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Nibs For A Beginner



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dragos.mocanu

Hello! This is my first post in the calligraphy section, and I have a question :D ...but first, a brief intro:

 

I've been tackling with flexible handwriting ever since I got my first Noodler's flex pen, and what a bumpy road it has been... My first flexy nib was incredibly stiff, so I reoriented towards vintage flex, but that turned out to be misleading as well (couldn't find a pen to fit my style). Long story short, it's long since I've sold almost all of my flex pens, keeping only a modified Noodler's nib (ease-my-flex mod) for messing around.

 

And the level of 'messing around' I'm at right now...looks like this:

 

http://i.imgur.com/LHM9H64.jpg

 

(W. B. Yeats' 'Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven' in Apache Sunset with Noodler's Ahab Ease-My-Flex nib)

 

Feeling that I've started making a bit of progress, I decided to get an oblique pen holder and some decent nibs...problem is, the art stores in my country have a very limited range of flexy nibs (like 1 or 2 variants...) and no oblique holders! After a bit of browsing, I found a nice English webstore with everything I needed; ordered a Speedball oblique holder and 4 nibs (to see which would fit me best): Gillott 404, Leonardt EF Principal, Leonardt Shorthand DP40 and Brause Steno 361. I've read good reviews about the first 3, and I just liked the way the 361 looked :D

 

Now...after all this useless blabbering comes my question: which other nibs should I consider in my endeavors of learning proper Copperplate (and maybe Spencerian later)? Thank you!

 

(I apologize for the horrendous quality of the photo)

Edited by Murky

"The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true..." (Carl Sagan)

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I've used all of those mentioned but the DP40. The 404 and the blue pumpkin are probably the most forgiving ones, the Principal is very sharp and requires a more delicate touch.

 

That being said, you'll find people recommending stiffer, blunter nibs to begin, and then graduate to "more difficult" ones, and others will tell you that you should start with something like a Principal or a 303 and work at getting your touch sufficiently light, etc. I took this latter route, mostly playing around with 303s, Principals and Hunt 101s when I started out, and then moving to very finicky smaller points (Esty 354 and 356, for example). It is a bit more frustrating at the beginning, but it mays off in terms of control, I think.

 

Whichever way you go, the choice of nib is just a factor, and not the most important one at that. Do your drills, be regular in your practice, be critical of your work, and you'll be up and running quickly. Also, ask for feedback here, there are very knowledgeable and helpful people in this board.

 

All the best,

Martín

 

 

ps: you have very nice penmanship, btw!

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Murky- I dont have advice about nibs, but, I must tell you, your handwriting is superb!!!!!! Keep up the good work!!!:)

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From the clarity and formation of your letters, I would suggest using a Mitchell Roundhand nib and trying italic handwriting for a change of pace. Your writing looks as if you would be a natural at italic.

 

Keep up the good work, enjoy,

Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?

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dragos.mocanu

http://i.imgur.com/pZkHYIo.jpg

"The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true..." (Carl Sagan)

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dragos.mocanu

http://i.imgur.com/FaxCvsR.jpg

Edited by Murky

"The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true..." (Carl Sagan)

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dragos.mocanu

Double post (which was actually a triple post...sorry)

Edited by Murky

"The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true..." (Carl Sagan)

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I like the Nikko G as a beginners nib.

I find it more forgiving than a sharper nib, and still give you decent thin lines.

 

My other nib is a Hiro 41. It is a lot easier to flex, and I am not comfortable with it just yet.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California

www.SFPenShow.com

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My favorite set-up for Copperplate is an Addison oblique holder, Old World Ink (iron gall), and one of the following nibs: Leonardt Principal, Brause Rose, Gillot 303, Nikko G, or Esterbrook 351. And lots of practice, lots of patience. The Hiro 41 is also a great nib. I usually buy 3 or 4 nibs at a time, use them, and write down a private review of how each performed. One interesting note, the Brause Rose nib is a bear to get flowing properly. But, once started and worked in, it writes like a dream. Brause also makes a tiny little nib, the 66, that is great for smaller script.

 

Best of luck to you,

Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?

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dragos.mocanu

As it turns out, I was literally half right with my choices of nibs...after a couple of days' testing, I've come up with the following results:

 

The good:

Brause Steno - this one was bought on a whim, and it's fantastic, smooth, decently narrow hairlines, easily controllable flex; this one will be great for Spencerian script (once I get a hang of it)!

