Getting Started with Pointed Pen - Part 1

I'm starting to prep for my second pointed pen class this season and I thought I'd share some tips for some of you interested in getting started in this medium! Part 1 includes info about the steel pen nibs you will need to start exploring and part 2 will cover inks and starting to make strokes!

Anatomy of a nib

Anatomy of a nib... The tines separate in order to release ink, and the tines are released by the amount of PRESSURE you apply. Different nibs have different levels of stiffness so you will definitely need to experiment. The base is inserted into a nib holder.

Anatomy of a nib... The tines separate in order to release ink, and the tines are released by the amount of PRESSURE you apply. Different nibs have different levels of stiffness so you will definitely need to experiment. The base is inserted into a nib holder.

Selecting a nib
Nib selection can be very frustrating and definitely hit or miss. There is SO much information available now about nibs that its a bit easier... Back in 2007-08 when I first determined that I'd master this discipline, I just tried everything without knowing much about flexibility, nib manufacturers, etc. It was more along the lines of "ooh I like this one!" So NO shame if that's where you are right now because all of us write differently (with varying amounts of pressure) and nib preference is really, really a personal thing.

I ordered a nib sampler from John Neal bookseller back then and they STILL sell this now. There is a GREAT assortment of nibs here.

Many will say that the Nikko G nib is a good one for beginners. Typically, beginners are HEAVY handed and the Nikko G is pretty sturdy in this regard. Its all about pressure. You can provide beginners with pretty sophisticated nibs, but if it provides too much flexibility, there is a possibility that the first few strokes they make will utilize way too much ink, which will require them to dip the nib back into the inkwell more often, which will result in a level of frustration.

When you apply pressure to the pointed pen steel nib, the tines part and release more ink onto your lettering surface.

When you apply pressure to the pointed pen steel nib, the tines part and release more ink onto your lettering surface.

Moreover, I would recommend that you try as many nibs as you can and if you know you press down really hard when you write, I'd look for rigid, stiff nibs. Those will give you the most success to start.

I'll be back soon with part 2!

--ct