While practicing calligraphy, you may have come across straight and oblique nib holders – and wondered what the difference was between the two! Or, maybe you were like me when you started out, just bought one, and winged it! In either case, I’m here today to tell you about the difference between straight and oblique nib holders.
Straight Nib Holders
My personal favorite – straight nib holders – look exactly how they sound, straight! These nib holders are good for those calligraphers who want a tool that is similar to what they’re used to using. For me, a straight nib holder was an easy transition from a typical pen, or a paintbrush. While you should hold a nib holder a little different than you would hold a pen, a straight nib holder feels and behaves very similarly to a pen!
I prefer straight pens because they give me the flexibility to easily create the letter shapes and slants that you typically see in modern calligraphy. There is no natural bend to the nib holder, so I can add as much (or as little) slant to my work as I want. This flexibility gives me the ability to be more creative with my calligraphy.
Oblique Nib Holders
The other style of nib holder is an oblique nib holders. These have an angled piece at the end of the nib holder to hold your nib. Most calligraphers switch to oblique nib holders for one of three reasons. The first, the natural angle of the nib holder makes it really easy to create your letters at a beautiful angle. This works well for traditional scripts like Copperplate or Spencerian where you want to create a consistent slant.
The second reason many calligraphers use oblique nib holders is because they make it a little easier to use less pressure. Because of the angle of the pen, it is much harder to push hard on your nib and dig the tines into your paper. If you end up ripping your paper frequently, this may be a good nib for you.
The last benefit of oblique pens is for lefties! Many left-handed calligraphers love oblique nib holders because the angle of the nib creates a more natural feel for them.
So Which Should I Pick?
This is the question I hear a lot! And, the answer is always – both!
As you can see, there are benefits of both styles of nib holders. Neither one is better than the other, but most experienced calligraphers have a strong preference. I recommend purchasing both, and giving each one a try to see which you like better. You may be surprised by what you find! As with your nibs, it is all a matter of personal preference, and there is no right or wrong answer.