib. For everyday letter writing or if you want to write a fancy letter in calligraphy, opt for a ballpoint nib.
It flows more smoothly over the paper, which allows you to move faster as you write your words and ideas.
Drawing Nib. As the name suggests, a drawing nib is ideal for artwork that requires very fine lines.
Chiseled Nib. These are also very common for writing, but instead of being round like the ballpoint nib, they are straight and flat (some also have a slant to them).
If you’re a leftie, then do make sure you choose a nib appropriate for writing with that hand. Speedball has a set of five nibs designed specifically for left-handed users!
What About the Soft Nibs?
Pens like those included in the Tombow pack that we’ll be discussing later feature a soft, flexible tip that is made of nylon or sable hair. It usually features a sharp point and you can change the thickness of the stroke by applying more or less pressure to the tip.
Traditional calligraphy doesn’t call for these types of nibs, but for modern lettering, fine art, drawing, and illustrations, you will find that these types of pens allow you the versatility that you desire.
Pens for Serious Calligraphy Artists
Pretty much any pen will do for writing calligraphy, but for those who want to practice and perfect the ancient calligraphy styles and scripts, you need the right nibs and pens.
The Pilot Parallel Pen is great for beginners who have serious intentions, and if you already have some quality nibs in your collection, then you might consider purchasing a new nib holder like the one we will discuss below in our “Review” section.
The next step for serious calligraphy artists is to upgrade to something from Zebra, but we will discuss more about them shortly.
Artistic calligraphy and lettering is so much fun with a set of brush pens like this from Tombow!
These brush pens have two different tips – one for wider lines and one for fine lines. They also include a blender pen if you want to blend the colors, which is rather handy when you’re drawing and writing.
When you use these, we highly recommend that you use the right type of paper. Otherwise, the pen tips will fray. Canson makes a wide variety of paper styles that will work well, and we loved using their XL Series Mix Media Pad.
Since you can use these pens for calligraphy, lettering, and art projects, you should check out their video to see how they look in action!
Tachikawa is probably one of the most comfortable calligraphy pens we have ever used, and while it doesn’t come with any nibs, it still made our list.
If you already have experience in calligraphy, you will only need to double check to make sure that the nibs you have will fit in this. If they do, then get one! It feels so natural in your hand and it won’t tire your hand out since it is so lightweight.
If you don’t have any nibs yet, then be sure you purchase some separately! Otherwise, you will only be ordering this holder by itself. We recommend the Speedball Assorted Set of 10 Nibs for beginners, but if you have more experience or have a higher budget, then you might look into the Zebra nibs. They are very expensive, but the quality is superb.
If you want to take your calligraphy skills to the next level, then you have probably realized that it is time to invest in more serious tools.
The set is decent for the price, and you will like that you have four different nib sizes to choose from, including 1.5mm, 2.4mm, 3.8mm, and 6.0mm.
Be aware that since the tips on these are wide and flat, you will use more ink; this means that you will need to replace the ink cartridges more frequently, but luckily pilot sells them at a reasonable price.
One of the things we don’t like about Pilot is that they don’t sell their nibs separately. If you want a new nib, you have to buy a completely new pen.
Luckily, for you, we also included the individual pens on our list.