Calligraphy is a hobby that requires a lot of patience and a steady hand. It also does not hurt to have the best calligraphy nibs at your disposal. The problem you now must face is how to choose the best from the multitude of brands and types of calligraphy nibs out there.
When talking about calligraphy nibs, it pertains to the removable tips of calligraphy pens. These are the metal writing tips that you need to dip into an inkwell or bottle to load them with ink before you start to write.
Aside from the brand, you will also need to choose which type of nib you want to start using. Having said that, consider your skill level when choosing the most highly-recommended calligraphy nibs for beginners.
Continue reading this calligraphy nibs guide so you will learn how to pick out the perfect set of calligraphy nibs for your new hobby. Keep in mind, though, that you will still need to work on your technique to make full use of your tools.
- Best Calligraphy Nibs Reviews
- 1. Brause Steno Pen NIBs
- 2. Zebra Comic Titanium Pen Nibs
- 3. MyLifeUNIT Tachikawa Comic Pen Nibs
- 4. Tachikawa Nikko G Pen Nibs
- 5. Trustela Office Dip Calligraphy Pen Nibs
- 6. Jinhao Fountain Pen Nibs
- 7. Zonon Comic Pen Nibs
- 8. LAMY Joy Calligraphy Nibs
- 9. Nikko Manga Pen N-Gpen Nibs
- 10. Erofa Kaigelu Fountain Pen Nibs
- What to Look For When Buying a Calligraphy Nibs
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Calligraphy Nibs Reviews
1. Brause Steno Pen NIBs
I find that these nibs are ideal for beginners because they can hold a lot of ink, and yet they are economical when using them. I have used other nibs and this one somehow lets me write four times more in comparison. Because these nibs don’t use quite as much ink, I find that I can get in more practice runs before going in for the final strokes.
You will be getting three nibs in each pack, so you know that you’ll use them for a while. One reason why these are the best nibs for calligraphy is that they are flexible, so making thick downstrokes is easy. However, the nib also bounces back to its original shape immediately after. I am quite heavy-handed and I have yet to damage these nibs.
These modern calligraphy nibs are also great for beginners because they do not have a steep learning curve. I have been using steno pens for quite a while now. These nibs were among the few that I have used that were easy to get used to.
It only took me an hour or so of practice and I already managed to master using it. This makes these nibs the ideal choice for beginners, unlike other nibs that were quite frustrating to learn.
Although these nibs are ideal for beginners, these are also the preferences of several professionals. This is true for those who like doing modern and copperplate styles of calligraphy.
It is so easy to create thick downstrokes but it is also equally as easy to make thin lines. Experienced calligraphers can do all wonderful designs after just a couple of hours of practice.
However, even if I like the nibs, they have some issues. The biggest one for me is that the tines are somewhat crooked right out of the box. I think the batch that I received came from a bad die-cast because all three nibs have slightly bent tines. They were easy to fix, fortunately, but the customer should not be repairing brand new nibs at all.
2. Zebra Comic Titanium Pen Nibs
Although I mainly use stainless steel calligraphy nibs as they tend to corrode a lot less due to being dipped in ink, these titanium nibs from Zebra are also quite nice. Aside from being highly resistant to tarnishing, titanium is also more flexible compared to steel. Also, these titanium nibs are almost ten times more durable than steel.
These nibs are primarily for drawing thin and even lines, so they’re some of the best nibs for copperplate calligraphy. Because of the inherent flexibility of titanium, you can create lots of different light weights with just minimal pressure on the nibs.
Also, since these came in a pack of ten, I can afford to experiment with the limits of line thicknesses I can get with these nibs. I can say that they left quite a good impression.
If you are a beginner at dip pen calligraphy, you will love that these calligraphy dip pen nibs hold a lot of ink and how easy they are to get to start writing. If you are a total beginner, you will like how easy to use this nib is compared to some of the other nibs that I have in my collection. They are quite frustrating to use even for me.
As mentioned earlier, I mainly prefer using stainless steel nibs, mostly because they don’t tarnish. These titanium nibs are also highly resistant to corrosion even when using some of the most corrosive inks. I have been using a couple of nibs from the package for months, one of which I jerry-rigged on a fountain pen and they all still look like new.
Now, here’s what I don’t like about these calligraphy nibs. They are almost impossible to bend back when they get deformed. Although it takes a lot of effort to deform the tines on these nibs, it does happen by accident sometimes.
