If you’ve recently received a fountain pen as a gift, you probably have questions about using it. Learning to use a fountain pen takes some practice and effort. One of the more difficult aspects of writing with a fountain pen is learning how to hold the pen at a specific angle. This is known as “the sweet spot” and it’s one of the most important components of using a fountain pen effectively.
When writing with a fountain pen, you’ll only get to apply slight weight from this particular point to create the ink stream from the ink cartridge, down the nib, and onto the composing surface. At this perfect point, applying the smallest weight to the write lifts the nib and evacuates the vacuum between the feeder and pen store. This permits the fountain pen ink reservoir to stream onto your writing surface.
Whereas ballpoint pens compose similarly well from most points and positions, fountain pens require a certain touch. In this article, we’ll show you how to hold and type in with a fountain pen. Do explore what works best for you, as what feels most comfortable depends on your hand shape and supplies. Don’t stress as well on the off chance that you’re comfortable holding the write marginally in an unexpected way from what’s prescribed. In any case, in the event that you’re having trouble composing easily or comfortably, attempt making a few of the alterations recommended underneath.
For more points of interest on how to hold a fountain pen, please read on...
How to Hold a Fountain Pen: Fountain Pen Posture and Technique
Before holding the pen to write, figure out whether you favor having the cap posted (joined to the back of the write) or not. Ordinarily, fountain pens feel more adjusted when the cap is posted, but individuals with littler hands may lean toward taking off the cap.
Hold the Pen Between Your Thumb and Index Finger
To ensure steady hand-writing, keep the pen barrel in your palm. To make sure you keep a firm grip on the pen, rest it between your thumb and index finger. Also, your ring finger, pinky finger, and palm should be lightly pressed against the writing surface to provide stability. A "sweet spot" for writing is the angle at which a fountain pen nib should make on paper. An ideal angle is somewhere between your writing surface and the tip of your nib. The lower your angle is, the more ink it will take to flow out of the tip of your fountain pen.
The Sweet Spot
The sweet spot of the nib is the place where the writing tip makes a clean and continuous line when you press down on it. The nib separates from the feed when you release pressure, which allows for a smooth ink flow. To write continuously and smoothly, keep your nib in the sweet spot. Your writing will be scratchier and skippier when you lift the nib off the paper.
Despite how we’re taught to write, most people naturally hold their fountain pens at an angle when they write. To get a good writing angle, you have to hold the pen at an angle and then adjust it as you write. If you hold your pen too straight, the sweet spot will start to advance as you write, which is really annoying.
Holding a Fountain Pen Step-by-Step
#1 Position the pen safely between your index finger and thumb. Don't embed it between the fingers as you'd when using the tripod hold. It ought to be touching the cushion of your thumb and the side of your index finger, near the top.
#2 Take your remaining three fingers and twist them beneath your hand, level or angled against the composing surface to form the perfect angle for the pen. Usually more often than not shapes near a 45-degree point with the writing surface.
#3 Write with the pen between your index finger and thumb. You'll marginally rest the pen on your remaining fingers, but don't utilize them to hold the fountain pen steady. Basically, utilize them for leverage.
If you're struggling to write with a fountain pen, getting better at Spencerian handwriting will help you write clearly and precisely. The Spencerian grip is a style of writing that uses only a few basic strokes to write letters and numbers. It's popular among students, who use it as a way to learn to write neatly and consistently.
How to Hold a Fountain Pen Left Handed
Many fountain pen companies will tout their ‘Left-handed fountain pen’, but unfortunately this is a special fountain pen. The nib remains the same for left-handed writers as it does for right-handed writers. Also, there is no difference between writing with your left hand or right hand. Instead, you can easily find a fountain pen that feels comfortable to write with and makes your writing automatic.
When writing left-handed, it is essential to know the best way to hold a pen to reduce ink smudges. To be able to hold a pen comfortably and prevent smudging, there are two common writing styles that you should consider: underwriting and overwriting. Underwriting and Hooking are two different writing techniques that are often used to help the writer see the words they wish to write. There is a wide variety of techniques, from simply making a ‘hook’ with your writing hand to using pens or pencils that have been colored yellow, blue, or red. For these reasons, there is no general rule for choosing one technique over the other.
Even with the seemingly different stub nib shapes, fountain pen handwriting does come with some challenges. Demonstrating a smoother writing style than what your flowing ink is capable of can reduce smudging. Flowing ink isn't as fluid as pulling ink across the page, but demonstrating a more fluid writing style will allow for good quality craftsmanship.
