Calligraphy pens are the key to beautiful lettering.
Calligraphy is a beautiful art that requires very little in the way of tools but that gives amazing and decorative results by forming beautiful symbols and lettering by inscribing them using ink and a special calligraphy pen.
It’s a delicate art which requires patience and precision, and the better the calligraphy pen — the better the end result will be.
Let’s find out more about these beautiful instruments…
- 1 What are Calligraphy Pens?
- 2 What Makes a Good Calligraphy Pen?
- 3 Best Calligraphy Pen Brands
- 4 Best Calligraphy Pens
- 4.1 Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen 2 Pens Set
- 4.2 Zig Memory System Calligraphy Markers
- 4.3 Faber-Castel PITT Calligraphy Pens Chisel Tip
- 4.4 Pilot Parallel Pen 2-Color Calligraphy Pen Set
- 4.5 Speedball Calligraphy Set
- 4.6 Speedball Oblique Pen Set
- 4.7 Sakura 38062 8-Piece Pigma Assorted Colors Brush Pen Set
What are Calligraphy Pens?
Essentially calligraphy pens are like a fountain pen that can either be dipped into a pot of ink or can be used with ink cartridges.
Calligraphy pens have different nibs to create different styles of script. Some pens have one dedicated nib whilst others feature interchangeable nibs.
Brush pens feature a soft nib like a brush made from either synthetic or natural hair or felt.
Recently a variety of calligraphy markers have also become available which are cheap and easy to use, and give yet another artistic style.
>>> Read our complete guide to calligraphy
What Makes a Good Calligraphy Pen?
Finding the perfect calligraphy pen can be tricky — especially for beginners with so many different kinds of pen to choose from . So what should you be looking for in a good calligraphy pen?
One of the most important criteria when it comes to choosing the right calligraphy pen is comfort.
Calligraphers spend many hours practicing and holding their pen, so it’s vital to have a pen with a handle that is comfortable to hold over long periods of time.
A calligraphy pen with an ergonomically shaped handle, or a handle made from a slightly soft handle that is easy to grip is a good choice.
Lighter calligraphy pens are also easier to hold and work with than heavier pens.
Another point to consider is whether to choose a cartridge calligraphy pen or the traditional dip nib style. Each type has its own advantages and drawbacks.
Calligraphy pens that use in cartridges are more convenient and less messy to use, and as a result may be better for beginners.
On the other hand, dip calligraphy pens offer more freedom and versatility when it comes to nib and ink choice. Choosing between the two types is really down to personal preference.
Here’s a look at dip pen calligraphy:
Nibs are what dictate the final look and style of the calligraphy script, and there is a large selection to choose from.
Nibs tend to fall into two different categories; italic nibs which have a flat, straight edge and are ideal for italic and gothic script styles, and flex nibs which as the name suggests offer more flexibility when it comes to style.
They are made up of two rounded points which separate when pressure is applied, which in turn changes the width of the line that is produced on the paper.
As a general rule, an italic nib is more appropriate for dramatic script styles, whilst flex nibs are delicate and a little more elegant.
Best Calligraphy Pen Brands
There are an overwhelming number of calligraphy pen brands, but not all are made equal.
Well known brands such as the Parallel series by Pilot, Rotring, Scheafer and Speedball offer some good models, and Japanese calligraphy pen brands including Tachikawa G and Tombow also have a good range of quality products.
Best Calligraphy Pens
Here are our top picks of the best calligraphy pens for you to get your hands on right now.
Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen 2 Pens Set
The nib of the Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens offer a great deal of flexibility when it comes to script style.
Light and easy to use, these calligraphy pens use black water based inks with a flexible brush nib, and the pair includes one hard tip and one soft tip to give greater range when creating extra fine to medium strokes.
Very affordable and easy to use — these Tombow pens are perfect for beginners.
