Best dip pens for drawing, calligraphy, and more

Written by:

Published:

There’s something especially gratifying about dip pens that you won’t experience with ordinary art pens; they’re a lot about enjoying the process rather than just the end result.

I know dip pens aren’t the most straightforward option. They require interchanging and occasionally replacing nibs and using dip pen ink to get work done: not to mention some level of upkeep.

However, they allow for lots of versatility and customization in a single tool and are magnificent for creating accurate lines, both delicate and bold, across multiple art styles and projects.

Want to know what to buy and where? Learn all you need to know in our guide to make your dip pen setup a breeze!

Affiliate disclosure: Articles on Tiny Workshops may contain affiliate links.

Best for beginners
  • Description:

    Perfect dip pen starter set for illustrators and cartoonists aiming to create precise lines and details in their work.

Best cheap
  • Description:

    A truly affordable alternative for artists wanting to experiment with different nibs and techniques on a budget.

Best for drawing
  • Description:

    With high-quality materials for extra durability, this set is suitable for artists, illustrators, and sketchers, both beginner and advanced.

Best for calligraphy
Best glass dip pen set
  • Description:

    The perfect comprehensive set for artists and calligraphers, including a glass dip pen, a brush, 12 colors of dip pen ink, and more.

Best for beginners
Description:

Perfect dip pen starter set for illustrators and cartoonists aiming to create precise lines and details in their work.

$14.99
Best cheap
Description:

A truly affordable alternative for artists wanting to experiment with different nibs and techniques on a budget.

$9.97
Best for drawing
Description:

With high-quality materials for extra durability, this set is suitable for artists, illustrators, and sketchers, both beginner and advanced.

$16.58
Best for calligraphy
Description:

A cost-effective calligraphy dip pen set for exploring beautiful modern lettering and calligraphy art.

$18.83
Best glass dip pen set
Description:

The perfect comprehensive set for artists and calligraphers, including a glass dip pen, a brush, 12 colors of dip pen ink, and more.

$22.99
09/21/2023 02:04 pm GMT

Best dip pens

Best dip pens_FEATURE IMAGE

I highly recommend dip pens if you’ve been wanting to expand your drawing and calligraphy skills through artisan methods and meditative processes.

Keep reading to find our top picks for dip pens as well as advice on where to purchase additional dip pen nibs for excellent value.

Best for beginners: Speedball Cartooning Pen Set

Speedball Cartooning Dip Pens

Speedball is one of our favorite art brands, mainly due to its affordability and catalog of high-quality products designed for creatives of all skill levels. And while primarily known for its printmaking and screen printing supplies, Speedball also happens to create exceptional tools for calligraphy and illustration.

Despite its name, this cartooning dip pen is for more than just cartoon art. It’s an excellent, well-rounded option for first-time dip pen artists looking for versatility, whether for sketching, lettering, or even lithography ventures.

Each set includes four B-series nibs, two pointed pen nibs, a penholder, and a crow quill penholder. These nibs are great because they can create both fine and round lines. You’ll need to learn how to position nibs correctly to achieve desired thicknesses. But once you’ve mastered the right angles, you’ll have a lot to work with.

In addition, this versatile dip pen kit is great for applying specific techniques like cross-hatching as well as more free-form drawing styles. Note that you will have to purchase ink separately, though. I recommend this Winsor & Newton Collection Drawing Ink Set to get started!

As you become more skilled in the craft, you’ll eventually want to explore other nib types, but this is a solid bundle for beginners. The only drawback I would point out is that the penholder is very basic. On the other hand, given the price and value of this set, this is a pretty sweet deal.

Best budget-friendly: DELETER Trial Dip Pen Set

DELETER Trial Dip Pens

The DELETER’S Trial Pen set is an easy, budget-friendly pick for upcoming comics illustrators and mangakas wanting to test the waters without making costly investments or compromising quality. It’s a big ask, but this product proves it is possible!

Sets include a pen holder and three dip pen nibs. Each tip is curated for drawing rather than calligraphy and serves a specific purpose. The G-pen nib is the most flexible, while the Saji-pen nib is more rigid — perfect for uniform lines. The Maru-pen is best suited for sketching finer, delicate lines and flows extra smoothly on surfaces.

