Author Topic: Pointed pen nibs – Hints for angle/speed/movement  (Read 838 times)

Offline Zivio

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 180
  • Karma: 21
  • Foment Compassion, Practice Peace
    • View Profile
Pointed pen nibs – Hints for angle/speed/movement
« on: October 18, 2021, 03:25:32 PM »
Hi all!  Having exclusively used fountain pen for my first year of learning Spencerian script, I am just now starting to use an oblique holder with nibs. I recently purchased a “variety pack” of twelve different nibs and have done some experimentation, but I’d like some hints on how best to use the dip pens.

Up strokes obviously present more drag on the nib path than downstrokes.  Is there a particular pen-to-paper angle that works better to prevent catching on the paper?  I’ve seen some beautiful video examples where I can definitely hear the scratching sound of the upstroke movements, but some nibs are so sharp they just catch.  I’m trying extremely light pressure … do you just “push through” the drag?  How to prevent “skittering” on the paper?  I’ve also been using Claire Fontaine paper which feels extremely smooth with the fountain pen, but certainly not as much so with various nibs. 

Mostly I’ve just been experimenting with various pressure and angles and speed.  I’d very much like to hear descriptions from the experienced forum users on how to use these new (to me) writing instruments.

Peace and joy to all!
Karl
Foment Compassion, Practice Peace

Offline InkyFingers

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 717
  • Karma: 55
  • All creations not equal.
    • View Profile
Re: Pointed pen nibs – Hints for angle/speed/movement
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2021, 10:48:25 PM »
Wonderful to have you jumped on this band wagon.  It is a whole new learning experience.  Try this first...do drills to learn the pressure required and learn the light of hand.  I am still learning after 5 yrs.  And the type of nibs matters.  Try stiff nibs first then gradually progress to more flexible nibs.

And now the hunt for the perfect nib began for you.  Please note one nib is perfect for one user is not perfect for you

Peace

Offline Zivio

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 180
  • Karma: 21
  • Foment Compassion, Practice Peace
    • View Profile
Re: Pointed pen nibs – Hints for angle/speed/movement
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2021, 11:34:16 PM »
@InkyFingers Thanks for your input!  Yes, I've been totally invested in drills with the nibs and ink ever since the illustrious @Erica McPhee had encouraged me to do so.  And I'm oddly comforted to hear that learning will continue for years. My journey, so far, has been one of setting aside expectations, putting on a "growth mindset" and practicing regularly without losing hope. Some days I do better with that than others.  :-\

Grateful for your response,
Karl
Foment Compassion, Practice Peace

Offline Erica McPhee

  • Administrator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6483
  • Karma: 326
  • Be brave. Love life!
    • View Profile
    • Dasherie Magazine
Re: Pointed pen nibs – Hints for angle/speed/movement
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2021, 12:29:44 AM »
Hi Karl,
Oh the fun is just beginning!  ;D First, make sure you have prepared your nib properly using either a flame (very quickly put nib through it a couple of times), a potato (stab it in and let it sit a minute or two), some Windex, or saliva. This removes the protective coating and allows the nib to hold ink and glide better.

Second, some nibs are not good right from the start unfortunately. And others require a bit of warm up to find the “sweet spot.” I find Nikko G and Zebra G nibs are very industrious but have a bit of a breaking in period.

Lastly, are you using an oblique or straight holder? This can make a big difference. Are you a rightie or a leftie?

Which nibs are you trying? Which are giving you the most trouble?
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline Grayspoole

  • Freshman Member
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Pointed pen nibs – Hints for angle/speed/movement
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2021, 10:05:11 AM »
Hello Zivio-

Finding the best position/angles for the nib within the holder and the pen to the paper (as well as the ergonomics of your body and arm in relation to your desk) involves many adjustments. It’s worthwhile to spend some time to get it all right—as well as comfortable. Ultimately you’ll find what’s best for you.

Dr. Joe Vitolo offers some excellent advice on the IAMPETH site:

https://www.iampeth.com/lesson/adjusting-angle-your-paper

https://www.iampeth.com/lesson/adjusting-your-premium-oblique-penholder

Good luck!

