Staedtler Calligraph Duo Marker 3002 is a very unassuming double-ended calligraphy marker that packs a dual punch, sporting a 3.5mm and 2.0 mm chisel tip at each end. It also comes in a range of colours in a set. We test out these wedge tip calligraphy markers for lettering, illustration and see if these are the best tool for getting started with hand lettering and other modern calligraphy experiments. Is it a convenient and capable tool for beginners and seasoned letterers alike? Watch to find out.
Reviewing the Staedtler Calligraph Duo Markers
Vishal: Hello and welcome to Stationery Test Drive where every week we take a look at different tools and stationery implements.
Minjal: Today we’re talking about the Staedtler Calligraph Duo or as they call it Calligraphy Markers.
Samir: I’m Samir.
Minjal: This is Minjal.
Vishal: And I’m Vishal. We are artists and designers and calligraphers by profession. So what we do every week is choose a tool, the Calligraphy Markers this week, and we each do a piece testing things out, test driving things. Each piece goes to our own individual tastes and our own whims and fancies. I think Minjal has hers ready, so why don’t we have a look at yours?
Minjal: Okay so this is what I’ve done with the Staedtler Duo Calligraphy Markers.
Cat Illustration with the Staedtler Calligraph Duo Marker Pens
Vishal: I think the internet will give you extra points just for doing a cat! So tell us about your experiences. Is this all one pen?
Minjal: The Staedtler Calligraph Duo is a two-sided pen. There’s a 3.5 mm nib and there is a 2mm nib. So I used both the ends of the pen, for the thin and thick strokes.
Vishal: Now among us you are the calligrapher by profession. You introduced us to these pens. We don’t usually have many calligraphy things on our own. But this is not a usual calligraphic demonstration. So what was it like doing something figurative?
Staedtler Calligraph Duo Marker Pens – Best for Beginners
Minjal: I’ve been teaching calligraphy for the last decade. These pens, they work really well when you’re
teaching children because they are actually like marker pens or felt pens. And they’re fairly easy to use for children and adults.
Vishal: Right. So you would recommend these as almost your first way of getting into calligraphy.
Minjal: Yeah sure, I mean for adults, it’s either this or the Pilot Parallel Pen which we’ve done an episode of.
Vishal: One of our first in fact. So what is the advantage of having the pen? This is a marker first of all, it’s like any other kind of a felt tip marker but it has this chisel point which is more rigorously made, I would say and able to do cleaner lines over a long time. Is that your experience with it?
Minjal: Essentially, because with the Pilot Parallel Pen, the ink flow can be a problem but since this is a felt tip marker there is more control over the ink. So for beginners it makes more sense to start with an instrument like this.
Vishal: I like the variety of marks you’ve got in here. Did you use the two ends of them for different parts of this?
Minjal: Yeah, that’s right. The 2mm tip for the thinner strokes and 3.5 mm tip for the broad strokes. And these are just the basic gothic calligraphy strokes that have been used to fill in the illustration.
What is a Calligram?
Samir: So besides the fact that you’re using the basic strokes and not words, I guess this qualifies as being a calligram?
Minjal: Yeah it does.
Vishal: Can you tell us what a calligram is?
Minjal: A calligram is taking a shape – it could be any shape like a kite, cat, dog, and filling it with either calligraphy words or with strokes.
Vishal: I believe there is a lot of Islamic calligraphy that pioneered or at least where that form flourished.
Samir: It did. I mean calligraphy flourished in the Islamic world because it was kind of a workaround for the taboo against visual art. It obviously is up for debate.
Vishal: And trends and beliefs change over time.
Samir: Exactly. So because there was a bit of a taboo about representing people, therefore calligraphy became truly highly developed and I guess this kind of is a secondary cheat, in that it’s still calligraphy, but it’s also representation.
Vishal: Speaking of representing things, I’ve not been very good at representing myself on Stationery Test Drive much because like about 12 million other people I have been playing Elden Ring, which is a fantastic video game by FromSoftware Inc. and so this was clearly inspired by that.
