How to write with a calligraphy fountain pen

How to write with a calligraphy fountain pen
How to write with a calligraphy fountain pen

Calligraphy is a style of writing that has been used for millennia by many different cultures around the world. Whether you are an artist, a writer, or just a hobbyist, learning to write with a calligraphy quill is both helpful and satisfying.


Part 1 of 3: choosing a calligraphy instrument

Write With a Calligraphy Pen Step 1

Step 1. Learn what the different types are

There are four main types of calligraphy instruments. Each requires a different type of ink. Ink is one of the most important elements in having beautiful calligraphy. The choice of the nib is very personal, as the ink used should be suitable for calligraphy, the pen should be comfortable to hold, and you should be comfortable when writing with it. There are four categories of tools considered suitable for calligraphy.

  • Calligraphy markers are useful for beginners because they are inexpensive and easy to use, and do not require ink preparation before use. However, they tend to dry out quickly and their ink can penetrate the paper and stain the surface you are working on. These markers are useful for practicing, but they should not be used for important documents or works of art.
  • Fountain pens are often used by intermediate to advanced calligraphers. They have a removable nib and an ink cartridge that can be replaced. The ink flows into the nib to be deposited on the paper through a slit in the tip.
  • Pen holders are generally used by calligraphers with a lot of experience, but with patience and practice beginners can use them as well. A pen holder is a handle in which a nib (usually metal) is inserted with a small slot and a hollow ink reservoir. The calligrapher holds the writing handle and the ink reservoir feeds the nib through the slit. Some tanks are under the pen while others are on it. They contain a small quantity of ink allowing to draw several lines or letters before having to reload the nib.
  • Brush pens have a thin tip (usually 6-20mm in width) with nylon or sable bristles. The hair should be short and stiff in order to be able to control the features well. You have to dip the brush in the ink to write with it. Practicing calligraphy with a square brush is different from using a metal nib, as the brush pen gives thicker strokes when pressed and produces a striped or irregular effect when it starts to run out. ink. These tools are messy for beginners and can be more difficult to use than a felt tip pen or fountain pen.
Write With a Calligraphy Pen Step 2

Step 2. Try one or two pens

You may have to try several calligraphy instruments before you find the one you prefer. Take two different tools (for example, a calligraphy marker and a fountain pen) to see the effect produced by each.

  • You could also narrow down the range of choices by deciding if you mind the messy writing process and how easy you want the job to be. For example, to use a brush pen, you must prepare the ink and constantly dip the brush in it to write. However, it could produce more elegant strokes than a felt pen, which does not require any preparation, but can produce less regular strokes.
  • If you hesitate between a fountain pen and a nib holder, know that a nib holder allows you to choose from a wider range of nibs, inks and handles. However, it can be messier and more difficult to control than a fountain pen, which is less messy and easier to use because you don't need to prepare the ink before writing. However, fountain pens limit you to certain types of nibs and inks and are less flexible than brush or pen holder tips when you write with them.
Write With a Calligraphy Pen Step 3

Step 3. Buy ink

If you use a nib holder or a brush pen, you need to buy ink. Take calligraphy ink, not fountain pen ink. The calligraphy is more viscous and adheres better to the nib, which allows it to be better controlled while writing.

Look for an ink that is thick, such as liquid India ink or sticks. Avoid inks that contain shellac, as it dries quickly and can damage your nib or brush. Many brush pens and nib holders come with ink and a tip

Write With a Calligraphy Pen Step 4

Step 4. Purchase fountain pen ink

Many fountain pens are sold with cartridges and tips recommended by the manufacturer. When you start out, start by following the manufacturer's recommendations.

  • Some pens may also have a converter that allows you to use different types of ink once you get used to the one made for fountain pens. This ink is liquid and not very viscous to avoid clogging the nib when you write. On the other hand, the tip of a fountain pen is stiffer than that of a nib holder or brush, which makes it less flexible when you write.
  • Others may be piston. They have an internal converter, so you can dip the pen in ink and it will literally suck it up and send it to the “cartridge”. If you have a plunger pen, you don't have to buy a converter or ink cartridges.

Step 5. Choose a mouthpiece

Fountain pens, nib holders, and brushes have a tip that holds the ink and allows you to use it for writing. Contrary to popular belief, it is not recommended to dip the nib directly into an ink bottle, as this produces smudges and it is impossible to properly control the output of the ink. Invest in a good feather. There are two types.

  • Italic nibs are typically used for writing styles like Gothic or Italic calligraphy. They have a point cut in a straight line and are rigid, which means that you cannot alter the strokes obtained when you write.
  • Flexible feathers have a rounded end separated into two tips by a slit. The farther apart these points are, the thicker the line drawn. You have to press more or less hard when writing to control the spacing of the tips in order to draw more or less fine lines.