Offline Zivio

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 180
  • Karma: 21
  • Foment Compassion, Practice Peace
    • View Profile
Re: Pointed pen nibs – Hints for angle/speed/movement
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2021, 09:22:50 PM »
@Erica McPhee
Oh the fun is just beginning!  ;D
Uh, OK, but would that be for you or for me? ???  Definitely up to speed on the nib prep, thanks! Good to know about that breaking in period. Reminds me of playing oboe where reeds, even when making myself, would get better with time and play really well … until they didn’t.  I think I’ve experienced this a bit with the Nikko G. 

Lastly, are you using an oblique or straight holder?
Oblique, and one of your very own Curv-E’s beautifully made by uber craftsman Edward Curran!  Feeling unworthy, at the moment, of such a magnificent instrument. 


@Grayspoole – thank you for the IAMPETH links! Very helpful.  I should add that the Curv-E is already made with that nib “cant” built-in.  Which is fortunate, because I’d otherwise be sweating bullets putting pliers to it. :o


@Erica McPhee
Are you a rightie or a leftie?  Which nibs are you trying? Which are giving you the most trouble?
I’m right handed.  On others’ recommendations I over-eagerly purchased about 10 each Gillot’s 404’s and Nikko G’s until recently acquiring a sample set of 12 various nibs.  I honestly think I’ll need to do a lot more drills and writing before I know for sure what’s working and what isn’t, and perhaps to get past that break-in period – nibs, and, uh, penman.  ;) 

A few comments, so far:

Gillot 303 WAY too “sharp” … digs into paper on upstrokes and having trouble finessing it.

Zebra G … lots of ink flow.  Almost too much.  Maybe that break in needed.

Leonardt Principal – just can’t seem to control the ink flow.

Brause 361 – Holy Crow! Big Fat Fun letters! Excited to see, for the first time, the magic of shading. I may have to pull this out when feeling discouraged … or when painting a mural or something.    ::)

Hunt 22 extra fine – Too sharp problem.  But need to give it more of a chance.


@InkyFingers
Try stiff nibs first then gradually progress to more flexible nibs.
I currently don’t know enough about nibs to understand which are stiff/flexible.  Do you have examples?



Thanks, once again, to all for your responses!  I have much to learn, and am grateful for your taking time to send ideas for help.

Karl
Foment Compassion, Practice Peace

Offline Erica McPhee

  • Administrator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6483
  • Karma: 326
  • Be brave. Love life!
    • View Profile
    • Dasherie Magazine
Re: Pointed pen nibs – Hints for angle/speed/movement
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2021, 10:17:24 PM »

Gillot 303 WAY too “sharp” … digs into paper on upstrokes and having trouble finessing it.

Zebra G … lots of ink flow.  Almost too much.  Maybe that break in needed.

Leonardt Principal – just can’t seem to control the ink flow.

Brause 361 – Holy Crow! Big Fat Fun letters! Excited to see, for the first time, the magic of shading. I may have to pull this out when feeling discouraged … or when painting a mural or something.    ::)

Hunt 22 extra fine – Too sharp problem.  But need to give it more of a chance.


The too much ink flow sounds like a nib prep issue to me. Without all the coating removed, the ink will just slide off the nib. Sometimes even in blobs.

Yes, the Hunt 22 and Gillott 303 are super sharp! I find them frustrating. LOVE that you are using a Curv-E!

The Zebra G is a great nib. I use it all the time, especially for practice. It’s a real workhorse and will give some nice shades. It definitely has a breaking in period. But also, every once in a while, I get a dud. Not that often with them.
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline Zivio

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 180
  • Karma: 21
  • Foment Compassion, Practice Peace
    • View Profile
Re: Pointed pen nibs – Hints for angle/speed/movement
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2021, 12:06:05 AM »
LOVE that you are using a Curv-E!

As do I!

