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Calligraphy is traditionally done with a fountain pen, but markers are becoming more popular among those practicing this ancient art. Chisel-tip markers function similarly to fountain pens, with the same type of movements needed for thin and thick strokes. Brush-tip markers, with their paintbrush effects, are also indispensable tools in hand lettering and make wonderfully expressive text. Since markers are usually less expensive than traditional tools and can be found in just about any color you can imagine, it’s no surprise that calligraphers keep them on hand. To help you find a marker with quality ink, colors you like, and a tip that won’t shred, we’ve assembled our picks of the best, below.
1. Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens
Faber-Castell’s pens create luminous calligraphy. Stocked with six colors of India ink—which is permanent, waterproof, acid-free, and lightfast—these pens make creations that will stand the test of time. The 2.5-millimeter chisel-tipped nibs move smoothly across the page, and surprisingly, the deeply pigmented ink does not bleed through most paper, even when layered.
2. Kuretake Zig Calligraphy Dual Tip Markers
Dual-tipped markers not only add versatility to your toolbox but provide perfectly matched shades, since the ink for each side usually comes from the same inkwell. Kuretake is a Japanese brand that makes beautiful, double-tipped markers that work as well for calligraphy as they do for illustration. Both ends feature a chisel tip, one fine and the other of a medium thickness for bold but easy-to-control strokes. These pens are available in a range of sets, from ones that contain four colors all the way up to 48-color sets; we like the eight-pen version, which has useful hues.
3. Staedtler Double-Ended Calligraphy Pens
Staedtler’s reputation for fine art materials extends to their line of double-ended markers for calligraphy. For an affordable price, this set includes 12 double-ended markers in a range of gem tones and warm neutrals. Even with extensive use, the tips stay sharp and continue to make sharply defined lines.
4. Pentel Arts Limited Edition Pocket Brush
The brush pen, which usually has a bristle tip and ink cartridges, is a staple of Japanese and Chinese calligraphy, combining the effect of a paintbrush with the portability of a pen. It’s an excellent tool for calligraphers in any language, and the Pentel Pocket Brush is one of the top-selling models out there. It provides a consistent flow of permanent pigmented ink, and the soft synthetic bristles allow a huge range of strokes, from ultrafine to wide. For a fun touch, Pentel offers six limited edition-barrel designs, including this pretty indigo one.
5. Prismacolor Premier Beginner Hand Lettering Set
Hand lettering is different from calligraphy—rather than creating a uniform script that flows along in a unified line, the technique concentrates on rendering each letter individually. However, the same tools can often be utilized for both. This hand lettering set from Prismacolor includes four high-quality markers, two graphite pencils (one hard and one soft), a kneaded eraser, and a hand-lettering instruction booklet.