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What is the difference between an italic, an oblique, and a stub?

While all three of these tip styles deliver line-width variation, their differences deserve mention.

A stub tip is cut straight across the top and is the easiest to use of the three, since it has somewhat rounded edges and corners. A cursive italic point is similar to a stub except sharper, giving more line-width variation between the vertical and horizontal strokes. It is also more position sensitive, however; the sharper and narrower the point, the less smooth it will feel on paper. By contrast, a rounder stub will feel smoother, but not have as distinct a difference between the thin horizontal and broader vertical strokes.

The oblique tip is cut at an angle, usually about 15 degrees, normally from top right to lower left, looking like ones left foot from the top. This is usually called a Left Oblique. Unfortunately, some companies, including Parker Pen, call this a Right Oblique. A true Right Oblique point, also called a Reverse Oblique, has a slant exactly the opposite of a Left Oblique and is used by only a few right-handed writers.

An oblique delivers more subtle line-width variation than stubs and italics because the broadest stroke is the upper-left-to-lower-right diagonal, and if your writing style is typical of most right-handed writers, your characters will have few of these strokes. John loves a left oblique point, but he is also used to the rotation required (the pen must be rotated to the left in order to find the point's "sweet spot").

We don't recommend starting with anything finer than a Medium nib for customization to either italic or oblique. A narrower point would be very position-sensitive, require an extremely light touch from a slow and deliberate hand, and would still tend to be scratchy and not show very much line-width variation. In general, the broader the nib that you start from, the greater is the line-width variation that can result from customization.

 

 
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