Jump to content

The Fountain Pen Network uses (functional) cookies. Read the FPN Privacy Policy for more info.  To remove this message, please click here to accept the use of cookies


Registration on the Fountain Pen Network

Dearest Visitor of the little Fountain Pen Nut house on the digital prairie,

Due to the enormous influx of spammers, it is no longer possible to handle valditions in the traditional way. For registrations we therefore kindly and respectfully request you to send an email with your request to our especially created email address. This email address is register at fountainpennetwork dot com. Please include your desired user name, and after validation we will send you a return email containing the validation key, normally wiithin a week.

Thank you very much in advance!
The FPN Admin Team






Photo

What Dip Pen Nibs Should A Beginner That Is Serious About Learning Purchase? And...

dip pen holder nib holder calligraphy oblique holder straight holder

  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 TestTube

TestTube

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 91 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 January 2020 - 03:30

Hello. I'm wondering what dip pen nibs should a beginner that is serious about learning purchase?

 

I'm okay with spending a decent amount of money if the quality justifies the price, considering I don't plan on randomly dropping the hobby and I'm absolutely *determined* to get good at calligraphy.

 

Also: Does it matter what nib holder I purchase? If so, what would you guys recommend (for both a straight holder and an oblique holder)?

 

Thanks in advance for any responses. =)



Sponsored Content

#2 CraigR

CraigR

    Bibliophile, Writer and Philosopher

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,854 posts
  • Location:Hudson, NC
  • Flag:

Posted 05 January 2020 - 05:07

For starting to learn modern calligraphy or even copperplate lettering, I recommend a Nikko G or a Zebra G nib in a basic straight holder. They seem to be the most forgiving as we learn. From there I would add an oblique holder. I feel that Walnut ink is great to start with as is a Sumi ink. There is no reason to invest a lot of money to begin since these pens and holders are readily available on-line and inexpensive. My favorite site for beginning calligraphy is http://thepostmansknock.com Lindsay, the owner, has a great site with tutorials, supplies, and lots of help available. Start with just the basics until you learn more and then you will be better prepared to decide which higher end holders to obtain and which nibs may be more suitable for your style and hand.

 

Best wishes on a fun and satisfying journey into the world of dip pens and lettering.


A consumer and purveyor of words. 

 

Co-editor and writer for Faith On Every Corner Magazine

Magazine - http://www.faithonev...m/magazine.html

 

 

 


#3 TestTube

TestTube

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 91 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 January 2020 - 05:59

Thank you for the reply.

 

Anyone else have an opinion on the matter?

 

Also, how about the nibs? Which brand nibs should I purchase?



#4 Honeybadgers

Honeybadgers

    Museum Piece

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,560 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 January 2020 - 07:09

Beginner?

 

no contest, just like Craig said. Zebra/nikko "G" nibs (I prefer zebra but we're honestly splitting hairs) because they don't hard start, they're smooth, have nice firm snapback, reasonable flex, and are cheap and common.

 

Once you're a little more advanced, the leonardt principal is a great next step.

 

Check out Schin's calligraphy youtube channel. She's great.

 

I personally preferred an oblique holder as a beginner, But a cheap speedball oblique holder is actually double duty and can hold nibs in a straight manner.

 

I personally prefer wooden straight holders, and I actually like these cheap wooden ones. They're sturdy, cheap, and well balanced. The nibs suck though, but the two with overfeeds can actually be converted into overfeeds for zebra G nibs that give you more ink per dip, so they're honestly worth a one-time investment

 

https://www.ebay.com...xEAAOSwSRRdnaR3


Selling a boatload of restored, fairly rare, vintage Japanese gold nib pens, click here to see (more added as I finish restoring them)


#5 TestTube

TestTube

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 91 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 January 2020 - 07:55

Oh, he did say the nib heh. I thought he just mentioned the holder.

 

And okay, another question though: How about using "Speedball" nibs?

 

I heard somewhere that Speedball nibs are good as well.

 

And another random question if I may: What makes nib holders better / more expensive than others? Just aesthetics? Ergonomics? Art? Something else?

