The difference between a good calligraphy pen and a bad one is the nib. Try doing calligraphy with a lousy nib, and you will realize how tricky it is. Good nibs are essential because they hold and dispense the ink for smooth and even writing. You can create clean lines and strokes if you are using good-quality nibs.
Now there are a lot of different calligraphy nibs for beginners and experts out there. With the various options sold in the market, you might find yourself overwhelmed. Don’t worry, though, because this article will help you narrow down your choices to the ones that will provide you with the results that you are looking for.
- Best Calligraphy Nib Reviews
- 1. Trustela Calligraphy Nibs
- 2. Nikko Mange Pen Nib N-Gpen
- 3. Speedball 30710 10 Pen Nib Assorted
- 4. Brause Rose 76 Nib
- 5. Speedball Calligraphy Pen Nibs
- 6. Zebra Comic G Model Chrome Pen Nib
- 7. LAMY Joy Calligraphy Nib 1.5
- 8. MyLifeUnit Tachikawa Comic G Nib
- 9. Brause Pen Nib 66 Extra Fine Arrow
- 10. LAMY Joy Calligraphy Nib 1.1
- What to Look for When Buying Calligraphy Nibs
- Other Important Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Calligraphy Nib Reviews
1. Trustela Calligraphy Nibs
If you are looking for inexpensive dip pen nibs for writing, this Trustela calligraphy nib set should be a good choice. It comes complete with 18 different dip pen nibs with different styles and sizes that offer more flexibility and variety. There are calligraphy pens, quill pens, fountain pen nibs and many more. If you plan on using the nibs not only for calligraphy but also for other purposes such as drawing, this would be a good choice.
One gripe I have about these calligraphy dip pen nibs is that there aren’t a lot of options for calligraphy. Many are more suitable for drawing, which can be a big letdown if you are only buying it for calligraphy purposes. It’s hard to use the others for calligraphy because they are stiff and aren’t that forgiving.
I do like how well-made these nibs are. They are beautifully crafted and even come with nice sturdy packaging. The nibs are placed in individual slots, so you can still stay organized. It’s very easy to lug around. The packaging is quite portable. I can just stash it in my bag for future purposes.
These nibs are easy to install in calligraphy pens. They can be attached to pens without using a lot of force. You can also take them out without having a hard time.
When you first have these nibs, make sure you wash them with soapy water first. They have a protective coating to prevent them from being damaged, so if you use them right away, they will not hold a lot of ink. But once you wash the protective coating away, they should pick up ink easily.
The nibs do hold a lot of ink. I could write an entire sentence without having to dip in ink again. I also did not experience any kind of clogging. That is one great thing about these dip style pens. You can use different kinds of ink.
2. Nikko Mange Pen Nib N-Gpen
The Nikko G Nibs are some of the best nibs today. They won’t disappoint you because of their overall quality. This set comes with three different types of nibs, which are great not only for calligraphy but also for drawings. You can use them with oblique pens or straight pens and still get consistent results. The nibs worked well with my oblique and straight pens andI was able to install them with ease.
These pen nibs do come with some manufacturer’s grease though. I would suggest sticking them in a potato first and leaving them there for a few minutes to remove the grease. After that, wipe them clean. They will work wonderfully.
I would say these are some of the best calligraphy dip pen nibs because of how well they hold ink. They hold a large ink volume unlike others I have tried. I didn’t have to keep on dipping because these nibs worked fine. They dispensed uniform levels of ink, so I didn’t have issues with the ink fading while completing a sentence. I also like that the ink came off easily when I wiped one nib with tissue paper. I have tried using different kinds of ink and so far, all of them worked with this nib.
The nibs are more on the stiff side. As a beginner, I still think these nibs are easy to use. It does need to take some time to get used to them, so make sure you manage your expectations. Once you get the hang of these, you will find them the best nibs for calligraphy. They write smoothly. I can also see this set being very useful for artists. It can be a good drawing or sketching nib set as well.
3. Speedball 30710 10 Pen Nib Assorted
Much has been said about this company when it comes to making the best nibs for modern calligraphy. They are known for their high-quality nibs and this one isn’t an exception. This affordable set comes with 10 different types of nibs. It comes with 2 A-style, 5 B-style and 3 C-style pen nibs.