In addition to these materials, you’ll receive three postcard-sized manga papers, a convenient add-on that allows you to try out your materials right out of the box. Remember that you’ll have to eventually purchase more supplies, such as dip pen ink, separately.

Another aspect worth pointing out is that this set is suitable for left-handers — good news if you struggle to find suitable art pens to add to your lefty pen collection! It also makes for an original (and cheap) gift for anyone getting into the manga art universe.

Even though this is a low-budget product that (unsurprisingly) comes with its limitations, I have to say it’s superior to most basic dip pens. Use the right type of paper for optimal results for a better experience. And, of course, take care of your nibs! Besides cleaning, avoid applying too much pressure to ensure they stay intact over time.

Best for drawing and mapping: Manuscript Leonardt Dip Pen Set

Manuscript Leonardt Drawing & Mapping Dip Pens

This Manuscript dip pen set is ideal for intermediate sketchers and illustrators and comes with five fine-pointed nibs, two pen holders, and a cute vintage-style storage tin box.

The variety of nibs in this pack is perfect if you want to apply different techniques and stroke thicknesses across various drawing styles, whether technical or creative.

This dip pen set is great for inking over pencil sketches and a great fit for detailed works and creative hobbies such as botanical illustrations or map illustrations. It’s also a great option for storyboarding and combining hand-drawn art projects with digital software such as Adobe Illustrator.

I also recommend this product for anyone transitioning from fountain pen artwork. You’ll be surprised to see how contrasting these dip pens are! Note that this set includes fine-point nibs, some being more flexible than others. That said, be sure to evaluate the right pressure point to keep tips in shape.

If you’re looking for calligraphy dip pens, we recommend other sets by the brand: this product is specifically for drawing and sketching. Overall, this is the right choice for you if you’re seeking affordable options targeted at more seasoned hobbyists.

Best for manga art: Joseph Gillott Manga Dip Pen Set

JOSEPH GILLOTT MANGA DIP PENS SET

William Mitchell has been revered for its art and calligraphy dip pens since the 1800s and continues to be a go-to for demanding creatives and longtime artists.

The Joseph Gillot collection is one of the brand’s most popular lines and features a selection of cost-effective dip pen packs, including this Manga Dip pen set. Each includes two mapping pen nibs, four drawing pen nibs, and two pen holders.

While labeled for manga art, these dip pens offer a good enough nib range to take on different drawing projects, from minimal sketches to more detailed cartooning. It’s a great option if you’re learning specific techniques to tackle characters for children’s book illustration or body forms for fashion illustration.

Nibs are of particularly good quality since they’re coated with lacquer for preservation. However, remember that dip pens always require maintenance and cleaning after use. As a buyer, the major heads-up I would give you is that this product is a little more challenging to find compared to the other items in our guide.

Therefore, we suggest purchasing this dip pen through Jackson’s, one of our favorite online art suppliers. It might deliver slower than Amazon (let’s be honest, Amazon’s hard to beat), but it is a very reliable store and you can save 10% on your first purchase at the link below.

Best for calligraphy: Manuscript Modern Calligraphy Oblique Pen Set

Manuscript Modern Calligraphy Oblique Pen Set

Are you looking for calligraphy dip pens? Check out this Manuscript Modern Calligraphy Oblique Pen set for starters.

Unlike the previous items, this starter kit features an oblique pen holder curated specifically for calligraphy and lettering projects. It’s perfect for card making, gift tag making, handwritten letter writing, and more.

Each set includes three high-quality pointed nibs, a bottle of black ink, and instructions — more complete than most beginner dip pen sets. Since the ink bottle has a pretty small opening, we advise pouring your ink into a separate container for improved workflow — and to avoid having your bottle topple over!

There are two aspects I especially appreciate about this set. Firstly, it comes in a reusable tin box, making it handy for storage, whether on your craft desk or to transport in your handbag. Secondly, I love how aesthetic these pens are: be sure to check out all of the cool color variations on Blick at the button below!

