Many companies make italic or stub nibs as an option for their pens, including Lamy, TWSBI, Edison, and of course, Kaweco. These “italic” or “calligraphy” nibs are primarily a European writing style, so you may not find them as often on Japanese or Asian pens, except as a music nib.
These days, in my abundant free time, I’ve been playing around with the Kaweco calligraphy nibs- you can get these on any Kaweco pen you buy, or buy them individually as a spare nib unit. I’ve had a lot of fun playing with the Pilot Parallel pens, but I love that I can get a nib as wide as 2.3 on a more compact pen.
I used a clear Kaweco Sport for these writing samples, which I’ve eye-droppered with Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan. If you’re going to be using italic nibs, especially the wider ones, it helps to have a lot of ink. (For some direction on converter your Sport to an eyedropper, check out this post)
The 1.1 and 1.5 nibs are fairly standard, smooth, even flow but still with good line variation. The 1.1 is good for everyday writing, and you may be able to squeeze in the 1.5 if you’ve got good paper or large handwriting. A lot of customers use these nibs for letter or card writing, but a Fine or Medium nib for their work or school notes.
The 1.9 and 2.3 nibs, though, are slightly more exciting. I love that they’re still nice and wet, and you can see shading with the ink. The difference in the horizontal and the vertical is of course much more pronounced, so your writing really takes on a bit more of a calligraphic air, without even taking any lessons! (Although, obviously, some lessons would help…)
While I did just describe the nib as wet, being so wide does mean that you have to slow down just a bit. You’re not going to be able to scribble and scrawl at top speed, especially if you want the strokes to be even and crisp. If you write at an moderate pace, your ink should be able to keep up no problem – I think this may also not be a big deal because calligraphy is not necessarily meant to be scratched out, but written with a bit of care.
You can get all four of the nibs, plus a Black Sport with Silver Trim, and two packs of black cartridges in their Calligraphy Set, which all comes in a beautiful tin case.
Of course, you get everything you need, but there are a few advantages to getting it in the set, rather than individually (unless you know you just one want or two nibs). Each nib comes in a section, which you can just screw on and off to the barrel of the Sport. You can keep a cartridge punctured in the back, and the little clear plastic domes fit around the nib to keep them from drying out. If you’re doing a lot of switching back and forth, addressing envelopes that need different font sizes, or practising calligraphy or typography, this can be really handy.
I’ve just been playing around with the 2.3 nib for the past little while, and when it came down to doing writing samples of all of the nibs, my fingers got pretty inky as I had to pull out each nib from the section, with the feed all inky.
In the future, if you have a different pen you’d like to use these italic nibs with, they’re friction fit, so you can pull them out of the housing and put them in any other Kaweco pen.
If you know which nib you want, though, you then have the flexibility of either purchasing the nib with the pen body of your choice (mint, burgundy, clear…) or you can purchase the nib unit alone. This is pretty common for people who know they’re only going to use the italic nibs in certain situations.
Keep in mind that all of the italic nibs are only made with a silver finish. You can purchase a Black Sport Skyline with Silver Trim, but many of the other Sports only have gold trim, so if you have a Clear Sport, like the one in these pictures, the nib isn’t going to match the finial.
If you already have a pen, Kaweco or otherwise, you should consider trying an italic nib! Taking the time to slow down with your writing and maybe even looking up some calligraphy guidelines online will help you develop an appreciation for the beauty of handwriting and its rich and beautiful history. It can be almost meditative, while also giving you a good reason to get writing.