8 Best Fountain Pens for Calligraphy in 2023

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

Just when you thought that everyone was going digital over the last decade, many people started getting into calligraphy and buying fountain pens. I doubt that it’s triggered by nostalgia since none of us were alive in the 1800s!

Joking aside, writing by hand improves our mood and memory. Besides, fountain pens are more practical and eco-friendly since their inks are refillable.

If you’re in the market for the best fountain pen for calligraphy, look for these three features:

Type of fountain pen

Using fountain pens for calligraphy writing is no easy feat. I made the mistake of using them instead of an entry-level cartridge type starting out, and my lack of skills resulted in messy work.

The lesson here is to start with a pen that is intended for beginner-friendly handwriting styles. Buy dip pens once you’ve mastered the basics.

Nib shapes

Start with one that is appropriate to your writing style. For example, the round nib is quite popular as it creates lines with the same width. Italic calligraphy requires some practice using a specialized italic nib, which produces thin horizontal lines and broader vertical lines.
Meanwhile, flex nibs and brush pens are harder to use, but with training, you can create beautiful script fonts with varying line thicknesses.

Nib sizes

Since writing Asian characters requires finer nibs, Japanese brands (e.g., Pilot) make thinner tips compared to European brands (e.g., Lamy).

Nib sizes are rated using “EF,” “F,” “M,” and “B,” which means Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, and Broad. If your natural handwriting is small, finer nibs are more apt for you. For medium-sized penmanship, go for “M.” Meanwhile, broad nibs are usually for signatures or larger fonts.

3 Premium-Rated Picks

Wordsworth & Black Fountain Pen Set

When I first saw this Wordsworth & Black fountain pen set, I was struck by its nib’s fancy

Dryden Designs VAR1 Fountain Pen

Pilot Parallel pen and Lamy pen are top-rated tools for calligraphy beginners, but their

Asvine Bent Nib Calligraphy Fountain Pen

Though the Asvine Forest series comes in roughly a dozen color options, I got the black

Top 8 Fountain Pens for Calligraphy

for-professional

1. Wordsworth & Black Fountain Pen Set

  • Pen color: Silver and gold
  • Material: Metal
  • Point size: EF
  • Line size: 0.3mm
  • Ink color: Black and blue
Check price on Amazon

When I first saw this Wordsworth & Black fountain pen set, I was struck by its nib’s fancy detailing and its barrel’s metallic finish. Its old-world charm makes me want to keep it as an heirloom for generations to come.

This pack includes one pen, a converter, a deluxe-looking leather gift box, and 24 ink cartridges. I think it’s the perfect gift for friends and family since it’s useful for journaling, note-taking, signing documents, and even sketching. As for me, I like making delicate hand-lettering with this pen.

The extra-fine nib enables me to write in smaller fonts and finer calligraphy strokes for my posters and illustrations. Since the tip dispenses the ink continuously, I never have to go over the lines and re-trace them. I’m also happy to discover that the pen doesn’t leak ink, although I occasionally forget to cap the pen.

Also, lefties and heavy-handed folks who tend to push the pen hard would be happy to know that the nib is durable. And thanks to its girthy and curvy barrel, I find the pen comfortable to grip even if I write for long hours.

Now, if you like placing the cap on the end of the barrel like me, I hate to break it to you, but you can’t do that with this pen. It’s not a big deal since it does not affect my work. Still, I got into this habit as it kept me from losing the cap.

PROS
  • Comes in a luxurious gift box
  • Can write in smaller fonts for intricate details
  • Dispenses the ink continuously without blockage
  • The nib is sturdy and durable
  • Curvy barrel design for a comfortable grip
CONS
  • Cannot place the cap on the end of the barrel.
pens-for-beginners

2. Dryden Designs VAR1 Fountain Penh & Black Fountain Pen Set

  • Pen color: Deep blue
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Point size: M
  • Line size: ‎0.5 mm
  • Ink color: 12 blue and 12 black cartridges
Check price on Amazon

Pilot Parallel pen and Lamy pen are top-rated tools for calligraphy beginners, but their designs are minimalistic.

For those that prefer an inexpensive vintage-looking writing instrument that can match the quality of these aforementioned brands, this sophisticated pen from Dryden Designs surely will not disappoint.

