Calligraphy Elegance: Unveiling Today’s Best Pens

Calligraphy is one of the oldest forms of art, dating back centuries and even millennia. But it’s also a very accessible type of art.

Anyone can learn how to do calligraphy, and you need very few materials to get started. 

The two essentials are a good pen and some ink. You might even want a few pens to test different techniques.

So, what exactly is calligraphy? The simplest way to describe calligraphy is as decorative writing.

Many Eastern and Western cultures have practiced calligraphy throughout the ages. It’s found everywhere from China to Rome and the Middle East.

Calligraphy was used to decorate ancient scriptures, documents, and other important items. In the past, when few people could read and write, it was an honored art form.

People would train intensively to learn calligraphy art. It was a painstaking process with beautiful results. 

The history of calligraphy is fascinating, with early examples dating back to the 2nd century BCE.

In the West, the Romans made calligraphy much more widespread. But to this day, calligraphy adorns wedding invites, fancy documents, logos, and more. 

Styles have gradually changed, but calligraphy is still loved and respected. And with social media and the internet, it’s never been easier to learn how to do calligraphy for yourself! 

You can find countless calligraphy tutorials on YouTube. It’s relaxing, accessible, and easy to learn – even if you don’t think of yourself as arty.

It’s also very rewarding, as you can make quick progress with a bit of practice. You don’t need to spend months learning the techniques.

But to get started, you do need the right equipment. There are lots of different pens out there. So, I put together this guide to the best pens for calligraphy.

Best calligraphy pens

Buying Guide to the Best Pens for Calligraphy

If you’re confused about which pen to buy, don’t worry. I’ll share the main types of pens for calligraphy and what sets them apart. 

What are the Types of Pens?

There are three main types that you’ll come across.

First of all, we have old-fashioned dip pens. And of course, there are more modern yet also effective fountain pens.

Dip Pens

With dip pens, the hint is in the name. You will use this type of pen with a pot of ink. You’ll need to dip your pen back in the inkwell to top up the ink so that you can continue writing. 

Dip pens are very quaint and outdated, but they are also charming. You need to keep dipping your pen back into the inkwell after every few words. 

You can use a dip pen for both oblique and straight style calligraphy. So, you’ll have more versatility and flexibility if you go for a dip pen.

Fountain Pens

In contrast, you could go for a fountain pen. You are probably familiar with these pens, as most regular shops sell them.

A fountain pen will have an ink cartridge inside. When it runs out, you’ll need to replace it. But fountain pens are great because they are cleaner and also more portable. 

If you want to take your fountain pen to work, you can use it anywhere without taking a pot of ink with you.

I recommend using a fountain pen if you’re a beginner, as you’ll create less mess. As a result, you should end up with cleaner designs without ink splodges. 

Brush Pen

The final type of pen is the brush pen. These are just fancy markers designed for calligraphy.

The brush tip is flexible and can create a thin or thicker line, depending on how hard you press. 

They can have quite a steep learning curve. But once you master the basic techniques, you can have a lot of fun with a brush pen! 

What to Look for When Buying a Pen for Calligraphy

Read on if you’re wondering what else you need to know before buying a pen for calligraphy!


First, you should consider the type of ink you want to use. The ink must be compatible with your pen, or it could clog it up and stop it from working. 

For example, you’ll need to take care of fountain pens. You should only use ink recommended for that specific brand. Fountain pens typically use dye-based inks, which can fade over time. 

Ink for fountain pens is also more limited. You won’t have as wide a choice as colors and other options.

But if you have a dip pen, you’ll find you have a lot of choices available. Calligraphy ink is available in many colors and even from different materials.

You can opt for water-based ink, which is handy for beginners. Or, you could go for ink made from gouache, which gives a vivid color and won’t fade.

Type of Paper

The other thing you need to consider when stocking up on calligraphy supplies is the paper you’ll use. You might not have thought about it, but not all paper is suitable for calligraphy.

The paper you choose needs to have the right type of surface. Too slippery, your pen won’t have enough tension to produce the correct shapes. 

