In the traditional calligraphy monks had special rooms where they created and copied manuscripts. These rooms are often depicted being places of serenity, where scribes could learn their craft by endless copying, preparing pens made of the feathers, and preparing parchments from animal skins. The learning process was paced rather slowly where it did not matter how long would it take to write one page, monotonously dipping nib in the hand prepared ink after few letters, again and again.
Having studied traditional calligraphy I found it enjoyable only after I went through initial struggle of getting to know all the tools. Traditional calligraphy pens force the user to gain control over the tool firstly before getting into enjoyment of writing.
Traditional calligraphy tools need to be cleaned after each use which makes them impractical in our busy lives spent between taking care of children, working, or just living modern life. I love beautiful fonts, no matter how they are created – traditionally in calligraphic style using pens and inks, or digitally designed.
However there is something profoundly beautiful and simple about modern brush pen calligraphy. It makes us to slow down and focus on what we are writing, but we do not need to think about the tool.
Practicality of modern brush pens for calligraphy made them one of the favorite tools of modern calligraphers, both professional and amateur.
Here are a few points that I would like to highlight of possibly why this technique became so popular.
1. Easy access
No need to prepare anything, just uncap the pen and practice writing. Anywhere, anytime with some table space, should it be an office desk at lunch time, cafe table, some trains also have table and if you are lucky to get a seat you might be able to pursue brush pen calligraphy, or whatever table you have at home. Imagine doing this with traditional ink and pen nibs…
2. Quick results, quicker learning curve
The brush pens are quicker to master, as there is no need to dip the nib in ink, the flow of ink in good ones is steady. This literally make the process faster. It is still recommended to write slowly using the brush pen for better results. Embracing each stroke will make efforts worthwhile.
3. Accessories and tutorials, inexpensive or free.
When I looked at the tools and papers for calligraphy, reading some reviews from other calligraphers, I realized that many of the use Tombow pens. Many of them recommend Tomboy dual nib for beginners. I got really excited when I got one pen from the local stationary shop. I didn’t realise that actually what I brought home was a blender (number N00). The single packaging was not marked other than with the number. Naively I thought that the black ink will flow once started using it. Quickly I realized that the pen is just a blender so I could not start writing on that day until I finally got proper black pen. It was a silly mistake, with no help on packaging description of the color, only with the manufacturer’s number. When I finally got the black pen, my hand was a bit shaky from and this pen got those vibrations straight away. It gives a greater thickness so the letters need to be larger for nice results. I needed something that easier to write with on small A5 notebook pages, something that was more forgiving on pressure shakes. I got back to reading some more reviews and I found Tombow Fudenosuke pens. These are made in Japan. I got soft and hard pens to check what I can do with them. They are both perfect for various calligraphy styles, they are forgiving on pressure issues. Control over pressure is much better than with dual nib Tombow, as they are more dense, smaller and ink is properly black as well.
Some calligraphers recommend Faber-Castell permament ink pens if you work on pieces that should last more than few years. I found these pens very nice, however the paper quality needs to match the quality of this pen, as they can bleed a bit on the slightly rough paper.
I encourage to explore and expand your tools. All these pens have qualities that others might not offer. However if you just started and want to feel how great it is to work on your lines from thin to thick Tombow
Fudenosuke will be the most forgiving,