6 Types of Calligraphy Pens

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As a beginner, it’s overwhelming to decide on a calligraphy pen to start with. When you are just beginning calligraphy, like me, your first question may be – what are the different types of calligraphy pens? Let’s find out what a calligraphy pen is and the different types of calligraphy pens.

What is a calligraphy pen?

Any pen used for calligraphy can be called a calligraphy pen. As we have seen before, you don’t need to use a fancy pen to do calligraphy; you can use a pencil or any type of pen when starting with calligraphy. The traditional type of calligraphy pen is a dip pen. As you progress with learning calligraphy, you may choose to use various pens for calligraphy, including markets, brush pens, or fountain pens. 

6 Types of calligraphy pens

Each type of calligraphy pen has features to differentiate it from other types. These features may have specific benefits and disadvantages for using that you need to weigh before deciding on a calligraphy pen to buy for your own calligraphy practice. 

Felt-Tip Pens

Felt-tip pens for beginner calligraphers
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Felt-tip pens come in a range of colours and are ideal for writing with flourishes and for decorating. They are perfect for beginners, and you can travel with them without worrying about ink spilling. They are lovely for creating colourful bullet journal spreads or for faux calligraphy. Felt-tip pens need to clean after use; just replace the cap when you have finished writing. Although they are beginner-friendly, you can’t create line variations with felt-tip pens. Over time, the ink used in felt-tip pens fade.


Markers as one of the types of calligraphy pens
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You can find markers in most stationery stores. Markers come in different shapes, sizes and colours. Using markers for calligraphy is entirely possible but may take some time to get used to, especially learning to control line variations. Markers are like brush pens and work well for decorative calligraphy. A popular type of market to use for calligraphy is Crayola markets, but you can use any marker for calligraphy.

Brush pens

Brush pens
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You can try several types of brush pens. Brush pens are great for beginners as it is easy to use them without making a big mess. You can carry brush pens around without spilling ink. You can have excellent control over line variations with brush pens. You can change colours easily with brush pens, but the calligraphy produced have a more informal appearance than traditional calligraphy. It works well for modern calligraphy, bullet journaling or creating signs.


Quills is one of the types of calligraphy pens
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Quills are flexible and respond quickly to changes in angles and pressure. They are sometimes tricky to grip as they are narrow and can make your fingers cramp if you write for long. A quill will give you excellent line quality once you have mastered the skills to control a quill. You can cut a quill multiple times to have the nib in the way you want. Learning to cut a quill is not easy. You need to know how to do this unless you have access to a quill cutter. Unfortunately, quills don’t last long, especially if you use them often. Working with a quill can be difficult when it is humid as the humidity can split the tines.

Fountain Pens

Fountain pens are also called cartridge pens. Most people are familiar with fountain pens, as some people love using fountain pens daily. A fountain pen has an internal ink reservoir, making it a practical pen to use every day. Fountain pens can use different types of nibs. A well-designed fountain pen can last a lifetime if cared for properly.

Fountain pens as one of the types of calligraphy pens
Fountain pens as one of the types of calligraphy pens

Fountain pens can not use all types of nibs, which some people may find limiting. Since the fountain pens’ nibs are more rigid, creating line variations using a fountain pen is more complicated. You can also not use archival ink with a fountain pen, and if you use water-based ink, it may fade over time. 

It would be best if you clean a fountain pen regularly. Although not a pleasant task, leaving it dirty will shorten your fountain pen’s life as it may be difficult to find individual replacement parts. A fountain pen is best for faux calligraphy because of its inflexible nib.

Types of calligraphy pens: dip pens

There are two primary types of dip pens, namely:

Straight dip pens

Most people learn calligraphy with a straight dip pen. Dip pens are not expensive and can use different nibs. Straight dip pens are sometimes called nib holders. You can change the nibs on these pens. The nib inserted defines the line variations you create when creating calligraphy with these pens. 

The advantages of straight dip pens are that they are easy to use and maintain. After every use of a straight dip pen, you clean it with soap and water before storing it. You use a standard pen grip when holding these pens. Left-handed calligraphers will also find the straight dip pen easy to use.

Straight dip calligraphy pens
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The disadvantages of straight dip pens include they are not as effective as oblique pens when angled, which may cause uneven pressure as you create lines. If you are a left-handed calligrapher, you will not struggle with uneven pressure since the left-handed use of these pens negates this disadvantage. It may also be challenging to insert the nib correctly, which may give you difficulties when you start your calligraphy practice.

Overall, a straight dip pen is a great all-around type of calligraphy pen.

Glass Dip Pens

Glass dip pens are beautiful and unique hand-crafted pens. There are two types of glass dip pens: straight dip and wave dip pens. Glass dip pens can hold a significant amount of ink and are smooth and comfortable to hold. They allow you to write decoratively and are easy to clean. You can use almost any type of ink with a glass dip pen. 

Glass dip pens are monoline pens. Made from glass, they are fragile, and you need to handle them with extreme care. The nib size determines the thickness of the lines you can create. Glass dip pens are perfect for faux calligraphy! You can use a glass dip pen as a substitute for the fountain and traditional dip pens.

Oblique dip pens

Oblique dip pens have a metal device that extends from the tip. This device is called a flange which holds the nib. More advanced calligraphers enjoy using the oblique dip pens more than a straight dip pen.

Oblique dip pens as one of the types of calligraphy pens
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The angled design of the flange makes angles easier for right-handed calligraphers. The design also allows you to control the pressure you apply when creating lines with different thicknesses. Beginner calligraphers may find using the oblique dip pen challenging as the grip is unfamiliar. 

What’s next once you know the types of calligraphy pens?

For beginners, starting with felt-tip pens and markers may be the easiest. Once you have mastered control of these types of calligraphy pens, it is time to move on to a fountain pen!

Learning calligraphy means learning about the different types of calligraphy pens, inks and nibs you can use. For most calligraphy pens, you can use various calligraphy nibs to give you greater flexibility for creating different calligraphy styles and projects. You can also use a variety of inks for calligraphy, which affects the outcome of your calligraphy project. 

Types of calligraphy pens

By Sunelle

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