The Best Calligraphy Pens 2017

best calligraphy pens

Many people tend to think that calligraphy is a dying form of art, but others myself included beg to differ.

Although the technology is growing making the art of calligraphy a bit uncommon, the elegance of beautifully written words makes it adorable. It is so simple, one requires only a nib and ink to transform words and letters into work of art.

With the right tools, practice and patience, you do not have to be a professional to take your writing from mundane to spectacular. However, there are many options and variations in the market which makes it difficult to select the different nibs and styles.

For those who are not familiar, there are three simple components which include:

  • pen nib
  • pen handle
  • calligraphy ink.

The nib is the piece that is responsible for regulating ink flow. Nibs come in different sizes and produce different results. Varying types of nibs are used to change the look and style of the calligraphy.

The nib is attached and fixed to the pen handle also known as the shaft. Calligraphy ink was traditionally not part of the pen but with the new pens in the market which already contain ink such as felt tip calligraphy pens makes it an important component.

Calligraphy pen choice tips

Since a good calligraphy mainly depends on the type of pen used, it is important to have a clue on what you want to purchase. First you must consider what is more important.

Are you looking for a calligraphy pen that is easy to pack and travel with? Or are you looking for a simple pen to start practicing with. Your skill level should also be considered when choosing calligraphy pen . Are you a professional or expert calligrapher? Or are you a beginner.You can consider the following when choosing a good calligraphy pen.

Pen style

Unlike the traditional calligraphy which was done with the pen and ink being separate, modern calligraphy has inserted ink cartridges that make writing a lot easier.

Using a traditional dip pen has an advantage since it allows more freedom in choosing nibs, inks and holders, though they tend to be more temperamental and messy. Oblique holders and straight holders can be chosen depending on the versatility in writing the angles. On the other hand cartridges-filled pens are much cleaner and convenient especially if you do not want to have a bunch

The perfect nib

The term’ nib’ on a calligraphy pen refers to the tip of the pen where the pen meets the paper and ink is released. Nibs come in different styles and sizes.

You must look at the style of calligraphy you want to accomplish when determining the type of nibs. There two main types of nibs namely the italic nibs and the flex nibs.

Italic nibs usually have a blunt edge and are great for Gothic and italic looks.

Flex nibs on the other hand are rounded with two spikes that meet at a point, and their line variation coming from the spikes ability to split.

The tines separate when one applies pressure during writing with the technique mostly being used in modern and pointed pen calligraphy. Flex nibs are perfect for a more elegant, traditional calligraphy style.

Comfortable Handle:

Though practice makes perfect, no one wants to go through the horror of practicing calligraphy with uncomfortable pen. So you need to make sure that your pen grip is covered with a soft and firm material that allows your comfort while keeping your hands steady. Light pens are good for beginners as opposed to those with more weight.

Ink and paper

When using cartridge filled pens, it is good to use the recommended ink by the manufacturer. Although some may come with converters which you can feel with other inks, you should be careful on the ink you feel them with or risk clogging the nib and destroying it.

Some calligraphy inks come with chunks of glitter and different colors which can add dimension and texture to your calligraphy.

Calligraphy pens usually dispense more ink onto paper, so low quality papers should be avoided. Your choice should be on something that is of higher quality and can hold ink better and not feather all over the place. Fountain pen friendly papers are the most suitable for calligraphy.

Recommended calligraphy pens

1. Oblique Calligraphy pen

This is my favorite pen to use, and is easier to navigate with. Though the oblique looks complicated and many people tend to avoid it, I would suggest you check the tutorials and try it. It is good for slanted and/ or flourishy calligraphy.

  • It produces beautiful and delicate looking results
  • Has razor thin lines and thick downstrokes
  • Once you get the hang of it… becomes easy to use
  • it is the perfect pen for slanted and angled calligraphy


  • They are just a share of learning curve
  • The tip of the pen tends to come into contact with the hand when writing compared to other pens
  • Writing in print using this pen is very difficult

2. Pilot parallel pen

Starting a project with a strong dose of confidence and a bit of blind courage is always good. This philosophy goes hand in hand with the pilot parallel pens for beginners. The pen is light, easily grip able and comes with multiple ink cartridges, but the added features are not close to the cool parallel plate nibs.

The pen has two parallel plates which enable writers to have precision and sharpness while writing. The ink that is included with the purchase of the pen leaves little to be desired in the way of bleeding and feathering, they are easily replaceable and super simple to load. With its comfortable, lightweight body, smooth glide, and versatility, it’s easy to see why the Pilot Parallel Pen is a first pick for even the most advanced calligraphers.


  • It is simple and can be used by anyone
  • There is minimum risk of mess when using the pen
  • One can create this type of calligraphy using any pen


  • Getting delicate-looking calligraphy using this pen is impossible

3. Kuretake Tegami Refillable Letter Pen

It is seen as a simple version of the oblique calligraphy pen. It has a slanted cursive look compared to the oblique. However, it is easier to get the a good angle with the oblique calligraphy pen. Straight calligraphy pen is excellent when writing curves that are more up and down and writing in print rather that skewed drawings.Advantages

  • Can be used in variety of styles
  • A good pen for beginners
  • You can use the pen in a variety of style
  • Are good when used to draw lines and non-angled fonts


  • It does have a learning curve just like the oblique calligraphy pen
  • It is difficult to produce angled calligraphy using this pen

4. The Cartridge pen

This was one of the first pens I purchased when I decided on learning calligraphy. Being a cartridge pen, I thought that I could just put input the cartridge, let the ink flow and then write. But I was wrong and it took me a full ten minutes to get this pen to write. I tried a few techniques such as sucking on the nob (which helped the ink come out but was messy in my lips) and tapping the nib impatiently against a hard surface (which led to the destruction of the nib). In short, do not try any of these techniques but instead just practice patience.


  • Has a good ink flow
  • It is a grab and go


  • It can be messy sometimes


At this point, you might think that calligraphy is all about buying a pen. You are right. However, it is not just about buying a pen but the right pen, which you can pull out at any time and it does not disappoint you. I would suggest that you grab pilot parallel or the oblique calligraphy pen which are currently the best in the market. Oblique calligraphy pen is the perfect pen for experienced or professional calligraphers while pilot parallel pen is a good fit for a beginner. The cartridge pen and straight calligraphy pens can also act as a good alternative choice.

About the author

John Thatch

John Thatcher is a computer science educated artist. He uses technology to solve artist problems. His friends don't like it when he speaks of himself in the third person. But John does it anyway, because he's a rebel.

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