I’m often asked about the tools I use and which ones I would recommend to someone who is just starting to practice Copperplate. In a previous post, I wrote about what every beginner needs to get started. Today, I’m going to share with you a list of my favorite nibs.
Now, I haven’t tried too many nibs. But what I’ve listed below are the ones I love and use regularly. Each one is unique in size, color, shape, flexibility, and sharpness. As rule of thumb when determining the characteristics of a nib: the sharper the tip, the finer the hairlines; and the more flexible the tines, the thicker the shades.
My Favorite nibs
I’ve been a big fan of the medium flex G nibs for quite some time, but I’m warming up to the more flexible ones like the Hunt 101. One of the requirements I have for choosing a nib involves how smooth it glides on the upstrokes because I seem to have rather heavy hands. Hence, as of July 29, 2015, the nibs featured in this post are a little bit on the dull side, with the exception of the Hunt 101.
1. Nikko G, Tachikawa G, and Zebra G
By default, the G nibs are my go-to pens. The Nikko G, Tachikawa G, and Zebra G are medium flex and are stiffer than most of the nibs that I’ve tried. However, I’ve found that with regular use, they become more flexible. What I love about these nibs is their longevity and the smooth upstrokes.
The Zebra G is the sharpest and most flexible of the three. I can see it becoming the go-to G nib.
2. Brause Steno 361
The Brause Steno 361, aka “Blue Pumpkin”, is a beginner-friendly nib. It’s more flexible than the G nibs, but it isn’t quite as sharp — which makes those upstrokes really smooth. For this reason, it’s a great nib for those who are picking up a pointed pen for the first time. Don’t count on this for fine hairlines though.
3. Hunt 101
Unlike the G nibs and the Brause Steno 361, the Hunt 101 is sharp and has a softer flex, which can achieve fine hairlines and thick shades. Because of its sharp tip, it is likely to snag on the paper fibers on upstrokes.
4. Spencerian No. 1
The Spencerian No. 1 is an awesome vintage nib. If I were Goldilocks, then this nib would probably belong to Baby Bear – it’s “just right”. It’s incredibly smooth on the upstrokes and has the right level of flexibility — which, for me, would be between the G nibs and a Hunt 101. Oh, how I love this nib!
Which nibs should you choose?
The nibs you choose will be the ones that achieve your style of copperplate script. You may choose the ones that can draw the finest hairlines and thickest shades. Or you may have an affinity for the medium-flex G nibs, or the sharper and more flexible Hunt nibs because you’ve had good experiences with them. Maybe you have a deep love for the vintage nibs and prefer those over any other. Only you know what nib you like and enjoy using.
The only way to find out which nibs are “right” for you is to test some out. My review of these nibs may be completely different from yours. So test out a few and get a feel for what characteristics you like in a nib. You’ll naturally gravitate toward the ones that suit your skill level and your copperplate style.
Your Copperplate Companion,
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