Apt for most penmanship styles, this calligraphy pen features a medium 0.05 mm nib that lets me switch font sizes to emphasize titles or smaller text bodies. I can draw crisp lines thanks to the combination of the sturdy tip and smooth ink flow.

And even better, the nib glides effortlessly across the paper, reducing hand cramps from pressing the pen.

Moreover, the barrel’s shape and weight provide excellent stability, allowing me to maneuver the pen with precision.

While I don’t expect all caps to be designed to fit the end of the barrel, I certainly give extra points to those that do. In my case, it decreases the likelihood of losing the lid! This is a good fountain pen for a traveler like me because it can be refilled with a standard cartridge or ink bottle available on most e-commerce sites across the globe. However, I noticed that the gorgeous blue finish on the pen’s body was chipping off after almost a year of using it; and changing its ink cartridge was quite a challenge.

PROS
  • Has a sturdy tip and smooth ink flow
  • Suitable for most penmanship styles
  • Allows the user to maneuver the pen with greater precision
  • Doesn’t require the user to press the nib hard against the paper
  • Refill with a standard cartridge or ink bottle
CONS
  • Difficulty in changing its ink cartridge
  • The pen’s body may chip off
calligraphy-dip-pens

3. Asvine Bent Nib Calligraphy Fountain Pen

  • Pen color: Black
  • Material: Metal
  • Point size: Bent point
  • Line size: ‎1 mm
  • Ink color: N/A
Check price on Amazon

Though the Asvine Forest series comes in roughly a dozen color options, I got the black calligraphy pen as it exudes elegance. It’s the only one that is designed with a single color from the barrel down to its hard-wearing PVD-coated stainless steel nib.

Speaking of nibs, this comes with a fude. Like a tiny beak, it is bent at the tip to allow the user to draw lines of various thicknesses just by changing the angles—hence, the name. Although it’s not exactly a lightweight pen, it’s easy to maneuver, and my hand does not feel sore after holding it for a couple of hours.

I fall in love with it the more I use it, especially as the pen glides continuously on the paper while the ink flows smoothly.

Note that this beginner calligraphy set only includes the pen, removable converter, and a metal casing. However, I don’t think the lack of cartridges is an issue—it just saves me the trouble of having to clean exploded ink.

I’m sure any calligraphy artist will not regret adding this to their collection. It’s indispensable for people with any level of illustration and calligraphy skill. Perhaps the only thing that I don’t like is that it gets a little scratchy on craft paper.

Anyway, that’s something I can ignore since the overall performance exceeded my expectations.

PROS
  • Hard-wearing PVD-coated stainless steel nib
  • The implemented fude allows the user to draw thin and thick lines
  • Easy to maneuver thanks to balanced weight
  • Glides continuously on the paper
  • For any level of illustration and calligraphy skills
CONS
  • Feels scratchy on craft paper
calligraphy-fountain-pen-set

4. Staedtler 899 SM5 Calligraphy Pen Set

  • Pen color: Black
  • Material: Metal
  • Point size: Interchangeable with EF, F, M, B, and EB nibs
  • Line size: Varies
  • Ink color: Multicolor
Check price on Amazon

Before I upgraded to dip pens and pricier calligraphy tools, I started with this set of Staedtler calligraphy pens for beginners.

After all, it already included a converter, five different nib widths, and seven ink colors—two ink cartridges for brown, green, orange, and yellow; and four cartridges for black and blue.

That’s not all—it came with a short how-to guide, practice lettering sheets, and a tin box packaging to boot. I didn’t have to buy books to learn a calligraphy style with fine and broad lines.

With so many accessories included, I thought the set would be quite expensive—imagine how surprised I was to discover it was actually affordable.

Both the nibs and inks are good enough for a novice to play with. In my case, I brought them to work, and I found them to be suitable for jotting notes, journaling, sketching, and signing with them. I used everything in that pack until I ran out of ink and paper from the set.

Considering that the brand is marketing this pack for newbies, installing the cartridge and getting the ink to flow are challenging, even for seasoned artists. Overall, this calligraphy pen set made me appreciate the craft. Even with these flaws, I think the pens serve their purpose.