One of the A-style pen nibs included in this feature a square tip and flat tip. This is perfect for making poster letterings. If you do gothic calligraphy, this will be a good option as well. It can also be used to create borders and would be a perfect fit for making nice flourishes on your calligraphy design.
Use the B-style pen nibs to create straight lines. These nibs have fine tips so they are perfect for making Roman gothic letterings. Get the C-style pen nibs if you want to add more accents to your drawings and write italic letters.
With such a good selection of nibs, you probably don’t need anything else. If you are just starting out, these nibs would be a good training ground.
They are made from high-grade stainless-steel materials that you know will last for a long time. However, I do find some of the nibs slightly scratchy. I would suggest getting thick paper when using these nibs because they may scratch the surface of the paper and scrape off bits and pieces, which can get annoying. I didn’t have such problems with thick paper.
The nibs have engravings that will be easier for users to identify each nib. It’s easier to stay organized.
Besides, the nibs hold just the right amount of ink. I found out that if you heat up the tips with fire from a lighter for a few seconds, they glide better on the surface of the paper.
4. Brause Rose 76 Nib
These Brause nibs are classic style nibs. This set will give you 3 nibs. I think that’s very affordable. If you plan on building up your nibs and calligraphy collection, you can add these to your arsenal.
I like the color of the nibs. These are silver elastic nibs, so I did not have to worry about them looking too dirty and grimy easily. These nibs are of only one style though. If you damage or lose one, you still have the other two to use.
What I really like about these nibs is their flexibility. Some people claim these nibs are challenging to work with because they are stiff, but I think these are among the softest ones. They don’t scratch the surface of the paper, which is great if you are not using thick paper. I find that they work best on cardstock and other stiff paper though, just like all other calligraphy nibs.
Because the nibs are softer, they tend to be easier to control. If you are a beginner, you will like how easy these are to use. I did have issues getting the ink to flow at first. It seems to work better with thin ink. If you use thick ink, it won’t flow that easily.
What I did was to stick the nibs in a potato for a few minutes just to get rid of the grease that is still on them. When using them for the first time, press the tines and hold them together to activate the ink and get it flowing. That did the trick for me.
Get this flex dip pen nib set if you prefer making thicker strokes. The size of the nibs is perfect for thicker letterings such as when making posters or cards. However, these nibs can still do thin strokes perfectly.
5. Speedball Calligraphy Pen Nibs
These nibs are very versatile. You can use them to make Roman letterings, italics, black letters and many more. These are a part of the C-series from the brand, so you know that they can go a long way in creating different styles of letterings. You can use these nibs for B-type pen holders.
Made from stainless steel, these are some of the most durable nibs I have ever used. I have used a lot of nibs but these ones really hold up well against damage. I use them a lot but they still look like new.
They have a lot of that manufacturer’s grease when I first got my hands on them and they were quite tricky to remove. Use the potato trick a few times to completely remove the grease.
I like that it holds ink well. Sometimes, despite getting globs of ink, I was able to control that quickly. After a while, there weren’t any ink dispensing issues. I don’t have to keep on dipping when writing, which saves me a lot of time and trouble.
Because these are more flexible, I find that they can work on different paper surfaces. I also like that I can use these nibs for a long time and won’t have to suffer from hand fatigue because they are more flexible and don’t require a lot of pressure.
6. Zebra Comic G Model Chrome Pen Nib
If you are looking for some great nibs for copperplate, have a look at these ones. This set comes with 10 different types of nibs. It’s a product of Japanese technology, so you can be assured that these nibs are really among the most well-made out there.
What I love about these nibs is their flexibility. They are not very rigid. I would say they have a medium flexibility, which is why they are great for beginners. They are great for a variety of purposes, not just calligraphy. Try using them for drawing and they will blow your mind. You might never want to go back to traditional means again.
These nibs feature ebonite feeds. I find that they are easier to set because of this material. They did require a bit of breaking in because some of the nibs can be rough. However, once you break them in, they can glide smoothly. They are not very scratchy and I did not have any issues about the tips collecting fibers.
