Calligraphy Tips

HOW TO: Choose the Right Calligraphy Nib

Favorite Calligraphy Nibs for Pointed Pen Calligraphy

There are SO MANY calligraphy nibs out there… you might be overwhelmed about where to start.

So today, I’m showing you FIVE of my favorite pointed, flexible nibs and WHAT PROJECTS I use each one for!

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CLICK BELOW TO WATCH THE VIDEO, OR KEEP READING FOR WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS!


1. NIKKO G

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My FAVORITE overall, general-use nib.

QUALITIES

  • Great for beginners

  • Sturdy - won’t break or warp under heavy pressure

  • Re-dipping - Holds a lot of ink

  • Medium tip - Not too sharp, so it won’t catch on the paper too much

  • Very good contrast - Fine hairlines and medium flex for good downstrokes

PROJECTS I USE IT FOR:

  1. This is the nib I reach for when I want to do a quote or spot calligraphy on nice, smooth paper with inks that flow easily, like sumi ink or gouache ink. It gives me beautiful-looking hairlines and the medium flex and not-too-sharp point allows me to create really long, elegant flourishes.

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2. BRAUSE STENO

Brause Steno calligraphy nib in holder.png

My SECOND FAVORITE overall nib.

QUALITIES

  • Great for beginners

  • Sturdy - won’t break under heavy pressure

  • Re-dipping - Holds a good amount of ink

  • Rounder tip - so it works on rougher surfaces

  • Good contrast - the hairlines are thicker, but you can get really fat downstrokes to add contrast

  • Writes big - I can write much larger with this nib than with the Nikko G

PROJECTS I USE IT FOR:

  1. Projects on difficult surfaces, like kraft paper, handmade paper, or shiny paper.

  2. When I want to write really BIG calligraphy.

  3. When I’m working with thicker inks like acrylic-based Dr Ph Martins Bleedproof White or Iridescent Inks.

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Brause Steno Nib Large Calligraphy on Shiny Paper.png

3. BRAUSE 66EF

Brause EF66 calligraphy nib in oblique holder.png

A fun but finicky nib that writes LARGER than you would think for its tiny size

QUALITIES:

  • Can be hard to get started - you may have to tap or create a tick mark in order to get your ink flowing

  • Fragile - the tines misalign easily, so if you’re pushing really hard, or have the incorrect grip on your pen, you can damage this nib easily.

  • Frequent re-dipping - the small size doesn’t hold very much ink

  • Very flexible - so you can get fairly thin hairlines and super FAT downstrokes

  • Finer control - because of its flexiblity, this is my favorite nib for writing on polished or slick surfaces

PROJECTS I USE IT FOR:

  1. Shiny, , slick surfaces, like agate slices, tile or polished wood

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Brause EF66 Nib calligraphy on agate.png

4. LEONARDT HIRO 41

Leonardt Hiro 41 Calligraphy Nib in holder.png

A low-contrast nib that can add a little funk to your usual calligraphy style

QUALITIES:

  • Frequent re-dipping - the flat shape doesn’t hold very much ink

  • Springy, but not flexible - The shape and thinness of the nib add some “springiness” to your calligraphy, but the tines don’t separate too far

  • Low contrast - the hairlines aren’t super thin, and you don’t get very thick downstrokes

  • Smaller calligraphy - not great for writing really BIG

PROJECTS I USE IT FOR:

  1. More modern, breezy, loose styles like the placecards below for Krug champagne

Leonardt Hiro Nib calligraphy Placecard sample.png

5. HUNT IMPERIAL 101

Hunt 101 calligraphy nib in holder.png

A super flexible nib with a very sharp point best suited for advanced calligraphers

QUALITIES:

  • Can be hard to get started - you may have to tap or create a tick mark in order to get your ink flowing

  • Fragile - the tines misalign easily, so if you’re pushing really hard, or have the incorrect grip on your pen, you can damage this nib easily.

  • Very flexible - so you can get really thin hairlines and super THICK downstrokes

  • Sharp point - so it gets caught more easily in the paper during upstrokes

  • Finer control - because of its flexibility and sharp point, this nib is great for delicate styles that require a lot of control and precision, like copperplate

PROJECTS I USE IT FOR:

  1. Honestly, not too many. But I occasionally like to play with it to shake up my calligraphy, try out new styles and freshen things up!

And there you have it! My definitive guide to my favorite pointed nibs. Hope you found this useful!

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