beechwood pastel painting







Automatic Lettering and Calligraphy Pens

A little History of the Automatic Lettering and Calligraphy Pens The Victorians used quills and metal nib dip pens for their lettering, until in the late 1800's, when these pens came into being. The pens were called 'automatic' because, compared to the quill and metal nibs, these pens were 'Automatic Lettering Pens'.

pens, with their unique nib, are still handcrafted in England to this day. The handles are now made of a comfortable non-slip, non-staining plastic but the smooth writing nib is still hand-finished. The pen can write and be moved in any direction with continuous ink flow, it produces both very thin and contrasting thick lines.

They are easy to use whether you are right or left-handed; a foot or mouth painter; from young children to adults, if you can grip the handle, you can use the pen - writing, calligraphy, drawing, posters, illustrations, decorative borders and designs.

auto pen double line size 8
Size 8 Double Line
(3/16 inch)

It's easy to get started!
Wash the pen in warm soapy water, rinse and dry on kitchen towel. This removes the oil film that protects the pen, it will now accept ink readily. Each pen nib has a serrated side and a smooth side, write with the smooth side against the paper. Use either the full width or for very fine lines use its chisel edge. If you have trouble with ink  flow, draw the nib across some damp paper.

automatic pen one line
Single line size 4
(5/16 inch)

What to write with?The Automatic Pens work the best with the following: water-soluble inks and dyes (fountain pen or drawing); Gouache thinned with water; thinned Watercolour paint; Poster paint.

Note: The pens can be used with Waterproof inks and Acrylic paints but due to the fast drying qualities of these media, they can dry in the pen and clog it.

Fine pigment Artists quality Oil paint, thinned with Zest-it® Brush Cleaner and Dilutant, also works well - make sure you wash the nib well in Zest-it, before washing in warm soapy water and drying.


quarter inch double line auto pen
Size 9 Double Line
(1/4 inch)

How to Fill your Automatic pen.Using a soft haired painting brush, load the brush with ink and by stroking the brush along the open side of the nib, feed ink into the reservoir. Or, if you are using ink in a bottle that has a 'dropper' top, use the dropper to feed ink into the reservoir. Or, Just dip the pen into the ink to a depth of ¼", loading/dipping deeper than this can cause the pen to drip ink, because the reservoir will be over full.


automatic pen reservoir
Side view of the unique style nib = reservoir.

Which type to choose?Single lines are produced by pen numbers 1(1/16inch), 2 (1/8inch), 3 (3/16inch), 3A (1/4inch), 4 (5/16inch), 5 (1/2inch), 6 (3/4inch) and 6A (1inch).
For writing, drawing, decorative and poster work.

Double lines are produced by pens; 7 (
1/8inch), 8 (3/16 inch), 9 (¼inch) and 10 (1/2inch).
For writing, poster work and decorative edging.
A single letter using two colours is a double line pen.

Five line pen (
1/2inch) for ruling music lines, decorative writing and borders.


auto pen eighth inch double line
Size 7 Double Line
(1/8 inch)

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