Elden Ring Illustration with the Staedtler Calligraph Duo Marker Pens
I’m more of an illustrator of the three of us and clearly my mind first led to this sort of thing instead of calligraphy. I don’t think it’s really a calligram, but there is calligraphic elements in this graphic thing. I had a basic pencil sketch underneath, but other than the gray tones which are pencil, everything has been done with the Calligram. Calligraph! See this is confusing. Calligraphy. Calligraph. Calligram.
Samir: And then you have the Calligraph Duo.
Vishal: But yeah, I actually had a good time with this. I was surprised. It’s not meant to be any kind of calligraphy, although it looks vaguely Islamic or some kind of like eastern letterforms, but I think I actually enjoyed this, the more figurative work, the landscape work, as much as the lettering or the pseudo lettering.
Samir: So unlike what Minjal did and we’ll come to mine maybe a little later, unlike what I did as well, you’ve used the pens beyond just using them the entire broad edge.
Vishal: Yes, the broad edge of the marker, when it’s pressed down fully, it is very nice for doing parallel lines because it has a flat wedge-edge. I had fun with this, I would love to use this again, for drawing and not just for things like this.
Minjal: Now, what Vishal has done is such a departure from what the pen is actually marketed for. I think a lot of people will be surprised that for a pen that is essentially marketed for lettering, you can also make something as diverse as this and Samir I think you also have something that is quite different than just a lettering piece.
Figure Sketch with the Staedtler Calligraph Duo Marker Pens
Samir: Yes. So what I ended up doing as always was to take a figurative approach to things and that’s what I have. I’ve said this before I find portraits to be a great way to test things out because it gives you a range of lines and a range of shapes that you can try. And this is a nice mix of portrait and figure and I thought including a little bit of tattoo design would be a nice touch.
Vishal: Even though we’ve bought done drawings here it’s very different from this one, in the way we approached it. I love that you you caught a certain sort of feathered edge to it. How did you manage that? Was that intentional?
Samir: Yes, absolutely intentional. The great thing about a felt-based calligraphy pen is that unlike something like the Parallel Pen, the Parallel Pen kind of immediately stops ink flow as soon as you lift it off the paper a bit whereas the felt tip when you kind of speed up the stroke towards the end of it, you can get that kind of feathered rough edge.
Vishal: It’s closer to a brush and the way you would sort of use a dry brush technique, which I didn’t try actually!
Difference between Pilot Parallel Pens & Staedtler Calligraph Duo Marker Pens
Samir: I think the difference between the Parallel Pen is something we need to get into. There’s two things that I found. The feathered edge that we are seeing here, is really just a matter of going over it at a particular speed. Now you could be very neat in a calligraphic way and do those perfectly even lines, and they’re very satisfying, and they’re really beautiful especially with a rich colors. But it’s as easy to just kind of drag them off at the end and have that kind of feathered line.
Samir: I think that these kind of pens are unique in that you can do this, it’s nearly impossible to do the feathering strokes with a fountain pen like the Parallel Pen. On the flip side I think that when you’re kind of especially in an illustrative use when you’re trying to vary the line weight and you try to do that strange rotating thing, I actually find the Parallel Pen to be better at that, because the point is that here as soon as you go halfway, you kind of need to keep moving, otherwise it forms that.
So if you go halfway and then you want to rotate it a little, and what ends up happening is that it absorbs more ink. Whereas strangely enough because the Parallel Pen or a fountain pen like that uses a very liquid ink, you can kind of go halfway, and then do a rotation and it doesn’t actually do this as much.
Vishal: Because the thing about fountain pending is it’s more liquid and the ink takes a little while to dry, so there’s like a almost a backwash of ink that smoothens out.
Samir: And it sort of sits on the surface of the paper rather than being absorbed immediately. Whereas the felt tip here kind of immediately pushes the ink into the paper. So that’s an interesting thing that I found, where this pen is clearly better at a particular effect, but then worse at the other effect. So I guess you use each one for what they’re good at.