Leonardt Steno (aka Blue Pumpkin/Hiro 40) - this one is a keeper! Fantastic flex, smooth, and huge ink capacity (i can write about 3 lines with flex without re-dipping)...great for Copperplate/Engrosser's script

 

The bad:

Leonardt Principal EF - too finicky for me right now...extremely flexible, hard to control, catches a lot on upstrokes...when I'll master my hairlines I'll come back to this one.

 

The ugly:

Gillott 404 - sort of a disappointment...I was rather expecting a decent beginner's nib...mine skips a lot if not flexing...When flexed it's sort of decent, but it gets tiring after a short while.

 

Next stop...my first G nib; I'll go for the Nikko since I want to start learning Spencerian, and I've read that this one is easier to control than the Zebra (and smoother too).

 

I will try to post some writing samples in the near future.

"The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true..." (Carl Sagan)

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Yes, the Gillott 404 is noted as being on the hard-to-flex side. The Gillott 303 flexes better, is used for more of a swell in Copperplate. But sounds as if you are getting a good idea of what you like.

 

Enjoy,

Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?

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dragos.mocanu

Does anyone know how the Zebra G and Nikko G compare to either Gillott 404, Leonardt Steno (Hiro 40) or Brause Steno (no. 361) in terms of flexibility/smoothness? I want to start learning Spencerian and don't know which of these 2 Japanese nibs to buy in a bulk. Thanks!

"The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true..." (Carl Sagan)

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I have recently started to attempt Spencerian and have used both the Zebra-G and Nikko-G. I feel the

Zebra is more forgiving than the Nikko but the hairlines are thicker and it is harder to do the shades

correctly. Amazon has Zebra-G nibs for under $11.00 for 10 nibs. Hope this helps.

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dragos.mocanu

I've yet another question; today I ordered my first quality oblique holder (an Hourglass Adjustable), and until it gets here I would like to know if my currently favorite nibs (the Leonardt Steno aka Hiro 40 Blue-Pumpkin, and the Brause 361 Steno) will fit properly in this holder. What I mean by that is, of course, will the tip of these nibs align properly with the axis of the holder's shaft, since they are quite a bit longer than 'ordinary' dip nibs (like the Gillott 404)? Or will I have to start searching for other types/sizes of nibs? Thanks

"The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true..." (Carl Sagan)

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Have used the Hiro 40, it fits nicely in my Blackwell holder. Have a variety of nibs in the Ziller Oblique and Speedball Oblique, including the Hiro 40. Think you should have no problem but may have to adjust the Hourglass Adjustable to take the nib.

 

Best of luck, enjoy,

Yours,
Randal

From a person's actions, we may infer attitudes, beliefs, --- and values. We do not know these characteristics outright. The human dichotomies of trust and distrust, honor and duplicity, love and hate --- all depend on internal states we cannot directly experience. Isn't this what adds zest to our life?

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  • 6 months later...
dragos.mocanu

It is actually Noodler's Apache Sunset, my phone camera makes it appear much darker than it really is.

 

Thank you for your compliment

"The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true..." (Carl Sagan)

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I am fascinated by the Murky evolution. There is a technical side which makes the engineer in me sated. But, the art in the joining of centuries old craft with modern machine (nib/holder/paper) and a penmanship talent that I don't have is breathtaking to me.

 

Better yet, to have the artist writing with a keyboard about writing with a quill (metaphorically) is somehow ironic to me.

 

Enjoying it very much in any case. Thank you.

Sometimes I think I can taste the colors of the ink through my eyes. That Emerald.....

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  • 2 months later...

Wow... if that's what you can do while just "messing around", you're a natural.

 

From one beginner to another, I'd only offer a bit of advice I read in another forum. The Plastic Speedball oblique holder is not adjustable and it likely won't match your hand, as in, get the nib at the proper angle to the paper.

 

This is the article I'm referring to...

https://thepostmansknock.com/oblique-pen-holders-artisan-pen-giveaway/

 

That said, I have a Speedball oblique that I'll use until I get my adjustable one.

Edited by Piper 987

Ink has something in common with both money and manure. It's only useful if it's spread around.

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Michael Sull recommends the Nikko G over the Zebra G. He said the smaller diameter curve of the Nikko holds ink better than the larger diameter curve of the Zebra G.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California

www.SFPenShow.com

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