Review – Manuscript Callicreative Italic Markers

I’ll be sticking to my fountain pen for personal use!

What? – Callicreative Italic Markers – A set of 12 markers with a chisel tip designed for hand lettering and calligraphy.

Price – £12.76 for 12 markers (£1.63 per marker)

Bottom Line – Good to begin with but nibs deteriorate very quickly, results are better with a felt tip. If buying for yourself, stick to fountain pens!

Another practice page with the fountain pens

Why? – I already have a set of fountain pens for calligraphy which I am comfortable using (also made by manuscript). However I want to investigate other pens on the market. I’m working with the Settlers team to come up with some craft activities for the school holidays. The theme of one of the events is the medieval period and we want to run some calligraphy drop in sessions.

Fountain pens are more expensive than the markers; they can be messy and are more easily damaged by “enthusiastic” use. We don’t know if there will be another opportunity for us to run more calligraphy drop in sessions so it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money on pens that we may not use again.

Why I chose these pens

They come in a range of colours likely to appeal to the younger children and the price per pen is low, meaning we would be able to get enough pens for the event (i.e. rather than four pens for the same price). Manuscript make products specifically for lettering and calligraphy. I already have some of their products, which I like.

Trying them out

To begin with the pens seemed to be comparable to the fountain pens, which was great. Unfortunately after only mild use, say three of four letters, the definition of the pen strokes was starting to fade and I could have just been using any felt tip pen. I was able to improve this to a degree by flipping the pen over and using the other side of the nib, however this didn’t last very long at all. The more the pens are used the softer the nibs become. The nibs lose their chisel shape and then are not effective as italic calligraphy markers at all.

I was still able to get some use out of the pens by exaggerating the changes in pressure on the different pen strokes, but the difference in the appearance of the pen strokes was minimal.

 As well as comparing these markers against my fountain pens, I also compared them again against a regular felt tip pen. Although the italic markers were slightly better to begin with, after two or three letters I actually got better results with the felt tip!

Take a look at my comparisons below:

Using the Callicreative markers, the A and B look reasonable, at C the pen startes to lose definition and by the time I write D and E I may as well use the felt tip!

Value for money? – Although these pens are inexpensive (£1.63 each) I would have to say that these are not good value for money. I can get a better and more reliable result with a felt tip pen. I only wanted to try these pens out to see if they would be fit for purpose for a children’s craft activity as they are some of the least expensive calligraphy pens on the market. For someone who is looking for calligraphy pens for their own personal use, I would say without doubt to buy a fountain pen set. For roughly the same price as these 12 markers you can buy a set of pens with four different sized nibs, some inks and a started guide. If you buy the callicreative italic markers as a beginner you will not get good results, they will not help your confidence and you may well be put off calligraphy and lettering all together. If you have some experience of lettering and calligraphy, I still wouldn’t advise you buy them as you will be very disappointed! People will say you get what you pay for, well I paid for italic calligraphy markers and I didn’t get them.

As for me, I will continue to investigate other pens out on the market for the Settlers medieval event!

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