 

Thanks.



#6 CraigR

CraigR

    Bibliophile, Writer and Philosopher

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,854 posts
  • Location:Hudson, NC
  • Flag:

Posted 05 January 2020 - 14:26

Oh, he did say the nib heh. I thought he just mentioned the holder.

 

And okay, another question though: How about using "Speedball" nibs?

 

I heard somewhere that Speedball nibs are good as well.

 

And another random question if I may: What makes nib holders better / more expensive than others? Just aesthetics? Ergonomics? Art? Something else?

 

Thanks.

I have a few Speedball pens and holders but don't use them very often. I bought a couple of Speedball straight holders at low cost and have been very happy with them.

 

As for holders, I think it is mostly a matter of ergonomics. I have and use a couple that just seem to fit my hand perfectly - surprisingly, they are of the less expensive variety. Oblique holders require that the ergonomics, how the holder rests in the hand, be good as well as the flange that holds the nib or pen be adjusted to the correct angles. Of course, there are many holders that are just plain beautiful as well as very functional - prices will vary.

 

I want to add what I think is important for a beginner with dip pens. Many people get frustrated trying to get a dip pen to work properly to begin with. This may be due to the pen or nib not being properly prepared before inking. Many nibs come from the factory with a oily coating to protect the metal. The surfaces need to be cleaned so that ink will adhere to the metal and flow along the tines. You can find a lot of advice for cleaning nibs on-line as well as on the sites that sell them.


A consumer and purveyor of words. 

 

Co-editor and writer for Faith On Every Corner Magazine

Magazine - http://www.faithonev...m/magazine.html

 

 

 


#7 AAAndrew

AAAndrew

    (Not so) Wee Timorous Beastie

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,000 posts
  • Location:Durham, NC
  • Flag:

Posted 06 January 2020 - 18:33

It all depends on what you want to do with your dip pens. The folks above are correct for getting started with pointed dip pens. If you want to go the broad-edge route (like italic or blackletter) then Speedball are ok to begin with. There are better. Again, it depends on how large you want to write. There are lettering artists out there doing amazing things with Pilot Parallel pens, but those aren't dip. 

 

If you want to learn calligraphy, go with the Zebra/Nikko G. route to start. Walnut ink is a great ink for practice. Spend your money on good paper and instruction. 

 

If you just want to learn to write with a dip pen for fun, for everyday writing, then I would go vintage. And that opens up a whole other can of worms, of which I am most happy to talk about at (deadly) length. 



“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928



Check out my Steel Pen Blog


"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."

-Montaigne


#8 Bo Bo Olson

Bo Bo Olson

    Pen Dust

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 21,622 posts
  • Location:Germany

Posted 06 January 2020 - 19:43

A match held under the nib for a second or two, gets rid of the oil.......others use toothpaste and a tooth brush......but I'm lazy...I use a match, or a quick pass with a lighter.


German vintage '50-70 semi-flex stubs and those in oblique give the real thing in On Demand line variation. Modern Oblique is a waste of money for a shadow of line variation. Being too lazy to Hunt for affordable vintage oblique pens, lets you 'hunt' for line variation instead of having it.

www.nibs.com/blog/nibster-writes/nibs-germany & https://www.peter-bo...cts/nib-systems,

 

The cheapest lessons are from those who learned expensive lessons. Ignorance is best for learning expensive lessons.

 

 

 


#9 TestTube

TestTube

    Mint

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 91 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 06 January 2020 - 19:46

I plan on practicing Calligraphy. I have an additional question though:

 

I own a Pilot Metal Falcon with a soft fine nib and it does get line variation but a ton. I've heard from a bunch of different places that I can't get nearly as much line variation out of a modern flex (soft) nib fountain pen as I can with a nib / nib holder combo. So my question is:

 

Will these "Zebra G" nibs give me more line variation than the Pilot Falcon? And if so, about how much?

