We receive quite a few questions from our web sites about dip pen nibs, so to help those seeking information on 'which dip pen nib', I've put together this small section covering the most popular of the drawing dip pen nibs. Judging which type of dip pen nib to buy and the meaning of 'elastic' is usually the first problem. To sort this out we need to look at the parts of the metal nib and hand pressure, we'll look at nib parts first.
typical dip pen nib has three main parts: The shank also known as the base or heel - this is the section that goes into the pen holder: The tip - which is the point of the nib, this is divided by a split, the parts either side of the split are called tines: The vent or breather hole - the split runs from the vent to the tip. The 'elastic' is the name given to the response of the tines of the nib, this gives the 'bend-ability', 'springiness' or 'elasticity' of the tines as we use it.
Knowing your own hand pressure helps when choosing the 'elastic' of the nib. The manufactures' write up of the nib is usually
related to a 'normal hand' pressure, if you are reading the write-up ofsomeone else, it's best to know their hand pressure, in order for you to evaluate it. I would consider myself to have 'normal hand' pressure - the close-up of an ink drawing on the right shows the 'elasticity' of the Joseph Gillott 170, from fine to wide lines. To see the whole sketch click the link.
Drawing dip pen nibs - now lets move on to the different types
of pointed drawing nibs. The pointed nibs are in two main categories, ones that come to a sharp 'needle like' point and those that come to a more blunt point and usually have a rounded nib tip.
This shows the underside of a Gillott 303 on the left (needle point tip) and the Brause Cito Fein on the right (rounded nib tip).
If you are looking to produce fine 'hair like' lines, then a sharp 'needle point' nib is the best choice. The rounded 'ball shaped' tipped nibs will give fine lines but not as fine as the needle pointed ones, because the ball tip has a larger area supplying ink to the paper.
For the related products in our online shop please click the following link, J and T's Art and Calligraphy, use this link for Vintage Dip Pens, Dip Pen Nibs and Ink. For more information on the Properties of Ink please use the link.
There is also a page on our Zest-it website that has information about coloured pencils, dip pens and ink on parchment.
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