Have you ever written with an Ink pen nib? It transforms your handwriting. Let's delve at PumpjackPiddlewick

Have you ever tried ink pen nibs? Well, if you are reading this, I am sort of guessing you have an interest at least in the topic. Or maybe you are just curious why I would wish to write about something so tiny?

The key there is that I love to write. I am a consummate letter writer. Thoroughly enjoying and making the opportunity to sit still, preferably outside in the peace and quiet, and write to friends. Or write blog posts or simply write my thoughts or gratifications in a homemade journal.

Writing Tools

My writing tools vary, from pencil to pen, fountain pen to ink dipping pen. And the latter to my mind is the most fun. Dipping a pen nib into ink to write gives a whole other level to the senses.

I love dipping pens and thus nibs most of all. Because, take note, even if you have the most terrible hand writing, when you use an ink pen nib your handwriting will look beautiful. Certainly it can still be illegible, but it will look pretty none the less and certainly impress the recipient.

Pen Nibs

My passion for pen nibs started when I took a general art class in school that included a section on calligraphy. Our task was to learn how to use different style of pen nibs and create a document of flowery (looking) text.

Pen nibs come in different widths, from the hair line to the quite wide. This allows for a variety of styles, e.g. thick letters or thin. But also you can use a pen nib of most widths to create both, simply by the angle you hold it and the pressure you give.


A pen nib is actually two points coming together, with a crack down the middle. It is this crack that the ink flows down if using a fountain pen. Or is stored in if using a dipping pen. If you put a lot of pressure on the pen nib these two pieces will widen apart and let more ink out. This allows you to create lettering that can be both very fine yet with swirls of depth and width. (Watch the video below to see this being displayed.)

The difference between a dipping pen and a fountain pen is in the names. A dipping pen requires an ink well that you can dip your pen nib into. A fountain pen has a tube of ink you insert to the back of the nib, in the holder of the pen. This then feeds the pen continuously as you write.


Fountain Pens are great for continuous writing, because of the attached ink. The hand writing from them does look lovely, but they don’t give you the same level of control and finesse as a dipping pen. However, they are certainly more convenient in terms of carrying them about with you.

Dipping pens require, as the name implies, continuous dipping. As there is no reservoir, the nib holds only a certain amount of ink. When this runs out you dip your pen nib again into the ink and carry on. They are easier to clean, and easier to change the nib should you wish to try other styles. And you definitely get a better look overall to the hand writing.

Write or Wrong

There’s no right or wrong choice in types of pens. I vary my choice of ink pen depending on my mood, but also where I wish to write. My mother gave me a gorgeous art nouveau writing box that opens into a little desk I can write my letters on. It has place for my ink bottle, pen holders and nibs. As its portable, I can take it out in the garden to write as easily as at my desk. It just depends on my mood (and the weather).

But sometimes expedience is what is wanted. I am just not in the mood to dip. Then I use a fountain pen, or even an ink pen to write my letters. Again weather might dictate if I am sat outside. A tad cold and fountain pens don’t tend to work as readily as normal ink pens.

And finally, I particularly like making my own stationery and cards. I love creating junk journal cards. These are cards made from recycling paper, envelopes, really any ephemera. Because these cards often have slightly glossy surfaces, ink pens are not the best tool as the ink may run. When writing these letters, I prefer a normal ink pen. Though I choose a particularly nice one, making it still a treat to write a letter even with it.


If you would like to know more about using pen nibs, particularly the technical aspect of it, I include a link to a good video below. They outline the tools, the styles and even explain how to. And for more specialist knowledge, check out Mike Ward’s website.


If you like the idea of letter writing, hand writing or simply using an ink pen, you will find various tools and ephemera in My Shop. Also card making, or gifts for someone who likes to write by hand.

Simply click on an image to see more…

You will also find digital prints in my Taking Time Too Shop, which has many examples of handwriting, handwritten imagery and other ephemera you can use as part of your card or letter making.



  1. I was into fountain pens when I was in high school. I had different nibs and various colors of ink, my favorite shade being Peacock Blue. I hadn’t thought about that in decades!

    1. Author

      I got back into ink pens when I moved to France. Because of the weather and my garden, and animals, I find myself outside more than in. Writing my letters out in the garden. And somehow (I am not sure how) it inspired me to start writing with ink pens again. They just add a special atmosphere to the whole event of writing for me.

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