Modern Calligraphy Nibs: Favorites & Recommendations

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When I first started having a huge interest in calligraphy in 2014 I remember perusing Instagram non-stop and looking at beautiful photos of calligraphy (Instagram didn’t support videos yet). As a leftie, I found myself looking at a lot of the photos with longing and disappointment; I honestly thought as a left-handed person that I would never be able to do calligraphy. {For more of my background story, click HERE}.

However, determined to find a way around it, I began following more & more so-called “modern” calligraphers, constantly asking, “What nib is this?” or “What nib did you use?” with the hope that maybe one of them would answer. (This is why I try to always answer questions about nibs on my Instagram feed. Because I remember being in exactly the same spot.) I just knew I needed to try. I felt consumed with a passion for the art of calligraphy & I wanted to find something that would work for me. At the time, I didn’t realize that there is a huge difference between a broad-edge nib and a pointed nib. Broad-edge nibs must be made specifically for left-handed writers (due to a small angle cut onto the end of the nib that, by default, favors a righty) while a pointed nib is entirely unbiased toward either hand.

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PIN THIS FOR LATER!

The replies on Instagram were few and far between. Maybe it was because the people I was following had thousands of followers. Or maybe it’s because they didn’t want to share. Either way, I will always remember lying in bed in college one morning and seeing that someone had actually replied to me. Nikko G.

FINALLY. Someone had been willing to share! I wish I could remember who it was so I could thank them today. I was seriously so excited that I finally had a lead. It makes me remember that, when someone asks me “What nib is this?” it is most often not because they want to achieve my style & look, it is simply because they don’t know where to start. Or maybe they don’t even know what to search for on Google! I’ve heard it said before that “the nib does not make the artist”, but I want to interject real quick and say that different nibs do different things. They have a variety of flexibility, they often hold different amounts of ink, and some work on textured paper better than others… the list goes on.

So, whether you’re brand new to calligraphy or you’ve been practicing for quite some time, I’ve decided to highlight 6 different nibs in this blog post with the help of some wonderful #calligrafriends that I’ve made through Instagram! My hope is that you will be able to experiment, try new things, and expand your nib “library” with this knowledge!

Click on the photo provided of each nib to be directed to where you can buy one for yourself! P.S. This article includes affiliate links for products!

NIKKO G – recommended by ME!

I’m recommending this nib because I think it is used by calligraphers of all levels, not to mention it is relatively easy to find! This nib has the perfect amount of flex; not too much and not too little, which means that you don’t have to be “practiced” to get amazing results! However, due to it’s very sharp point I wouldn’t recommend using this nib on handmade paper. Other nib options recommended below are better suited for that!

ZEBRA G PLATINUM – recommended by Ruth of Seniman Calligraphy!

Ruth uses the Zebra G platinum nib for more “fine art” calligraphy, especially when it comes to writing on textured paper! It’s not a super flexible nib, but it also isn’t as sharp as the Nikko G, which means that it doesn’t snag on handmade/textured paper as easily as other nibs might. You can see examples of her beautiful fine art calligraphy here: @seniman_calligraphy.

BLUE PUMPKIN (Brause B361)– recommended by Sarah of Sarah B. Calligraphy!

“I can use the Blue Pumpkin on almost anything. It's so versatile. Most nibs don't write as well on handmade paper, but I've found this nib writes the best on it! I've even written on acrylic and agate slices with this nib and it works beautifully. The reason the blue pumpkin works so well compared to other nibs is because the tines don't come to a sharp point. The tines are broader by the smallest amount making it less likely to snag on paper and easier to glide on glass!” You can see Sarah’s work here: @sarahbcalligraphy.  

HUNT 101 – recommended by Cami of Cami Monet!

“I primarily work on textured watercolor paper, so it can be a bit of bear to work with, but I love the contrast I can get with the Hunt 101 nib! The upstrokes are super fine and delicate and the downstrokes are nice and bold. I feel like it gives my lettering a fancier feel. The Hunt 101 is super flexible and thin, but also incredibly durable, which is perfect for me since I tend to have a heavy hand. I keep a dozen in stock at all times!” See more of Cami’s work here: @camimonet.

GILLOT 404 – recommended by Brittany of Letter Lane Design Studio.

“This nib is flexible but still allows a lot of control, and the ink seems to always flow from it nicely no matter what ink I’m using or what paper I’m writing on. It’s also the nib that helped me discover my signature style of calligraphy, which I would consider to be playful and whimsical!” You can see Brittany’s work here: @letterlanedesignstudio.

BRAUSE EF 66 – recommended by Amy of Storied Script Calligraphy.

“The Brause Extra Fine 66 nib is one of my favorites because of how delicate and flexible it is. The flexibility of the nib allows you to create very fine upstrokes and thick downstrokes. I use it mostly for Copperplate and more traditional work. The sharp, small point is ideal for calligraphy, but it is also great for drawing or other detail work. The EF66 is also very durable on different types of paper. I find that it writes smoothly on almost any surface. I’ve used it on Rhodia pads, textured envelopes, watercolor paper and wood with success." See more of Amy's work here: @storiedscript.

So there you have it! Six different nibs that you should take the time to try & experiment with! If you have any questions for me, or a topic that you want me to blog about, make sure to comment below or CONTACT me directly!