The Calligrapher's Life

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Why I Dropped My Parallel Pen

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I could write beautifully with a broad-edge nib until recently.

Of course, Parallel Pens gave me the courage to write italics regularly and easily with its stationary broad-edge tip, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about lettering with a dip pen and a removable broad-edge nib.

As much as I love Parallel Pens, I’ve become equally smitten with the Brause nibs and growing fond of the Speedball C-series nibs with every use.

But, I wasn’t always this happy practicing with the broad edge nib.

Early in my calligraphy practice, I fumbled recklessly with calligraphy markers and refillable ink pens. I hopelessly tried the Speedball nibs, but loss interest quickly because I had no idea what I was doing.

Throughout the pain and frustration of creating horribly designed letters, I missed out on opportunities to practice a larger variety of broad lettering styles other than traditional italics, like Gothicized italics or Blackletter.

Naturally, I chickened out and stuck with the basics for nearly a year.

In the interim, something exciting happened in my calligraphy discovery. I realized how much my lettering improved with pointed pen nibs. After the initial struggle with learning how to properly adjust the amount of ink for the dip pen, I felt comfortable enough to tackle nibs such as: Hunt 22, Esterbrook 356 and Nikko G.

With my new found skill, it only seemed fair to give the Speedball nibs another try, and to my surprise, it ended with a delightful result.

Recently, when I practiced Gothicized italics for the first time, I pulled out my trusty Parallel Pen for lettering with less hassle. Then, I noticed a classmate lettering with the dip pen and nib, which encouraged me to desert my pen for a moment and test the Speedball nib again.

Immediately, I noticed how easily this nib achieved a traditional letter with extreme thick to thin lines adding an elegant flair to capital and lower case letters that’s significant for the Gothicized italic hand.

Although it’s easy to love broad edge pens for italic lettering, the detachable dip pen nib offered a greater writing versatility than the Parallel Pens could accomplish for this letter, so I found a good reason to drop my dependency on the Parallel Pen.

Now I work easily between the two style pens (as needed) which makes calligraphy much more fun!

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