The Best Nibs for Calligraphy for Beginners to Experienced Calligraphers

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The nib is one of the most crucial elements for calligraphy, whether using a fountain pen or a quill and ink. As far as nibs are concerned, there is no middle ground—it’s either very good or bad. 

There is a large variety of nibs you can use. If this is your first foray into the world of calligraphy, you may feel overwhelmed by the many choices available. Hopefully, we can provide clear guidance to help you make the best choice when choosing a calligraphy nib. 

The question isn’t so much, “what are the best nibs for calligraphy?” as it is, “what are the best nibs for beginners and experienced calligraphers?”. The best calligraphy nibs will ensure that you have clean and straight lines throughout your calligraphy project, no matter your experience. 

The Best Nibs for Calligraphy for Beginners

Types of Calligraphy Nibs

There are different types of calligraphy nibs to cater for the different types of calligraphy. If you are a beginner in calligraphy, you may not be familiar with the types of calligraphy nibs. The type of calligraphy you want to do determines the nib to use. 

Calligraphy nibs come in varying sizes and with different tips. There are two significant categories of calligraphy nibs: regular and speciality nibs. Consider these factors when you consider buying a calligraphy nib: 

  • The shape of the calligraphy nib’s tip
  • The size of the nib
  • The flexibility of the calligraphy nib
  • The material of the calligraphy nib
  • The width of the nib

Other factors you can also consider are the other characteristics of the pen nibs. These include their line variations, how much ink they use, the speed you can write with them, the smoothness of the ink application, and the level of shading.  

 RoundLeftyFlexCursiveStubOblique
Tip ShapeRoundRoundN/ABroad, Straight, or FlatBroad or FlatBroad with 15° angle cut
Ink UsageMediumMediumHighHighHighHigh
SmoothVery SmoothVery SmoothScratchyScratchySmoothSmooth
ShadingBroad nibs onlyWide nibs onlyHighHighHighHigh
SpeedFastFastSlowSlowMediumMedium
SizeAllAllN/AN/ABroadBroad
VariationNoneNoneMaximumMaximumHighHigh
Best nibs for calligraphy: Factors to consider in choosing a calligraphy nib

Although this is a lengthy list, it is not a complete list of items to consider when choosing a nib for calligraphy. This table gives you an idea of the types of calligraphy nibs and what factors you need to consider before choosing a calligraphy nib.

How to Use Calligraphy Nibs

The Best Nibs for Calligraphy for Beginners

An essential item for calligraphy is good ink. A popular choice of calligraphy ink is Sumi Ink. Sumi INk is resistant to weathering and fading. Always wipe a new nib with a paper towel before you use it because it is likely oily from manufacturing and packaging. 

You can start by dipping your nib in the ink bottle. If you find this difficult, consider pouring the ink into a more accessible container. Ensure the container is clean to avoid contaminating your ink with impurities, which can affect your calligraphy. Dip the nib straight into the ink, just past the reservoir. Tap the nib on the lip of the ink container to let excess ink drop off. Position your nib, and you can start your calligraphy writing. 

Nibs for Copperplate Calligraphy

Copperplate calligraphy is far more technical than classic calligraphy. For copperplate calligraphy, there are specific rules covering the height, baseline, ascender lines, slants, and waistlines of letters. There are unique nibs for copperplate calligraphy. We cover our choice of the best copperplate nibs for calligraphy below.

Best Nibs for Calligraphy

Now that you understand how calligraphy nibs work, what to look for, beginner nibs, and copperplate calligraphy, the following are the best calligraphy nibs on the market for traditional and copperplate calligraphy. 

We’ve put together several quality nibs that you should look for, whether you are a beginner or more experienced in calligraphy. No matter your confidence and experience level, each of these nibs requires a steady hand and patience to learn.

Nikko G Nib (Best Beginner Calligraphy Nib)

This medium flex nib is perfect for beginners since it is very forgiving. Both intermediate and expert calligraphers love nibs with a lot of flex, but such flex may be too much for a beginner to calligraphy. The Nikko G fills that middle ground nicely.

ProsCons
* Strong and durable design* Pressure variations are minimal on the strokes
* The tines provide for a smooth flow* Not the best nib for light-pressure calligraphy
* It holds plenty of ink
* Easy to find

The Nikko G nib has a medium flex and is a durable nib. You can expect it to last several years if you take proper care of your nib. It has a smooth application, which works well for beginners who may find scratchy tips challenging to use.  

