modern calligraphy

How to Vectorize Your Calligraphy Using Photoshop & Adobe Illustrator


I've created a pdf link that is a step-by-step guide on how to vectorize your calligraphy in Adobe Illustrator and then use this file in Photoshop to make adjustments like adding color to your calligraphy to make it beautiful. You will need to have some experience with Photoshop and Illustrator to understand how to do this, but I tried my best to keep it simple.

I hope you find this useful!

Have fun!

p.s. Let me know if the instructions are confusing or are incorrect.


Brause 361


The Brause 361 nib (aka "the blue pumpkin") is a medium type of nib -- some flex but not a lot and can be used with a lot of pressure to get dynamic contrast or used with a lighter hand and obtain less contrast and fine hairlines.

I think this nib is cool looking and I love the blue color. This nib uses the standard Speedball B holder.

I use this nib when a project calls for larger size lettering as this nib can maintain the integrity of the letters.

I like using this nib for envelopes when I am using a lettering style that calls for large lettering. This nib can hold a lot of ink before it needs to be reloaded. Be sure to take off any excess ink when reloading because you will get pooling of ink (which of course I was not able to replicate when I tried

I also like using this nib for print-style lettering -- I think the thick & thins look nice.

Have fun experimenting with this nib!

Tachikawa G Nib


The Tachikawa G nib is a another nib from Japan that is similar to the Nikko G & the Zebra G nib.

The Tachikawa has a similar feel to both the Nikko G & Zebra G nibs, and you can vary the amount of pressure and still make beautiful marks. The nib has bit more flex in it which allows me to write with little pressure to get finer lines without a lot of contrast (see the word "peace" that I've created above, that was done with little pressure applied).

These nibs are sold in packs of 3 at Jet Pens for $4.00. I am using the Tachikawa wooden holder (which can also be purchased at Jet Pens in other fun colors); these nibs can also fit on the Speedball B holder (the black plastic standard holder).  John Neal, Bookseller also sells them for $1.80 per nib; Paper & Ink Arts for $1.20 per nib. Paper & Ink Arts also offers a discount if purchased in bulk.

Like all the Japanese nibs I have reviewed (Zebra, Nikko, & Tachikawa), these nibs are very durable and will last a long time. You will know when it is time to change the nib when you find that you cannot create fine hairlines -- the calligraphy tip is getting dull and will not produce fine hairlines. Unlike other nibs that I throw away in the garbage when they get old because they simply do not work or break, I don't always throw away these nibs because you can still use them on lettering styles that do not require fine hairlines or to use for practice.

After doing this review and writing with this nib, I realized how much I like writing with this nib. I will now add this to my rotation of nibs that I use.

Zebra G


This is one my favorite nibs. It's stiff but not too stiff and has a little flex to it (not as much as the Tachikawa G which will be reviewed in my next post).

You can still make beautiful marks with little pressure but also with more pressure, get more exaggerated thick & thin lines. I find that the hairlnes I make with this nib are finer than with the Nikko G and the downstrokes are not as thick as those made with the Nikko G. But the differences between the two nibs are very slight and could just be in my mind.

I am using a pronged style of nib holder with this nib but the Zebra G can also fit on the Speedball B holder (standard black plastic holder).

Since I have a bunch of calligraphy nibs on different holders, the way I can tell if the nib is a Zebra G from a Nikko G (without having to pull it off), is in the tines area (that is the area above the point/tip of the nib), the Nikko G has a pattern on that area, very thin horizontal lines, when you scratch your fingernail over that area, you can feel it. The Zebra G is smooth in that area.

I haven't found a store in Portland, Oregon that carries this nib, but they can be found at Jet Pens for a pack of 10 for $13.50; at Paper & Ink Arts for $1.95 each (pack of 10 is $18.50); or Amazon for $9.99 for a pack of 10.

Nikko G


This is nib is favored by many modern calligraphers and is a good for beginners when starting on this journey of modern calligraphy.

This nib allows for beautiful thick & thin strokes with a heavy hand (i.e. a lot of pressure). When I was starting out, I did not know how to control the amount of pressure I was applying when practicing my lettering, there was so much to remember (when to apply pressure, make sure I'm not smudging my letters, when to load my nib with more ink, what angle to keep my nib at, etc.). But with time, your muscles learn how to apply pressure at different points while you are creating a letter.

I think my lettering has a more "gothic" feel to it when I use this nib. Excuse my spelling errors below, it's hard to concentrate on creating letters and spelling at the same time!

Here in Portland (Oregon), I have not been able to find a store that sells the Nikko G nib. I purchase my nibs from John Neal, Bookseller, Paper & Ink Arts, Jet Pens or Amazon.

Although I like this nib, this isn't my favorite nib at the moment to use, I prefer the Zebra G which I will be reviewing in my next post.

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!