 

https://www.amazon.c...8339304&sr=8-1#



#10 CraigR

CraigR

    Bibliophile, Writer and Philosopher

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,854 posts
  • Location:Hudson, NC
  • Flag:

Posted 06 January 2020 - 22:20

I have used a few fountain pens with various degrees of flex, vintage and modern. It has been my experience that I am able to control the fine and thick lines better with a pointed pen nib and a holder. The Zebra G nibs are able to provide satisfying variation. There are other pens that have more flex, such as the Leonardt EF Principal or the Brause EF66 or Brause Rose. The Zebra and Nikko G nibs are more learner friendly, in my opinion. It does take some time and practice to master the strokes producing the thick and thin lines. The pen and nib flex alone do not create the line variation. I love my fountain pens that have considerable flex, but my preference is to practice calligraphy and copperplate lettering with a dip pen.

 

A suggestion - start with a modest holder and a G nib, work to master the basic strokes in calligraphy, copperplate, or any hand that appeals to you. Once you have set out on that journey, you will experience and learn what works for you and what additional tools you would want to try. There is a plethora of instructional videos on-line where you can observe the comparison of different nibs if you would like to see how they write. Just a reminder - the video usually is of an experienced hand making the strokes.

 

Again, have fun and best wishes!


A consumer and purveyor of words. 

 

Co-editor and writer for Faith On Every Corner Magazine

Magazine - http://www.faithonev...m/magazine.html

 

 

 


#11 AAAndrew

AAAndrew

    (Not so) Wee Timorous Beastie

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,000 posts
  • Location:Durham, NC
  • Flag:

Posted 07 January 2020 - 21:13



...

 

A suggestion - start with a modest holder and a G nib, work to master the basic strokes in calligraphy, copperplate, or any hand that appeals to you. Once you have set out on that journey, you will experience and learn what works for you and what additional tools you would want to try. There is a plethora of instructional videos on-line where you can observe the comparison of different nibs if you would like to see how they write. Just a reminder - the video usually is of an experienced hand making the strokes.

 

Again, have fun and best wishes!

 

I agree with all of this. Esterbrook used to make a dip pen model they called "Inflexible." I can get more line variation from a vintage "Inflexible" than I could ever get from my Pilot Falcon. There's no real comparison between modern nibs and dip pens, except, perhaps, some of the highly modified ones. The writing experience is not the same, even if you can get the same amount of width. 

 

In the old days, they didn't talk about "flex" but instead the marketers would speak of a pen's "action."  This is a more holistic experience of the flex, the snap-back, the force needed to press, etc...  Zebra G's (and Nikko G's) have a good action for beginners. You don't want one which is too soft, nor one which is too sharp. These are very difficult to "drive" for beginners. You won't want to give someone just learning to drive a Ferrari. They would almost certainly crash it, or at least get frustrated. It's the same for super flexible nibs. 

 

Learn to use the light touch needed with dip pens, the control of pressure up and down while also moving in the other two dimensions. These are skills best learned before you try a super-flex dip pen. When dip pens were what they taught kids with, they would start out the elementary kids on (relatively) firm, medium nibs. 

 

Here's an example. It also illustrates what was meant in the old catalogs for a "firm" pen. Natural Slant was a school of penmanship popular from the 1890's through 1910's. It stressed not too much variation in line. 

 

fpn_1578431432__esterbrook_761_firm_medi

 

 

 

 

Here's a comparison I did a few years ago of my Pilot Falcon and a few dip nibs to give an idea of the kinds of line variation you could achieve. 

 

fpn_1578430820__firm_flex_pilot_comparis



“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928



Check out my Steel Pen Blog


"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."

-Montaigne


#12 Gawain

Gawain

    Extremely Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 357 posts

Posted 14 January 2020 - 18:24

Yes, a ton of line variation, much more than a soft fine nib, I have both the zebra G and the Falcon.

 

 

I plan on practicing Calligraphy. I have an additional question though:

 

I own a Pilot Metal Falcon with a soft fine nib and it does get line variation but a ton. I've heard from a bunch of different places that I can't get nearly as much line variation out of a modern flex (soft) nib fountain pen as I can with a nib / nib holder combo. So my question is:

 

Will these "Zebra G" nibs give me more line variation than the Pilot Falcon? And if so, about how much?