You do need to get used to dipping the nibs in ink if you are a beginner. Anyway, they can dispense ink evenly. If you are making thin strokes, a light pressure will do. If you want a wider line or thicker strokes, press them down more. They also have chrome platings, which make it easier to use these nibs confidently.
These nibs seem to be long-lasting. They have been with me for a long time but they haven’t shown signs of wear and tear yet. They are also easy to clean. You can wash or wipe them, whatever works better for you. They don’t turn rusty easily even with frequent use.
7. LAMY Joy Calligraphy Nib 1.5
At first, this calligraphy nib seems off-putting because of its industrial look. Others might mistake it for a tool or something. However, it serves its function well, so I was able to overlook my initial dislike for its design.
This is a 1.5 calligraphy nib. Get this only if you are looking for nibs that will help you get thicker letterings and better control over your penmanship. It’s really not for everyday writing, so if you are looking for a nib that will help you do just that, this isn’t the right choice for you. I think this is great for making posters or for doing big letterings on cards. You can also use this to write beautiful calligraphy on welcome placards.
Don’t attempt making thin strokes with this nib. It just won’t work for that purpose. I have gone through so many frustrations trying to control it to give me thin strokes. It’s very similar to using chisel tips with markers.
What really drew me to this nib is how smoothly it writes on paper. It’s not scratchy at all. It doesn’t chafe the surface of the paper and collects fibers. It’s not very flexible though. If you are a beginner, you might find this too stiff for your needs. It also requires some breaking in. You need to remove the grease on it using the potato trick as well.
I had a hard time getting the ink to flow at first. You need to press the nibs down hard to make the ink flow. If you are using it for the first time, this is what you should do to break it in.
It’s compatible with most of the pens that I have used. You shouldn’t have problems using it with the pens that you have. Additionally, the nibs are sturdy and can withstand a lot of usage. The stainless-steel material is quite impervious to damage.
8. MyLifeUnit Tachikawa Comic G Nib
You can’t go wrong with Japanese nibs. They are just some of the most durable ones out there. This set has gained a cult following because of how well-designed the nibs are. It comes with three beautiful nibs. They are made from good quality stainless steel that doesn’t get grimy and dull out easily.
These nibs are very pointed. I find them so easy to control. I can easily make thin and thick strokes because of the pointed nibs.
I would suggest heating up the tips for a few seconds with a lighter first. This will allow the nibs to hold more ink. Ever since doing this trick, there haven’t been any issues with the ink. I could write long sentences without pausing to dip the nibs again.
I like how smoothly these nibs write. I can barely feel the nibs scratching the paper. They are not very picky as well when it comes to what kind of paper you can use. I still prefer using thick paper but if you are using low-quality thin paper, they can still work.
Aside from calligraphy, these nibs also work great for drawing and sketching. They can make fine lines and small details because of their pointed tips.
Even without using a lot of pressure, these nibs still write fairly well. They dispense ink evenly and I did not have problems with lines breaking off.
9. Brause Pen Nib 66 Extra Fine Arrow
This is one beautiful nib. If you are looking for extra fine nibs with especially sharp tips, this is a perfect option. It’s not the cheapest single nib out there though. I was initially put off with the price because of how expensive it is but after giving it a go, I can say that it is well worth it.
What I like about this nib is that it doesn’t need any kind of preparation. With other nibs, you still need to stick them in a potato and heat up the tips to ensure it can hold ink. I didn’t do any of that with this nib and it still worked well. It can hold a lot of ink and dispense it evenly, too. I can write continuously and without dealing with big globs of ink coming out of it. It just seems to know how much ink to dispense.
I like this nib because of the flexibility of the tip as well. It’s very beginner-friendly but experts will appreciate the slight softness of the tip as well. It offers me flexibility when it comes to the kinds of strokes I can do. I can easily do thin strokes by just putting a light pressure on it and thick strokes by applying more pressure.
The tips glide so smoothly on paper. It doesn’t have the annoying scratchiness of cheaper nibs, which I appreciate. I think that more than makes up for the price of this nib.