PROS
  • Calligraphy pens for beginner
  • Comes with a short how-to guide and practice lettering sheets
  • The nibs and inks are good enough for a novice
  • Suitable for jotting notes, journaling, sketching, and signing
  • Included ink cartridges come in many colors
CONS
  • Installing the cartridge and getting the ink to flow are challenging
calligraphy-pen-set

5. Lanxivi WS6CNSU68 Calligraphy Fountain Pens Set

  • Pen color: Black
  • Material: Metal
  • Point size: 0.5mm, 1.1mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm, 2.5mm and 2.9mm
  • Line size: Varies
  • Ink color: N/A
Check price on Amazon

Admittedly, I was not eager to try this set of six fountain pens for calligraphy, but some positive reviews swayed me to test them. It has been a couple of months since I have been writing and sketching with them, and I didn’t regret that I gave the set a shot.

After all, the set has everything necessary for traditional to modern calligraphy art.

For starters, I like that all pens are attached with calligraphy nibs of various sizes. The broad nib is most useful for drawing thick strokes, but I’m personally a fan of its 0.5 mm nib.

Apart from drawing thinner lines, it became my go-to pen for writing finer lettering. Needless to say, they can endure constant use.

Generally, these pens are lightweight, yet they are not unwieldy and uncomfy. Let me add that the transparent barrel is quite convenient. It lets me see how much of the ink reservoir capacity is left.

While the set does not offer cartridge refills, it includes a converter so I can use my favorite bottled calligraphy ink.

However, assembling, disassembling, and cleaning these pens are not an intuitive process, even for professional artists. I, for one, struggled to remove the ink residue that got stuck in an inaccessible part of the nib.

Overall, Lanxivi’s performance can rival many popular brands, but I think they are best for beginners practicing calligraphy.

PROS
  • For traditional and modern calligraphy art
  • Durable enough to endure constant use
  • Lightweight yet not unwieldy and uncomfy
  • Lets you see how much of the ink reservoir capacity is left
  • Includes a converter
CONS
  • Struggle to remove the ink residue
calligraphy-fountain-pens

6. Sailor 11-0127-767 Fude De Mannen

  • Pen color: Black
  • Material: Metal
  • Point size: 0.5mm, 1.1mm, 1.5mm, 1.9mm, 2.5mm and 2.9mm
  • Line size: Varies
  • Ink color: N/A
Check price on Amazon

Sailor is a Japanese company that makes the best calligraphy pens, and I’m ecstatic that it is now sold globally. Their products are often compared to Pilot Parallel pens, so I was eager to get the Fude De Mannen to see what the fuss was about for myself.

As far as functionality goes, both brands deliver quality results. However, those who care about aesthetics would be thrilled to know that Sailer has a wider selection of pen designs.

This product, for instance, looks like a classic pen decked with a gold plate on its stainless steel nib. Holding its long and slender barrel makes me feel like I’m using a brush.

Drawing is a breeze thanks to this fountain calligraphy pen’s combination of sturdy Watanake 55-degree nib and consistent ink flow.

Although it’s lighter than other calligraphy pens, I find it easy to control as I oscillate between finer and broader lines. As such, I could easily mimic the strokes produced by the best brush pens that I normally use.

Thankfully, the package includes two ink cartridges. The black ink appears opaque, combined with the fact that the pen doesn’t skip, so I don’t have to go over my lines repeatedly.

It’s safe to conclude that it’s a good quality fountain pen for any illustration and calligraphy writing style. Sadly, I had to order its proprietary converter separately.

PROS
  • Sturdy 55-degree bent nib for easier drawing
  • Consistent ink flow
  • Able to mimic the brush pens’ strokes
  • Doesn’t skip when writing or drawing
  • For any illustration and calligraphy
CONS
  • Users must order its proprietary converter separately.

7. GCQUILL ‎F736 Calligraphy Set Fountain Pens

  • Pen color: 5 transparent and 2 solid colors
  • Material: Plastic
  • Point size: 7 nib sizes
  • Line size: Varies
  • Ink color: Multicolor
Check price on Amazon

The Lamy Joy calligraphy fountain pen is quite pricey for novices who have not decided whether they can commit to the craft. So, if you want a set that offers plenty of nib options to test and experiment with, check out GCQUILL.

