Saturday, September 6, 2014

nib lessons - no. 3

once again, i wanted to find a random image to go with the post. i googled *nibs on envelopes* and was happy to see the first option was one of my envelopes from this blog...the xmas ornament turned into a nib.

this one looked like fun, so i clicked on it and it seems like shirley is a kindred spirit. i hope i have time to go back and surf around her site for a while.

this post is for the people who are interested in trying nibs and ink. if you already have nibs and ink, go ahead and use what you have. if you do not have any nibs and ink, please resist the temptation to buy something from a local craft store. there are a few things on the shelf that will work and if you really don't want to spend more than $10-$15 then, you can go that route. but, if you can afford a bit more, please order these supplies from john neal:

N113. Nikko G Nib
These nibs from Japan are hand cut, extremely smooth, and long lasting. They are chrome plated and have a medium flex. Extremely popular with pointed pen men and women! $1.55 each. You may get by with one lasting for a while. Maybe treat yourself to three or four. There are a gazillion nibs on the market. These are great for beginners. Trust me.

I37. McCaffery's Penman's Ink
McCaffery’s Penman’s Ink
1 oz. jar.  This oak gall ink writes brown but turns a dense black. Good for fine hairlines.  $7.25 


I actually prefer the McCaffery's ink in colors, but they are $9.25. 
McCaffrey inks are really wonderful and worth the investment. I could write a lot more about ink, and I will if people want to hear it, but for now, just trust me that these are almost the best inks ever. The BEST inks are the ones you grind by hand on a stone, but, I don't think I can talk anyone into that route long distance. You need to be introduced to ink stones in person. Or, if you believe me, let me know and I will try to talk you through ink stones long distance.

PAPER - you may want to just try the paper you have on hand. I can have fun with the above nibs and ink on just about any paper. If you want to buy some super paper that will give you the best possible results from the very beginning....try this:

PA37. Clairfontaine Color Copy Pack 8.25"x11.75"
Clairefontaine Color Copy Pack.  Extra smooth surface. Acid Free. Pack of 100 sheets. Recommended by Michael Sull for Spencerian and Off-hand Flourishing. 8.25"x11.75". Blank. From France. $11  or graph paper for $12

The shipping will be about $7-8 - so you can get the best possible start for less than $30.

Again...if you already have materials on hand, it is OK to use them. But please don't go out and buy the nibs, ink and paper that you will find at your local stores. You will spend at least $15 and the materials will not work very well. Go ahead and spend the $30 to get materials that will last a very long time and will give you much better results. 

any questions - email me at jmwilson411  (at)  yahoo  (dot) com


  1. This is GREAT! I love John Neal's site. The Best! I want to try to get back into writing with a dipping pen. I think I will take you up on this challenge and make sure I have a good beginner stock on hand. Thank you!
    Lady Pamela

  2. Love this very informative information package. Chuck full of meat even for a retired calligrapher

  3. yikes...i forgot the nib holder...

  4. Oh, the feeling of good ink flowing from a good nib onto nice paper! Go for it, people!