Sometimes even the most seasoned pen lover discovers something new and unknown about their passion. Has this happened to you? It happened to me last week when I discovered bent nib fountain pens. I spent some time researching this unfamiliar, but interesting, nib and now I want to share what I learned with you.
Bent fountain pen nibs, also called Fude nibs, are specialized nibs that are bent upwards at the tip giving the nib a curved or rounded surface area. The extra surface area allows the user to create varied line widths depending on the angle that the pen touches the paper.
When the pen is held upright, it produces a thinner line since less of the bent surface touches the paper and less ink is placed on the paper. The more vertically the pen is held to the paper, the finer line it produces. When the nib is closer to the paper, the lines become thicker and bolder. More of the surface area of the nib is in contact with the paper and more ink is distributed. The greater surface area of the bent nib allows the user more freedom to express themselves with a wider variety of line widths. Line weight can be controlled by putting more or less pressure on the nib as well as changing the angle of the pen.
There are a lot of fun uses for Fude nibs, but in some cases you might want to stick to your regular pens. Read on to learn why.
The Uses of Bent Nib Pens
‘Fude’ does not rhyme with ‘dude.’ The proper way to pronounce it is ‘foo-deh.’ It means ‘bent’ in Japanese. Fude fountain pens are a modern equivalent to traditional ink brushes often used in Asian calligraphy. Bent nib fountain pens can also be used to create beautiful letters and modern western calligraphy. Calligraphy is an art form. The right tool must be used to get the correct result. Precise form and stroke contrast between letters are hallmarks of calligraphy. A bent nib fountain pen can create the precise thin lines of an upturned swish or the heavier line of a downward curl. While broad or italic nibs can be used to create beautiful handwriting, they cannot be used to create true calligraphy.
Calligraphy is delicate, persnickety and precise. The better the tool, the better the result. Using a bent nib fountain pen is a good way to replicate calligraphy-quality letters without having the proper calligraphy tools and talent.
Faux calligraphy can be used to make an impression with a beautifully addressed envelope, and to make the recipient feel special and valued. If you still have to write the occasional check to pay a bill, make it beautiful! It could surprise the person on the other end and maybe even make them smile.
Using a Fude fountain pen takes extra time. Allowing ourselves the extra time to sit and write with a favorite pen can be a relaxing and meditative practice. Giving yourself the gift of time to write could grow to be the best part of your day.
The Benefits of Using a Bent Nib Fountain Pen
In my opinion, one of the greatest uses for a bend nib pen is the enhanced ability to really showcase ink. The bent nib has so much surface area touching the paper that, depending on the angle of the pen, it can plant a lot of ink. When the ink is deposited so generously, it becomes the center of attention, basks in the limelight, and is the focus for once.
The broad strokes that can be created with a bent nib, allow the highlights and lowlights of the ink to come through in a way impossible with a fine nib. While they let more ink onto the paper, medium and broad nibs cannot do justice to a beautiful ink the way a thick like formed by a bent nib can. Bent nib fountain pens are one of the greatest ways to brag about that new bottle of ink or to revisit an old friend that never got its moment of glory.
Bent nib fountain pens give you more control over the line width. The bent nib mimics calligraphy strokes while the ability to control line thickness allows for creating precise letters or characters. They can add visual interest, while challenging the writer to try new lettering or drawing styles. The nib can even be turned upside down given the user extra variety!
They Are Great for Drawing and Sketching
Over the past several years, Fude Nibs have become popular among artists and are great for sketching on the go. Most are usually shaped like other fountain pens, and the weights are comparable (depending on the size, the material it’s made of and the ink supply). Just one or two bent nib fountain pens can replace an entire container full of drawing pens. A single, decent bent nib fountain pen can create as many line variations as an entire bag of Micron Pens! They also allow for more spontaneous sketching since you won’t lose the moment by stopping and changing pens to switch line thickness.
Bent nib fountain pens produce such a variety of line widths they can be an invaluable tool for almost any artist-professional, amateur or beginner. Comic book artists, in particular, like these pens because they can be used instead to ink the comics instead of more traditional dip pens or paint brushes. Bent nib fountain pens are starting to replace the older tools of the trade because one pen can serve many purposes. They can be used as inking tools, coloring tools and even as markers. Fountain pens are intended to last for years. Without a doubt, most fountain pen fans agree that a good fountain pen will improve as it ages. This isn’t true for felt tip pens which dry up, must be replaced frequently and almost always end up in the trash. A good quality fountain pen will last years-a huge benefit to the environment and to your wallet!
Watch Cathy Johnson Demonstrate How to Use a Bent Nib Fountain Pen
However, There are Some Drawbacks
They use a lot of ink
Naturally, like most things on the planet, there are some disadvantages to using bent nib fountain pens. They use a lot of ink. This isn’t a problem for me. Like scores of other fountain pen devotees, I (almost) have more bottles of ink stashed in the cupboards and corners of my house than I have hair on my head. If using a lot of ink is something you’d like to avoid, this is not the nib for you.
Not great for left-handed writers
Left-handed writers using a language, like English, that is written from left to right, could potentially find a bend nib fountain pen challenging to use. The amount of ink it deposits on the paper might become a smudging problem if it stays wet too long. Of course, this also depends on how fast you write and the type of paper and ink you use. Results will vary from user to user. If the ink is wet or the paper poor, using more ink could cause the writing to bleed through the page.
They might be unsuitable for regular writing
Because the bent nib fountain pen is meant for calligraphy and fancier writing it might not be suitable for extended writing projects. A letter written in fancy swoops and curls could be difficult for a person to read, especially if they are aging or losing their eyesight. A letter to grandpa would probably be more accessible for him if large, simple bold lines were used. It’s always good to remember who your audience is and personalize the performance for them.
More Reasons to Use a Bent Nib Fountain Pen (as if you needed any)
If I haven’t convinced you to try a bent nib fountain pen yet, remember that writing with a pen that produces such gorgeous handwriting is a reward all by itself. Fountain pen aficionados love our pens because we love to write. Some people talk to hear their own voices, some people write to see their own handwriting. I’m one of these people.
Because I trained to write in cursive by a fanatical penmanship crusader in the 1970s, I have lovely handwriting. If you were not so fortunate, a bent nib fountain pen can still make your words look magnificent. Any handwriting can be made glorious with the gauzy upturned lines, the elegant hoops, and the opaque downstrokes created with a bent nib. When the words are works of art, you’ll be inspired to write more, even if you don’t really have anything to write about.
Alternatively, you could look up Mrs. Cerf, a vigilant penmanship maven in northwestern Iowa. I’m sure she’s still alive, lurking wherever a child holds a pencil or pen incorrectly.
- Cover image: "Wing Sung 618 with Fude Nib" by Jacob Ehnmark - CC-BY-2.0
- Buckles, S. (2021). Fountain Pen Nibs: 19 Types Explained. Retrieved from OnePenShow.com: Onepenshow.com
- Johnson, C. (2012). Bent Nib Pen Play. Retrieved from YouTube.com: https://youtu.be/lItaX5qpWkI
- Pen Review: Sailor Fude de Mannen Fountain Pens. (n.d.). Retrieved 2021, from The Well Appointed Desk: https://www.wellappointeddesk.com/
- ThePenMarket.com. (2021). Retrieved from ThePenMarket.com: https://www.thepenmarket.com/
- Two Fude Pens Compared. (2017). Retrieved 2021, from Janinescribbles: https://janinescribbles.com
- Wikipedia. (2018). Retrieved 07 23, 2018, from SS Belgenland (1878): https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Belgenland_(1878)
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