But if there’s too much grip and the paper is rough, your pen can catch and spoil your work. It can even damage your nib.

Another factor is that your ink shouldn’t run or spread. The paper should be high quality and not absorb the ink, which could ruin your precise letters. 

Accessories & Other Factors

Finally, you should look at what accessories come with your chosen pen. 

First up, how many replacement nibs does it have? The more, the better, so you don’t need to shell out again straight away.

But you should also look at what the nibs are made from. They can be iridium, stainless steel, or even gold. Steel is the cheapest, while gold is the most expensive material. 

Double-check the nib width to ensure it fits what you need. That will depend on the type of art you want to make and how precise you want to be.

A cap is an essential feature of any pen for calligraphy. It will protect your nib and make it last longer, especially if you carry your pen around with you.

How Do You Use Calligraphy Pens?

If you’ve been wondering how to do calligraphy, don’t stress. 

Once you’ve decided whether you want to use a dip pen or a fountain pen, it’s time to watch some online videos.

There are so many tutorials around, and you can get very specific about your learning. 

So, if you want to learn how to do calligraphy with a pencil, just type that into YouTube. Lots of videos should pop up! 

Here is a video to help you get started with calligraphy:

The Best Fountain Pens for Calligraphy

Now that you know the basics of calligraphy, here are my reviews of the best pens. We’ll start with fountain pens first of all.


STAEDTLER calligraphy pen

(Image credit: STAEDTLER)

If you’re looking for a comprehensive set for calligraphy, this Staedtler set fits the bill. It comes with 33 different pieces, including:

  • 4 pens
  • 5 nibs (of varying sizes)
  • 20 cartridges
  • A pump
  • Practice paper
  • Instruction Book

It’s designed for calligraphers of all levels. This set is just as good for beginners as for professional calligraphy artists! 

You get an excellent range of colored inks, from classic black and blue to pink, orange, and green.

It’s made to the highest standards. The pens look gorgeous with an elegant marbled effect. You even get some calligraphy instructions to help you get started.

It’s all packaged in a sturdy metal tin, which allows you to take it anywhere. The contents will stay safe inside, preventing damage to the delicate nibs.

If you’re looking for versatility, this Staedtler set is just what you need. You can mix and match the ink colors and nib widths for the desired effect.

This set offers excellent value for money. It would make the perfect gift for anyone new to calligraphy, as it contains everything you need.


  • This comprehensive set allows you to experiment and try new techniques
  • It comes in a sturdy set


  • The pens are plastic, which is a bit flimsy

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Pilot Parallel

Pilot Parallel Calligraphy Pen

(Image credit: PILOT)

Pilot is another well-known stationery brand; these pens do not disappoint.

These pens have a unique design that uses two parallel plates. As a result, you can create beautiful, precise lines. They allow you to perfect your calligraphy technique.

In this set, you get four pens with different nib widths. They range from 1.5 mm to 6 mm, giving you plenty of choices. 

You can create a varied range of effects with these pens. Whatever you’re working on, from thin designs to thick, flowery lettering, you’ll have the ideal pen.

You also get a nib cleaner, converter, and two cartridges (black and red) for each pen. But if you want a few different ink colors, you might want to stock up on other compatible cartridges.

Make sure you buy the right kind of ink, though. You can’t use bottles of ink with the Pilot Parallel pens.


  • You can create all sorts of designs thanks to the four different nib widths
  • High-quality pens that produce clean, precise lines


  • Quite expensive

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GC Quill Calligraphy Set

GC Quill Calligraphy

(Image credit: GC Quill)

As far as calligraphy supplies go, GC Quills is one of the leaders in this industry. This bright, colorful pen set would make a thoughtful gift for a crafty person in your life.

In this set, you get six pens, all with different nib widths. The nibs range from 0.7 mm to 2.5 mm, so you can get very fine lines.

It also contains 20 cartridges, so you’ll have enough ink to last for a good while!

The good news is that you can also use regular ink with these pens. That opens up the options and allows you to pick your preferred ink.