They also designed the Nikko G to hold a lot of ink, which helps reduce the number of times you must stop and dip. Since it has a medium flex, you won’t get a lot of thick and thin difference, regardless of how much pressure you apply. This nib won’t perform well if you like to write with light pressure. 

Nikko Manga Pen N-Gen Nib

Artists typically use the Nikko Manga Pen N-Gen Nib in comic book-type illustrations. You can also use it for calligraphy, as it is a multifunctional nib. It’s slightly expensive because it is popular in multiple industries. 

ProsCons
* A high degree of flex* If it’s damaged, it can no longer be used
* Smooth writing
* Fine point for precision
* Varying writing pressure creates thin or bold strokes
* Longevity
Pros and cons of the Nikko Manga Pen N-Gen Nib

These nibs are highly flexible, which allows you a great deal of difference in the thickness and boldness of your strokes when you vary the amount of pressure you apply. Despite its high degree of flex, the Nikko Manga nib is durable and long-lasting. 

It writes very smooth, even though it’s a fine-point nib. There is an additional benefit—the nib comes with anti-rust paper, so you can store it adequately without worrying about corrosion.

Trustela Office Dip Calligraphy Pen Nib

The Trustela’s office line of calligraphy nibs is extensive. You can buy a set of Trustella calligraphy nibs to avoid choosing just one! As far as the calligraphy nibs are concerned, the Trustela nibs cater to more experienced calligraphers. All the calligraphy nibs in the Trustela set are highly flexible.

ProsCons
* Multiple nibs in a single set*Not all the nibs are for calligraphy
* Flexibility
* Durability
* Beginners can use the nibs for drawing
Pros and cons of the Trustela office dip calligraphy pen nib

Trustela nibs create bold and thick strokes, so you must keep your pressure light if you want thinner lines. If you prefer a more beginner-friendly approach, the other nibs in the Trustela range are less flexible and designed for illustrations. However, you can use them as a beginner calligraphy nib when learning calligraphy. 

Lamy Joy Calligraphy Nib

Lamy is well-known for its excellent fountain pen designs. They also manufacture nibs, most of which are universal amongst Lamy Pens. In this LAMY Z 50 Nib Set for Joy, you get a calligraphy nib with a broader tip to create thick, bold lines. 

ProsCons
* Despite rigidity, draws thick, bold lines* Not for beginners
* Universal Lamy tips don’t scratch* Difficult to make thin line strokes
* You can use different writing styles to change stroke thickness
Pros and cons of the Lamy Joy Calligraphy nib

Its rigid design makes it the most rigid calligraphy nib on this list. To adjust the thickness of your lines, change how you write since varying the pressure you apply won’t affect your writing much. 

This nib is perfect for experienced calligraphers. Despite its rigidity, there is almost zero scratchiness, and the tines never grab hold of the paper when you write. Beginners would probably prefer a medium flex nib, as they may find trouble adjusting to various writing styles to accommodate the rigid tip. 

Speedball Art Products SB31016 Calligraphy Pen Nib (Best Copperplate Calligraphy Pen)

The Speedball Art set is slightly different from your standard nibs because its design caters to copperplate calligraphy. With the Speedball B-Series Lettering Pen Set package, you get six tips that are slightly different in roundness. 

ProsCons
* Comes with several nibs * Requires extensive cleaning after each use
* Very smooth ink flow
* Best for gothic styles
* Thick, bold strokes
* Holds a lot of ink
Pros and cons of the Speedball art calligraphy pen nibs

The Speedball nib is excellent for those who prefer a more gothic style with their calligraphy. The Speedball creates thick, bold lines and makes incredibly smooth strokes. They also hold a ton of ink, so you can expect there to be less dipping than usual.

This nib allows for even flow, so if you keep your pressure the same, you will have a bold stroke from one end to the other. Despite all the positives associated with this nib, they require extensive cleaning after each use. 

Conclusion

This is our list of the best calligraphy nibs on the market today. Beginners will appreciate the mid-line flexible nibs on this list, while experts will also find something to love, especially if they like to change angles to alter stroke thickness.

By Sunelle

Follow my journey as I explore different paper and pen hobbies!