The Best Fountain Pens For Calligraphy (2024)

What's flowing, decorative, and can be traced back to ancient China? If you guessed calligraphy, you definitely read the title of this post. While it has changed and evolved throughout history, calligraphy remains a beautiful art form. What was once reserved for royalty is now a form of artistic expression for everyone.

The possibilities of hand lettering are endless, from wedding and event invitations to graphic design and typography. Its intricate loops and line variations continue to link the past with the present. Whether this is the beginning of your calligraphy journey or you're a pro, this post will guide you to the right tools and best fountain pens for calligraphy.

As expected, there is a learning curve for calligraphy beginners, but we've included all the information you need to get started. First, we'll share our quick calligraphy pen picks, and then we'll go into more detail about each.

The Best Fountain Pens for Calligraphy

Brush pens, dip pens, and fountain pens are all used for calligraphy. Fountain pens are our first choice for hand lettering pens because they provide a smooth writing experience, consistent ink flow, and allow for greater control. They are more convenient than dip pens for beginners, which require dipping the metal nib into an ink bottle after every few words. The best fountain pens for calligraphy have flexible nibs, allowing for thinner or thicker lines for artistic flair. Some have a removable converter, making it easy to switch between different ink colors.

Ready to dive into our top five calligraphy pen picks? Let's go.

1) Pilot Falcon

Sleek in its unique style, this calligraphy pen is an impressive feat of engineering and elegance. With a svelte body and high gloss finish, this fountain pen was designed with input from an association of pen shop owners in Japan who recommended a soft, supple writing feel. As a result, the Pilot Falcon pen's most extraordinary feature is its hooded, flexible nib that gently yields to your writing angle and pressure, making it arguably the best hooded nib fountain pen. This clever blending of functionality and style gives you a truly personalized writing experience. The same group proudly endorses the Pilot Falcon as one of the best fountain pens for calligraphy.

Colors: Black & Gold, Resin Blue, Resin Purple, Burgundy and more

Material: Resin (Falcon) or smooth lacquered metal barrel with gloss finish (Metal Falcon)

Filling System: Cartridge/Converter (Pilot proprietary)

Nib: 14K Gold Soft Nib in EF, F, M, or B.

Price: Starting at $179

2) Lamy Joy

Your invitations will never look better with this modernist style calligraphy pen. The slender, stem-shaped pen body of the Lamy Joy is lightweight in the hand and delivers a smooth writing experience. The u-shaped wire flexible clip makes it convenient to attach to your pocket, journal, or purse for decorative handwriting anywhere. If you're looking for a great pen for your calligraphy practice or for everyday use, look no further than the Lamy Joy.

Although the Joy is available in three different calligraphy nib styles - 1.1mm, 1.5mm, or 1.9mm, the nib can be interchanged with other Safari fountain pens. So, you could swap a stub nib onto your favorite Safari pen and practice calligraphy with your daily carry fountain pen.

Colors: Black, Strawberry Red

Material: ABS Plastic, some styles have an aluminum cap

Filling System: Lamy Cartridge (LT10) or Converter (LZ28)

Nib: Stainless steel nibs (LZ50SL)

Price: Starting at $28

3) Pilot Custom 912

In today's fountain pen market, most pens are available in a limited range of nib sizes. The three options of fine, medium, and broad being the most common. The Pilot Custom 912 trumps all other pens with a whopping fifteen (15!) nib styles, including calligraphic options.

For instant line variation, check out the music or stub nibs to write italic or blackletter calligraphy. To write with one of the most flexible nibs being made in the 21st Century, go for the Falcon (FA) nib to write Spencerian and Copperplate script.

Colors: Only black resin with silver trim

Material: Resin

Filling System: Pilot proprietary cartridge / Converter (CON-70)

Nib: 14kt gold

Price: $280

4) Kaweco Perkeo Calligraphy Set

All the calligraphy tools you need in a compact package! Kaweco makes hand lettering pens fun and affordable with the Perkeo Collection. Modeled after their flagship Sport collection, the Perkeo has a faceted cap (no clip for easier storage) with a longer barrel than the Sport. The hardy plastic barrel meets a stainless steel nib, with the distinct Kaweco medal adorning the cap. The front grip section is molded with an ergonomic grip for your fingers, perfect for practicing calligraphy. The Kaweco Perkeo Calligraphy Set is available in three nib sizes for different writing styles.

Color: Blue

Material: Solid, injection-molded plastic

Filling System: International size Cartridge/Converter - cartridges included, converter sold separately

Nib: Stainless steel nibs

Price: $32

5) Pilot Parallel

Calling all calligraphy beginners: just add a cartridge and you'll be off to the lettering races with this pen! Its two parallel plates make for a unique design that achieves more beautiful and sharper handwriting than existing calligraphy pens.