Another bonus is that the clear design allows you to see how much ink you have left in the cartridge.

These pens are made from plastic with a stainless steel nib. So while they aren’t the most sturdy, they offer great value for money.


  • This set includes all the ink and pens you need
  • You can create thin, accurate lines


  • The pens aren’t very long-lasting

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KenTaur Calligraphy Fountain Pen Set

KenTaur Calligraphy

(Image credit: KenTaur)

If you’re looking for a classy pen, you won’t go wrong with this set from KenTaur.

It includes a stylish black or brushed silver fountain pen, with a handy clip to carry your pen with you. The cap protects the delicate nib so that you can use this pen for years.

The pen has three nibs to choose from. There isn’t the biggest range in width, but you can take your pick between 1.1 mm, 1.5 mm, or 1.9 mm.

You also get seven cartridges of quality Austrian ink in bright, vivid colors. With five different colors to choose from, you can be as creative as you like.

But once one cartridge is open, you can’t swap between the colors without spilling ink. So, it’s not as versatile as a dip pen – but it is easier to use.

The construction and finish of this pen are exquisite – it looks premium. It’s just the right weight and feels great in your hand. But at the same time, it won’t set you back too much money!


  • Gorgeous design and classic materials
  • Comes with some lettering pages to practice on


  • You can’t switch between ink colors easily

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LAMY Joy Calligraphy Set

LAMY Joy Calligraphy Pen

(Image credit: LAMY)

This calligraphy set is ideal if you want a quality product that will last and have a bigger budget.

Inside, you’ll find one gorgeous Lamy fountain pen, three nibs of varying sizes, and a set of black ink cartridges. 

Swapping the nibs is a quick and simple process that you can do mid-drawing if you need a different line width.

The pen itself looks simple yet striking. It has a distinctive tapered shape in all black, except for the bright red clip on the cap. 

The triangular design of the body allows you to get a firm yet comfortable hold. 

If you spend a lot of time hand lettering, this pen will transform your experience. You’re likely to feel more comfortable for longer and also avoid issues like hand fatigue or strain.

The polished steel nibs are durable and can withstand plenty of pressure. Plus, you’ll have no issues with inconsistent ink flow or skipping. 

These pens are a joy to use and make calligraphy stress-free. They are perfect for any calligrapher with some experience.


  • Durable and made with German precision and quality
  • The ink flows smoothly

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The Best Brush Pens for Calligraphy

Sakura Brush Pen Set

Sakura Brush Pen Set

(Image credit: Sakura)

If you prefer to use brush pens, why not treat yourself to this set from Sakura? It contains eight pens with bright, saturated colors.

As with all brush pens, you don’t get a range of widths. The line thickness all comes from how you apply the brush and the pressure you use. 

But you can create intricate hand lettering with the Sakura Pigma pens. Creating flowing lines and swirls is easy with these brush pens.

You can combine different colors in one design. As there’s no need to swap nibs, making multicolor designs is simple and fun.

The ink is archival quality and pigment based, which means that it shouldn’t bleed, smudge, or fade. So you can rest assured that your designs will last for years to come.


  • A range of fun, vivid colors
  • It’s easy to create varying widths and all sorts of designs


  • The ink can spread on thin or low-quality paper

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Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen 

Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen

(Image credit: Tombow)

The Tombow pen set is another excellent pick for anyone who likes to use brush pens. You get five black brush pens in this set, so it’s not ideal if you’re looking for a range of colors.

But otherwise, they tick all the right boxes. A lot of experienced calligraphers prefer this brand over any other.

These brush pens are lightweight and easy to take anywhere so that you can hand letters on the go. 

They feel just right in your hand, with a comfortable shape and the right amount of grip.

You can get incredible results with the lightest pressure from your hand. While the ink is water-based, it looks great and shouldn’t fade quickly.

The strokes are smooth, clean, and have a great flow. The nibs don’t lose any bristles, so your designs will look neat and professional.


