Fountain Pen vs. Calligraphy Pen

Fountain Pen vs. Calligraphy Pen: What’s the Difference?

This is a question of many folks asking about the differences between fountain pens and calligraphy pens.

One of the reasons we assumed is calligraphy enthusiasts obsessed with fountain pens simply wonder why they can't use them for calligraphy writing. What’s the big deal with it and what makes a calligraphy pen set apart!

Well, if you’re also asking the same questions, this article is for you!

We’re going to give you a detailed overview. And give you their distinct parameters to help you solve the puzzle of fountain pen vs. calligraphy pen.

What are Fountain Pens?

Similar to many other writing utensils, they come with a durable writing nib. It uses water-based ink from a reservoir to write things on paper. The ink flow is controlled by the overall funnel construction and gravity.

1. Pros

  • Consistent handwriting
  • Good for note-taking, journaling, planner
  • Pressurized nib creates line variations
  • Built to last for a long time
  • Have better ink control

2. Cons

  • Less line variation is achievable
  • The nib isn’t suited for various styling calligraphy fonts
  • Not good for professional calligraphers

Can Fountain Pens Be Used For Calligraphy?

Note that calligraphy or decorative handwriting can be done by using any type of pen. However, for fineness, flexibility, and ease of use, the type of your writing utensil verily impacts the overall process.

Hence, the number one fact is the nib design of the pen. And here are some of the nibs you can find on fountain pens that allow close to traditional calligraphy.

  • Italic Nibs
  • Cursive Italic Nibs
  • Stub Nibs
  • Soft Nibs
  • Flex Nibs
  • G Nibs
  • Music Nibs

All these nibs are pressurized and have a flex point. So you can apply pressure while writing to create line variations with upstrokes and downstrokes. Some of them have square cuts with a broader tip for effortless down strokes without the need for pressure.

Consequently, you can do calligraphy with various fonts and styling. However, while a fountain pen is still useable for calligraphy art or writing, it might not be interchangeable with calligraphy pens for certain purposes.

So we think it’s kind of an amateur alternative. But sometimes, it might be a personal interest based on their ease of use and durability.

What are Calligraphy Pens?

These are similar to fountain pens with refillable ink cartridges. However, some do not use ink hence the nib needs to be dipped in ink.

Also, with some convenient options, you'll be able to interchange the nib. This will give you a more customized calligraphy writing experience with ease. You can create different font styles with various types of nibs with a single pen.

They are specifically designed for calligraphy arts as the name already says that. You'll have a more flexible nib for creating a variety of line sizes.

1. Pros

  • Highly suited for calligraphy arts
  • Creates exceptional line variations
  • Good for both pros and novices
  • Easily emphasize letter thickness
  • Nib is specialized for customized fonts

2. Cons

Ink filling of a non-cartridge pen might be a hassle for beginners

Difference between Calligraphy Pens and Fountain Pens

Let’s have a look at a few key pointers that set them apart. This will help you to decide on a specific type for your project more consciously.

#1. Longevity

Calligraphy pens last less long since the spring steel nib wear out over time. Consequently, they are easily disposable.

While on the other side, fountain pens would keep you serving for years to come. So they are definitely more durable materials. Best of all, you can refill it to extend longevity.

#2. Line Variation Capability

Nib design of a calligraphy pen helps to create line variation in up and down strokes. The upstroke is liable for thin lines while you get much thicker lines with the downstroke. So the nib verily impacts the capability of creating line variations.

Contrarily, a fountain pen is more geared towards everyday use.

These are perfect for consistent writing like class note-taking, journaling, planner making, etc. So the tip is designed to give you uniform lines. However, with some specific fountain pens with pressurized nib, you can easily create some line variations within the limit.

#3. Types of Nibs

Since fountain pens produce uniform lines, they don’t usually provide options.

However, dedicated calligraphy pens will have two types either pointed or chiseled nibs. Pointed nibs are pressurized which gives you thicker lines in downstrokes. They are made of spring steel and have a flex point.

Chiseled nibs aren't pressurized. The square-cut tip can produce thick down strokes and subsequently give you thin cross strokes and upstrokes on a broad tip.

#4. Ink Sourcing

This is quite similar for both categories as long as you get one with an ink reservoir. Both types of pens will have an easy refilling system. You can use a converter on both as well.

However, with some calligraphy pens without ink cartridges, they required dipping the nib quite often. And this might not be a convenient option, especially for starters.

#5. Design and Construction

Fountain pens are mostly suited for everyday use. The nib and the overall construction materials are highly durable. So they last for a very long time without wearing out soon. You’ll find them in various styles and colors.

Also, they’ll have more body parts like the feed, cartridge, section, etc. And the counterpart is mostly holding the specialized calligraphy nib. They'll have fewer body parts.


So that’s basically everything about the differences between calligraphy pens and fountain pens. To summarize, fountain pens are durable and produce uniform lines. So they are more geared towards everyday use for consistent writing.

Calligraphy pens are specifically designed for calligraphy art and writing. They won't last for a long time but provide you with a better experience than its counterpart.

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