The Benefits of Using Traditional Dip Pens and Ink

Creative Team | June 26, 2017

This tutorial examines the advantages of using traditional dip pens and ink. Learning the traditional techinques of ink drawing will advance your artistry and prestige. First, an introduction of dipping pens by I-C Inc., a member of the Copic family.


Four dip pen nibs to examine

1.jpgAs seen on the right. There are four nib sizes, each with their own pen holders. Each provides their own look and feel, which this blog  post examines.

  • Saji Pen (Spoon)
  • G Pen
  • School Pen
  • Maru Pen (Mapping)

Find all IC Pen Nibs Here

Notice the differences

As can be seen in the writing samples below, all the nibs exhibt varying line qualities: Copic Multiliners 0.05, Maru, Spoon, School, and G Pen nibs each have their own strengths, suitable for a variety of artistic styles. 


The G Pen Nib

The G pen nib has the most flexibility of the four nibs. It allows the most variation in line width of all the nibs, which is controlled by adjusting the amount of pressure applied. For this reason, it is also a good choice for not only drawing but also, cursive and calligraphy styles. 

The School Pen Nib

The School pen nib is moderately flexible and easy to control. Variations in line width can be controlled by the amount of pressure applied to the nib. Along with the Spoon nib, this is a great nib to start with for beginning inkers. There is some flexibility, but it requires a bit more pressure to flex compared the the G pen, making it easier to control.

The Saji (Spoon) Pen Nib

The Saji (spoon) pen nib is the one with the smoothest, most consistent line. This pen nib creates even lines similar to the Copic Multiliner. It is easy to control, as it offers a little flexibility. It is also great for writing print because the tip is smooth and does not catch on paper. 

The Maru (Mapping) Pen Nib

The Maru (mapping) nib is very fine, and is usually best for detail work and areas where very small, precise lines are needed. People often consider this the most "challenging" nib. It requires a bit of practice to develop a light hand, and it can feel scratchy if a heavy hand is used.


Using a dipping pen takes a little getting used to, as the ink is not coming from a continuous source like with the Multiliner.

With some practice the results can be quite rewarding.

You have to get used to inking the nib from time to time, and it's always a good idea to keep a piece of scrap paper on hand to draw off excess ink and prevent unintentional blobs from ruining your drawing. However, with some practice the results can be quite rewarding.

The Humming Bird Drawing


For the hummingbird drawing, I first created a sketch, then traced the general outline lightly in pencil onto the paper.


I proceeded to outline the main image using the Maru nib. I like the fine light lines of the Maru nib, as it does not interfere with the delicate nature of the subject once more detail is added.


I then start cross hatching using the Maru nib, adding fine details like the soft feathers on the bird’s chest. I inked the darker areas using the G pen nib, as it is easier to fill in larger areas.


I begin adding more detail to the background foliage. I keep inking until I am happy with the end result.


And here is the complete image! 

We hope you enjoyed this investigation of dip pens. Be sure to check out the rest of the IC product line in our store


Topics: Illustration, Copic

Creative Team
Creative Team on June 26, 2017

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