Unworthy of it or not, I do not reget having made the investment! It holds and is supported so lightly in the fingers with a great feel, I cannot help but expect it will play a huge role in my continuing learning. And though my script, so far, is only marginally Spencerian, I like to think Platt Rogers himself would give me a big "atta boy" for "correct penholding" if he were to see me brandish (lightly) the Curv-E.
Foment Compassion, Practice Peace

Offline Grayspoole

  • Freshman Member
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Pointed pen nibs – Hints for angle/speed/movement
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2021, 08:07:57 AM »
The too much ink flow sounds like a nib prep issue to me. Without all the coating removed, the ink will just slide off the nib. Sometimes even in blobs.

Just want to highlight this important piece of advice. It takes a surprising amount of effort to remove the coating completely—and I feel that I had an especially hard time cleaning the new Leonardt Principals. I never use flame—sometimes I use alcohol, sometimes spit. The potato method (stick nibs in raw potato, wipe) works really well.

Offline Erica McPhee

  • Administrator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6483
  • Karma: 326
  • Be brave. Love life!
    • View Profile
    • Dasherie Magazine
Re: Pointed pen nibs – Hints for angle/speed/movement
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2021, 10:33:43 AM »

Unworthy of it or not

We are all worthy of fine tools, whether beginner or expert.  ;)
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline Zivio

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 180
  • Karma: 21
  • Foment Compassion, Practice Peace
    • View Profile
Re: Pointed pen nibs – Hints for angle/speed/movement
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2021, 06:21:28 PM »
Just want to highlight this important piece of advice. It takes a surprising amount of effort to remove the coating completely—and I feel that I had an especially hard time cleaning the new Leonardt Principals. I never use flame—sometimes I use alcohol, sometimes spit. The potato method (stick nibs in raw potato, wipe) works really well.

Ah, Grayspoole, thank you for this amplification! I'd noticed some of the nibs not getting fully "ink-coated" after dipping, even though I thought I'd done a thorough prep. I've been using vinegar, and then dish detergent and water.  Tried flame method once, but was worried I'd wreck the nib as it got really hot even after just a quick pass through the flame. I'll have to keep at it.

Guess I'll be having potatoes after my next grocery trip!  ;D
Foment Compassion, Practice Peace

Offline manalit

  • Freshman Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Pointed pen nibs – Hints for angle/speed/movement
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2021, 12:05:39 AM »
Hey Zivio, some tips that I learnt along the way that might be useful for you.
  • For prepping a nib, I've had good success with using dishwashing liquid soap.
  • As a newbie the flex of some nibs like Gillot 303/404, Leonardt Principal EF, Hunt 101 was difficult to handle. Nikko G helped me gain composure of strokes and then I subsequently progressed to Hunt 22 and there after the others.
  • Each nib might need different consistency of ink. What works with Nikko G, may not work as is with Hunt 101. If ink falls out in a blob, it probably needs adjustment in thickness.
  • I've had paper catching with HP Premium 32 Laser print paper which is the most commonly recommended, Rhodia pads are my go to at the moment.
Hope this helps!
-Manali
IG @calligraphy_nibler

Offline Erica McPhee

  • Administrator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6483
  • Karma: 326
  • Be brave. Love life!
    • View Profile
    • Dasherie Magazine
Re: Pointed pen nibs – Hints for angle/speed/movement
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2021, 06:37:13 PM »
I second what @manalit  said - I have given up on HP Laser jet (they changed the formula or something) and now use Rhodia. A lot more expensive but saves me a lot of frustration.  :-\
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
Dasherie Magazine | Paperwhite Studio | Instagram | Facebook

Offline Zivio

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 180
  • Karma: 21
  • Foment Compassion, Practice Peace
    • View Profile
Re: Pointed pen nibs – Hints for angle/speed/movement
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2021, 01:26:28 PM »
 @manalit  @Erica McPhee

Grateful for these additional thoughts and tips! I was surprised, after reading from so many who were happy with HP Premium LaserJet, at how poorly it works for me. I’m using it now just for drills and “playing around” … a shame to waste it. Using ClaireFontaine for more serious practice, and now I’m very curious about that Rhodia.


I’m liking the comments on those specific nibs—should be a help as I experiment.


Although it will probably be awhile before I gain any kind of control, I am seeing for the first time the potential beauty of shaded lines even in the most haphazard attempts. NOW I get what Erica was saying about the fun beginning!
Foment Compassion, Practice Peace