With steel nibs, I would just bend them back using pliers. Meanwhile, with these nibs, you have to bend them almost to the point of failure to get them back to their original shape.
3. MyLifeUNIT Tachikawa Comic Pen Nibs
This set contains five different nibs that will allow you to create different line weights and types. They do not just come in different sizes but also have varying flexibility. I like using the harder nibs when I am inking my pencil sketches. The flexible ones are also great for outlining and calligraphy.
Speaking of the firmness of the nibs, the harder ones in this set are hard but they are not brittle. I have quite a heavy hand when I am doing calligraphy and I am glad that these nibs are durable enough that I have not broken any of the hard nibs yet. They are firm but still have a bit of flexibility that prevents them from getting too brittle.
These nibs are also among the smoothest writing that I have used so far. Although they have very fine points, they glide over the surface of paper almost effortlessly. Some of the nibs feel like you are using a ballpoint pen. If you are a beginner at using calligraphy nibs, you will discover that the transition to using these pens is quite easy.
What I liked the most about these nibs is that they can create thin lines uniformly and easily. Aside from calligraphy, I also like creating miniature illustrations. I sometimes use these nibs to draw tiny details with the help of a magnifying glass. and I like using one of the nibs in this set because it creates thin and uniform lines.
If you focus mainly on calligraphy, you may not like these nibs that much. Unlike nibs made solely for calligraphy, these are not that flexible. Most of them are constructed for making uniform lines, making them ideal for illustrating.
4. Tachikawa Nikko G Pen Nibs
This is a set that contains two brands of calligraphy nibs and not just any old brands. They are among the best nibs that you can buy right now. The Nikko and Tachikawa G are some of the best nibs for modern calligraphy and the usual choice of professionals. They are also great for beginners as they are easier to control compared to others.
The Nikko nibs work great when you need to write using lots of thin and fine lines. The upstrokes are consistently thin but do not fade out as easily. The downstrokes are also quite thick. You can make them thicker or thinner depending on the amount of pressure you put on the nib.
Unlike the Nikko nib, the Tachikawa writes a lot smoother on any kind of paper. This makes them the ideal choice whenever you want to write smaller letters. You can’t expect them to scratch the paper. The tip will not also get caught on the fibers. I prefer this nib compared to the Nikko because it is much easier to use.
Both these nibs hold a lot of ink, which I needed a bit of time to get used to, especially the Tachikawa. These nibs hold so much ink that, through force of habit, I dip them into the ink bottle too soon and often, leading to inkblots.
Although the Tachikawa nibs are a joy to use, the Nikko nibs are a bit rough to use. Compared to the Tachikawa, it feels like the Nikko nibs are always scratching on the surface of the paper.
5. Trustela Office Dip Calligraphy Pen Nibs
The first time I saw this set of nibs, I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer number of pieces it contained. There are 18 different kinds of nibs in the pack. Each one has a different use. However, only a handful of the nibs are good for calligraphy. The others were more tuned for drawing.
These nibs come in standard sizes, allowing them to fit into all kinds of holders. I usually use an oblique pen holder and all 18 of the nibs in the set fit in it perfectly. In addition, you can also use these nibs on fountain pens. Unlike other nibs, you do not have to heat these to make them fit.
The calligraphy nibs in this set, which are around five or six pieces, are quite flexible. This makes for thick and uniform downstrokes that are ideal for general calligraphy. The thicker ones are great when I am doing gothic-style calligraphy. The thinner ones are okay for flowing lines.
As I mentioned earlier, most of the nibs in this set are good for drawing. I don’t do that many drawing projects, but since I have all these nibs, I have been inspired to draw more often. The drawing nibs are not as flexible as the ones for calligraphy, so the lines they draw have uniform thicknesses.
I don’t have any serious issues with the nibs themselves, but I do wish that the packaging was a bit more durable. When the box came in the mail, it was crumpled in certain places and it resulted in some of the nibs getting bent.
6. Jinhao Fountain Pen Nibs
This is a great product if you want to try your hand at calligraphy but do not want to dip your pen constantly into an inkwell. In this package, you will be getting five replacement nibs for fountain pens.
These nibs turn any regular fountain pen into a fude pen. I used these to replace the nibs in one of my Jinhao fountain pens and to say that it improved it greatly is an understatement.
These nibs fit perfectly into Jinhao fountain pens, of which I have many. I also discovered that they work with other pen brands. I also used them to convert one of my Lamy fountain pens and it worked quite well. I also find them useful with the generic fountain bodies, making customized fude fountain pens.
