I want to preface this post by saying that, when you consider how many calligraphy nibs are available, I haven’t tried many of them. So, if you have a favorite, I hope that you’ll contribute it in the comments section! The calligraphy nibs that we are examining today are four of my favorites, and all are worth trying. We’ll start with the most beginner-friendly nib and end with the most finicky!
1. The Nikko G Nib
I tout the Nikko G as the best beginner calligraphy nib, and it’s what I start learners off with in all of my beginner calligraphy workshops. The majority of learners find it easiest to use this nib because of its resilience. The Nikko G is tolerant if you apply too much pressure or too little pressure, and it is capable of making nice stroke contrast!
Pros of Using the Nikko G Nib
- The Nikko G nib is strong and has a medium flex, which means it can handle a great deal of pressure before it breaks. That’s good news for beginners who still need to figure out their pressure exertion!
- The medium flex of this nib also ensures that its tines don’t catch on paper much compared to more flexible calligraphy nibs. Its tines are anything but flimsy!
- This is a large nib, so it holds a large amount of ink. That means less re-dipping for you!
- The nib is widely available (online) in several countries. For a list of international vendors, you can visit the Ultimate Modern Calligraphy Starter Kit post.
Cons of Using the Nikko G Nib
- As I mentioned, the Nikko G nib has a medium flex. That flex means that the contrast between thin upstrokes and thick downstrokes tends to be less noticeable than it is with flexible nibs.
- People with a lighter touch will find this nib difficult to use because it requires a bit of strength to get a nice downstroke.
2. The Brause EF66 Nib
The Brause EF66 nib is my personal favorite. It’s a small, flexible nib that’s capable of making beautiful thick downstrokes and delicate thin upstrokes. I find it to be very user-friendly, though it’s probably not the best nib to start off with. I’ll explain why in the cons!
Pros of Using the Brause EF66 Nib
- The Brause EF66 nib doesn’t require much strength to write with. When you exert just a bit of pressure on the downstroke, the tines splay and make a thick stroke.
- The nib’s impressive flex ensures extraordinary stroke contrast.
- The nib’s tines are strong enough that they don’t catch on the paper easily.
Cons of Using the Brause EF66 Nib
- It can be difficult to initiate ink flow from the Brause EF66 nib. If that’s something that you’re having trouble with, try the ink dot trick in the Common Calligraphy Ink Problems + Solutions post.
- This is a small nib, so it doesn’t hold a whole lot of ink. Prepare for frequent re-dipping!
- This nib wears down a little bit faster than the stronger Nikko G. You will need to replace it more often, comparatively. I replace my EF66 calligraphy nib once every 6 months or so.
3. The Leonardt Principal Nib
If you like the delicate vintage calligraphy look, then you’ll really enjoy the Leonardt Principal nib! This is a very fine-tipped nib that is a bit less flexible than the Brause EF66 nib. It makes very (very) thin upstrokes, and reasonably-sized downstrokes. In my opinion, that somewhat reduced contrast leads to a delightful antique look!
Pros of Using the Leonardt Principal Nib
- The Leonardt Principal loves a light touch. Less pressure exertion means you won’t get tired of writing quite as quickly.
- This nib can make delicate upstrokes like you wouldn’t believe!
- The tines of this nib are flexible, but not excessively so. As such, they don’t tend to catch on paper as much as more flexible nibs.
Cons of Using the Leonardt Principal Nib
- If you like a lot of contrast between upstrokes and downstrokes, this probably isn’t the nib for you.
- If you exert too much pressure on the downstrokes, ink will “dump” onto the page. Use a light touch!
4. The Brause Rose Nib
If you love stroke contrast, then you’ll enjoy using the Brause Rose! The Rose is a beautiful, vintage style nib with a ton of flex to make thin upstrokes and thick downstrokes.
Pros of Using the Brause Rose Nib
- The super-high flex ensures that you get gorgeous downstrokes with minimal pressure exertion.
- The nib is resilient in spite of its intense flexibility.
Cons of Using the Brause Rose Nib
- It can be really difficult to initiate ink flow when using the Brause Rose nib. (The All About the Brause Rose Nib article has some tips to help you get the ink started.)
- This amount of flex can be tough to deal with as a beginner. Exert the tiniest amount of pressure, and the tines will split far apart! It’s best to accustom yourself to using less flexible nibs before you move onto the Rose.
- The upstrokes that you create with this nib will be thicker than those created with smaller nibs (like the Leonardt Principal). It’s not a big deal, but something to remember.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I haven’t tried a vast amount of calligraphy nibs. When I find something that I like, I tend to stick with it! While I encourage you to try the calligraphy nibs in this post, it’s not my intention to prevent you from trying other nibs. If you find one that you like, let me know about it — I’d love to try it, too!
I hope that you found this post helpful. If you have any questions (or suggestions), don’t hesitate to contribute them in the comments! Have a great day, and thanks very much for reading TPK.