- Easy to use
- Good for beginners who are learning
- Flexible brush tip gives precision strokes
- Ink runs very smoothly
- Works well for Chinese and Japanese lettering
- Gives good contrast between up and down strokes
- Not refillable — once the ink has run out it is necessary to replace the entire pen
Zig Memory System Calligraphy Markers
A great set of calligraphy markers with 8 different colors to choose from, and the colors can be mixed to create color gradients to add an extra dimension to your script.
Each pen has a fine 2 mm chisel shaped tip at one end and a wider 5 mm chisel shaped nib at the other to allow for a variation in line style and thickness.
The waterproof, permanent pigment ink won’t smudge, fade in sunlight, or bleed. Plus, it’s acid free!
- High quality calligraphy pens
- Colors can be easily blended
- Colors are vibrant
- Nib choice gives flexibility
- Ink writes smoothly
- Nibs can sometimes be dry
- Could have more colors in the range
Faber-Castel PITT Calligraphy Pens Chisel Tip
Each pen in this pack of three Faber-Castel PITT Chisel Tip Calligraphy Pens has a 2.5 mm fine tip charged with permanent fine India black ink which won’t smear or stain.
The marker style flat, chisel shaped tip has a sharp angled edge which allows for creating fine lines and works well with italics.
These pens are very light and fast although easy enough to handle for beginners.
- Pens give a clean, crisp line
- Simple enough to use for beginners
- Good value for money
- Pack contains helpful tips on how the pens should be used
- Ink doesn’t run or smudge
- Ink can run out quickly
- Basic design is best for simple calligraphy styles
Pilot Parallel Pen 2-Color Calligraphy Pen Set
This well priced calligraphy pen set from Pilot boasts interchangeable red and black ink cartridges which can produce some interesting color effects when flowing from one color to the other.
The chisel shaped 2.4 mm nib is blunt and is especially good for creating curved lines. The set also contains a nib cleaner to keep your calligraphy pen in top working order.
Again, the great price and relative ease of use makes this a great calligraphy pen set for beginners.
- Excellent affordable price
- Color blending is easy
- Additional cartridges are easily available
- Pen is available with four different sizes of nib to suit your style
- Comes with handy instructions
- Simple to set up and use
- Set is very portable for when you’re on the move
- Ink cartridges are a little small
- Some users have trouble inserting the cartridges
Speedball Calligraphy Set
A great set for calligraphy beginners, the Speedball Calligraphy Set features a dip pen with a smooth and lightweight plastic handle and three nibs with different widths which have a special ink reservoir that keep ink flowing effortlessly.
Provided is also a good sized jar of permanent black ink to give novices everything they need to get started on their calligraphy projects easily.
This is a really good set for people wanting to transform from cartridge pens to dip pen calligraphy.
- Comfortable handle
- A good choice for beginners
- Good quality set in regard to price
- Range of three nibs allows for greater versatility
- Instructions could be clearer
- Jar of ink can sometimes leak — be careful!
Speedball Oblique Pen Set
One of the most popular oblique calligraphy pens on the market, the pen in the Speedball Oblique Pen Set has a specially shaped handle which holds one of the six different provided nibs at an oblique angle to make writing curved lettering and scripts even easier without putting strain on the wrists.
This design also makes it much easier to successfully achieve gradients and shading.
- Ideal for learning Copperplate and other scripts without making a big investment
- Easy to use and maintain
- Reasonable price
- Handle and nibs are well made
- Good for beginners
- Angle of nib cannot be adjusted
Sakura 38062 8-Piece Pigma Assorted Colors Brush Pen Set
With eight quality pigma ink brush markers in different bold tints, the Sakura 38062 8-Piece Pigma Assorted Colors Brush Pen Set is an excellent choice for calligraphers who want to inject a bit of color into their work.
The brush tip is fine and flexible and responds well with pressure to create a wide variety of clean, flowing lines. These brush calligraphy pens are ideal for both script and drawing.
- Good quality ink gives intense color
- Simple to use and control
- Brush tip is elastic yet durable
- Ink flows well but does not bleed
- Brush tip can feather over time if too much pressure is applied
And those are our favorite calligraphy pens and calligraphy pen sets!
Which is your pick?