I like collecting fountain pens – both the cheap and the quite expensive ones. As you would expect, not all the cheap pens had good ink flow but when I replaced the nibs with these Jinhao fude nibs, it is as if they turned into an entirely different pen. Not only are the lines thicker but the nibs also improved the ink flow immensely.
The thing with fude nibs is that they need to be flexible so they can create the kind of lines expected of them. These replacement nibs for Jinhao are exactly that. They are quite flexible and can bend to quite an impressive degree without breaking or getting deformed. I have been using one for a couple of weeks regularly and it still looks new.
Now, although, understandably, these nibs are constructed from cheaper materials considering their price, you can still tell the difference compared to branded fude pens. For one, the nibs feel a lot thinner and softer. Also, the packaging is quite subpar. The nibs don’t even have a special case. They just came in a plastic box with some padding.
7. Zonon Comic Pen Nibs
This set is great for absolute beginners because it comes with 10 identical nibs. I have a couple of nibs that cost more than this entire set but I don’t use them for practice sheets. They work well enough for you to practice on and maybe even use seriously on a couple of projects.
The thing I liked the most about these nibs is that they are quite flexible. So much so, that I could bend them to a scary degree without them breaking. They still snap back to their original shape afterward. This quality makes it great when you want to practice your thick downstrokes.
Aside from calligraphy, I also found that these nibs provide acceptable results when used for drawing and illustrating. However, you need to be careful not to bend the tip too much if you want uniform lines. Meanwhile, if you are making increasingly thick lines, they work great.
Just based on price, I immediately assumed that they would be scratchy to use, but that was not the case at all. The nibs flowed smoothly on any writing surface. This means that making long flowing lines was surprisingly easy. If you like adding a lot of flourishes when doing calligraphy, then you would like these nibs.
I would have loved to give these nibs a much higher rating, but they have a couple of issues. First, some nibs in my set were bent right out of the box, and it was quite difficult to straighten them to a usable shape.
Another issue is that the ink reservoir is kind of small. I found myself dipping the pen after just writing a letter or two, which was quite frustrating.
8. LAMY Joy Calligraphy Nibs
The nice thing about this product is that you do not need to buy a new Lamy pen if you want to use it for calligraphy. These are proprietary stub nibs that can fit into most Lamy fountain pens. I have a Lamy Safari and these nibs fit perfectly and worked almost immediately. I had to do a bit of tinkering to get the ink to flow nicely.
This nib has a 1.5mm thick nib that makes it easy to create thick lines, even without needing to bend the tines. You cannot even bend this nib at all. This is rigid enough and works like a chisel-point marker. This means you adjust how you hold the pen to change the line thickness, which took me a bit of practice to master.
The thing I loved about Lamy pens is that they are consistent with how smooth their nibs write. This replacement nib is no different in terms of quality. I said earlier that I needed to practice a bit to get the hang of this nib. Of course, I used cheap copy paper for it. I am glad to say that it glided over the surface of the paper almost effortlessly.
For those who are wondering if this is a genuine Lamy product, it certainly is. Aside from fitting into my genuine pens perfectly, the nibs also had the brand laser engraved on the surface. You can even take a micrometer to it to check if the tines are identical.
If you are new at calligraphy, you might be surprised that this nib has no flex whatsoever. This means you will need to change your writing style to make full use of this nib. If you are a beginner, this nib may not be a good way to start your calligraphy journey with.
9. Nikko Manga Pen N-Gpen Nibs
A lot of professional comic book artists and mangakas prefer this brand the most. The nibs can create uniform thin lines effortlessly. They can also make thick lines by applying a bit of pressure on the tip.
Although I use them for calligraphy, I also find them useful when making illustrations. Also, the amount of line types you can make with just this one tip is amazing.
I often spend an hour or two just inking one page and it helps that these nibs just glide over the surface of the paper almost effortlessly. When I ink comic panels, I prefer a bit of friction between the pen and paper, but not so much that the tip snags on the paper. I also find these nibs a joy to use.
Despite being more expensive than most brands, they make up for it by being quite durable. I don’t ink comic panels full time, but I only use up maybe a pack of these nibs a year. Most other professionals who use these nibs every day often just go through two packs of 10 nibs in a year, which is an amazing feat.
Another neat thing about this product is that it comes with anti-rust paper for proper storage. The paper prevents excess humidity from settling on the nibs. This kept them from rusting. The paper is like a dehumidifier but in sheet form for easier use.
