Dip Pen Anatomy

Knowing the parts/anatomy of a dip pen can be a big help, especially when you are looking for help on specific topic. I have created two different images so all the parts can be shown easier.

Overall Anatomy

Dip pen anatomy

  1. Pen holder – the largest overall part that is held to use the pen and holds the pen nib in the front end (usually the largest end).
  2. Grip – where the pen is held and is often custom shapes and material for better gripping.
  3. Gripper, Pen insert – this is what holds the pen nib. It can widely vary in material and construction depending on brand and intended pen nib size.
  4. Pen nib – sometimes also called a pen point. The nib is the actual part that comes in contact with paper.

Nib Anatomy

The image below is a closer look at the typical pen nibs I use. Pen nibs vary in sizes and shapes depending on the type of nib and the intended use; however, all nibs have the same basic parts listed.

Pen nib anatomy

  1. Tail, Heel, Base – this part is inserted into the pen holder.
  2. Body, Shank – the overall part of the nib.
  3. Vent, Breather Hole – acts like a ink reservoir to feed the slit.
  4. Shoulders – the end of the body that starts the transition to the tines
  5. Tines – the harder the nib is pressed onto paper the wider the tines will spread apart (increasing the Slit #6) to make a wider line.
  6. Slit – the gap between the two tines. The wider the slit gets the wider the line will be.
  7. Tip, Point – the tip created by the tines, and is the only part of the nib that touches paper.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. John
    Apr 04, 2017 @ 12:26:40

    I’ve been drawing with dip-pens for 40 years and never knew all these terms, thank you!


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