Sunday Mailbag

October 29th, 2006 | Posted in Mailbag

Q: I’ve been looking everywhere for the materials you mentioned in your inking tutorial. Where can I get Gillott nibs and that stuff?

A: Few if any art stores carry anything but a few token inking supplies, mostly in the form of “Cartooning Kits”. Ecccch. Thank goodness for the internet. Here are some sources for inking supplies:

Gillot Pen nibs:

Tough to find these in the US. You have to order them from overseas, and that’s expensive. But, if you have to have them, try:

Scribblers (UK)
John Neal Booksellers

There are others but these are under $1.00 US each. If you look elsewhere, usually the good nibs are found listed under “Copperplate” among calligraphy supplies. These suppliers have lots of cool nibs like Brause and such, so if you are looking for something that “feels right” buy some singles and try out a few. You can get pen holders here as well.

You could try my method of getting Gillott nibs: beg a friend and colleague who lives in Great Britain to order 1,000 nibs at his local art store and bring them with him to the NCN convention in the states, where you pay him for them and then buy him some beers in gratitude. I am still a few Guiness shy of total compensation. Thanks, Steve!

Pen Holders:

There are lots of different kinds, but I found one I really love called the Universal Pen Holder. It’s just a clear plastic rod with a soft plastic sleeve around the end to hold the nib. The soft sleeve also acts as a cushioned finger grip. Simple but great. You can get them at John Neal on this page.

Pelikan Drawing Ink A:

This is more common now, but a few years ago they had lost their US distributor and finding it was impossible. If you want to get a BIG bottle, try:


Most of the rest of the stuff you need like white out, etc. is readily available at any regular or on-line art store.

There used to be a great single source for Gillott nibs, good inks like Dr. Ph.Martin’s Black Star HICARB or Tech 14W Black, and other great inking supplies on-line called AOE. They were the cheapest and had everything. Unfortunately they stopped carrying Gillotts for some reason, and have redone their website but the area with the inking stuff is still not up. They may be back to carrying the Gillotts by now. You can keep checking back at the AOE website or call them at their toll free number on the site and ask about it.


  1. SteveH says:

    Tom, hey it’s cool, just let me know when you need the next 1000 nibs!


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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