Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sheaffer Viewpoint Calligraphy Pen Review

I first tried my hand at calligraphy in elementary school, but back then I was still trying to figure out handwriting, period! So it ended up being just kind of a fun thing to try out once and that was good for me. But then more recently, as I became interested in learning how to be more expressive in my writing, I decided to snag a calligraphy fountain pen. The cheapest out there seemed to be the Sheaffer Viewpoint Calligraphy - was able to pick it up at a local store for under $5, but is also available through this Amazon vendor here for about $6. Given the price of fountain pens in general, not a bad price.

Here is the pen itself:

Looks pretty distinguished, even for an all-plastic construction (excepting the tip of course). You can make out the famous Sheaffer 'white dot' at the top of the clip.

The Viewpoint Calligraphy pen comes in three nib widths, and the one I have is a B - Broad, or 1.8mm wide.

The pen is a crisp italic, meaning sharp edges and potential risk of getting caught in the paper if one is caught unawares. Definitely it takes a little more care than a ballpoint, but it's not as bad as some people out there make it out to be, especially if you have a little coordination. Just concentrate on keeping your nib / pen in the same orientation throughout your strokes and you'll be fine =)

Here is the pen posted; it has good balance in this arrangement. You can also see the namesake of the pen, on the bottom part of the barrel - it's a large cutout in the body, that lets you see the link level in the cartridge (the pen comes with 2, of different colors - mine came in a blue and a black). Pretty neat design, which often one finds only in higher-end pens, with their view-windows and such.

Btw, the pen is a pop-cap, and not a screw-down - though of course the section and the body connect via screw threading.

On to the writing sample!

It pretty much goes without saying but I'm very amateur when it comes to calligraphic / italic writing. I love some of the stuff I see out there, and I have an old calligraphy book that I'm planning to learn from. But it definitely takes time to learn new letterforms, and training my hand to keep the nib at the typically requisite 45 degrees. Even still, it's fun to play with, and both cursive and print come out with a fun, new flair. Definitely a worthy (and some may say even necessary) addition to one's pen stable if you want to get into ornamental writing. Consider that many ancient books and Bibles for centuries were written in the same styles that calligraphers use today! Neat stuff.

A final shot of the pen in 'exploded' form:

I would check at your local art store to see if they have this italic fountain pen out, it might be cheaper than Amazon, but if not, check the link at the header of this post. Happy calligraphying (er...)!

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