The Brause Rose nib is absolutely the “fairest of them all” with its embossed rose and beautiful contours. However, its intense flex presents a formidable challenge! If you’ve been practicing calligraphy for at least a few weeks and you feel up for a change, I encourage you to give the Brause Rose a go. This article details a few tips for using it, as well as a realistic idea of what to expect.
The Brause Rose Nib: A Quick Introduction
The Brause Rose nib is manufactured by the Brause company in Iserlohn, Germany. It has a gorgeous, vintage-inspired design that features a rose on the shank — thus the name. You’ll find that the nib feels thin compared to peers like the Nikko G and the Brause Steno, but that also means that the Rose has a lot more flexibility. More flexibility equals more drama, so this nib is great for calligraphers who want to create bold, eye-catching downstrokes!
Why Use the Brause Rose Nib?
The Brause Rose nib is beloved by many due to its amazing flex. Whenever you exert pressure on the nib, the tines immediately spring far apart! As a result, the Rose will help you to create dramatic, bold calligraphy. In the comparison photo below, the Brause Rose creates downstrokes that are sumptuously thick. In fact, Brause Rose downstrokes make Brause EF66 and Nikko G downstrokes look a bit thin!
When the tines of the Brause Rose splay apart, they make a stroke of ink that corresponds with the width of that splay.
Let’s compare that to the Nikko G. In the photo below, I am applying just as much pressure as in the photo of the Brause Rose above. The Nikko G’s splay here would make a stroke that is approximately half as wide as a stroke made by the Rose.
In short, the Rose might have a delicate look, but the calligraphy it allows you to create is far from dainty. You can expect to create letters that are bold and commanding.
Not in the USA? Check this list to see if a local merchant stocks this nib!
Drawbacks of Using the Rose
The Brause Rose nib is fussy. I would never recommend this nib to a beginner because it requires patience and a willingness to experiment! First, know that it’s very important to prep this nib in order to get the manufacturer’s oils off. That’s something I recommend for all nibs, but it’s a must for the Rose! Doing so will give you the best chance at decent ink flow.
The Rose is notorious for not being easy to “start”. Basically, you’ll find that you’ll load the nib with ink, put it to paper, and … gah! Despite your best efforts, the ink doesn’t descend. To fix that, hold the nib to meet the page at a nearly 90° angle, and wiggle it until a little dot of ink descends from the nib onto the paper. As long as you can get that “start dot” on the page, you’ll be able to write from it! For more Brause Rose tips and troubleshooting, watch this video:
(If you’re having trouble viewing the video, you can watch it on YouTube here.)
As I say in the video, it’s important to make sure you have a good, watery ink to write with. Iron gall is ideal! Also, try not to hold your nib at too upright of an angle in relation to the paper. The more upright you write, the more chance your (highly flexible) tines will snag in the paper fibers.
Other Brause Rose Tips
My first tip for effectively using this nib is to use it in an oblique pen (if you’re right-handed). The majority of lefties should be fine using the Rose in a straight pen, but most right-handed people need a bit of help to achieve a good nib to paper angle. Most nibs are fairly tolerant if you don’t get the angle quite right or exert more pressure on one tine versus the other one. The Brause Rose is not one of those nibs!
Second, remember that experimentation is your friend. If the ink won’t descend from the nib, try the ink dot trick that I described. If that doesn’t work, dilute your ink with some water. If that’s a no-go, hold your pen at a closer angle to the paper. If all else fails, try writing on different paper. This nib requires patience and confidence in your abilities … approach the nib with curiosity, and don’t let it discourage you!
It’s difficult not to admire the stroke contrast of calligraphy created with a Brause Rose nib. That stroke contrast makes the Rose a fantastic choice for wedding and event invitation envelopes! If there’s not a big event in your future, then you can just enjoy using this nib for mail art — that’s what I do.
I hope that this blog post serves as a helpful introduction to what may be a fun new calligraphy supply for you. If you have any questions about the nib or how to use it, please feel free to ask in the comments. Happy writing!
This article was first posted in August of 2016. It has been updated to include new photos and clearer information.