We spoke about filling systems before. That generated a bit of discussion, always a good thing. Many people find that they start out using one nib type, then move on to another and after a while try something else. Others remain faithful to their original choice for ever.
I started out using flex. I loved the line variation and it made my writing look good. It covered up my somewhat casual approach to letter formation. Also, using a flexible nib well is a kind of skill that is almost a sport. For a long time I had a flexible stub and that added another element to the fun.
Then I decided that I was making life too easy for myself. I should try to improve my writing and use a fine nib which shows no mercy. If your Cs look like Es and your Ss are a sloppy curl, then it’s going to show with a fine nib. My writing hasn’t improved a whit but I love that fine line.
That’s not all of the story, of course. I handle hundreds of pens in a year and I write-test every one. There are several other nib types that I like. A fine or medium stub is a real pleasure for me. You get some pretty line variation without the care you have to take with a flex nib. Oblique stubs are an especial delight for me and I think that one of these days I’m going to settle down with a good Swan flex oblique stub. I’ve come across a few over the years and I kick myself for having sold them. Another one will come my way some day I’m sure.
Plain, ordinary medium nibs don’t appeal to me. Most of them seem to lack any kind of character. I’d be as well writing with a gel pen. I appreciate that many of them are dependable but they’re not for me. I’ve had fun with broad, wet nibs. If I was producing, say, a hand-written poster, I would want one of them. For everyday writing they’re too bold, demanding expensive paper to avoid feathering and show-through, and not giving many mpg with the ink.
Italic nibs are very popular and I’ve had many. If you’re a serious calligrapher you will need them. I enjoy playing with them. I have a Sheaffer Calligraphy Pen on my desk right now and I use it as a sort of signature pen sometimes but really I don’t have a use for such things. They are little more than toys for me.
There are other sorts of nibs. I’ve had various ones that announce themselves to be music nibs. Most had two slits. Some were flexible, others were nails. I can’t read music, never mind write it so I passed them on quite quickly.
I hear people discussing signature nibs but I don’t know what they are. Then there are those Japanese/Chinese nibs with a bend at the tip that allow you to vary the thickness of the line by changing the angle of the pen. There are probably quite a few others that I can’t bring to mind right now.
What about the rest of you? Do you have a nib preference or do you write with whatever comes to hand? As your preference changed over time? Do tell