 

https://www.amazon.c...8339304&sr=8-1#


Thoreau "for every thousand hacking at the branches of evil, there is one chopping at the root"

#13 Lyric

Lyric

    Rare

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 125 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 04 February 2020 - 12:36

Newbie modern calligraphy learning person here.  I am currently in the Show Me Your Letters online calligraphy course with Becca Courtice.  I started the Show Me Your Drills free course one month ago.  I am settling in on using a dip pen for my calligraphy and began with a Nikko G nib.  Noticing others downstrokes looking so beautiful and mine not having enough variation (in my young mind), LOL, I ordered a Brause Rose nib which arrived yesterday.  I am IN LOVE, ya'll.  The stroke variation is off the chain and though it is not recommended for beginners . . . . I love this nib and am GOING to make this work.

 

Also, one gal is using a Tachigawa G nib.  The line variation with it is lovely too.  It is next on my purchse list.



#14 AAAndrew

AAAndrew

    (Not so) Wee Timorous Beastie

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,000 posts
  • Location:Durham, NC
  • Flag:

Posted 04 February 2020 - 23:54

Good luck! Its a slippery slope, but a fun ride.

Its all about practice to build muscle memory, and a very. light. touch. ;)

“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928



Check out my Steel Pen Blog


"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."

-Montaigne


#15 txomsy

txomsy

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 855 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 February 2020 - 09:27

..., and a very. light. touch. ;)

 

That's what makes it so enjoyable. You don't wrestle the tool (as with a bic or ballpoint), it just flows with your mind. Once you master it (you get used to relax), the hand, the holder and the nib disappear like magic.

 

As for holders, price is like sneakers, mostly vanity and self-suggestion. Beyond some basics (balance, weight and tact) the rest is a matter of taste, vanity, aesthetics, etc... Personally, I do also prefer the tact of wood, but couldn't resist getting a beautiful Murano's crystal one in Venice just for the heck of it. The ones I most use are from my childhood, and I must confess I don't know what they are made of (possibly wood covered in some kind of plastic paint or whatever, I don't care), and a thin one that was my father's (this is thinly red painted -and worn out- wood with a metal section).

 

That's the only thing I would consider as a beginner: you have several kinds of holders, BIC makes a nice one with a lever that makes it easier to fix nibs, most holders are just pressure/spring, and you need to decide on whether straight/oblique and standard/thin (because there are also standard and thin nibs). You can fit a thin nib on a standard holder (not too well but you can).

 

Nibs... first decide if you want pointed pen or italic calligraphy, and if the former, flexible or firm writing. 

 

If it is italic, the best advice I've found was on Francisco de Lucas' manual (XVI Century): start with as large a nib as possible (well, within reasonable limits), writing large letters: this will help you concentrate on straightness, shape, identifying problems and fixing them, then work your way down to thinner nibs and smaller letters. Since this is written straight and the nib is firm, you may want to use a fountain pen (set) with italic nib(s) instead for commodity.

 

If it is flexible, start with a forgiving nib (the 'G' nibs are universally recommended) and then work your way down to more flexible nibs.

 

Relax. Ink should flow effortlessly, I would say "jump" from the nib to the paper, or if you prefer, the touch should be so gentle as to barely allow ink to slide from one to the other, the nib should "float" over/above the ink. Avoid pressure (takes a lot of time when you come from other tools) with both, italic nibs (they are like knifes) and flexible nibs (they are like needles). Relax. And enjoy.

 

Remember, what you are trying to master is Art.



#16 Estycollector

Estycollector

    Collectors Item

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 925 posts
  • Location:USA Tennessee
  • Flag:

Posted 05 February 2020 - 10:41

Thank you to the above for the advice and encouragement. 

 

Esterbrook #14 Bank nib should arrive today. From what I have read, these are the same as the 914 nib used by Charles Shultz. I wrote my granddaughter my first letter written with a dip pen. I turned out better than expected. 


"Respect science, respect nature, respect all people (s),"






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: dip pen, holder, nib holder, calligraphy, oblique holder, straight holder



Sponsored Content




|