  • You can make clean, flowing lines
  • Great quality pens that are suitable for everyone


  • You don’t get any different colors in this set

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Pentel Fude Brush Pen

Pentel Fude Brush Pen

(Image credit: MOJO)

My last brush pen recommendation isn’t a set. But the Pentel Fude brush pen is well worth investing in.

This specialized pen is designed for calligraphy. It has a smooth brush tip that you can use to create all sorts of hand lettering.

How you use the brush will determine how thick the line is. You can create everything from fine lines to thick swirls.

The Pentel Fude has the advantage of being portable and leakproof. You’ll feel confident taking this pen anywhere without worrying about ink spilling.

It’s also refillable, which is rare for brush pens. This feature reduces waste and can even save you money in the long term, too! You can top up your pen with ink when it runs out, and it should last for a long time.

Controlling the ink flow takes some getting used to. But once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s simple and intuitive to use the Fude brush pen.


  • The refillable brush pen is economical and eco-friendly
  • You can create all sorts of lines with one pen


  • Learning how to use the pen can be a bit confusing 

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The Best Dip Pens for Calligraphy

If you like the sound of a dip pen, here are my top recommendations!

GC Quill Antique Feather Writing Quill Pen

GC Quill Antique Feather Writing Quill Pen

(Image credit: MOJO)

This gorgeous quill pen set could be an item from a period film or a genuine antique. It looks so authentic and delicately made.

But in fact, it’s pretty affordable! That means you could get your hand on this exquisite quill pen set. 

It includes a sturdy metal dip pen with intricate detailing. Plus, you get five extra nibs, a pen holder, and a bottle of dip ink.

So, you have everything you need to try calligraphy using a dip pen and bottled ink. The aesthetics will get you in the right mood to produce elegant lettering.

Each nib has a distinctive design, so you don’t get mixed up between them. The nibs hold a lot of ink, so you don’t have to top up the pen too often.

It all comes in a beautiful gift box that will keep all the pieces safe and handy when you need them. This set would make a lovely gift for a loved one (or to treat yourself!)


  • Gorgeous design with amazing details
  • The pen is solid metal and comes with several nibs


  • It’s not as portable as a fountain pen

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Hethrone Pen Set

Hethrone Calligraphy Pen Set

(Image credit: MOJO)

This Hethrone set is another alternative for an antique-style dip pen.

The pen is made from quality wood with a perfect finish and metal nibs. It tapers gently for an attractive design and comfortable hold.

Hethrone uses only the best materials for their products. So you can be sure of the quality and craftsmanship.

You also get 11 replaceable nibs, a generous number that will stock you up for a good long while.

The ink is non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and safe for anyone to use. It’s water-based, which makes it easy to clean but means that it could fade a bit over time.


  • This beautiful set would make an ideal gift
  • Made from high-quality materials


  • The ink isn’t archival quality and could fade

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Hethrone Calligraphy Set

Hethrone Calligraphy Set

(Image credit: Hethrone)

And last but not least is this excellent calligraphy set, another great product from Hethrone. This set stands out because it includes both a wooden dip pen and a unique glass dip pen.

So, you get a great deal of two pens and all the accessories you need. That includes seven different nibs and five ink colors.

The range of nibs allows you to find the one that perfectly fits your style.

It’s the best set for creating multi-colored designs in the old-fashioned dip pen style.

These pens look very iconic and stylish. If you want to stand out or have an authentic experience, they surpass more modern designs.


  • It looks high-quality and genuine
  • Comes with a great range of accessories


  • The dip pens take some getting used to

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The Wrap Up

So there you have my complete guide to the best pens for calligraphy. All these pens work well for calligraphy. Decide what type of pen you want to use and order it now. 

Or you could stock up on a few types to experiment with various techniques. You could build up your collection over time, too. But that’s not essential.

While you’re here, sign up for the Proactive Creative newsletter. I’ll keep you up to date with all the best resources for creatives! 

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, Proactive Creative may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.


Outmane is the founder of Proactive Creative. He is an artist/designer.

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