Calligraphy is the art of creating beautiful lettering and symbols, and since its ancient beginnings, it’s been used by various cultures around the world. It’s widely seen on wedding invitations, certificates and plaques, and more recently in marketing collateral and advertisements. Modern calligraphy is growing in popularity, and as such, so is the variety of pens and tools on offer.
Good calligraphy requires great precision, so you’re going to create ornate lettering you’re going to need the right tools for the job. In this article we’re covering the best pens for calligraphy.
Daveliou’s Calligraphy Pen Set are some of the best calligraphy dip pens on the market.
- +Well balanced pen holders
- +A wide variety of nibs
- +Ink is high-quality
- -Hard to change nibs on glass pen
- 2 straight dip pens
- 12 stainless steel nibs
- 5 non-toxic colored inks
- Presentation box
Daveliou delivers some of the best quality calligraphy pens with this kit, and it gives you everything you need to test out your creativity. There’s even a pamphlet included to help the user get to grips with various types of script.
The kit includes two beautiful straight dip pens. One is made of glass and the other of birch wood, and both have great balance which makes them a pleasure to work with.
The 12 chisel tip and specialist nib selection are made from stainless steel tipped with iridium alloy to protect them from wear and tear. Each nib is robust, long lasting, and delivers a smooth finish.
Five colored inks make the perfect foundation for your calligraphy kit. The ink is free of toxic soluble dyes, which will keep your artwork looking fresh and crisp for longer.
We like that the entire kit is presented in a beautifully ornate case that harks back to the origins of this traditional craft. The only issue with this set is that it can be tricky to change the nibs on the glass pen.
This Antique Feather Writing Quill Pen offers a traditional take on calligraphy kits and would make a beautiful gift.
- +Professional standard construction
- +Elegant antique-style design
- +Includes gold color sealing wax
For handcrafted elegance, look no further than this beautiful pen set.
Although the dip pen’s copper stem looks antique, it’s actually constructed to a modern, professional standard that feels as good to use as it will look sitting on your desk in the included ornate stand. The pen’s crowning glory is clearly the traditional feather, which is said to be 100% real.
The six stainless steel nibs cover various sizes and techniques, and they function well even when used with fairly high pressure. Ink flows smoothly from each nib, creating smooth, even script.
There is one bottle of black ink included in the kit, as well as a gold color sealing wax which is a beautiful touch to this luxurious calligraphy kit.
The entire case comes in a very pretty presentation case which is also handy for transporting the pens. There’s also a guide to lettering, which is handy if you or the recipient of your gift is just starting out.
The price is the only clear downside of this lovely set, but it must also be noted that the feather will require lots of care and attention if you don’t want it to get tatty after a few uses.
Pilot’s Parallel flat nib pens are the best modern calligraphy pens for beginners
- +Easy to use
- +Incredibly clear and sharp text
- +Capable of two inks flowing at once
- -A smaller nib size would be nice
The price, ease of use, and quality makes this set the best calligraphy pens for beginners and hobbyists alike.
This particular set comes with four pens but you can buy a two pack or individual packs if you prefer. The four pens vary in thickness between 1.5 mm and 6 mm and each one features a unique parallel plate which Pilot claims will produce clearer, sharper text than any other pen.
We don’t know about that, but text is certainly beautifully clear and even novices will find it easy to create accurate, elegant script with this kit.
Each refillable pen comes with a black and a red ink cartridge so there’s no danger of creating a mess like there is when using dip pens. The cool thing about these Pilot pens is that each one is capable of both colored inks flowing from the nib at the same time which creates a beautiful graduated effect.
You might find that even the smallest nib size is too big for some projects, and this is the only downside of this set. Other than that we love everything about this set.
If you’re looking for a Calligraphy Pen Set to cover every eventuality, this one from Staedtler can’t be beaten for the price.
