How to Write With a Quill and Ink for Beginners?

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

How to Write With a Quill and Ink

Mastering the art of writing with a quill and ink requires a combination of patience, practice, and a keen eye for detail. In this article, you will find a step-by-step guide on how to write with a quill and ink.

With detailed instructions on how to hold a quill, dip it in ink, and use it to write beautifully, you will be able to develop your penmanship and create personalized, captivating written works. Read on!

How to Use Quill Pen & Ink


Step 1: Prepare

1. Quill


You can get real feather quill pens/feather pens: goose quill, swan quill, turkey quill, crow quill, and eagle quill. If you do not want to write with a feather, you can consider a metal quill pen/quill pen with metal nib or a calligraphy quill pen.

2. Ink


  • Iron Gall Ink – The most popular inks used for quill pen writing. It darkens over time, providing a distinctive and classic appearance to written documents.
  • India Ink – A common choice for modern quill writing, India ink dries quickly and produces bold, waterproof lines.
  • Walnut Ink – Made from walnut husks, this ink creates warm, sepia-toned writing. It is well-suited for those who want to write calligraphy with a quill pen.

Step 2: Prepare Your Workspace


1. Find a clean, flat surface

You should choose a desk with ample space to comfortably write and accommodate your materials.

2. Protect the surface

Place a piece of blotting paper or a clean cloth under your writing area to catch any ink spills and prevent damage to the surface. It will also help reduce friction and slow down any wearing processes.

3. Gather your materials

Have your quill feather to write, bottle of ink/inkwell, and paper/parchment within easy reach.

4. Prepare the quill

If you have a new quill, you will need to prepare it before use. Trim the tip of the quill at a 45-degree angle to create a writing point.

Step 3: Hold the Quill


  1. Comfortable grip: Hold quill between your thumb and index finger at the shaft. Place your thumb on the side of the quill, and your index finger on top, near the trimmed writing point, letting the point rest on the paper.
  2. Steady hand: Keep your other three fingers curled comfortably around the quill for stability while writing.
  3. Angle the quill: Tilt the quill at a slight angle from the horizontal position. This angle will depend on your personal preference, but a 30-45 degree angle is a good starting point.
  4. Light pressure: Apply gentle pressure on the quill as you write. Be sure to avoid pressing too hard and dragging, as these motions may cause the quill to splatter or damage the paper.
  5. Practice strokes: Before writing words, practice making some strokes on a scrap paper to get a feel for the quill’s movement and ink flow. As you practice, adjust your grip and angle to find what works best for you.

Step 4: Dip the Quill Pen in Ink


  1. Dip the nib into the ink: Lower the quill’s nib into the ink bottle, allowing it to immerse just enough to cover the writing point. Be careful not to dip too deep to avoid excessive ink.
  2. Avoid overloading: Let any excess ink on the nib drip back into the ink bottle. This prevents messy blobs and blots when you start writing.
  3. Control the amount of ink: If the nib does not have enough ink after dipping, you can gently tap the nib on the rim of the ink bottle to draw up a little more ink. To remove excess ink, tap or sweep the tip on the ink bottle.
  4. Check for consistency: Ensure that the nib has an even coating of ink along its edges to achieve consistent writing.

Step 5: Start Writing


1. Create smooth strokes: Apply gentle and consistent pressure on the quill as you write to allow a smooth flow of ink onto the paper. Experiment with different pressures to achieve the desired thickness of the lines.

2. Form your letters: Begin forming the letters by guiding the quill across the paper. Take your time and try to maintain a steady hand for more precise writing.


  • Thick lines: Straight downward tip
  • Thin lines: Tib facing the left for right-handed writers and vice versa

Tip: Try not to lift the pen as you write, but do not linger in one place for too long to get uniform words and avoid ink blobs.

3. Watch the ink flow: Keep an eye on the ink flow from the nib to ensure it does not get too dry or overly saturated. Dip the quill back into the ink to maintain a consistent supply.

Tip: Turn the tip sparingly to prevent it from becoming blunt. You can use the back side of the tip instead.

4. Allow the ink to dry: Be patient and let the ink dry completely before touching or folding the paper to prevent smudging.


Step 5: Clean the Quill


  1. Fill a small container or glass with lukewarm water.
  2. Submerge the tip of the quill into the water. Allow the water to soak the nib for a few minutes.
  3. Use a soft cloth or paper towel to wipe away any remaining ink on the nib and the shaft of the quill. Be gentle to avoid damaging the delicate quill.
  4. After wiping away the ink, let the quill air dry on a paper towel or cloth. Ensure it’s completely dry before storing it.
  5. Check the quill carefully for any stubborn ink residues. If needed, repeat the cleaning process or use a cotton swab to clean hard-to-reach areas.

Once the quill is dry and clean, store it in a cool, dry place. Ideally, place it in a quill case or wrap it in a soft cloth to protect it from dust and damage.


Through patience, practice, and a keen eye for detail, you can master the art of writing with a quill and ink. As you hold the quill, dip it in ink, and allow your imagination to take flight, you will find a sense of tranquility and artistry that modern writing tools often cannot replicate.

Follow the steps on how to write with a quill and ink above to infuse your words with the timeless charm that only a quill can bestow!

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