How to Use a Dip Pen
As the name indicates, they are designed to
be dipped in a jar of ink or ink well. A hundred years ago, everyone knew how
to use a dip pen. Now, it's a special skill. Here are the things you need to
When you receive your dip pen the nib will
be taped to the side of the pen so that it isn’t damaged during shipping. Remove the nib from the tape and slide it
into the slot on the pen handle. Your pen nib will be split down the center, to
allow ink to flow.
1) If you dip your pen in ink and try to
write like a ballpoint pen, the ink will run out too fast and blob all over the
place. Dip pens should be held at a flatter angle than regular ballpoint pens.
That means that rather than hold the pen with your finger tips, it should
really be held with the thumb and middle finger along the sides and the index
finger on top. This gives the pen a lower angle of 45 degrees or less.
2) Use a light touch. Unless the pen nib is
clogged, ink will begin flowing as soon as you touch the paper. Pressing down
like you would with a ballpoint pen can damage the nib of a dip pen.
3) Strokes that pull rather than push work
best and are easier on the nib. And keep it moving. A dip pen works by
capillary action. If you leave it in one spot on the paper, all of the ink will
deposit itself there.
4) Clean your dip pen nib after every use.
Some inks clean up with just a wash in some water, others need a little soap
Beyond that, practice makes perfect. Work
on practice sheets before you do anything important. Just draw and draw, and
let yourself have some fun with it.