How to Choose the Right Pen for Calligraphy

Choosing the right pen for calligraphy is key because it shapes the quality of your work and how enjoyable writing feels. The perfect pen not only makes your calligraphy look better but also feels good in your hand during those long writing sessions. Understanding the intricacies of calligraphy pens is essential for both beginners and seasoned artists. The pen you choose will significantly impact the appearance of your calligraphy and how the writing process feels. Let’s dive deeper into the types of pens for calligraphy and their components to better understand your options.

In this article, the ZEBRA team collected the ebay advice so you can choose the right tools for your calligraphy journey.

pens for calligraphy, you can try dip pen vs. fountain as well


There are several types of pen for calligraphy you can choose from that lead back to the origin of calligraphy.


Dip pens are distinguished by their metal nibs, which must be dipped into ink before writing. This type of pen is highly valued in traditional calligraphy for its capacity to provide a vast array of line widths—ranging from very fine to thick—by simply altering the pressure applied during writing. Dip pens are favored for their versatility in creating dynamic and expressive lettering.


Fountain pens feature an internal reservoir that holds ink, eliminating the need for frequent dipping. This design makes them especially convenient for extended writing sessions. While fountain pens are generally more user-friendly, they often offer less variability in line width compared to dip pens. However, their ease of use and the smooth flow of ink make them a popular choice for both beginners and experienced calligraphers who appreciate efficiency and a consistent line quality.


Brush pens come equipped with a flexible brush tip capable of producing a wide range of line widths based on the pressure and angle of the stroke. These pens are particularly well-suited for modern interesting calligraphy styles that require fluid, varying line thicknesses similar to those achieved with traditional brushes. Mildliner brush pens offer the convenience of a pen with the expressive line quality of a paintbrush, making them ideal for calligraphers looking to add a dynamic and artistic flair to their work.

Unleash your creativity with our high-quality brush pens. Click here to explore!

Trying and choosing the right pen for calligraphy


Understanding the key components of a beginner pen for calligraphy can help you make informed decisions about which pen will best suit your needs.


The nib is the metal tip of the pen that comes into direct contact with the paper. Nibs come in various sizes and shapes, each designed to produce different styles of lines. The width, flexibility, and shape of the nib play crucial roles in determining the character and thickness of the lines it produces. Nibs for dip pens can be easily swapped out, allowing for greater versatility in writing styles from a single pen.


The reservoir is where the ink is stored within the pen. In dip pens, the “reservoir” is essentially the inkwell into which the pen must be dipped to reload ink. Fountain pens, on the other hand, have an internal reservoir or cartridge that feeds ink to the nib continuously, allowing for a more uninterrupted writing experience. The capacity and type of reservoir can affect how long you can write before needing to refill or dip the pen again.


Also known as the pen body or holder, the grip is the part of the pen that you hold. The design of the grip is crucial for comfort and control. It should fit comfortably in your hand, allowing for a relaxed grip without causing fatigue over long writing sessions. The weight and balance of the pen are also important factors, as they influence the pen’s stability and ease of movement across the paper.

Choosing the right beginner pen for calligraphy involves considering these types and components in light of your personal preferences, the style of calligraphy you wish to pursue, and the level of convenience you desire. Whether you’re drawn to the traditional elegance of dip pens, the practicality of fountain pens, or the expressive versatility of brush pens, understanding these fundamentals will guide you in selecting a pen that enhances your calligraphy journey.

Begin your calligraphy journey with our versatile brush pens. Check them out now!

Calligraphy workshop


When selecting the ideal pen for calligraphy, various factors come into play, each contributing to the pen’s performance and your overall satisfaction. Understanding these factors can help you make a more informed choice that aligns with your calligraphy goals and preferences.


Italic Nibs: Characterized by their flat, broad edges, italic nibs are ideal for creating sharp contrasts between thin and thick lines, a hallmark of italic and gothic scripts. The width of the nib directly influences the breadth of the strokes, enabling the creation of dramatic and visually appealing lettering. Choosing the right size nib allows for precise control over line variation, essential for these ornate styles.