These leftie-friendly pens have pretty durable and smooth nib, even with rough handling, according to my friends and some user reviews. But as a rightie myself, I use its different nibs for practicing my italic calligraphy. They glide smoothly as I maneuver my pen to make down strokes and cross strokes.

On top of that, I also jazz up my journals and illustrations with different cool and warm hues. I’m giving this set additional points for the inks’ excellent vibrancy and opacity.

Except for the white and black pens, the other five are designed with transparent barrels so that I can tell if I’m running out of ink!

That said, I’m going to balance this glowing review by sharing one problem that I encountered: The replacement ink cartridges are leaky regardless of whether I’m using a broad nib or a finer one.

Despite its drawback, I think it’s still the best calligraphy pen set within the affordable range, especially if one is in the early stages of their craft.

At least they won’t feel bored and stuck with a single color or nib when working on those drill papers.

PROS
  • Offers plenty of nib options
  • Leftie-friendly pens
  • Designed with transparent barrels to gauge ink level
  • Best calligraphy pen set within the affordable range
  • Durable nib glides smoothly
CONS
  • Replacement ink cartridges are leaky
expensive-fountain-pens

8. Lanxivi Sapphire Fude Pen

  • Pen color: 5 transparent and 2 solid colors
  • Material: Plastic
  • Point size: 7 nib sizes
  • Line size: Varies
  • Ink color: Multicolor
Check price on Amazon

Another great alternative to the name-brand fountain pens is this Sapphire Fude Pen. It’s a few dollars pricier, but I promise that it’s all worth it, as the package includes a two-toned iridium nib.

To be clear, this material is among the most-coveted calligraphy fountain pen nib due to its durability, corrosion resistance, and smooth ink flow.

And unlike the previously featured Lanxivi beginner’s set, this one is noticeably weightier, like any premium pen. For someone with a tight grip, that’s a good thing, as it helps in preventing hand fatigue, especially when I have to work longer hours on a calligraphy project.

What’s more, its converter allows me to use the best ink brands on the market. Upon testing, I was in awe by the way the pen drifted effortlessly across my paper. I could draw straight and curvy lines, as well as switch between thick and thin strokes just by adjusting the bent nib’s angle.

I had no incidences of skipping or leaking excess ink thus far. Plus, I think the gorgeous detailing on the pen’s body is just the icing on the cake. As the pen comes with a pouch, I can safely tuck it away for safekeeping, thus maintaining its pretty metallic body.

By nature, Fude pens dispense more ink, and the reservoir is a bit small for that purpose. I hope the manufacturer improves this so I don’t have to refill very often.

Lastly, the cap needs some force to remove. Without these two minor flaws, I would give this a five-star rating!

PROS
  • Offers plenty of nib options
  • Leftie-friendly pens
  • Designed with transparent barrels to gauge ink level
  • Best calligraphy pen set within the affordable range
  • Durable nib glides smoothly
CONS
  • Replacement ink cartridges are leaky

What to Look for When Choosing Fountain Pens for Calligraphy

pens-for-calligraphy-writing

Nib material

Steel nibs are the cheapest, but the material is the most common choice of popular and unknown brands alike. Meanwhile, most higher-quality fountain pens have iridium, which is a rarity these days. The expensive fountain pen has gold for a nib, which is more flexible.

Barrel weight and girth

A standard calligraphy fountain pen features a chunkier barrel to house the ink reservoir. While it influences the pen’s weight, those with bigger hands may find it easier to grip compared to lightweight pen designs. Try different pens to see which gives you better control without straining your hands.

Refills

A standard calligraphy fountain pen features a chunkier barrel to house the ink reservoir. While it influences the pen’s weight, those with bigger hands may find it easier to grip compared to lightweight pen designs. Try different pens to see which gives you better control without straining your hands.

Dexterity

Even if they use the best fountain pens, lefties still smudge the ink since their hand often touch wet ink when writing. Thankfully, manufacturers are now coming up with fountain pen nib designs for left-handed folks, which are a reverse of right-handed nibs.

What Are the Most Trusted Brands of Fountain Pens for Calligraphy?

