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Calligraphy Pen Vs Fountain Pen


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17 replies to this topic

#1 mike in arkansas

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 18:30

As you can see I am a newbie to this site (and FP in general--the last FP I would have owned was probably in high school about 50 years ago. Anyway, Looking at getting a decent pen and I run across Calligraphy pens and Fountain pens. The Cal. are in mm nib sizes and FP are small medium large (or fine, medium or broad). What in the world is the difference. Lamy has Safari pens in both Calligraphy and FP. So .... why one over the other.

Thanks for helping out an old geezer.

Blessings, Mike

#2 hari317

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 18:34

Mike, the calligraphy nibs marked in mm are i think italic nibs, i.e. that will have the stated line width on the downstroke, the crossstroke will be narrower.

The FP nibs marked F/M/B are usually round nibs with nearly the same line width in all directions.

#3 FrankB

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 19:15

Hari seems to be right on target. Although any FP nib can be used for calligraphy, those pens designated as "calligraphy" pens generally have italic nib points. Standard FP nibs are round, with designations from EF (or XF) to BB and beyond. (EF, F, M, B, BB.) The trick is always to find the nib point that suits your handwriting the best. I would suggest that if you have no experience with italic nibs, go ahead and try an inexpensive one to see what you think.

#4 Ernst Bitterman

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 19:23

There's a couple of resources that might help-- one is a chart from a UK pen-seller that graphs out the various widths of point, and the other is on Richard Binder's site at the bottom of the Nibarama page with actual widths side-by-each.

Edited by Ernst Bitterman, 06 November 2010 - 13:28.

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#5 Tsujigiri

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 19:45

Calligraphy is done either copperplate style, where the line variation comes from the pressure applied to the nib, or italic style, where the line variation comes from the orientation of the nib. Standard pens just have a scale for the size of the line they consistantly write.

#6 mike in arkansas

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 19:56

Wow -- this site is as good as the motorcycle forum I am part of.-- LOts of helpful, friendly people. And the explanation of the difference between the two makes a lot of sense. I got a cheap disposible FP (which I am throughly enjoying and is encouraging me to get a refillable one.) All my lines are equal and I was curious because my Dad did calligraphy for years (never really talked to him about it), and he had these cool tapered lines. So it is the italic nibs that is the secret. Now I have to go out and buy one and try it!

Thanks so much,

Mike

#7 rcarlisle

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 20:08

Was your Dad doing Italic calligraphy or Specerian calligraphy? There is a big difference in how they are written and the kind of pen nib you use to write them. My grandmother who was born in 1900 wrote a beautiful Spencerian hand using dip nibs with a point that were very flexible. I like to write an Italic hand using a "broad' edged nib that is cut across the axis of the pen. Spencecrian requires varying pressure on the flexible, pointed nib to spread the two sides of the nib further apart when you want the line to broaden and less pressure when you want a narrow or fine line. A broad or "cut" edged nib for Italic calligraphy gives you a broad line or fine line or something in between depending on the direction you move it across the paper and you should not use much pressure at all. And Italic nibs do not need to be flexible to work.
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#8 rwilsonedn

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 20:32

Welcome!
By the way, if your cheap disposable fountain pen happens to be a Pilot VPen or Pilot Varsity, there are instructions here on the Network for refilling them. They are inexpensive, but they are by no means a poor-quality fountain pen.
As others have suggested, the terms "calligraphy" and "fountain pen" are separate issues. "Fountain pen" simply means a pen that carries its own internal ink supply, as opposed to "dip pen" which you have to dip in an ink well every few lines. The "calligraphy" part is more complicated. The calligraphy sets you see in bubblepack at art supply and office supply stores usually contain a set of italic nibs in various widths. An italic nib is shaped on the end like a tiny spatula--broad and thin--so that you get a very thin line when you move the nib horizontally across the paper, and a wide line when you move it vertically (many other planets being lined up correctly.) "Normal" fountain pens are more ball-shaped on the end, so you get about the same line width whichever way you move the pen. And there are all sorts of variations in between the two, such as "cursive italic" and "stub."
As others wrote, italic nibs are intended for a few particular styles of calligraphy, out of the many, many styles people have come up with. There are yet other kinds of pens, in both fountain and dip versions, for other styles as well. Want a fountain pen for imitating the US Declaration of Independence, or one specifically for Hebrew? Ask here on the Network.
ron

#9 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 21:04

Calligraphy nibs are italic nibs have to be held just so. They have sharp edges. They make a thick to thin pattern depending on what letter you are learning, or drawing or later writing.

