Best beginner calligraphy pen
November 7, 2016 12:16 PM   Subscribe

Looking for beginner calligraphy pen recommendations. Details within.

A gift for hubby. He has great penmanship but was lamenting the poor pens with which he used to sign our wedding thank you cards.

My budget is about $50 unless there is something super amazing I should consider. Ideally made in Japan or Germany (don't ask), or Canada / USA. Online ship to Canada/USA is great. Doesn't have to be dip-type, could just have the ink pre-loaded but shouldn't leak or clog or anything futzy. To be used for cards and addressing card envelopes otherwise he doesn't really write much. Should be comfortable to hold. He's right handed.

I'm thinking calligraphy over just a fancy ball point or felt tip because I think he'd like to play with technique. Thanks in advance everyone!
posted by St. Peepsburg to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Jet pens has a guide to calligraphy pens.

Here's their guide to brush pens for calligraphy.

This is their guide to pointed pen calligraphy.

$50 could cover a bunch of pens depending what he wants to do. Pointed is the only style where you'd need a dip pen.
posted by oneear at 12:33 PM on November 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

My mom got me this Sheaffer Calligraphy kit many years ago as a birthday present, and it's still going strong. The little instruction booklet included is great, and I've never had issues with the pens being leaky/difficult to use.
The only downside is, it's not very fancy looking. There are several others on Amazon within your price range that I would consider, like this one.
posted by and her eyes were wild. at 12:35 PM on November 7, 2016

Oh gosh, the Pen Addict podcast just did a Q&A and were discussing beginner calligraphy pens. A world awaits you!
posted by jrobin276 at 12:42 PM on November 7, 2016

I forgot to mention that if you're looking for broad nib I've used and liked both the Lamy and Kaweco pens. We used the Schaeffers in a class i was in and they could be hit or miss - some worked fantastically and some not so much.
posted by oneear at 12:43 PM on November 7, 2016

Best answer: Brause Bandzug Feder, hands down.

Otherwise a nice fountain pen with an italic nib. I have a Lamy Safari, which is fine and very reasonably priced.
posted by jgirl at 12:53 PM on November 7, 2016

If you want to do broad nib calligraphy the Pilot Parallel is pretty hot right now. It comes in four sizes and about a dozen different colors of ink. You can use bottles to fill them but it takes some doing.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:54 PM on November 7, 2016

Best answer: My favorite is a Lamy Safari italic-point fountain pen. It's smooth and comfortable. Most remarkably, I can put it down for months, pick it up, and write with it immediately, and the ink is still fresh. Almost all other fountain pens will dry out if you do that, and need to be rinsed, making them less convenient.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 5:59 PM on November 7, 2016

Here is a bit of inspiration. The broad red marker used is a Copic Wide. I think it would be fun to include one of these huge markers as something to play with along with some of the other suggestions already named.
posted by cubby at 6:09 PM on November 7, 2016

Best answer: If you're in Canada, Wonder Pens is the place to get advice and buy from. The Lamy Joy is the calligraphic version of the Safari.
posted by scruss at 6:11 PM on November 7, 2016

The Lamy others have mentioned is a good, solid pen. And is from Germany! I also like the Manuscript calligraphy pens, which I find allow more subtlety, although they have a somewhat flimsy feel.

Be aware: calligraphy pens have a stub nib and are intended mostly for italic writing, which is a very specific style of writing roman character letters. It's quite different from the cursive writing taught in school or other kinds of script that are written with normal pointed pens. If your husband doesn't have experience with writing italic, you might get him a handbook of the style, along with the pen.
posted by bertran at 6:59 PM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

It is 95 bucks so not within your budget, but if you think he would enjoy it there is always the I still love calligraphy online class. It comes with a kit and lessons. My friend started that way and felt it was good value.
posted by OlivesAndTurkishCoffee at 10:02 AM on November 8, 2016

Best answer: I use a Kaweco Sport fine point fountain pen fairly often and I like it a lot! You can get the plastic body pens for $20-$25, but if your husband decided later on that he really likes it and wanted to splash out on a "fancier" model, they also make brass versions. They're too heavy for my taste, but I also have tiny lady hands, which I'm sure affects my enjoyment of the heavier pens.

I've also been really pleasantly surprised by the Pilot fountain pens I've used. The extra fine nib is much too small and scratchy, but the standard fine point writes beautifully. The Kakuno line comes in a bunch of fun colors and runs about $10 a piece, and the Metropolitan Collection looks a little more "official" and sits around $15 depending on the design. Refill packs for Pilot pens are also pretty inexpensive.

Pilot pens might be the cheapest way to test the fountain pen waters, but this won't help much if he develops a fountain pen habit as a result... :)

Also! If you have a little bit of time to play with, signing up for the Massdrop writing community and keeping an eye on your emails might be a good way to score a nice pen set for a little bit cheaper than average. I scored a really sweet Kaweco calligraphy set with a Kaweco Sport pen barrel, four different sized nibs, and two packs of refills in a gift box for $50. That deal is over now, but they have a pretty good rotation of offers.
posted by helloimjennsco at 10:51 AM on November 8, 2016

Response by poster: Thank you everyone. I've learned more about calligraphy and fountain pens than I ever thought possible!

Lamy safari with extra nibs and ink sounds like the winner here. If he takes to it then I'll do a proper calligraphy pen next Xmas. You all are the best!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 4:55 PM on November 8, 2016

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