Calligraphy with a Flexible Dip Nib

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with dip nibs. These are nibs which you attach to a nib/pen holder and dip it in ink as you write, kinda like those pictures of scholars and monks in medieval times, dipping their feathers in ink as they write on velum.

Well, I don’t have feathers nor velum but I do have some rather nice stationery.


I was quite surprised to learn that dip nibs and the nib holders aren’t that expensive. You can get a nib holder for about SGD$3-10, and a packet of two nibs costs about SGD$3-4. I got the very flexible Nikko G nibs, so that I could try writing in Copperplate script (not to be confused with Copperplate Gothic, although if you could write like that, I’d be very impressed).

I was quite fortunate to get the ink well for $5! Some people are selling ink wells for as much as $100! Unbelievable!

Anyway, I started off using the straight nib holder for a few weeks already. But writing has been very difficult. The nib always scratches out fibres of paper as I write. Sometimes, these fibres get caught in the nib and it would ruin my writing. It’s not very nice.

I noticed many YouTube videos feature people using an oblique nib holder instead when writing in Copperplate style. That might be the answer.

So, after searching high and low for an oblique nib holder, I finally got it for $5 on Carousell! And wow… The writing experience has been wonderful! It’s surprisingly very comfortable to write with this. Oh, and the nib scratches out significantly less paper fibres in the process.

Here are some samples of my writing using this lovely nib holder!

First, the obligatory, “Hello world”:

“Hello world”


Here’s another sample, with a passage from my all-time favourite sci-fi novel:

“Fear is the mind-killer.” (Frank Herbert, “Dune”)


For this last one, I got quite ambitious. The angle of the letters are not very consistent, but it still looks very very lovely. It’s a passage from the Liji, The Book of Rites:

From the Book of Rites

“Men of talents and virtue can be familiar with others and yet respect them; can stand in awe of others and yet love them. They love others and yet acknowledge the evil that is in them.” (The Book of Rites, 1.3, trans. James Legge)

Wow! I never dreamt that I’d be able to write like this. I’ve always marvelled at how people were able to write in this manner. Turns out half the battle is won when you have the right tools for it. I’m glad these things don’t cost very much.

I’m so motivated! More calligraphy samples to come!