If you’d like to learn calligraphy but you’re not sure where to start, the first thing to do is to invest in the right equipment. A great calligraphy pen can make all the difference to your handwriting.
With calligraphy workshops becoming more popular, some are learning the skill in order to create their own notes and invites and save money in the process, while others are looking for a new hobby to keep them busy during COVID lockdowns. It’s no surprise that crafting a seen a huge surge since March 2020.
Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned calligrapher looking for some new tools, we’ve rounded up some of the best calligraphy pens below:
Top 10 best calligraphy pens in UK 2021
1. Manuscript Callicreative Metallic Markers
Simple but effective, these Callicreative italic metallic markers are for those who are new to calligraphy and still testing out which styles they prefer the most. The metallic colours make these pens ideal for adding sparkle to your scarpbook, cards and letters.
2. Frienda Calligraphy Pen
The Frienda Refill Brush Calligraphy Pen Set is a high-quality set that is versatile enough for calligraphy practise, drawings, illustration, hand lettering, design, and more. It includes 5 black pens and a bonus refill ink.
All the pens are fude-styled, meaning they have flexible nibs allowing for variation in line width. That also means you’ll be able to write Chinese style characters and try some of the modern calligraphy styles. In the set, you’ll find an extra-fine brush pen, fine brush pen, medium brush pen, and two standard brush calligraphy pens. All of them are well made – the ink flows smoothly and evenly. That being said, it’s still better to use good quality paper with bleed-proof properties. By doing so, you’ll get a good grip on the paper and better control when writing accordingly.
As a nice touch, the set also comes with a spare ink bottle with an ingenious method of refilling. The cap of the bottle serves as a key to open the pen and feed ink from the included dropper. Of course, as it’s often the case with all pens of this type, the nibs here will eventually wear out. Still, it’s nice to know that you’ll be able to keep them refilling to the last.
All things considered, if you’d like to master the art of hand lettering or try other hobbies involving calligraphy, this set is a decent choice. The Frienda pens will respond to your every movement and provide as detailed results as possible.
3. Essential Modern Calligraphy Kit
This superior set contains everything you need – a pen holder, 3 different size nibs and a bottle of black ink. the beautiful turquoise penholder can be used by anyone – left or right handed, old or young. perfectly packaged and with its own tin to keep all your items together. the ideal gift for any creative person you know.
This set also includes tips on how to start, an alphabet guide, instructions to help you get started and a link to kirsten’s youtube tutorials so that you can watch her and be guided through the basics by an expert.
Created by kirsten burke, the uks leading modern calligrapher, this best selling set has three robust nibs perfect for a beginner. extremely high quality, these nibs are strong enough to handle pressure, but fine enough to create stunning calligraphy. combined with our black ink and helpful youtube video links, your pen will be gliding across the page in no time. 100’s …
Calligraphy has been shown to help combat stress and anxiety, so you can also use it to help you relax and unwind from all the stresses of modern life. combine this set with kirsten’s best selling ‘secrets of modern calligraphy’ beginners guide book and you have everything you need to help you progress from the first strokes to creating wonderful modern calligraphy for …
4. Mont Marte Calligraphy Set
As a beginner, you would want to buy the best calligraphy starter kit that comes with everything you need. To me, this is a good candidate because it already includes 4 calligraphy pens. These are classic pens that use cartridges. You can refill the cartridges with ink when you run out, so you should be able to use them for a long time without replacing your pens.
What I like about this set is how many nib options you have. It comes with five different nib grades. You can get fine, extra fine, medium, broad and extra broad nibs. I think these are just right for beginners to experiment with. You can switch to different nibs to practice the thickness of the strokes. It’s not that hard to change the nibs as well.
5. Pilot Parallel Pen
The Pilot Parallel Pen is one of the best broad nib calligraphy pens available for beginners. It’s an easy to use fountain pen that comes in four different sizes: 1.5mm, 2.4mm, 3.8mm, and 6.0mm. We recommend starting with the 3.8mm as it’s a nice medium. Each pen comes with two ink cartridges (red and black), a converter, nib cleaner, and instruction booklet to guide you through the first couple of basic strokes.
6. Staedtler Calligraphy Pen Set
This isn’t just a calligraphy pen—this Staedtler 33-piece set includes everything you could possibly need to create great calligraphy, from four pens with interchangeable nibs to 20 ink cartridges in seven colors.
The nibs include five shapes and sizes from extra fine to extra broad. The kit even includes an instruction book and a practice pad to help you get started. Everything comes in a neatly organized storage tin. The calligraphy pens are pretty, too, with a marble-like finish. The ink is 20 percent water-based and is supplied to the nib by a little internal pump—no dipping required. If this all sounds like a bit more than you need, Staedtler offers a 7-piece starter set as well.
7. Lamy joy Calligraphy Fountain Pen – Matt Black & Silver
The Lamy joy lives up to its name in all ways. The slender, tapered barrel is lightweight, but well balanced and coupled with the ergonomic grip which ensures proper finger placement, the Joy gives a truly pleasurable writing experience. The design is sleek and minimalist, plus with the anodised silver aluminium cap the pen is has an almost futuristic styling. The stub end nib is suitable for calligraphy and enables not only the pen, but also your writing to be a joyous work of art.
