Knowing what to choose when there are so many different nibs and inks to choose from can be confusing.
For modern calligraphy you need a pointed nib, sometimes called a drawing nib. Avoid broad edged nibs with a wide flat end, as they are for traditional calligraphy. Universal Pen Holders
The name universal means that it will hold any nib, so this is what to look for. We have given you a universal holder with a straight handle. You can get oblique too, the one with the bend in the image above. We will come to those in a later issue. There are also cork handled ones, which are great if you find your fingers are hurting from gripping the pen.
There are many different types of ink, and as we work through the course we will show you how to work with colours, metallics, paints and brush pens. The key to which ink to buy is to look for pigmented inks rather that dye based inks, as they won’t bleed or feather as you work.
When you’re a beginner, a medium flex pointed nib is perfect. That’s because it copes well if you apply too much or too little pressure. You can make the nice contrasts between the thick and thin lines that make calligraphy so pretty.
Medium flex nibs can handle a great deal of pressure before they break, which is good news while you are working out how hard to press. The tines don’t catch on paper as much as more flexible calligraphy nibs. Finally, because it’s large, it holds a lot of ink, which means you won’t need to dip as much as with other nibs. Because of all this, the Leonardt 30 needs a bit of welly to get a nice down stroke. It can take it, so make sure you press down enough for the tines to open up. The wider they splay, the thicker the line you make.
What does flex mean?
The flex of a nib means how flexible the nib is. The more flexible the nib, the more pronounced the contrast between thin upstrokes and thick downstrokes are. More flexible nibs are more challenging to use, as they hold less ink and can scratch as you work.
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Pointed nibs can vary hugely, from the most delicate, flexible ones; to firm and robust. Watch Kirsten show you her selection of these calligraphy essentials on our YouTube channel. Her video lays out these 4 things you need to start calligraphy.