10. LAMY Joy Calligraphy Nib 1.1
I also initially shied away from this nib because of the price. This metal nib can set you back by a few dollars more than the other nibs in this list. Furthermore, it only comes with one nib instead of a set. If you lose it or damage it, you will have to buy another one.
On the other hand, it delivers a lot of benefits. First, this nib has a utilitarian look. It’s a very versatile nib that can do various strokes. There are different types you can get. It comes with extra fine, fine, medium, broad, left-handed and oblique medium nibs, to name a few. Just choose the one that you think would be a great fit for your needs.
It fits the pens I am using seamlessly. It has a snug fit, so there are no worries that it will come off when using it. Another reason I like this one is because of how conveniently I can switch nibs. When you need to change it with another nib, you can easily do so.
What to Look for When Buying Calligraphy Nibs
Looking for the right nibs involve taking the following things into consideration:
Style and Type of Pen
Before anything else, you should first consider what type of calligraphy pen you would want to work with because they don’t all use the same nibs. You have three basic pens to choose from. The first one is the dip style calligraphy pens. These typically make use of removable nibs. You just dip the nib in a bottle of ink and then start writing.
The second option is a cartridge calligraphy pen. This kind of pen has a small cartridge filled with ink. It goes inside the pen. It’s not as messy as the dip style pens but it has a limited use. You can only use the cartridges and the ink produced by the same manufacturer of the pen. Additionally, the ink cartridge might not hold a lot of ink, so you do need to refill a lot.
The last is the marker type pens. They can come with replaceable nibs brush or fine-tip nibs. The whole barrel is filled with ink, so you can use the pen for a long time without having to refill. Some of these pens come with refillable ink and replaceable nibs but most of them are disposable. This means you will have to buy the entire set again if you run out of ink.
When buying nibs, make sure you know what will work for the type of pen that you are using. Start from here and it will be easier to find the right one.
Your Skill Level
You should first assess your skill level. Are you just starting out? It makes sense to buy a calligraphy pen nib that is more suitable for your skill level. If you are a beginner and you choose a nib that is more suitable for experts, you might have a hard time controlling it. Pick a nib that is intended for your skill level.
Beginners should look for nibs with a medium flex. As a beginner, you will still have to figure out how much pressure you will put on the nibs. One with a medium flex can accommodate different kinds of pressure, which can prevent you from breaking and damaging different nibs. Additionally, nibs with a medium flex also have more flexible tines. They won’t snag on paper.
Size of the Nib
The size of the nib will determine how much ink it is going to hold. I don’t know about you but I would hate to have to dip in ink all the time or replace cartridges too often. Consider getting a nib that can hold a large ink volume so you can write consistently.
Easy to Use
Some nibs are tricky to use. They might require more pressure and more difficult angles to use. Go for those that are easy to set up and easy to use. Also, you should opt for those that can withstand a good amount of pressure and still be able to provide clean lines and strokes.
Your Font Preference
What font style do you prefer writing with? Different nibs can create different font styles. If you have a preference, go for those nibs that will make it easier for you to create the font you prefer.
What are the nibs made of? See to it that they are made of a strong and durable material that can resist damage. If you expect to use your nibs for a long time, it should be made from high-quality materials. It should be resistant to corrosion if it is made from metal. For instance, nibs that have been coated with titanium or gold tend to be more durable and resistant to corrosion than those that are just made from stainless steel. The kind of material used for the nib will also determine how much flexibility it has. Also check the nib holder insert to see if it’s durable and can hold up well against wear and tear.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What are the Best Calligraphy Nibs?
There is no right or wrong answer to this. What one might consider the best modern calligraphy nibs might not be the best choice for another person. It really boils down to personal preferences.
There are good calligraphy nibs from Nikko G. Many people like them because of how easy they are to use for beginners. They create smooth stroke contrasts. The nibs are quite durable, too. You can also look for reputable nibs from Brause and Leonardt nibs.
How Does a Calligraphy Nib Work?
This depends on the nibs and the type of pen you are using. You typically attach your preferred nib to the pen. If it is a dip-style nib, you need to dip it in ink. The nib will collect the ink and then you can start writing with it. The bigger the nib is, the more ink it can hold. If you are using a small nib, you might need to dip it in ink a lot of times.
