The calligraphy pen is a simple tool that takes considerable application to master. Some pens come with little added extras which may also take some time getting used to.
Some calligraphy pens come with a detachable reservoir and some are permanently fixed. A calligraphy pen reservoir is a little piece of metal fitted to the calligraphy pen nib that increases the amount of ink it holds. You’ll find that it will give you a more even flow of ink. It will also reduce the frequency with which you will have to recharge your pen while working.
The calligraphy pen reservoir might be a detachable piece that can be removed for refilling or cleaning while other pens come with the reservoir permanently attached. Both have their pluses and minuses, but using them is just a matter of trial and error and becoming accustomed to the new tool.
Although a detachable reservoir gives you an easier pen to clean, you also have the responsibility of reassembling the pen carefully. Allowing the reservoir to protrude from the nib will reduce the quality of the ink flow and your work will suffer.
A top-mounted reservoir can prove to be a distraction for some people because it can obscure the vision to the writing edge. There are options available to over come this, such as the Mitchell Roundhand Series pens which have the reservoir permanently mounted to the holder sitting underneath the nib.
Care must also be taken when recharging the reservoir that is permanently attached to the pen. Turn your pen upside down and, either with a paintbrush that has been dipped in ink or with an eyedropper , add the ink to the widest part of the nib. This will allow the ink to fill the space between the nib and the reservoir. Make sure the upper side of the pen nib is ink-free.
Careful application of ink to the nib and reservoir will ensure you maintain a smooth, even flow when lettering and you reduce the risk of leaving large ink blots around your work surface – your lines will be consistently wide.
To clean the reservoir, slide it off and simply rinse it under running water. Soak the nib in a special solvent (such as Higgins Pen Cleaner) overnight and then take an old toothbrush to it to get it clean. Take the soaking nib the next morning and rinse it in cold running water before drying it thoroughly with a towel.
When buying a calligraphy pen with an attached reservoir make sure that you have a close look at the nib and reservoir settings to ensure that the tip of the reservoir hasn’t been bent away from the nib. The flange of the reservoir should sit lightly on top of the pen with little excess air space visible.
As with all important tools, the more care you take with maintenance of your pen, the longer it will remain in good working order