Part 2 of 3: load ink into the instrument and choose paper

Step 1. Load the fountain pen

If you have chosen this tool, equip it with an ink cartridge. The pen is made up of three parts: the cap, the nib and the handle. You must equip the nib with a cartridge to supply it with ink.

  • Remove the cap then separate the handle from the nozzle by unscrewing it clockwise.
  • Attach the cartridge to the nib by pushing it firmly on the blunt end. You will hear a small click when the cartridge is properly inserted.
  • When you have some calligraphy experience, you will be able to switch from ink cartridges to vial for your fountain pen.
Write With a Calligraphy Pen Step 7

Step 2. Load the nib holder or brush pen

Use a dropper to put ink in the reservoir. The operation of these calligraphy tools means that the tank must be recharged after drawing a few letters or words.

  • Hold the handle horizontally in your dominant hand.
  • Use the other hand to dip a dropper into the ink and take a few drops.
  • Transfer the ink from the dropper to the reservoir of the instrument. Continue to hold it horizontally to avoid getting ink stains on your hands or sheet of paper.
  • Place the dropper on a saucer next to the ink bottle. You will need to refill the reservoir after using the brush pen or nib holder for a few minutes.
  • Test the ink output on a scrap piece of paper before practicing calligraphy on your main sheet.
Write With a Calligraphy Pen Step 8

Step 3. Use fountain pen paper

If you write on poor quality thin paper, such as printer paper, the ink will smudge onto the sheet and may spoil your writing. Look for paper suitable for fountain pens at an art supply store.

  • Most papers suitable for fountain pens are thicker and of better quality than other types to prevent the ink from smearing or forming irregular lines.
  • If you are new to calligraphy, it may be helpful to practice your study sheets with lines and margins. You can download this template and print it on heavy paper. This will help you get used to the practice of calligraphy by writing using visual guides. With experience, you will be able to do calligraphy without a guide.

Part 3 of 3: practicing drawing basic lines

Step 1. Use an inclined stand

It is recommended for brush pens and nib holders. These tools work well on an inclined surface, such as a sloping desk, easel, or even a board resting on your lap and leaning against the edge of a table.

  • Always use a stable stand that cannot slide or move. Also adjust the height of your seat so that it is at a comfortable height from the surface you are writing on.
  • Keep the ink bottle and dropper within reach of your non-dominant hand so that the tool reservoir can be easily refilled. Take a small saucer on which you can rest your brush if you have to leave your work surface. This will prevent ink stains from getting on the paper or your hands.
Write With a Calligraphy Pen Step 10

Step 2. Attach the paper to the backing

Use masking tape or pliers to hold the paper flat on the work surface. If it slips or moves, you may get smudges or irregular lines when working on calligraphy.

  • If you are using a study sheet with lines, you could lay it on another thick sheet to prevent the ink from going through the paper and staining your media.
  • It might also be wise to place a sheet of blotting paper under the hand you are using to write on to prevent the oils from your skin being absorbed into the paper or mixing with the ink.

Step 3. Draw a single line down

Hold your calligraphy instrument horizontally on the highest line of the sheet. The tip is then at an angle of 0 °. Keep the tip flat on the paper in a vertical downward motion. Maintain steady pressure. You should get a stroke as wide as possible with your pen.

  • To get the thinnest line possible, slide the pen across the paper in a horizontal line from left to right. Draw thick vertical lines and thin horizontal lines in squares to help you determine the pressure needed to achieve more or less thin or thick lines with your instrument.
  • Write using the movements with the arm rather than the wrist. Your arm will thus remain stable and your writing will be fluid.

Step 4. Line up

Adjust the position of the pen so that it is held at a 45 ° angle. Use the squares you have drawn as guides. Since 45 ° is halfway between 0 and 90 °, position the tip of the pen parallel to the diagonal of one of the squares. Practice drawing upward lines while holding the tool at 45 °. Start on the bottom line and work your way up with the pen.

Apply different pressure for each stroke. The harder you press, the thicker the lines will be. To obtain finer lines, press less hard on the feather while carrying out the movements upwards

Step 5. Draw zigzags

Use the lines on the sheet to draw a zigzag line to learn how to hold the pen at the correct angle. Keep it at a 45 ° angle.

  • Draw slanted lines thin up and thick down. You will get a zigzag pattern. At three stroke intervals, lift the feather and draw one line down and then up.
  • Practice making this zigzag pattern all over a sheet.

Step 6. Work on different styles of writing

Use study sheets to practice. Practice drawing squares and simple lines until you have mastered them before you start writing letters and words with your calligraphy instrument.

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