How to Write with a Fountain Pen

Ballpoint pens may be used to write from various angles and positions, but fountain pens need a certain touch. This post will demonstrate how to handle and use a fountain pen. Investigate your options since what feels the most comfortable will depend on your hand shape & available materials. If you feel more at ease holding the pen differently than advised, don’t worry too much about it. If you’re having trouble writing comfortably or fluidly, consider making a few of the changes listed below.

Fountain Pen Supply Selection

We will use a No. 16 Rhodia R Premium Notepad and a Lamy Safari Fountain Pen with a fine nib. We chose the Lamy Safari because it is a fountain pen with outstanding ink flow that requires less maintenance. The pen is composed of ABS plastic, which is lightweight and almost unbreakable (the same material LEGO blocks are made of). Its curved grip also makes it simple to hold it in the proper position. Insert a fresh cartridge or use a converter to refill ink from a bottle. We used the Rhodia R Premium Pad for our paper since it is smooth, allowing us to make use of Lamy Safari’s ink’s easy-flowing ink. At the same time, it has the right amount of teeth to prevent being too slippery for writing. The drying period is around 10 seconds, and there is very little show-through.

Holding The Fountain Pen

You should decide whether you want the cap posted (connected to the rear of the pen) before you pick up the pen to write. However, those with short fingers may find that writing without a cap improves the pen’s balance.

Hold the Fountain Pen Between Your Thumb & Index Finger

Holding your pen between your thumb & index finger will give you the best control. Place the barrel slightly over or in front of the bottom knuckle on your middle finger. To create stability, press your palm, ring finger, and pinky finger lightly on the writing surface. The “sweet spot” of most fountain pen nibs is between 40 and 55 degrees. Therefore the pen should be at an angle with your work surface. Although it may be less than you’re accustomed to, this will encourage a luscious ink flow.

Sweet Spot

The nib’s tip’s sweet spot is the region where it will glide over the paper while leaving an ink trail. When you press down on the sweet spot, the tines and feed slightly separate, allowing the ink to flow out more readily and find the right balance to write continually and fluidly. When the nib is not at the sweet spot, it feels scratchy and skippy.

Those taught to write with pencil often have an ingrained tendency to spin their writing implements in search of a sharp edge. Fountain pens don’t lend themselves well to this habit. The sweet spot of your fountain pen will be pulled off the paper if you spin it too much.

In the Writing

Some individuals use their fingers to manipulate the pen while writing, flexing and bending them to keep their hands reasonably still. This usually wears one out and may cause chronic finger strain. Additionally, the pen’s elevation and spin are continually changing while writing in this manner, making it hard to maintain the pen’s sweet spot.

Try and write with your lower arm to keep your hands in the sweet spot & prevent hand injuries. By doing this, you’re employing your arm’s powerful muscles rather than your fingers’ little muscles. With this approach, you won’t have to put as much pressure on your wrist and hand. To remain in the sweet spot and write consistently, you also maintain the pen’s elevation and spin.

Lower the Pressure

You can apply too much pressure to your fountain pen if you’re used to writing with ballpoint pens. Ballpoint pens need steady downward pressure to write. Fountain pens must be guided over the writing surface; they don’t need to apply nearly as much pressure. A nib that is pushed too forcefully may lose its alignment or become worn out.

Choosing a Fountain Pen

Your palm size and the kind of handwriting you do will both have an impact on the fountain pen you choose. It’s comparable to choosing a pair of shoes. Are you trying to choose a pair of running shoes for a marathon? to impress someone on a first date? Or to make your way through soggy streets? Consider some of the following questions to help you choose a fountain pen and ensure that your writing sessions are pleasant.

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The Size of Your Hand

Using a pen that is either too tiny or too big can cause hand aches and cramping. Large hands will feel more at ease with long, thick pens like TWSBI Fountain Pens. Slim pens with contoured handles, such as the Pilot Penmanship Fountain Pens, will be more comfortable in little hands. Another great alternative for little hands is the diminutive Kaweco Liliput, one of the tiniest fountain pens in the world. Its five inches provide just the right amount of stability without being too large when mounted. No matter how big their hands are, individuals who have arthritis will find it more pleasant to grip larger pens.

Which kind of characters do you write?

Asian scripts like Chinese & Japanese must be handwritten with fine lines to ensure readability since they include much information. Additionally, take the nib off the paper and adjust the pressure of your strokes while writing traditionally or in calligraphy. For instance, you may apply greater pressure on the sheet at first and less pressure at the end. The Pilot Elabo fountain pen, which has a soft, pliable nib that produces varying line widths based on the force you apply, is a fantastic fountain pen for penning Asian characters.

The Elabo’s fine and extra-fine nib sizes make them ideal for writing complex characters. Remember that finer Japanese nibs could dig into your paper if you push down too hard. When utilizing them, try to be gentler.

The Western alphabet, on the other hand, has rather straightforward forms. Western authors also often write in cursive, which requires less frequent lifting of the pen from the paper. An excellent fountain pen for Western letters has a wider nib, writes smoothly, and can be used without exerting excessive pressure. The compact and smudge-free Lamy Safari is an illustration for English authors in this manual. Be aware that wider nibs might produce ink pools and cause bleed-through if you exert too much pressure.


When you discover the sweet spot & write by extending your arms instead of your fingers, using a fountain pen must seem natural.