nib in a holder

Using a steel nib in pen holder? A clean steel pen nib is the greatest ally of a calligrapher. Fresh from the factory, steel nibs may have a little machine oil coating them, keeping them shiny for the merchant's display case but not helping the artist's effort. Before putting a new steel point in a pen holder, wash with soap and water then dry it.

Can't get the ink to flow? I always start out on a scratch sheet to the side of my project. Try to make several practice strokes placing the pen on the paper, applying slight pressure, drawing the stroke toward you, stopping, releasing the pressure and lifing the pen from the paper. Do this several times.

I once saw a student of mine turn the nib over, put a little downward pressure on the top side which was now upside down, then turn it back the right side up. The pen started making perfect marks right away.

For steel pen nibs that need a drop of ink every few words, keep a jar of water and a drying cloth near the project area. Wash the ink out of the pen tip, dry thoroughly, and inject new ink into it. Then get the ink flowing again on a scratch sheet before restarting the project or practice sheet.

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Copyright 2001, Charles McGavren