Understand the Four Types of Calligraphy Pens

Jul 26

Whether you are brand new to the world of calligraphy, or looking to expand your knowledge and skills, there is value in attempting the art form using the four types of calligraphy pens available. Getting a feel for each will not only help you decide on your personal preference, but it will help you master your skill and hone in on a style or approach that best suits your talent and ability level. Read on to learn about the four types of calligraphy pens you can choose from, and the pros and cons of each.


Felt Tip Pens

Pro: Yes, a quality felt tip pen can be used to create elegant calligraphy.

Best for beginners, felt tip pens offer smooth writing with vibrant ink, without needing to worry about dipping your brush in pots of ink, or learning to refill ink cartridges. We recommend a quality Stabilo Point 68

Con: A felt-tip can quickly run out of ink if you’re practicing with sheets and sheets of calligraphy letters, or addressing dozens of invitations in elegant script, so make sure you have back-ups.


Fountain Pens

Pro: If you’re already familiar with writing with a fountain pen, and are comfortable with the way it feels to write with a fountain pen (since it is different from a ball point or rollerball pen), it can make for an easier transition to using a fountain pen for calligraphy. Fountain pens with disposable cartridges are also more convenient and offer less risk of mess than dip pens. Click here to read our previous blog for tips about using a fountain pen for calligraphy. We recommend the LAMY 1.5mm JOY Calligraphy Penfor best results.

Con: Using a fountain pen takes some experience, and may pose too much of a steep learning curve for beginners.


Dip Pens

Pros: Dip pens offer all the benefits of a fountain pen, including theFour_Types_of_Calligraphy_Pens_Dip_Pencomfort, the various nib options, and the benefit of seemingly endless inkoptions.

Cons: Dip pens add the added complexity of needing to learn the ideal amount of ink to dip as you create your letters and shapes. That’s why dip pens are used by advanced calligraphers. The ink dipping component can take some practice, Goldilocks, as you learn the perfect place between not too much ink, and not enough. Click here to learn more about dip pens and their assembly.

Brush Pens

Pro: If you’re looking for an authentic, Western world calligraphy experience, you must learn to master the calligraphy brush. These products are typically thin paint brushes, between 6 and 22 millimeters in diameter, with bristles typically made of sable or nylon. The brush offers the ultimate in control and flexibility so you can create letters and symbols with the greatest variations, depth, and flourishes.

Con: Calligraphy brushes pose the biggest mess risk, and require the greatest skill, making them the ideal choice for advanced calligraphers only.


We recommend building up your calligraphy skills over time, and evolving the products you choose to ensure you are continually challenging yourself to improve and develop your portfolio of skills. Once you master the felt tip pen, advance to a fountain pen, then a dip pen, and finally try your hand at a calligraphy brush. We’re confident that with this step-by-step approach, you’ll be ready to take on the next great challenge in calligraphy drawing.

Already there? Click here to learn how to create ombre calligraphy.

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