The lettering looks real neat.

Fountain pens have not changed from back in the days of the Silver Dime. Rounded points, broad, medium or fine that glide on a film of ink across the page.

You should get some of each....it's astoundingly fun....no body runs around scribbling for the shear hell of it with a ball point pen. Lots of us have lost our minds and do just that.
Some one mentions a pen, and we grab the same and scribble something.

Some one mentions an ink and if we have it in a pen....scribbled it is.

Deeper, the esoterics have 'paper'. :notworthy1:

Writing is 1/3 nib and flex, 1/3 paper and 1/3 ink....but to make inks dance you got to have a spectrum of nibs and some good to better paper.
There are 100's of inks, 40-50 nibs and as many pens as you can afford.
Chase nibs, a good to grand nib will have an adequate pen attached to it.

Due to Mauricio's improved definition of Super-flex, I no longer use the term Easy Full Flex.

 

Semi-flex is an “almost” flex; not a ‘flex’ nib. It is great for regular writing with a touch of flair. It can give you some fancy; but it is not made for real fancy writing. For bit more of that get a 'flexi'/maxi-semi-flex. Both spread tines 3X.  Those are not "Flex" nibs. 

 

Odd, how many who should know better, compares Japanese F (which equals EF), with Western F, with out a second thought, but do not compare Japanese B with Western B.

 

Wider than Normal does not exist. Wider than Japanese does. Every company has it's very own standard + slop/tolerance. Developed from the users of it's pens only; not the users of other companies pens. The size you grind a nib to, is your standard only. Paper and ink matter to nib width. Thank god for 1/2 sizes or it would be boring.


#10 wednesday_mac

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 22:56

You can learn to write Italic cursive or Italic calligraphy. Cursive is good for day-to-day writing; Italic calligraphy is the foundation hand if you want to learn classic calligraphy or do art calligraphy. Meaning, Italic is the hand a student learns first, and then one can easily go on to learn other hands (i.e., fonts) from there.

For a good guide as to how to learn cursive Italic and change your handwriting life, I'd ecommend Fred Egar's book: The Italic Way to Beautiful Handwriting. (No association, I just know his lessons really work.)

Amazon has used copies here

Edited by wednesday_mac, 05 November 2010 - 22:57.

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#11 corniche

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 23:26

Hello Mike,

Here is something you may want to try; I've included a link to Stationery Art. They sell one of my favorite fountain pens- the Pilot 78G. It only costs $7.45 but it has a screw-on cap which I love and it uses either bottled ink from the included squeeze style converter or Pilot cartridges. Buy two pens: one with a B nib, (which in reality is a stub nib, which is like a calligraphy nib), and one with a medium nib, (which is the typical round fp nib). Write with both pens and see how you like their individual characteristics. When you've found the style that pleases you the most; pursue more expensive options employing the nib style you prefer.

PILOT 78G @ STATIONERY ART

Hope this helps rather than hinders.

All the best,

Sean

:)

PS: I have no affiliation with Pilot Pens or Stationery Art. ;)

* Edit, corrected grammatical error.

Edited by S. P. Colfer, 06 November 2010 - 15:19.

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#12 mike in arkansas

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 17:26

Oh dear, this hobby may be more expensive than motorcycles (one can never have enough chrome accessories). Now I need Pens, Nibs, INk, Paper in innumberable sizes, colors and shapes!! Should be a lot of fun.

And yes my disposible is a Pilot varsity and if it was a more attractive pen i would consider refilling it but think I wouuld rather have a nicer looking pen with a finer tip.

For Rcarlisle -- I don't have a clue as to the type of calligraphy he was doing. Should have talked to him about that (and lots of other things) but alas that opportunity is now past. (Those of you who have parents, grandparents etc. who are still alive, NOW is the time to talk with them about theri lives, hobbies, pains and joys -- later is too late).

But thanks to all who have given suggestions and information. I am so tired writing everythink with a computer (like I am doing now) I want to redevelop the skill of actually writing with pen and ink (and it sounds like i will need several of both.

