Winsor & Newton Complete Calligraphy Set
You can view the full range of available Winsor & Newton Calligraphy Inks Here.
I was really excited to start using and exploring the Winsor & Newton Complete Calligraphy Set for beginners. It comes with 5 nibs, a nib holder and 3 different coloured inks - Deep Red, Gold and Black - and good calligraphy paper.
If you are new to calligraphy using a dip pen will be challenging, but it is the most authentic experience you can get in the art of calligraphy. Like any new skill, it takes practice to learn new techniques and to build muscle memory.
I must admit, I haven’t used a dip pen in many many years, so the whole experience was quite new again, but I am just loving it! Just remember to be patient and go slow.
The nibs just slide in and out of the nib holder quite easily but be gentle when changing them. It is also important before you start to wash the nibs, as they will have manufacturer’s oils on them. The best technique is to use toothpaste with a soft toothbrush and water. Gently brush the nibs with toothpaste and then rinse well and gently dry with a paper towel. You will need to wash your nibs whenever you have finished with them to avoid the ink clogging up the nib.
There are some suggestions online that you can use a potato to clean the nibs - I would strongly suggest that you don’t, as pushing the nib into a potato can actually bend the nib. One of the nibs, you will see, has a ‘reservoir’ on the back - like a backing plate. Sometimes these reservoirs are removable and you can put them on different nibs, but I wasn’t able to remove this one and didn’t want to try too hard. I would suggest that when you are trying the nibs see if you like the reservoir backed one - some people find that it can affect the ink flow and sometimes cause blobs of ink - it really depends on your style.
You may wish to print out some guide lines when you are wanting to do some good pieces of calligraphy. There are loads of them online and you can see them through the paper provided to keep you straight when writing. I would suggest you hold your pen at a 45-degree angle, but the first thing you should do is just try downward strokes across the paper, then horizontal strokes, to get a feel for the pen and nib. Then move on to flowing up and down strokes to get a feel for the continuous lettering. Calligraphy SHOULD be slow - each letter is created with planning and style.
When you start to want to create some special pieces you can use pencil to create the style, then go over it with the pen and, later on, gently erase the pencil lines. This Calligraphy Set also comes with a basic style guide which you can start to follow. It demonstrates each letter and how you should create each letter, with the order of pen strokes numbered.
Initially it will be hard to be consistent, because you need to get used to how much ink the nib will hold and how often you need to dip the pen. It will help if you shake off excess ink into the ink container each time you dip the pen to avoid dollops of ink.
Dip the pen just past the hole in the nib. The thicker the nib, the more you will need to dip the pen. When you start out, try the different nib sizes. Generally speaking, the finer the nib, the smaller the lettering. I find that the finest nib is best for Copperplate writing, or some modern Calligraphy styles. You don’t have to stick to Gothic or traditional Calligraphy styles as modern Calligraphy is also very stylish and fun to do.
The challenge of dip pens is also part of the appeal, just be gentle on yourself as it takes patience. Also ensure you use the paper provided, because if you use the wrong paper you will find that the ink may ‘bleed’ or ‘feather’ and spoil your lettering.
You will see in these first images that I have been trying out the different nibs, pressure, reservoir and lettering. I have only started using the black ink but will cover the different colours and further styles and nibs you can use in some future blogs. The majority of my lettering here was using the finer nib.
This is a great Christmas gift for anyone keen to take up Calligraphy or anyone who is already good at lettering and wants to experience the traditional feel of dip pens.