A Beginner's Guide to Calligraphy Pens

Flowing lines and the curves of calligraphy pens give a feeling of inspiration, joy, and creativity. You must be careful in framing the letters from a nib to control the splatter of ink on your favorite book. Practicing with the right equipment gives you improved results. If you are new to calligraphy, then you need to practice more to get better results. You also need to maintain the other supporting materials of calligraphy pens like the nibs, how to place nib in the holder, and many other items. Read on this guide to get more details on calligraphy Pens.

How to Set-up a Calligraphy Pen?

Cartridges are used mostly to fill ink in the calligraphy pens. These are simple to carry and also do not spill the ink. You can also use these cartridges for refilling brush pens and markers.

Find the Opening of the Cartridge

The very first step is to find out the opening on the cartridge. Usually, at the opening, you can find a cup-like rim or a metallic or plastic seal to prevent the ink from leaking. When the cartridge is punctured, the ball goes inside it & acts as a bead to improve the ink flow.

Loading the Ink Cartridge

You need to follow a series of steps to put in an ink cartridge for any calligraphy pen.

Step 1: Disassemble the Pen

Disassemble the Pen - Buchan Stationery First, unscrew the pen and the barrel from the grip section. After removing, you can find the plastic protrusion. This part is the pen's feed, which punctures the cartridge and sends ink to the nib.

Step 2: Insert the Opening into the Grip Section

Insert the Opening into the Grip Section - Buchan Stationery

After finding the opening of the cartridge, insert it into the pen grip section. Some of the cartridges have a steel ball, and some have only a plastic cup.

Step 3: Press Firmly

After putting cartridge, push it firmly into the pen, until you hear or feel the puncture of the cartridge. You might need to press more firmly to make a puncture in the cartridge.

Step 4: Leave the Pen Tip Downwards

It takes a while for the ink to reach the tip of the pen. Leave the pen in an upside position to make the flow of ink easy. Things to keep in mind
  • Always use the correct cartridge recommended by the seller as the cartridges come in different sizes and shapes. Before buying ensure that the cartridge fits the pen that you are using.
  • Most of the companies include cartridges along with the pens and include spacers in the pen barrel to prevent them from ratting while shipping. When you buy a pen from any store, check the spacers for any cartridges and remove them by unscrewing the pen barrel.
  • If the pen does not write even after filling, then you should wait for an hour or two to make the ink flow to the nib.
  • If you are using a different ink cartridge, then you need to clean the pen before installing the cartridge. No need to clean the pen when using the same ink and color.

How to Hold Calligraphy Pens?

1. Holding the Pen and Nib in Placement

Holding the Pen and Nib in Placement - Buchan Stationery Holding the pen is essential when you are writing. You will be a successful writer with the pens, only when you know the correct holding position of the nib. If the nib is skipping on the writing surface, check for the location of the nib on the pen and fix it if necessary. First, insert the base of the nib into the pen holder. From the point where the nib is parallel to the surface, rotate the nib slightly inward by turning right. The angle varies from person to person based on the angle at which they write.

2. Posture While Writing

Posture While Writing - Buchan Stationery Many people tend to bend onto the table while writing. Leaning can cause back and breathing problems in the long run. So be cautious while writing and always sit straight and breathe regularly. These things will help you to write more easily and smoothly.

Issues to Avoid while Writing

1. Holding the Pen Vertically

Holding the Pen Vertically - Buchan Stationery The vertical position of the pen increases the chances of nib digging into the paper. The position also results in ink flow issues. Instead of free-flow ink, you can see that the ink flows like a big blob on the paper.

2. Holding the Pen Too Far

Holding the Pen Too far - Buchan Stationery Some people hold the pen too far and write with a delicate hand. Holding the pen too far eliminates your ability to create pressure and control on the nib. To get the best power of the pen, hold the pen for about 1/2" from the end.

3. Not Keeping Both the Ends of Nib Evenly on the Paper

Not Keeping Both the Ends of Nib Evenly on the Paper - Buchan Stationery A regular pen has nibs that can touch the paper at any point, but in the case of dip pens the nibs are different, and you need to see that both the tips of the nib are touching the surface for smooth writing. Equal pressure is to be applied to both the tips, and if you are exerting more pressure on one tip, then there are chances that the nib digs into the paper.

How to Store Calligraphy Pens?

Cleaning the Pen

Cleaning the Pen - Buchan Stationery Calligraphy pens need some essential attention and care after writing. Cleaning of the nibs and pen is to be done regularly. Always store the pen with the cap closed and the nib should be pointed upwards if there is ink in the cartridge.

Steps for Cleaning

  • Take off the nib from the pen and remove the cartridge. Run the nib under the water, until the water runs clear.
  • To get rid of the excess water, clean the nib with a paper towel, and wrap it loosely. If there is an ink converter available, use it to remove the excess water.
  • A cartridge that is partly opened can be used later.
  • Calligraphy pens are mostly made of plastic with metal nibs. Never use pen cleaners unless recommended by the manufacturer.

Issues in Ink Flow

If the ink does not flow after fitting the cartridge, unscrew the barrel and hold the pen in the vertical position with the nib pointing downwards. Now shake the pen gently to make the ink flow.

How to Use Calligraphy Pens with Ink?

Some people use calligraphy pens for writing wedding invitations, graduation announcements, and some special awards. Calligraphy is preferred rather than printing the words on the paper. Some may have mastered the art of calligraphy, but until today, most of them are trying to write with the old fashioned dip pen.

Using Calligraphy Pens for Writing

  • Assemble the pen according to the style you have chosen. Some pens have nibs that are right at the base. Pens like quills have nib holder that holds the nib into position, and the holder is fitted to the quill.
  • Select the best calligraphy dip pen that you can get. The pen can be made from wood or plastic or even quills. The style of writing is determined by the type of nib you use for your pen. There is a wide range of nibs available for artists. Now choose the ink that best suits your project or writing. Using non-waterproof ink will reduce clogging and allows the ink to flow freely.
  • Practice writing on other paper before starting the actual writing. Dip the pen gently into the ink and rub the nib against the ink holder to release any excess ink. Hold the pen between your thumb and first two fingers at 45 degrees angle. Write on the paper by keeping the paper as straight as possible. Use a damp towel to keep the pen handle clean.
  • After completing the project, keep the nib dry and clean. The nib can be washed with water and cleaned, as explained above. Secure the lid of the ink holder and store it away from heat and light.


If you are a fan of calligraphy and looking to shop out the best pens from big brands like J. Herbin, Faber Castell, Pentel, etc., Walk into our stationery stores in Kerrisdale Vancouver. We have pens for beginners as well as professionals. Don't worry if you are not in Canada, order your favorite pens right from your place because we ship internationally.