Flexible Nib Pen for Calligraphy: Flex nibs are designed to respond to varying degrees of pressure, enabling the calligrapher to create lines that transition smoothly from thin to thick. This feature is particularly valuable for scripts such as copperplate and Spencerian, which require a high level of line variability to achieve their signature elegance. The flexibility of the nib adds a dimensional quality to the writing, allowing for a range of expression that rigid nibs cannot achieve.

Size Considerations: The size of the nib plays a critical role in determining the thickness of the lines it produces. Larger nibs are suited to creating bold, thick lines ideal for larger scripts or for making a strong visual impact. Conversely, smaller nibs allow for finer, more delicate lines, perfect for intricate details and smaller lettering. Your choice should reflect the scale and style of calligraphy you wish to pursue.


Ink is extremely important when choosing the right pen for calligraphy.


Known for their ease of cleaning, water-based inks are a convenient choice for calligraphers. However, they may not perform well on all types of paper, sometimes bleeding or feathering, which can affect the sharpness of your lines. They’re best used on high-quality, ink-resistant papers designed for calligraphy.


Offering greater permanence and resistance to bleeding, pigment-based inks are a popular choice for projects that require durability, such as archival documents or artwork intended for display. The downside is their tendency to clog nibs if not cleaned regularly, necessitating a more meticulous maintenance routine.


Not all inks are suitable for every type of pen. Factors such as ink viscosity, drying time, and the pen’s material can affect compatibility. Always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that your ink choice will not damage your pen or compromise your work.

If you wish to improve your calligraphy, check out our Calligraphy Workbook For Beginners!


The ergonomic design of a pen is crucial for those long hours of practice and creation. A pen that fits comfortably in your hand reduces fatigue and allows for greater control and precision. The weight and balance of the pen should feel natural, neither too light nor too heavy, promoting a steady and comfortable writing experience.


The relationship between price and quality is not always straightforward in the world of pens for calligraphy. While higher-priced pens often denote superior craftsmanship and materials, they may not necessarily be the best fit for your particular style or level of expertise. Conversely, more affordable pens can offer excellent quality and performance, especially for beginners or those exploring new styles.

Researching and reading reviews from other calligraphers can provide valuable insights into a pen’s performance and suitability. Starting with a less expensive pen can be a wise approach as you refine your skills and preferences. Over time, you may choose to invest in higher-quality pens as your style evolves and your demands increase.

Calligraphy workshop


Embarking on your calligraphy journey with an open mind and a willingness to experiment is essential. The vast array of pens for calligraphy available—each with its unique characteristics and advantages—means that sticking to just one type can limit your creative expression and growth as an artist. From the traditional flair of dip pens, the convenience and consistency of fountain pens, to the expressive versatility of brush pens, exploring different types of pens can significantly enrich your calligraphy experience.

Experimenting with different nibs within these pen types can unlock even more possibilities. The variation in line width, flexibility, and ink flow can drastically alter the appearance of your script, allowing for a broader range of stylistic expressions. Whether you prefer the dramatic line variations achievable with flex nibs or the precise, clean lines of a fine-point nib, each has something unique to offer. This exploration can extend to the inks you use as well; experimenting with different viscosities, drying times, and colors can bring new dimensions to your work.

Moreover, pairing different nibs with various inks can lead to surprising results. How an ink behaves with a specific nib—whether it feathers, bleeds, or creates crisp lines—can significantly affect the overall look of your calligraphy. Testing different combinations will help you discover the perfect match for your style and the specific piece you’re working on.


Finding the right pen for calligraphy is a personal journey that involves trying out different tools and techniques. Embrace this exploration, and remember, the best pen is the one that lets your creativity flow effortlessly onto the page. Try using lettering templates to improve your handwriting at a faster pace.

At ZEBRA, you can find the best pen for calligraphy for your calligraphy journey, so get ready to create breathtaking art.

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