How to Write with a Fountain Pen: the Ultimate Guide

Ballpoint pens are extremely practical. However, writing with them is notoriously bland when compared to the joy of fountain pen writing.

If you want to know how to write with a fountain pen, you’re in the right place!

Today, I’ll walk you through every step of the way from getting the fountain pen to writing your first word. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

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Step 1: Prepare Your Supplies

To get started in the world of fountain pens, you need to prepare all the supplies you’re going to need in the journey.

Luckily, all of these supplies are readily available and you can get them at a relatively decent price.

Let’s have a brief overview of everything you’re going to need when you’re starting.

The Fountain Pen

Fountain pens come in different styles, materials, and sizes. Also, fountain pens are available in a wide range of prices.

In fact, you can get some pens at a price that’s less than 10 USD. However, some specialty pens can reach up to 200 USD. Moreover, some limited edition pens can set you back up to 1,000 USD.

When you’re getting started on fountain pen writing, you should be looking for certain pens that will make your journey smoother.

The good news is, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get one. You can start with an inexpensive fountain pen and work your way up later. Ideally, a good quality pen should be within the range of 15 to 60 USD.

Since the pens vary in sizes and styles, you need to find your ideal fit. For example, if you prefer thinner pens, you can start with Lamy Safari or Waterman Graduate.

However, if you prefer a thicker pen, you should consider the PILOT Metropolitan Collection Fountain Pen.

Ink Cartridges

In the previous recommendations, I’ve chosen pens with a removable cartridge. These pens allow you to refill them when they’re out of ink.

While learning how to write with a fountain pen, you’ll need to go through several cartridges. Ideally, you should get a pack of prefilled cartridges to make things easier for you. A pen with a removable cartridge will allow you to replace them with new ones.

Ink Reservoirs and Converters

While some of them come with stock ink, you might want to turn things up a notch. If you prefer ink bottles instead of prefilled cartridges you should get a converter.

This tool will allow you to fill the pen with any special ink. A good quality ink will have better consistency and flow. Here are my recommendations for the best ink:

If you are looking for a good black ink, don’t miss our detailed guide to black fountain pen inks!

Also, you might have an ink reservoir lying around. If that’s the case, you need to give it a quick check. Make sure that the ink maintains its original color. If the ink bottle is old or has some mold, you shouldn’t use it.

If you’re going to use a months-old reservoir, make sure that you stir it thoroughly to maintain its consistency. This should also take care of any clumps that can obstruct your pen.

Note Pads for Writing

When you’re first starting, you’ll need a notepad with lined paper. These lines will make it easier to write evenly.

Any kind of notepads will do. However, you should avoid chemically treated paper, as it might not absorb the ink properly, leaving messy smears and unwanted ink pools on paper.

Step 2: Understand the Parts of the Fountain Pen

Unlike regular ballpoint pens, fountain pens have some terminology that you should know. Here’s a quick guide to the different parts of the fountain pen.

  • The barrel: the long cylinder that you hold the pen from
  • The nib: the part that touches the paper and releases the ink
  • The cap: the part that covers and protect the nibs when the pen isn’t used

Nibs come in different sizes. For a beginner, a fine or medium-sized nib is the easiest one to write with.

Step 3: Experiment with the Pen Caps to Find the Ideal Balance

Holding the pen correctly is the key to write comfortably with a fountain pen. To do this, you should try out different aspects to decide on the ideal ones for you.

The first thing you need to do is uncapping the pen. After that, you need to decide where to leave the pen cap.

Most people prefer to post the cap, which is attaching the cap to the pen. Most brands balance the pen by putting enough weight in the cap to keep it balanced while being posted.

However, people with smaller hands might prefer to remove the extra weight by leaving the pen unposted. Experiment the weight of the pen in both styles and decide which one feels better in your hand.

Step 4: Pick Up the Pen Correctly

The ideal way to pick up the fountain pen is by pinching it between the thumb and the index. After that, you support the pen using the bottom knuckle of your middle finger.

The pinch should be towards the bottom half of the barrel. Also, you should keep the ring finger, pinky finger, and side palm resting on the paper surface. This way, your thumb-index pinch will be stabilized using the rest of your hand.

Step 5: Angle Your Hand Correctly

With the pen help correctly in your hand, you should find the right angle to write with. Regular ballpoint pens will write with any angle.

However, a fountain pen will only write when it’s tilted to a 40 to 55-degree angle. This angle helps the tiny nib tips to move away, allowing the ink to flow properly.

Keep in mind that not all fountain pens are created equal. Some might have a slightly higher or lower angle, that’s why you should test the angle to find the sweet spot of your pen yourself.

Step 5: Start Writing!

Now that you know how to hold it correctly, it’s time to start writing with the fountain pen.

It’s important that you don’t stress your hand or use excessive pressure while writing. Unlike ballpoint pens, fountain pens don’t require that much pressure or rotation.

It won’t take long until you master the technique. In my experience, starting with single words and moving the way up to full sentences was a success.

Wrap Up

Now that you know how to write with a fountain pen, it’s time to get into action and release the artistic side in you!

Although it’ll take you some time to get fully used to writing, the process itself is fun and highly rewarding!

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