When I ask a client if they have a favorite lettering style, they often answer “I want calligraphy”. As I have learned, calligraphy is the umbrella word for lettering created by hand. It is defined as “the art of beautiful writing” and it encompasses many different lettering styles. That said, when a new student comes along and wants to learn ‘calligraphy’, I ask them, do you want to start with the pointed pen or the broad-edged pen. Many don’t know how to answer. They didn’t realize that there are two different basic types of pens that they can start with.
When I was in high school, my father, Cliff Mansley, Sr. a former Zanerian student, started me off with both. I began learning Engrosser’s Script with the pointed pen and Old English with the broad-edged pen. The pointed pen that I use is known an oblique pen holder, (sometimes called an elbow pen) it can hold a variety of different pen nibs. April 23, 24, 30 and May 1, 2022 I am teaching a Pointed Pen Pizazz workshop – stylizing your lettering and flourishing via The Gentle Penman . Please sign up and join us, even at the last minute! I find that having a variety of these holders is helpful. I began with one, but because pen nibs come in various sizes, I soon purchased (or inherited) others. This way, I can keep the nibs that I frequently use, each in their own penholder. Below is a picture of a few of my oblique holders. From left to right: Sull pen, Hourglass Adjustable Oblique (you can tighten or loosen the screw) from Paper & Ink Arts, Đào Huy Hoàng pen made the pink/ivory pen from “Holly” wood (that’s why I bought it!), next a Bill Lilly pen gifted from David Ogden, 3 Zanerian pens (light wood from my father, dark wood from Steve Ziller, black plastic Zanerian). I should buy one of Heather Held’s beautiful handpainted holders to enhance this photo!
Pointed pen lettering looks something like this….with many variations!
The broad-edged pens that I use are in the picture below. I love to use the wooden double-ended holders because the Mitchell pens that I use are labeled 0, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 5, and 6. I can use 5 holders which keep all 10 pens at the ready for me to use daily.
Below is a sample of broad-edged lettering. In this case, Italic. I’m teaching 2 Fantastic Flourishing workshops (with the broad-edged pen) this Spring 2022. One in Albuquerque and the other in Pittsburgh. Pick a class that fits your time zone! That first link goes to John Neal where you can buy supplies. You can also go directly to Escribiente for the Albuquerque workshop or to Karen Roberts, Karigraphy@gmail.com, for the Pittsburgh workshop. Keep reading….
Finally, I have a wonderful turntable pen/brush holder, so that I can easily find my pens. Note that I have labeled the sizes, for easy retrieval while I’m working. May God bless your life and I hope to see you in an upcoming workshop!