Got Your Tools, Now What? (Part 2)

Did you manage to get your tools set up properly? Let’s look at the next 4 FAQs about using a dip pen.

5. How much pressure?

Nibs come in various sizes and flexibility. As a start, most would go for a ‘G’ nib – Nikko G, Zebra G, Leonardt G, etc. These are Generally (get it now?) stiffer, offering greater control. So what I normally recommend people to do is, draw lines like those above with various pressure to see how your nib performs.
First, it helps you to understand the pressure you need to apply with that particular nib, and it also helps with creating consistent thickness. Having said that, I’ve mentioned that I’m very heavy-handed and it’s something I still trying to correct. It’s definitely a lot of practice and training muscle memory.
So, it’s always better to work with a light hand.

6. How do I practice?

To begin, I’d say try this. If modern calligraphy is something you’re looking at, then work on your up and down strokes. Up strokes have thinner lines, down strokes have thicker, same when working with a brush. Go…. Slow…. Be mindful of your strokes.
I write a series of ‘u’s every now and then to work on my consistency. Calligraphy is about consistency, even for bubbly, topsy turvy fonts. Find one that you want to master and practice writing each alphabet.
My practice sessions normally see me do two things –
1. Ensure that my letters are consistent
2. Ensure that I’m writing with the tip of the nib, not the side (it happens a lot!)

7. How should I write the alphabets for modern calligraphy?

 One thing you need to know about modern calligraphy is that it’s not govern by a strict set of rules, unlike traditional scripts like the Copperplate or Spencerian. Essentially, anything works as long as it’s consistent. So, really, it’s all up to you to either choose a style you like and master it or create one yourself.

What I have here are two guide sheets that I’ve come up with for the way I write my words with modern calligraphy. They’re something I give my friends who’re interested in picking up modern calligraphy, but nothing fancy, really. How did I derive these? I guess it’s just a mixture of various fonts I’ve seen around, all glued together with my personal style.

8. Resources

Some fantastic places I get my lined guide sheets from are IAMPETH or Printable Paper. Head on over to either website, download and print!While not every paper, especially normal printing ones, is suitable for calligraphy inks. So what you can do is print 1 of these lined sheets and put it under your actual calligraphy writing paper. I do that a lot, especially now that I’m working on the Spencerian script.


I hope I’ve answered some commonly asked questions about calligraphy. Quite frankly, I’m not an expert on this but all I can say is I share through experience. With calligraphy, regardless of the font you’re working on, practicing is generally great fun. What’s not fun in penning down a fantastic quote or two and adorning them with flourishes?

At the end of the day, enjoy your writing sessions although the drills do get mundane at times.
Don’t forget to breathe and happy writing!


Have you got any calligraphy related questions and/or tips?
Comment below and share them with us!


  1. It's so awesome to see the Artsy Nibs calligraphy letters all in one place like that! My question is, Is it important to learn copperplate or Spencerian somewhere down the line? Thanks! Great and informative post as usual!


      With regards to your question, I think it's really depends on personal preference. You can either continue to develop your own style with modern calligraphy or choose to go "back to school" to learn the traditional scripts. I see it as a personal challenge and since I use fountain pens a fair bit, Spencerian works well for me in my daily life.

  2. Wow it looks so beautiful! Calligraphy is such an incredible art. Unfortunately my artistic talents are next to nothing… x

    • Thanks! It is, and most definitely a lot easier to pick up than what many would think. Well, coming from someone whose art teacher kinda gave up on, I think our artistic talents are very much on par! 🙂 x

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