Blessings,

Mike

#13 Mauricio

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 17:34

Mike,

Welcome to FPN from another fountain pen lover in Little Rock, Arkansas. Not sure if we have met or not. If not, I would like to invite you to the Arkansas Pen Club. We meet the secong Thursday or every month and there is a very nice gruop of fountain pen enthusiats who come on a regular basis. FYI, we also have an annual pen show here in town. Our next one is in March 11 & 12, 2011. Hope you can join us at both venues. Here's more info on both:

Arkansas Pen Club

2011 Arkansas Pen & Watch Show


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#14 lpanades

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 07:33

You don't need to pull out the nib and feeder of Varsity/Vpen

Please see this video in youtube. The guy cut a sering that fits exactly in the pen so... pull to creat a little vacuum inside it with the pen upside down, so push. The ink is in the lower side of the siringe so when you pull you pull the air out and when you push you push the ink in. Doing it repeatedly you will fill completly the pen.



#15 Randal6393

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 16:29

Hi, Mike,

Welcome to the wonderful, insane world of fountain pens. But you can buy a lot of pens for what one chrome bumper costs -- if you are careful.

As for what style of calligraphy your Dad did, maybe you have a sample of his writing? If so, post it and you will hear -- in great detail --all about his style. I agree, wish I had talked more with my Dad. Only now am realizing how much of my life was shaped by who and what he was.

Hope you have good times and experiences while you are here.

Oh dear, this hobby may be more expensive than motorcycles (one can never have enough chrome accessories). Now I need Pens, Nibs, INk, Paper in innumberable sizes, colors and shapes!! Should be a lot of fun.

And yes my disposible is a Pilot varsity and if it was a more attractive pen i would consider refilling it but think I wouuld rather have a nicer looking pen with a finer tip.

For Rcarlisle -- I don't have a clue as to the type of calligraphy he was doing. Should have talked to him about that (and lots of other things) but alas that opportunity is now past. (Those of you who have parents, grandparents etc. who are still alive, NOW is the time to talk with them about theri lives, hobbies, pains and joys -- later is too late).

But thanks to all who have given suggestions and information. I am so tired writing everythink with a computer (like I am doing now) I want to redevelop the skill of actually writing with pen and ink (and it sounds like i will need several of both.

Blessings,

Mike


Yours,
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#16 tonybelding

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 17:09

Do most calligraphy nibs have iridium?

I may be wrong, but I'd somehow gotten the impression that most calligraphy nibs are basically semi-disposable items with no iridium tipping material.

#17 Ernst Bitterman

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 17:22

Do most calligraphy nibs have iridium?

I may be wrong, but I'd somehow gotten the impression that most calligraphy nibs are basically semi-disposable items with no iridium tipping material.


My experience is mainly in the way of low-end stuff-- Sheaffer No Nonsense, Osmiroid, and Manuscript-- and I think you're more or less right, although some of mine is standing up pretty well for all that. I've got a 1.5mm point for my Lamy Safari that doesn't show much in the way of tipping, and casting my mind back to the Rotring Artpen I destroyed in the early 1990s (I'd just heard that a nail-file was the way to get REALLY CRISP variation) I don't think there was tipping there either.
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#18 nxn96

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 14:49

I agree with Bo Bo's statement that anyone interested in fountain pens ought to have at least one calligraphy pen around just for the fun of it. I got a NoNonsense pen some time back as part of a small lot of Sheaffer pens. It wasn't the pen I was after in the lot, so it basically sat in my "to sell or give away" pile until I decided to drop a cartridge in it and see what all the fuss was about. Even with my regular ersatz-Palmer Method style, I got surprisingly elegant results. It does take a bit of concentration, as you have to make sure you keep the nib in a constant position across the page, so I wouldn't recommend this for speedwriting. On the other hand, if you're starting out with a relatively decent penmanship, you can get a nice result without the benefit of calligraphy training (not saying a trained hand wouldn't be better yet).

Both Sheaffer and Parker sold a lot of calligraphy pens and sets (I know Sheaffer still does, not sure about Parker), and you see them pop up on eBay on a regular basis; often unused or with only one or two of the cartridges missing. I've speculated that some people buy the sets thinking they'll teach themselves calligraphy and subsequently lose interest in doing so and others buy sets to address their wedding invitations and have no further need/interest. Either way, you can often pick up a new/nearly new set that way without spending a lot of money. As others here have noted, starter calligraphy pens/sets are also found at art supply and craft stores as well.