- +Plenty of ink supplied
- +Good selection of nibs
- +Makes an attractive gift
- -Not very robust
This 33-piece calligraphy set covers every need you could possibly think of.
There are 20 ink cartridges included which cover seven different colors. Ink is 20% water-based and as is supplied in cartridges via a pump so there is minimal chances of leakage.
There are five nibs of various shapes and sizes covering everything from extra fine to extra broad. Each nib can be used with any of the four marble-look pens so you can have your most used nibs and ink colors loaded and ready to go.
There’s also an instruction book and practice pad included which is a nice touch if you’re just getting started with calligraphy.
The set comes stored in a nice tin, so this attractive kit would make a great gift. The pens aren’t the most robust, though, so be aware that they probably won’t last forever.
Zig’s Memory System Calligraphy Markers are the best calligraphy markers for beginners.
- +Versatile and uncomplicated to use
- +Dual chisel tips
- +Ink is durable and acid-free
- - Nibs can dry out
Markers tend to be easier to use than other calligraphy pens and they’re a lot less complicated to get to grips with. They’re the ideal tool for lettering, borders, and designs.
There are eight markers in various colors, and each one has dual chisel tips which are 2.0 mm and 5.00 mm thick. The colors are can be blended too, so there are plenty of options for getting creative with this kit.
The ink in the markers is permanent, waterproof, and lightfast so you can expect artwork made with these pens to last. Plus, it’s acid-free.
The nibs on these markers can sometimes become dry when they’re not used frequently and the thick chisel tips might be a little heavy for some applications. But, Zig also sells a black 0.45 mm marker separately which would complement this kit nicely.
Sakura’s 38062 8 Piece Pigma Brush Pen Set contains the best brush pens for calligraphy.
- +Colors are bright and bold
- +Fade-resistant, waterproof ink
- +Suitable for painting and scripting
- -Brush pens fray over time
This eight pack of colored brush markers are bright, bold, and are the perfect tools to make your script come alive. There’s also a black pen included for more traditional scripting.
The pens have superb ink flow, and the ink itself is high quality and compatible with most paper. It’s also resistant to fading, and is waterproof.
The brush pens are made from flexible fibers so you can draw, write, and paint with them, and the results are free of bleeding and smearing with most paper.
The only drawback of this kit is that brush pens tend to feather over time which can ruin the crispness of your work. But, these pens are very reasonably priced so if this happens it’s not the end of the world to replace them.
The Oblique Pen Set from Speedball is the best calligraphy pen for comfort.
- +Oblique angle is comfortable to use
- +Perfect for Spenserian and copperplate script
- +Great price
- -Doesn’t come with ink
The unique handle of this calligraphy pen is what helps it stand out above the competition, and it is a great purchase for beginners and experienced artists alike. The way that the nib sits in the handle caters perfectly to the wrist position that scripts such as Spenserian and copperplate require, and it helps with creating the curves and details that make calligraphy the beautiful thing that it is. The design is equally well suited to left and right-hand usage and feels comfortable even during long drawing sessions.
This kit comes with six different nibs which is impressive considering the price. There’s no ink supplied though, which is the only minor drawback of this kit.
If you’re a beginner to dip pen calligraphy, this Basic Calligraphy Set from Speedball is the best option for you.
- +Lightweight pen holder
- +Good range of nib sizes
- +Ink flows well
- -Nibs can scratch paper
This pen set is great for beginners and artists on a budget. Novices will love the lightness of the plastic handle, and most will find it much easier to use than heavier, bulkier pens.
The size range of the nibs in the kit gives you plenty of options to play with, and they are ideal for Roman, fine, and italic lettering.
The reservoirs within the six nibs keep the ink flowing smoothly and effortlessly.
There’s no ink included with this kit, so if you’re unsure what to buy we recommend you go with one of the options recommended in the introduction to this article. You might also notice some scratching on your page with one or two of these nibs, but once you’re over the learning curve we think you’ll really enjoy using this kit.