This product’s overall price, design, and quality make it an excellent idea for a gift, especially if you know someone who’s been taking up a few calligraphy classes! Keep in mind that this pen may take some getting used to if it’s your first oblique model vs. a straight pen holder.

Best glass calligraphy dip pen: Herbin Round Glass Dip Pens

Herbin Round Glass calligraphy Dip Pens

Glass dip pens have been around for a while, but they’re becoming increasingly popular for calligraphy and drawing. Unlike ordinary dip pens, these dip pens are made of clear glass and feature a tiny built-in metal tip: you won’t be replacing nibs here.

Although you may find a few cheap options online, these Herbin glass dip pens are our top pick and are available on Amazon and Blick. They aren’t only high in quality but feature an ergonomic, feather-like design that comes in various colors — perfect if you have a thing for unique art supplies or are a sucker for creative gifts.

Note that this is a more expensive alternative to most of the dip pens listed, but well worth your money if you’re after glass dip pens for calligraphy and for occasional doodling and sketching. They’re great for embellishing greeting cards and writing invitations or certificates for special occasions.

Each set includes a single pen. If you want to add ink to your purchase, we advise the brand’s ink, although most fountain pen inks will work well. Know that tips retain pigment very effectively, so you’ll be able to get quite a few lines done without having to re-dip constantly.

These pens are a little heavier, so they may take some getting used to if you’re accustomed to traditional dip pens. They’re also more fragile, so avoid dropping them! Each piece comes in a black box primarily for gifting, but you’ll probably want to find a better solution for storage in the long run.

Best glass dip pen set: Mont Marte Signature Drawing Ink Set

Mont Marte Drawing Ink Kit Signature

Although the glass dip pens listed above are also suitable for drawing, this comprehensive set is a better option for artists wanting to explore glass dip pens beyond calligraphy.

This Mont Martre set includes 12 vibrant pigments, a glass dip pen, a paintbrush, a pen rest, and an ink container. Despite featuring more supplies, this complete pack is only slightly more expensive than the previous product, making it a fantastic pick for excellent value.

One of the benefits of this all-in-one bundle is that there’s a ton of ink included! These pigments give off shimmery, professional finishes and can be blended to create new hues. They also dilute very well in water, which is perfect for elegant watercolor effects.

With this kit, you can tackle all kinds of illustration styles, from botanical sketching and map illustration. I particularly like combining colorful glass dip pen strokes with thin black fineliner art pens and watercolor pencils; there’s a world of mixed-media art you can enjoy with these materials.

I advise having fun experimenting and discovering what feels right for you — there are no right answers! Each ink bottle comprises 7ml, so while enough for a few projects, you’ll eventually run out. However, the brand’s ink sets are just as affordable and include 24 7ml bottles of beautiful colors. You can check them out here!

Where to buy dip pen nibs

When buying dip pens, you’ll need a few extra items to put them to use. Of course, dip pen ink is a must — without this, you can’t get anything done! But at some point, you’ll also want to invest in a few more nibs.

Purchasing a dip pen set with nibs is a great way to get started. In fact, most all-in-one packs are primarily curated for beginners.

On the other hand, as you perfect your craft, you’ll want to venture into cherry-picking your favorites, whether you find yourself experimenting with specific techniques or pursuing an art style requiring certain nib points or thicknesses.

Not to mention that the more you use your dip pen nibs, sooner or later, you’ll want to upgrade a few — even if you’ve been diligent with maintenance.

Before purchase, remember to check if nibs are compatible with your holder. Although most are universal, some nib holders only accommodate specific styles. Also, keep an eye out for lefty nibs if you’re a left-handed artist!

Below we’ve listed our top recommendations on dip pen nibs by reliable brands for excellent prices:

While Blick and Amazon are great places to buy nibs online, our top pick for this item is Jackson’s.

The online art supplier features a wide selection of student and pro-grade dip pen nibs, whether pointed, round, or broad, for drawing and calligraphy, which are sold in sets or individually for very reasonable value. And again, you can save 10% on your first purchase with our link above!


That’s it for our guide to the best dip pens you can buy! Any advice for other intrepid crafters? Let everyone know in the comments below!

Join our newsletter for the latest guides, discounts, and more!

* indicates required


Comments

Leave a Reply