Those that use cartridges don’t have to do this. The cartridge will deliver ink to the nibs. Once you start writing on paper, the ink will flow out.
The same happens when using calligraphy markers. It already comes with ink inside, so you just wait for the ink to flow to the nibs.
Nibs are also replaceable. Take them out and replace them with the nibs that you prefer.
Who Is This For?
These are for calligraphy enthusiasts. If you love doing calligraphy for everyday writing or journaling, go ahead and invest in a good set of nibs because they will provide you with beautiful handwriting.
These nibs are also for professionals who get commissioned work on their calligraphy writings. If you do calligraphy for writing invitations or for making signages, you should get yourself a set of trusty nibs.
It can also be for artists. You can also use calligraphy pens for drawing and sketching.
What are the Different Types of Calligraphy Nibs?
Choosing the right calligraphy nibs starts with knowing what types of nibs are out there. They can be categorized into different shapes. There are two basic nib shapes today and they are the italic nib and the point nib.
The italic nibs can come in different sizes but what sets them apart from the point nibs are their blunt edge. These nibs are typically used in creating italic scripts. They are quite difficult to use if you are a beginner because they are not that flexible.
Point nibs, on the other hand, are characterized by their rounded tips. These nibs have two tines that meet at the end to create a point. Because of the split tines, you can create different variations of lines. When they separate, they can create wider lines.
These nibs can also be separated based on their mount sizes. The regular nib has a 9mm diameter while the Maru nib has a 3mm diameter. Take this into consideration to determine whether it will fit the pens that you are using.
Why Do You Need Calligraphy Nibs?
You need calligraphy nibs for doing calligraphy. You can go with calligraphy markers but there’s no equal to using a real calligraphy pen with nibs. You need good quality calligraphy nibs to create clean lines and strokes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Most Trusted Calligraphy Nib Brands?
Nikko and Brause are two recognizable names in the calligraphy nib industry. You can’t go wrong with their nibs. You can also go for other brands such as Trustela and Speedball. There are a lot of good brands that will not break the bank.
How to Prepare Calligraphy Nibs?
New nibs need to be prepared. If you have a new nib, I suggest sticking it in a potato first. Push the nib down in the potato until half of it is covered. Use a gentle pressure to push the nib in. Let it sit there for about 15 minutes. After that, remove it and then wipe it clean. This will also work when trying to remove oily residues from the nibs.
If your nibs don’t hold a lot of ink and you need to constantly dip them in ink, you would want to heat up the tips first with fire. Do this for just a few seconds and it will set the tips.
Are Speedball Nibs Good?
Speedball nibs are good. What is great about them is that they come in sets that will give you more flexibility when it comes to what kind of calligraphy work you can do. Many are great for first-time users, so if you are a beginner and you want to invest in a good nib set, you can set your eyes on the ones from Speedball.
How Long Does a Calligraphy Nib Last?
A good set of calligraphy nibs can last you for up to 40 applications. If you are using a cheap one, you should be able to get up to 20 uses from it. It depends on a lot of things though such as how you use it. If you take good care of your nibs and you store them properly, you can get more use out of them. Most nibs can last for a long time as long as you take care of them. If you remove the excess ink after using them, your nibs shouldn’t become rusty.
How Do You Use Different Calligraphy Nibs?
Choose the nib that you want to work with. Thin and sharp nibs will make thin lines while nibs with flat tips will create thick lines. Once you have chosen the nib you want to work with, attach it to your pen. Usually, it will fit seamlessly but there are instances when the nibs will not fit, so make sure you check the specifications on the nibs first before using them. They might not be compatible with the pens you are using.
Some nibs might require preparation. You might need to stick them in a potato first and leave them there for a few minutes to remove the grease. Wipe them clean. You might also need to use a lighter to heat up the tips. This trick makes it easier for the nibs to hold ink. If you do this, they will hold more ink and you won’t have to keep on dipping them in the ink.
Start building your calligraphy arsenal. Look for the best calligraphy nibs that you will be able to use regularly. Pick the style of nibs that suits your lettering style. Experiment with different kinds of nibs so you can figure out what your style is.