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Topics - Vipul

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Hi everyone,

I've been frustrated by the need to repeatedly dip my pen. And if the ink is a little dilute, the sudden blob that comes on the paper when I write.

So did a lot of research, and found 2 things. Reservoir nibs, which are horrendously costly at over $5 each. And a post on the flourish forum, which has a few suggestions. After that, I experimented with quite a few things. I got a bit of thin wire and wrapped it around the nib. It helped in better ink retention but threw the balance off. Then I tried wrapping the nib (around the breather hole) with sewing thread. That held quite a bit of ink but the nibs rusted faster, since doing it every time was impossible and I had to leave the thread on. Both had their issues.

Giving it a bit of scientific thought (I'm a pilot, so do read a bit of physics and chemistry) I realised that I needed a reservoir and a way to smoothly transfer the ink to the tip. The easy answer to the second was capillary action. So with a bit of hit and miss, I developed the following method.

There is a medical tape called 'micropore paper tape', that's like thick tissue paper. It's cheap and lasts forever. I believe, there is something called carpenter's tape also, that's similar. These, basically have a very porous upper surface, and a good sticky surface. To make the ink reservoir and improve the flow of the ink is a simple procedure.

Prep the nib to remove the oil. (Whichever way works for you, Saliva, Toothpaste, Flame etc. I personally just stick it in my mouth for a couple of min).

Let it dry completely (Very important if you want to do this just once in the life of the nib. If you're willing to do it every time you use the nib, then you can use the nib slightly damp too).

Take a small sliver of the tape and stick it on the underside of a dry nib, over the slit, so that ink sticks to it and flows easily.

These are to improve ink flow and retention. The nib is ready for use. However, if you want a much bigger reservoir, with a lot of ink retention then add the following too.

You can also stick the tape wrapped around the nib, (encircling the nib) so that it forms kind of a pocket to hold the ink and let it flow. If you do this without the tape over the slit, you WILL get blobs.

That's it. For better understanding, I've added pics of each step.

Do let me know how it works for you. Feel free to ask any questions.  :)

Guidelines / Guideline Generators, grids and pre-generated guidelines
« on: March 29, 2018, 04:39:47 AM »
Have been doing calligraphy for about 20 years, on and off, and have only recently caught the pointed nib bug. Making guidelines was a much hated task, but now with easily available resources, its easier to just concentrate on the fun of writing and leave the guidelines to the machines.

Have compiled a short list of various guideline resources and generators, along with the instructions. Hopefully, will be useful. Most work for all types of calligraphy - pointed nib, broad pen or brush.

Guideline Generators

This one is easy and simple to use. One of the best ways to generate a guide sheet


Suggested by @Wonderer. Very nice generator, with visual info available for all kinds of guidelines.
All editing is to be done with 3 tabs. A bit jumping around needed between the tabs, but very easy to use.

__________________________________________________________________    (Open source, so can be used even on this site. Has a nice collection of pre-generated pages too)

Unique in that it has a radial generator, giving concentric lines.

Instructions are there on the page. These are values to use for copperplate. Can be modified easily as per your need.
Nib width - Keep this equal to the x height.

Partitions - For the traditional 5 line system, enter 1,1,1,1,1  This will give you 5 equally spaced lines with x height gap between them.

Gap - This is the gap between successive lines. It will be greyed out so will appear as a thick bar.

Top margin - In nib widths

Number of rulings - The number of lines of text you want the ruling sheet to be generated for. (Suggest you play with this figure to get a filled page.)

Angle guides - 55

Title - Title for the generated pdf

Page size (experimental)  -  The default is A4. A3 is the other available option.

Landscape (experimental) - Worked for me

Radial (experimental) -  I haven't used it, so can't really comment how it works. The description given by the
If you select this, the program will generate a concentric circles with the above specifications rather than parallel lines. This is useful to write circular text. This is a work in progress so feedback is welcome.


This allows you to set the size of the x height.
5 per inch is about 5mm x height.(The calculation is 25.4/no. per inch = x height in mm)   You can choose "custom" to make even 1 per inch.
You can also set the distance between the slants.  To get good spacing, you should make the slant distance about half the x height. 

So you can make the selections like below:
Ascenders - 2 x
Space - no overlap
Angled - 55 degree
Every - (choose mm ) and mention a figure that is half the x height.
5 lines per inch is about 5mm x height.  So the "Every" option will be 3 mm
3 lines is about 8mm  - Every option 4 mm
and 2 lines is about 13 mm - every option 6 mm
This is helpful in the forming of width of the letters and spacing.
The width of a letter should be half the height and the space between alphabets should be half height in most cases.

Next is the option to vary the darkness of the guides. 
If you set it to 25% black or non-photo blue and then print on your practice paper, you can practice directly on the guidelines itself.

Set it to 100% and you can use it behind your paper.

A very good generator with visual and self explanatory visual interface.

Only thing to keep in mind is the Pen Nib Settings -> Nib (mm) governs the x-height.

Rest is simple.


One of the best sites I have found for visual generation of guidelines. Might not have the option of colours etc, but you can visually see each change in the settings.
Also, great for beginners, as it can make light lines in between the x-height, so that you can mark out the 1/3 part for your underturns and overturns.


Designed by our own member here - @KrzysiekS, Using his instructions here. Reproduced from another thread without his permission :P

In guidelines section set:
Nib width to 1 (mm)
Change lines to:
10 above baseline, plain
5 above baseline, plain
baseline, plain
5 below baseline, plain (enter it as -5)
delete unneded guide lines.

Modify slant line
Set angle to 0 degrees
Set distance to 5 nib widths

Modify nib guide
Set angle to 55 degrees
Set distance to your preferred distance between guidelines

Adjust line widths too your preferences.

For your information:
Slant line angle is angle between (imaginary) vertical line and slant line.
Nib angle line is between horizontal guidelines and nib angle line.


Pretty straight forward site


Graph paper

Collection of pre-generated guide sheets. 

Regards and happy writing



Been at copperplate for about 7 months now and have been trying @Salman's patience  ;D

My query is regards the proper width of the shades or swells. Is there a guideline or rule which governs how much it should be?

The thinner ones look elegant and the thicker ones look really dramatic, though they eat through nibs :P

Have written the following to bring out the point. (Written on 100gsm paper with walnut ink and Gillott 303) Which one is a better way to approach the whole thing? (Critique, suggestions and ways to improve would be welcome)

Thanks and regards


Hi everyone. Quite new to dip pen and pointed pen calligraphy. I've been using a Gillott 303 nib in an oblique holder for some time and love it for its hairlines and swells.
I got a 404 and was horrified at the thick hairlines I got. Changed back in a hurry....
Who in their right mind would use a 404 with such thick hairlines? But lots of people apparently do.... so there had to be more to it
Can someone tell me please, which nib to be used for what? It's the some rule or logic to it?

Kind Critique / Request critique and suggestions
« on: August 12, 2017, 01:29:05 AM »
Recently joined, and very recently started on this journey of copperplate. Finding good bleed proof paper and ink is proving a lot more difficult than I thought.
A couple of practice sheets, for suggestions please.

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