Minjal: So the Staedtler Calligraph Duo Markers are available only in packs of five. They cost roughly Rs. 1000/ – INR.
Vishal: So that’s about 12 to 14 dollars here, I’m sure because they’re imported here, you might find them cheaper where you are.
Minjal: What has also happened during the pandemic is every society and every area has seen a proliferation of lettering artists and calligraphers. So now there are lots of similar marker pens that are available. I know that Kuretake ZIG does some excellent markers, there’s is an Indian brand called Brustro that also has come out with these pens and I’ve actually tried all of these. I’d say that ZIG and Staedtler are still better than the rest available in the market.
Calligraphy Scripts – Different Angles
Vishal: Most calligraphy nibs that I’ve seen have a certain tilt to it.
Samir: The tilt actually has to do with language, is that right Minjal?
Minjal: Yes that’s correct.
Vishal: Because the last felt tip pen that I used was an arabic calligraphy pen, and that one had the angle on the opposite side, since they write right to left.
Samir: Right, so essentially most roman script and calligraphy that’s related to roman script has this sort of 90 degree angle and I believe the arabic one has something like a 35? And I know recently Minjal has been practicing some Gujarati, which also has an angled nib. Is that the same angle or is it different?
Minjal: No it is the opposite.
Vishal: Okay, let’s approach this from all angles. I know we geeked on about this on our geometry sets episode. Please watch that one.
Minjal: There is a script called the Uncial Script which is supposed to be one of the earliest scripts that was used. Uncial is sometimes written at 10 degrees, which means your pen would be almost flat, so you can get really thick strokes. Whereas, Gothic you would write it at 40 – 45 degrees angle. Scripts are actually written at different angles, Italic has a different angle, Uncial would have a different angle.
Vishal: Well I think we’ve taken this on a proper test drive today. This was quite unfamiliar to me as a person who’s never really taken to calligraphy seriously. It was actually nice to free myself of the standard notions of what a calligraphy implement can be used for and I think it was great to have to have something like this, that’s frankly not as intimidating. I’ve used calligraphy kits before, I’ve used the Parallel Pen. The Parallel Pen is really lovely and watch our episode for that one. That was our very first episode.
Minjal: So this one is really convenient, because you have two different sizes, if you’re a beginner you can use it to draw, you can use it to write.
Vishal: I think the only downside is that you have to buy it in a set you. Because clearly if you’re anything like me you’ll end up using the black one more than some of the colors. There’s red, black, blue, green and a purple. We should actually have a look at that one at some point. Maybe we’ll put a picture of one of our experiments in there.
But we will get back to making those experiments, to experimenting with other implements and tools. Like we were saying that calligraphy is an old and ancient art form, wedge-shaped marking tools for lettering and artwork are as old as civilization and we have the prototype of something like this.
If we’re calling this the modern version of things, the pocketable 21st century ‘take it anywhere does not dry out,’ don’t need to get an inkpot type thing. We also have an upcoming episode on something so low-tech that you could literally make it at any point in history if you had a sharp enough tool to cut it.
Samir: That will be coming up soon.
Vishal: We’re very excited for that one, we enjoyed the work we made with it, and we’ll be recording it soon and showing it to you soon. Please look forward to that one. Please like, subscribe, please tell your friends about this video. We’re a young and growing channel, even though we are not young and probably not growing.
Samir: In spirit!
Vishal: In spirit. We are always growing our skills and our experiments and are broadening our horizons, especially in stationery, in art, in calligraphy now. And we will see you very soon. Until then I’ve been Vishal.
Samir: I’m Samir.
Minjal: This is Minjal.
Vishal: And attack those angles!
Get the Staedtler Calligraph Duo Marker Pens
1. Staedtler 3002 Calligraphy Markers – Assorted Colours (Pack of 5) – https://amzn.to/3uVRE2h