- June 30, 2021

Writing with A Feather Quill: A Quick Guide

The art of writing with a quill pen piques the interest of people from all walks of life—artists, students, instructors, and so on. The feather quill is still created and widely used today, although being less popular than other modern writing instruments. The same can be said for more modern metal-nibbed (tipped) pens and fountain pens.  When using a quill pen needs more steps than using a ball-point pen, it is simple to master with enough time and care.

Holding Your Feather Quill

Make use of a cushion

Underneath the paper, place a firm felt cushion. This will maintain the quill nib sharper for a longer period of time. A quill pen could only be sharpened so many times before it loses its usability. Pens that do not need to be sharpened as frequently will last longer.

Hold the quill in the same way you would a conventional pen

Placing the quill between your forefinger and thumb is a good idea. With your thumb and forefinger, grasp the area above the nib. Don’t press too hard if the quill is made of a real feather. Otherwise, you risk cracking it and rendering it useless.

Dip the quill in the ink

Place the nib in the inkwell. Pull it up slowly. Scrape any surplus ink from the nib and into the well. If you use too much ink, it can bleed through the sheet, potentially wasting a whole sheet.  If you don’t have enough ink on the quill, you can always redip it. As you write, you’ll need to dip your quill on a frequent basis. Each plunge will provide three to six words.

Set the nib at an angle

Advice ranged from a 45-degree downward angle to perpendicular (90 degrees). For right-handed persons, the nib must face left, and for left-handed people, the nib must face right. This will ensure that the lines are thin and manageable. When you point your nib straight up or down, it will make lines that are too thick to produce readable text.

Writing with Your Quill

Write until your quill needs to be dipped again.

Apply gentle pressure on the paper. Too much force could shatter your pen, shred the paper, or fast dull the nib. Attempt to write till you required to redip your pen. Stopping too frequently will result in ugly ink blobs on your paper.

Finally, sand the surface

When you’re finished using your feather quill and ink set, scatter sand over the inked paper. This will absorb any surplus ink without ruining your work. Allow the sand to settle for a few minutes. The sand should then be shaken or blown off the paper. To prevent producing a sloppy mess, do this outside or over a garbage can.

Rinse the nib thoroughly

After penning, if the nib is the tip of a feather or a metal nib, you should properly rinse it with water. This will extend the longevity of your quill and maintain the instrument’s excellence.