However, if you do not live in a place that even gets remotely humid during the summer, there is no point in having the anti-rust paper. Being made of tough stainless steel anyway, you just need to wipe and clean the nibs thoroughly after every use to keep them from rusting.
10. Erofa Kaigelu Fountain Pen Nibs
What I liked the most about these fountain pen nibs, aside from the way they write, is their premium looks. Although made in China and just cost a tad over the regular Chinese fountain pen nib brands, they look amazing.
I liked the two-tone gold and silver colors. They also had delicate engravings. These may be cheap off-brand nibs but they do not look like it at all.
Aside from looking great, they also write exceptionally well. I used these nibs to replace the old ones in my Jinhao 159 and they fit perfectly. In addition, unlike the other replacement nibs I tried, these did not require additional tuning before use. I just cleaned the nib thoroughly before installing and it worked right off the bat.
When I said that this nib worked well, I meant it. The nib has just enough flexibility that you can give your lines a bit more weight if needed, but just gliding the tip over paper provides uniformly thin lines. I used this nib on a pen that I use for journaling. I could write for hours without any discomfort. It also glides so smoothly on paper.
As I mentioned earlier, these nibs are from China, but they don’t look and feel cheap at all. For a reasonable price, you will be getting three finely-crafted steel nibs that work almost the same as nibs that came from more expensive brands. I used to be a fountain pen snob, but this brand and others from China made me change my ways.
If you are looking for a nib for calligraphy, this isn’t it. They are just replacements for regular fountain pens. You can still get a bit of nuance in the lines if you put a bit of pressure on the tip, but you will not get the same results that you would if you use a real calligraphy nib.
What to Look For When Buying a Calligraphy Nibs
Shopping for calligraphy nibs can be quite challenging, especially if you are a newbie to the hobby. To help you with this task, here are a couple of the important qualities of calligraphy nibs that you need to look for.
The most important thing to look for in calligraphy nibs is that they need to fit the holder that you have. If you are completely starting from scratch, make sure that the pen and nibs you buy are compatible. This means they fit perfectly – not too tight and not loose at all.
This depends on the calligraphy style that you will be focusing on learning. Some styles require the use of a hard and unflexing nib, but the most common one practiced by more people is a nib that is quite flexible.
Flexible nibs will allow you to create lines that vary in width depending on how much pressure you apply on the tip. Flexibility means that the nib can bend to a certain degree but would return to its original shape if you do not apply any pressure.
Ink Reservoir Size
Calligraphy nibs have small indents on them where the ink would pool before applying them to the paper. Some nibs can hold more ink than others. A nib that can hold more ink means you can write more without dipping the nib into the ink bottle.
If you will be scripting a particularly long quote or adding a lot of flourishes in your projects, being able to draw a long continuous line is a plus.
The most common material used for making calligraphy nibs is stainless steel. The main reason is that it can resist corrosion better. However, some brands use titanium, which is more flexible and resistant to corrosion, although a bit more expensive.
What most beginners do not seem to understand is that calligraphy nibs are consumables. This means you will have to replace them occasionally. In my experience, a good nib used daily can last maybe a month or so. After heavy use, the tips would get so bent out of shape that they could no longer draw consistent lines.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Different Types of Calligraphy Nibs?
There are generally three types of calligraphy nibs. There are broad tips where the thickness of the lines will depend on the angle you hold the pen. The pointed tips are primarily for flex nib fountain pen calligraphy where line weight depends on the amount of pressure put on the tip. You can only make thick lines on the downstrokes.
There are also what we call the stub tips. They are like hybrids. Generally, you will find them useful in making quick and impromptu projects.
How to Clean and Store Calligraphy Nibs?
Before you use a brand-new nib, you need to clean it thoroughly using dishwashing soap, or preferably an ultrasonic cleaner. This will remove the traces of mineral oil on the nibs left behind after the manufacturing process. This will allow the nib to hold more ink.
For regular use, you just need to wipe the nib dry using a paper towel and store them in a dry and cool place. If you live in a humid area, consider putting a dehumidifier in the same drawer.
There are so many brands and types out there that choosing the best calligraphy nibs can be a struggle. However, now that you know what to look for, the search should be somewhat easier.
Although price is sometimes a good indicator of quality, that is not always the case with calligraphy nibs, especially since most are inexpensive anyway. Try as many of the recommended ones above and identify the ones you are comfortable using. Most important of all, have a good time using them for your hobby.