These Fude Touch Sign Pens from Pentel are a great option if you’re looking for a smaller size brush pen.
- +Various nib sizes provide versatility
- +Ink flow is well controlled
- +Firm tips make accurate upstrokes easy
- -Seasoned artists might not be satisfied
The pack of three comes with medium, fine, and extra fine nibs for various script applications, and you can do pretty much anything with this versatile kit.
Ink flow is nicely controlled to avoid creating a mess, which is a great feature for novices who might not want to contend with the potential steep learning curve of dip pens.
The tips of the pens are fairly firm so it’s easier to create the thin upstrokes used in calligraphy scripts with control and accuracy.
There aren’t really any negative points for these pens, other than experienced artists might like a little more variety from their calligraphy kit.
Tombow’s Fudenosuke Brush Pen Set is the best budget calligraphy kit on the market.
- +Soft and hard tips give great variety
- +Pens are lightweight
- +Pigmented ink creates strong lines
- -Ink isn’t refillable
This hugely popular set of two pens is the perfect starting point for beginners, or a handy day to day solution for more experienced artists.
The kit contains one soft and hard tip pen for different script styles and applications, and you’re able to create extra-fine, fine, or medium strokes simply by changing the brush pressure.
The pens themselves are lightweight and easy to handle, which is a real perk for beginners just getting to grips with calligraphy.
The water-based pigmented black ink delivers smooth and crisp lines that are long-lasting, and it won’t stain clothes which makes them a good option for children as well as adults.
These pens aren’t refillable so when they’re empty you’ll have to replace them. But considering the price, that’s not really an issue.
What Tools are used for Calligraphy?
There are several types of pens to consider for calligraphy:
- Dip pens – Used with a pot of ink, this is the traditional calligraphy tool used for modern and ancient script.
- Brush pens – These tend to be cheaper and easier for beginners to get to grips with.
- Fountain pens – Nibs don’t tend to be flexible and so can’t manage both thick and thin lines. As a result, this option is preferred for penmanship.
- Flat nib – Great for Gothic, italics, Roman capitals, and more.
Nibs come in a huge variety of widths and shapes for different applications and it’s a good idea to have a selection on hand to work with. Every kit we feature on this list includes multiple nibs for this reason.
Many kits come with ink but when it comes to buying extra we recommend Speedball India Ink because it’s easy to work with and is waterproof when dry. Sumi Ink is also an excellent choice and it has a flat, shine-free finish to it (Speedball’s ink dries with a shine to it). If you’re using a cartridge pen, refills can be purchased from the pen’s manufacturer. The Postman Knocks has lots of great advice on inks if you’d like to do some further reading.
You’ll also need to invest in some decent paper to work with. Lettering Daily suggests that whatever you use needs to be bleed-proof to handle all the ink you’re putting into it, and that you should choose something nice and thick for final projects to avoid wrinkling.
You’ll also need a ruler, a pencil, and an eraser to create parallel lines to guide your lettering.
How to Choose Calligraphy Pens
Comfort – Look for ergonomic handles, and if your hands are small it’s wise to look for lightweight options.
Cartridge vs dip – Cartridges are less messy and are better for beginners, but dip gives more flexibility in ink and nib choice.
Nib – Flex nibs are more delicate and elegant, and italic nibs are better for dramatic script.
If you’re looking to give dip pens a try, the Oblique Pen Set from Speedball is our favorite. The angle of the nib makes scripting comfortable and helps create professional standard curves and flourishes. For variety and ease of use, Zig’s Memory System Calligraphy Markers is the ultimate starter kit. Beginners will love how easy the markers are to use, and the dual tips give plenty of creative flexibility. For a budget calligraphy pen kit, Tombow’s Fudenosuke Brush Pen Set is astoundingly good value for money and is the perfect pair of pens for calligraphy practice.
Which calligraphy kit do you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments.