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brianc
12-26-2007, 10:08 AM
Hi, I usually hang out at Plein Air forum, but have been meaning to learn calligraphy. As a Christmas suggestion, my daughter gave me a "Manuscript" brand calligrapher's pen, with 6 nibs. Is this a good way to learn calligraphy, or would I be happier with a standard nib and ink well? The pen has an adapter that allows bottled ink to be used.

- Brian

callibeth
12-27-2007, 08:06 AM
I think those Manuscript cartridge pens are great. For many years, there simply wasn't a good calligraphy fountain or cartridge pen to be had for a reasonable price. So I was pleasantly surprised when the Manuscript cartridge pens came out.

They're great for casual use and for beginners, especially beginners who aren't painters. The ink comes out more or less automatically, sort of like regular, more familiar pens. You are limited to the ink that works in fountain pens, though. That ink is generally rather transparent, with a limited color range. And it doesn't stand up on the paper the way paint does, but sinks in, which gives you thicker hairlines on most papers. By the way, try Xerox Color Laser paper. It's great practice paper.

If you're comfortable with paint, you might want to move on to dip pens and gouache. It's trickier, but the results are more satisfying -- more pigment, less transparency, more tactile satisfaction. I like Mitchell Roundhand nibs myself, but there are quite a few brands of dip pen nibs to choose from.

Two places to buy online: John Neal, Bookseller (http://www.johnnealbooks.com/) and Paper and Ink Arts (http://www.paperinkarts.com/).

HTH

Beth
www.callibeth.com (http://www.callibeth.com)

brianc
12-27-2007, 09:22 AM
I think those Manuscript cartridge pens are great. For many years, there simply wasn't a good calligraphy fountain or cartridge pen to be had for a reasonable price. So I was pleasantly surprised when the Manuscript cartridge pens came out.

They're great for casual use and for beginners, especially beginners who aren't painters. The ink comes out more or less automatically, sort of like regular, more familiar pens. You are limited to the ink that works in fountain pens, though. That ink is generally rather transparent, with a limited color range. And it doesn't stand up on the paper the way paint does, but sinks in, which gives you thicker hairlines on most papers. By the way, try Xerox Color Laser paper. It's great practice paper.

If you're comfortable with paint, you might want to move on to dip pens and gouache. It's trickier, but the results are more satisfying -- more pigment, less transparency, more tactile satisfaction. I like Mitchell Roundhand nibs myself, but there are quite a few brands of dip pen nibs to choose from.

Two places to buy online: John Neal, Bookseller (http://www.johnnealbooks.com/) and Paper and Ink Arts (http://www.paperinkarts.com/).

HTH

Beth
www.callibeth.com (http://www.callibeth.com)

Very helpful, Beth. Thank you! I opened the gift and started using the pens last night. It is very satisfying for now. Lets me practice the fonts.

I am indeed comfortable with paint. I'll look for the right nibs and try a gouache. At some point, I will get some waterproof ink as well. I've been told it can look pretty cool as a base sketch under a painting.