Gillott 404


In a past post I have expressed my dislike for Gillott nibs --  they are a challenge. But I had a few on hand that I thought I would try again. I do love how pretty they look -- those dark blue nibs look so elegant.

I did find a Gillott nib that I liked, the 404. The contrast between thick and thin is not as dramatic but sometimes that is needed for certain styles or looks you want to create.

The nib is on the stiff side and you can write a lot with one ink dip so this nib might be a good one for envelopes.

In the past, I have found that Gillott nibs are not as sturdy and do not keep well, they get brittle and break when kept in storage for a period of time. This is especially true of their very fine and smaller nibs like the 290, 291.

I'll keep practicing with this nib and I will experiment with the other Gillott nibs; when I have a chance, I'll report back.

Happy writing!

Brause EF 66


This is one of my favorite nibs. It has just the right amount of flex so that you can create really thick downstrokes and fine hairlines. This nib glides really well on paper.

This nib uses the Speedball "C" holder so the holder is a little smaller (narrow) than the standard Speedball holder. Since I have clumsy hands, it took me some time to get used to the dainty pen holder.

The only drawback is that it sometimes snags on the upstroke, especially when I am writing letters with a descender like "g" or "y." I try to pay more attention to what I am doing when I am writing, and I go slower when I am making these letters, but I sometimes forget and will get a little splat of ink.

I love this nib!

Portland Fruit Tree Project

In the past, I have volunteered as a photographer for the Portland Fruit Tree Project, a local nonprofit organization in Portland, Oregon. They recently used a photograph that appears in the Willamette Give Guide (print and website) that I took.

The Portland Fruit Tree Project's volunteers will harvest fruit trees in the Portland area who's fruit would otherwise go to waste, fall on the ground, and rot. People who volunteer to help with picking the fruit get a portion of that day's harvest and the remainder is donated to another local nonprofit like a food pantry or an organization that could use the fruit to feed others.

Please consider donating to this wonderful organization or if you live in the Portland area consider volunteering for an upcoming harvest. If you live in Portland and have a tree that you would like for them to harvest, register your tree here.

Hunt 56 | School

I love this nib! It is stiff but not too stiff (not as flexible as the Hunt 99, but not stiff like the Hunt 107). This is the nib that would please Goldilocks.

This nib can fit the B Speedball holder but I'm using the Brause wooden holder in these pictures.  There is a good contrast between thick and thin lines. No snagging and easy to use.

I highly recommend this nib.

Hunt 101 | Imperial

This nib is a tricky one.

Sometimes I am able to use it without a problem and sometimes I can't seem to get the correct amount of pressure needed to use this nib. 

I was having trouble with the upstrokes and not applying enough pressure which caused the pen nib to skip. But when I applied too much pressure on the downstroke, the nib would splatter.

I may need more practice with this nib but for now, it would not be my nib of choice.

Hunt 107 Hawk Quill

I don't particular like this pen nib. It is very stiff and you need a lot of pressure in order to get thin hairlines and thick downward strokes.

I think this would be good for individuals that want to use more pressure when writing and have a heavier hand when doing calligraphy.

This nib takes a special holder by Speedball and uses the "A" holder which is thinner than most pen holders so it feels different in  your hand.

Hunt 99

This nib is very flexible, bouncy, springy.

Very light pressure is needed. This would be good for papers that snag easily as not much pressure is needed to make a mark.

I used the Bruase Wooden Holder even though Speedball recommends the B holder. Nice hairlines, but not as fine as the Hunt 56, maybe I was pressing too hard when I was practicing with this nib.

I like this nib for those days when a light touch is needed. Probably not one of my favorite nibs of the Hunt series.

I prefer the Hunt 56 for now.

Hunt 22B

Hunt 22B extra fine. This nib is on the stiff side (but not too stiff) and is similar to the Hunt 56 in feel (I'll be reviewing this nib in an upcoming post).

The Hunt 22B makes nice hairlines and thick strokes and it's not too difficult to write with.

I like it.

Speedball recommends the B style of holder but I used the Brause wooden holder. With the B style Speedball holder, the nib comes too far up the holder and it is hard to get ink in the vent area without getting the bottom of your pen holder dirty with ink (which can led to ink on fingers, smudges on paper, ink marks on your face, oh the tragedy....) so I prefer to use the Brause holder with this nib.

Speedball Nibs

Here is a guide sheet from Speedball about their Hunt brand calligraphy nibs.

I'll be reviewing some of these nibs in the upcoming posts but I'd thought you'd find this helpful to see Sppedball's recommendations and descriptions of their various nibs.

Calligraphy Nibs

Starting a calligraphy practice can be an overwhelming adventure at first, learning about supplies, inks, nibs, holders, & paper. I like to experiment and try different supplies so I'll share with you my different experiences.

Let's start with calligraphy nibs.

The thing about nibs, it's sort of like Cinderella and the the glass slipper, nibs are such a personal fit.

Some things to consider is the amount of pressure you exert when using a calligraphy pen i.e. how hard do you press down when you are writing. With practice, you can start to control the amount of pressure you use when you write and you learn to adjust the amount of pressure depending on the nib you are using. I promise it gets better with practice. There are some nibs that I simply cannot use and have not learned to master (hello Gillot nibs?). Some nibs need no pressure at all, especially on the thin upstroke, the nib tip is just touching the paper. Other nibs, you need to press down pretty hard to make a mark (both on the upstroke and downstroke) and you will hear more of that scratchy noise when writing. When the nibs tends to be more flexible, less pressure is needed. When the nib is firm or stiff, more pressure can be used to create those thin upstroke hairlines and thick downstroke marks. However, the pressure you use can also cause your nib to snag the paper so you cannot use too much pressure -- or you'll get splatter marks (which I will show you on some of my demos).

Nibs are fairly inexpensive so it doesn't cost a lot to experiment and explore different nibs. Paper Ink Arts has this sampler kit of coperplate calligraphy nibs.

I'll start off my review with Speedball Nibs (this brand of nib is fairly easy to find), specifically, the Hunt brand nibs made by Speedball which are perfect for pointed pen, modern-style calligraphy.

Feel free to share with me your experiences with various nibs and your successes and challenges, I'd love to hear from you what works for you.

Happy writing!