There is a wide range of tools and paraphernalia for creating artwork. And each item is unique in function and usage. The calligraphy pen – a pen that can create line variations and beautiful writing – requires specific know-how so you can use it. In this post, we are focusing on how to put ink in a calligraphy pen.
There are multiple ways to put ink in a calligraphy pen because there are many types of calligraphy pens. Some calligraphy pens use a piston ink reservoir; some use ink cartridges, some use converters, and others don’t use any ink container within the barrel.
How to Put Ink in a Calligraphy Pen with a Piston Filler Ink Reservoir
In my opinion, calligraphy pens with piston fillers are the most convenient and economical type of calligraphy pen. This type of pen requires the least amount of effort to fill the ink. And it has one of the highest capacities to hold ink. Here’s how to fill it with ink:
Open the ink bottle on a flat surface. I advise setting up an ink-refilling workplace because the ink can spray everywhere if you are not careful. I usually put an absorbent rag or cloth under the ink bottle.
Dip the nib and gripping section of the calligraphy pen into the ink bottle. It can be tempting to dip just the pen’s nib into the bottle to avoid getting ink on the gripping section. But if you just dip the nib, there is a chance that you won’t reach the pen’s total capacity for holding ink. A fraction of the pen’s barrel will only contain air instead of ink.
While that scenario is not so bad, I always like my pen to hold as much ink as possible. I don’t like having to refill the ink often.
Rotate the knob at the end of the barrel.
Remove the nib and gripping section from the bottle and wipe them with a clean cloth or firm tissue paper. The tissue has to be firm, or it may break, and parts of it may get stuck in the nib.
How to Put Ink in a Calligraphy Pen with Ink Cartridges
Calligraphy pens with ink cartridges are the cleanest type of calligraphy pens. The cartridges are proprietary – not all cartridges fit into the same pen. Cartridges are meant for one-time use. They are disposed of when empty.
Open the barrel of the pen and remove the ink cartridge.
Replace the old cartridge with a new cartridge. For first-time users of this type of pen, putting in a new cartridge may seem hard. There is a small ball at the entrance of the cartridge that prevents ink from flowing out. It requires force to put the cartridge into the pen because of that ball blocking the entrance.
Most beginners think that they will break their pen if they put too much pressure on the cartridge as they put it in the pen. But the pen will not break. You should hear a small snap that signifies that the cartridge is successfully installed.
Put the barrel back.
How to Put Ink in a Calligraphy Pen with Converters
Ink converters look similar to ink cartridges but with a neat added feature. An ink converter has a knob at the end, like a piston filler, that you rotate to fill it with ink. Like cartridges, ink converters are size-sensitive. Not all converters fit into all calligraphy pens. But unlike cartridges, converters are refillable.
Set up your ink refilling workspace. Lay a clean cloth or rag on a flat surface and open the ink bottle on it.
Open the barrel of the pen. You should see the converter installed inside. If the pen is new and the converter is not installed, install it (or you can replace ink cartridges with a converter, if they have the same size). It is more difficult to refill an ink converter if it’s not installed.
Prime the converter. Converters function like syringes – there should be no air within so it can pull ink into itself. Rotate the knob at the end counter-clockwise as far as it will go. This action expels the air from the reservoir.
Dip the nib and gripping section into the ink bottle and rotate the know clockwise to pull ink into the reservoir.
Put the barrel back.
How to Put Ink in a Dip Calligraphy Pen
Dip pens do not use any reservoir – their main reservoirs are ink bottles. In my opinion, these pens are the most creative. But they are the least convenient. They are also the type of calligraphy pen that most resembles the primitive quill and ink writing form.
Set up your ink refilling workspace. Lay a clean cloth or rag on a flat surface and open the ink bottle on it. If you are creating artwork, you may have many ink bottles of various colors.
Dip the pen into an ink bottle, then let the excess ink drop back into the bottle. Too much ink on the nib may drop into the artwork you’re doing.
When dipping the pen, make sure you dip it to just above the middle hole in the nib. This is called the vent. Then shake the pen slightly but firmly to let the excess ink off.
Write with the pen.
Repeat the process as the ink runs out from the nib.
How to Write with a Calligraphy Pen
Writing with a calligraphy pen is not as easy as writing with a ballpoint pen. With a ballpoint pen, you can write at any angle you hold it. But with a calligraphy pen, the best angle to write with and maintain is 45 degrees.
So after you put the ink in your calligraphy pen, make sure you get this angle right when testing.
There are many methods on how to put ink in a calligraphy pen because there are many types of calligraphy pens. Each type of calligraphy pen and how to put ink in them has its pros and cons. But in my opinion, the piston filler is the most convenient. The cartridge is the cleanest. The converter is a blend of the cartridge’s cleanliness and the piston filler’s convenience. And lastly, the dip pen is the most artistic.