8. Dryden Luxury Fountain Pen
Not everyone wants (or can) spend a small fortune on a fountain pen. But if you’re looking for one that might suggest you have, check out this metallic pen by Dryden, which, despite its budget price, has all the hallmarks of sleek luxury.
Elegantly designed in a mixture of silver and gold, it’s available in both fine- and medium-sized nibs – and, if you spend an extra £2, you can get it in a stylish gift box. Unfortunately, you’ll have to buy its ink cartridges separately, but a PDF file is included in each order which teaches you the basics of calligraphy. Your writing will be flowing beautifully in no time.
9. Caran d’Ache Ecridor Retro Palladium Finish Medium Fountain Pen
What with how well they handle chocolate and cheese, we should’ve always left it up to the Swiss to make a thoroughly desirable and beautifully engineered fountain pen.
Coated in palladium and engraved all over with an intricate guilloche design (that’s ‘braided’, for those who don’t belong to some kind of pattern-making guild), it’s both tough and beautiful, and comes with a lifetime international guarantee to back it up. But how does it write? One reviewer commented that it writes as well as pens double its price, and many others raved about the balance, weight, and smooth line.
10. Uni-ball UNIB6 Eye Fine Rollerball Pen
Uniball’s three-pack in black was the highest rated rollerball on Amazon, with 82 percent of the reviews being five stars. Ninety-two reviewers said they loved these pens, including a student who said they require very little force on the page and allow for smooth and fast writing. While a professional author who uses these pens to take notes throughout the day said using this pen was like writing on silk. Even a reviewer who warned against using them on glossy card (due to their habit of smudging) said they were the best pens they had ever used in their life. Thirty-nine reviews mentioned how long-lasting each one was (even by students writing all day), and 26 reviewers described the round-barrel design as very comfortable. This pen also was the favourite of one reviewer with dyspraxia; they said it was easier to hold, fitted in the hand easily, and performed well.
How to buy the best calligraphy pens?
Choosing the right calligraphy materials for beginners is crucial to your success. To make sure that you are buying the best choice for your needs, here are some of the things that you should look for:
If you are going for the traditional calligraphy pen style, you have two basic options. You can either go for a cartridge-filled type of calligraphy pen or the dip ones. The latter one is more traditional. The ones filled with a cartridge are easier to use because you won’t keep on dipping. It dispenses in as long as the cartridge has ink. It is easier to use if you are a beginner.
Cartridge types of pens don’t leave behind a big mess and it helps you create precise and fine strokes. With dip pes, beginners might struggle to maintain the same strokes because you need to keep on dipping to get ink.
However, with cartridge pens, you need to use a specific kind of ink, preferably one produced by the manufacturer of the pen or similar to it. Otherwise, it might not dispense easily in the pen’s system. Additionally, you usually can’t change the nibs.
With dip calligraphy pens, you can use any kind of ink you prefer. They are just more difficult to control because they usually dispense thicker ink. You can also replace the nibs. Many dip style pens come with multiple nib options. You can switch them out to get the font that you prefer. A lot of people prefer these kinds of pens because they can use them for a long time. They are also more aesthetically pleasing than other calligraphy pens. If you like the look of old style calligraphy pens, you should get this one.
The type of ink you are using will also determine the results of your calligraphy. You don’t have a lot of choice with refillable cartridge pens when it comes to the kind of ink you can use. They are quite restrictive, so you might only have to purchase those from the manufacturer. That way, you can avoid clogging up the pen.
It is recommended to use viscose ink on different types of pens though, even for cartridge filled pens. That is because these are more versatile and they also work in cartridges.
Nib Types and Sizes
Most of the calligraphy pens you can find today come in either flex nibs or italic nibs. Their rounded shape characterizes flex nibs. They also have two tines where you can create different kinds of lines. If you put more pressure on it, the more you will use the tine split which will give you more width.
Italic nibs tend to be more rigid. If your preferred calligraphy style is more gothic or italic, you can opt for this kind of nib instead.
Many beginner sets today come in different sizes – from extra fine to an extra broad nib. They are a good choice because you can replace the nib with the size that you want, ideal for beginners who don’t want to figure out how to control just one type of nib.
How well you can control the calligraphy pen depends on proper grip. Many people don’t give this much thought but it can make or break your learning experience. Choose those that are easier to grip so that you can do the strokes that you want comfortably. Calligraphy is a detailed form of art, so you must use something that is comfortable.
Other Types of Calligraphy Pens
You can also opt for other types of pens. Brush pens are easier to use for beginners. They even come in marker form so you don’t have to worry about the ink anymore. You can also opt for felt tips, which are more rigid and less flexible but might be easier for beginners to use.
What other things are included in your purchase? As a beginner, you would want to get beginner sets that come with an instructional manual and a few beginner worksheets or tracing tools. That way, you can get started in learning how to use your calligraphy set right away instead of finding other tools.