For me, Wordsworth & Black, Dryden, Asvine, Sailor, Lanxivi, Staedtler, and GCQUILL make the best fountain pens for novice and experienced calligraphers.

Is There a Difference Between a Fountain Pen and a Calligraphy Pen?

There is a huge difference between fountain pen vs. calligraphy pen.

Fountain pens feature metal nibs and utilize converters and ink cartridges, allowing you to write as though you are using an ordinary pen.

Meanwhile, a “calligraphy pen” is an umbrella term for any writing instrument that artists and hobbyists utilize to create both contemporary and traditional calligraphy. This includes calligraphy dip pens, fountain pens, and brush pens.

Both the traditional dip pen and fountain pen utilize fine and broad nibs, but the former does not contain ink within its nib holder.

Another key difference is that the latter can only work with a thinner ink consistency. Meanwhile, calligraphy pens are compatible with denser inks that one could use with a brush pen. Because of that, you have more color options to choose from.

Pros prefer using a dip pen due to the nibs’ inherent durability. If you’re working on one calligraphy project after another, this feature becomes even more important, since continuous use can spread tines apart, especially when creating lines with varying widths.

How to Write Calligraphy With a Fountain Pen

There are way too many different calligraphy techniques that I can write an entire book about them. But if you’re a newbie, practice these basic strokes:

  • Downward: Position the pen at a zero-degree nib angle. Drag it down to create thick vertical lines. Do it over and over again until your lines look cleaner and straighter.
  • Entrance stroke: Hold your pen at a slanted 45-degree angle. Begin at a baseline on the worksheet. Draw a thin, curved upward line at a 45-degree angle and repeat. Adding pressure to the pen increases the line thickness.
  • Underturn: Create this U-shaped stroke by applying more pressure when you start at the top line. Lighten the pressure as you drag the pen toward the baseline, then curve toward the right and back up.
  • Overturn: Apply light pressure at the baseline, taking your pen upward. Make a curve at the top, then increase the pressure as you move downward.

Can I Use a Regular Fountain Pen for Calligraphy?

Yes, you can use fountain pens for calligraphy with a broad edge nib or softer and more pliable tips to create lines with varying widths.

Where Can I Get the Top-tier Fountain Pen for Calligraphy?

Big brands have flagship stores in many countries. Alternatively, check out online marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay, EndlessPens, or Goulet Pens, since they carry most brush pen and fountain pen brands.

How Do I Care for My Fountain Pen for Calligraphy?

  • Tip #1: Cleaning your calligraphy fountain pens removes the ink build-up and prevents blockage. Do this every two weeks if you use them often, when changing ink, switching colors, or when you intend to store them for prolonged periods.
  • Tip #2: Store the pens only after washing away the inks and drying them thoroughly. Rest them vertically, with the nibs and caps facing up.
  • Tip #3: Regularly replace your cartridge and converter, and ensure that they are installed onto the pen body. Otherwise, the ink will spill all over your body and your hands!

Conclusion

Faulty pens can mess up your work and, perhaps, even discourage you from practicing calligraphy. Besides, mastering this craft is challenging as it takes a lot of time, training, and patience. This is why it’s important to invest in the best fountain pen for calligraphy, regardless of your skill level.

5/5 - (3 votes)
inter-marker-banner

Magazine Posts

why are fountain pens so expensive

Why Are Fountain Pens So Expensive?

Carroll Leilani

Have you ever wondered, “Why are fountain pens so expensive”? Beyond just ...

how to remove ink stains from plastic

How to Remove Ink Stains From Plastic?

Laura Walker

In our daily lives, it is not uncommon to encounter ink stains ...

How much ink is in a pen

How Much Ink is in a Pen?

Laura Walker

Pens, those everyday tools we use without much thought, are a staple ...

How to Use a Diamond Painting Pen

How to Use a Diamond Painting Pen

Laura Walker

A diamond pen is many DIYers’ favorite, as it is a great ...

How to Tell Which Cross Pen You Have?

Laura Walker

How to Make a Wooden Pen? – A Detailed Tutorial

Laura Walker

Winsor and Newton Pigment Marker Review

Laura Walker

Are Ohuhu Markers Any Good? – A Quick Review

Laura Walker