Even if you're just starting to learn calligraphy, your creativity shouldn't be stifled by your budget. This series comes at a very affordable price point and even offers mixable ink colors. By using two Pilot Parallel Pens, each with different color cartridges, you can produce gradated lettering by touching the nibs together.

Each set comes with one pen, one black ink and one red ink, a blue pipette to clean the pen, and a nib cleaner. The Pilot Parallel is hands-down one of the best fountain pens for calligraphy for beginners. Choose from four different nib sizes and colors.

Color: Silver handle, translucent section, and cap colored to match the nib size

Material: Injection-molded plastic

Filling System: Pilot ink cartridge or converter (compatible with the CON-40 converter)

Nib: Stainless steel nibs

Price: $14.13

Best Inks For Fountain Pen Calligraphy

One of the shortcuts to making your handwriting more exciting is using great fountain pen ink. Sure, you could use any fountain pen ink. But, a beautiful shading, sheening, or shimmering ink gives your lettering depth and a satisfying look, no matter how terrible your handwriting is.

Pigmented black ink is a popular ink choice for calligraphy because it is waterproof and lightfast, meaning it will not fade or erase from the paper with mere water. Many writers and artists enjoy using Platinum Carbon Black for its rich, dark black that secures to the paper.

When you're looking for ink for calligraphy, note that most calligraphy and india inks are not designed for fountain pens. Calligraphy ink meant for dip pens is thick and viscous, resting on top of the paper before drying to a waterproof finish. This formulation can be corrosive and will clog up a fountain pen, destroying its ink mechanism.

What To Look For When Buying Fountain Pens For Calligraphy

When it comes to honing your calligraphy skills, it's all about the nib. This is the part of the pen that distributes ink onto the page. To the beginner's eye, most nibs look the same, but you'll see how different they are at second glance. Pen nibs vary in shape, size, and material depending on your writing style.

Unlike fountain pen nibs that provide consistent line width, the nibs used with calligraphy pens provide line variation. Generally speaking, when people talk about calligraphy nibs, they're referring to the interchangeable nibs of calligraphy dip pens. A dip pen is simply a pen that you dip into bottled ink. While a traditional dip pen or brush pen is great for the seasoned calligrapher, we recommend that beginners start with calligraphy fountain pens.

Different Types of Nibs for Calligraphy

Your calligraphy style will depend on the writing angle, the amount of pressure applied, and the nib you use. Let's look at the different calligraphy nib types in more detail.

Italic Nib

Also known as the cursive nib, this nib has a broad and flat tip with a straight cut. This design allows for maximum line width variation and results in a very sharp edge. Italic nibs can be stiff and scratchy to write with because they are the sharpest nib type available. This makes them particularly sensitive to your writing angle, offering crisp, thin lines. If you're a fan of this distinctive form of hand lettering and you don't mind using a lot of ink, then italic calligraphy may be for you.

Stub Nib

A stub nib has a broad, flat tip with rounded edges for slightly thicker lines. You'll get some stroke variation here, as it is similar to the italic nib without the sharp edges. Since this is a common type of fountain pen nib, you don't need to learn any special techniques like with calligraphy nibs. If you have larger handwriting and enjoy a bold, decorative look, the stub nib is perfect for you.

Flex Nib

This is the nib you want for creating varying line widths. Because of its non-rigid structure, the flex nib allows you to control your line width based on the amount of pressure you apply as you write. Increased pressure will result in thicker lines, while lighter pressure will give you thinner lines. Vintage flex nibs tend to have a higher degree of flex, but they can be hard to find. Overall, flex nibs are great for everyday use in addition to calligraphy and flourished writing.

Modern calligraphy is a time-honored tradition, adding beauty to everyday writing or for special occasions. We hope this post was helpful in your search for the best fountain pens for calligraphy. If you're still undecided, you can't go wrong with the features and affordability of the Pilot Parallel or Lamy Joy, especially for beginners.

As usual, if you have questions, leave them in the comments below. Happy writing, pen pals!


About the Author

Madeleine is a copywriter and video script whiz for creative and inventive brands. As an empathy-based marketer, every website, landing page, blog, email, and video she writes showcases her clients at their best. Some say she's a mind-reader, but she's really just an expert listener with one goal in mind: to inspire readers (and viewers) to take action. A true logophile, she's the one who (unabashedly) keeps a hard copy thesaurus on her desk. When she's not on set or crafting copy, you can find her nose in a book sipping a matcha latte.

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