For more detailed information on refilling, inking, or charging a fountain pen, read our article: “How to Refill the Ink in your Fountain Pen”
Positioning Your Fingers on the Pen
You may also notice a difference when transitioning from a ball-point pen to a fountain pen. By extending your fingers at the bottom of the writing instrument, you can write more fluidly and with greater pressure while still keeping your hand close to the tip of the writing instrument. By contrast, the ballpoint pen grip is designed to be used with your thumb and index finger positioned nearer the back of the pen. This positioning is higher than you would hold a pencil or fountain pen.
It may be a little awkward at first, but you’ll get used to it. And the pen will feel lighter in your hand. The ideal writing experience with a fountain pen is smooth, fluid, and effortless. It shouldn’t feel as if you have to exert extra force or struggle to keep control of the pen. To perfect this transition from ballpoint to fountain pen writing, you need to release your grip on the pen. To achieve a good handwriting style, you must practice the movement of the pen. With time, you will be able to write effortlessly. Once you are used to the ease and grace with which a fountain pen writes, neat handwriting will become an easier discipline.
Fountain Pen Writing Angle
By contrast, fountain-pen writing with the thumb and index finger on top and the palm on the bottom produce a more graceful and fluid writing style. This technique differs from that used by standard ballpoint pens in which the thumb and index finger are placed in the center of the pen at about a 45-degree angle. If you want to make a mark with your pen, you must hold it at an angle. Your optimum writing angle varies depending on the type of pen you are using. For most pens, the sweet spot is where the nib sits directly on the paper surface. Just like most other things, you will adjust your grip to find the perfect angle.
Troubleshooting Fountain Pen Neatness
If you haven’t improved your handwriting using the tips I listed above, it might be because you’re learning how to improve your handwriting using a fountain pen. Make sure you choose a fountain pen with a nib that is the right size for your hand. You should also decide on the width of the nib based on how small or large you typically write. An extra tip is to alter how near (or distant) your fingers are from the nib as you write. There's an inverse relationship between the position of your hold on the barrel and the point your fountain pen makes with the writing surface. As you move closer to the nib, the point of the fountain pen in connection to the paper will increment. By moving your fingers farther away, you'll be able to make the point littler. Over time, you'll inevitably discover your possess ‘sweet spot’. Don’t be astounded in case it changes from fountain pen to fountain pen.
Fountain Pen Feedback
What is Fountain Pen Feedback?
Feedback is the feeling that you get when you write with your pen. It is referred to as toothiness or “bite” and it is the resistance you feel when you press down on the writing surface. Fountain pen users can achieve smooth, effortless writing by choosing a smooth nib or wetter writing ink. A rough nib will provide more feedback than a smoother one or one that is already wet.
A fountain pen is a writing utensil with a nib that can be used to write on paper. If you have ever used a pen or pencil, you have probably noticed the sensation that it gives when writing on paper. This section will go over how fountain pen basics works, so you can troubleshoot problems.
Scratchiness, not to be confused with ‘feedback’, is an undesirable result in writing with a fountain pen. The tines of the cartridge pen have to be aligned correctly or the ink won’t flow properly. Some fountain pen nibs are only made from one kind of metal, and if that metal isn’t aligned properly with another type of metal, the tines will be misaligned and the steel nib will scratch when you write.
If your fountain pen nib is misaligned, you will experience an uncomfortable scratching feeling when writing in just one direction.
Other Factors that Affect Fountain Pen Feedback
In addition to the paper being too dry, making it hard to write with, the paper can actually cause you to write poorly. Some papers cause the ink to bleed and make lines distorted or wide. On the other hand, others have a better ink absorption rate which allows you to create thin lines and neater writing.
We also need to consider the 'finish' of the nib's tip (the material used to make the tip of the nib). This finish is important because it can influence feedback. The 'finish' describes the way that the manufacturing company polishes, or grinds, the nib. Each nib is finished using sandpaper or micromesh. The grit (how fine or rough the fabric is) decides how easily the nib will float over paper when utilized for writing. Each brand features an unmistakable and diverse method of refining its nibs, but most unused nibs have a smooth wrap-up. Utilized fountain pen nibs are rougher in case the composing surface and past utilize has ground them down. In case the nib has some performance trouble, we recommend doing cleaning in your fountain pen, to keep your instrument clean and in great shape, here we have two relevant articles.
Positioning the Iridium (Tip of the Nib)
At the very tip of the fountain pen nib may be a little, circular structure made of a (usually harder) metal than the rest of the nib. Wrongly named the “iridium” due to the reality that iridium metal was once the industry standard metal utilized for making the tip. The tip can be alluded to as the “point” or the “tipping material.”
For ink to flow from the ink converter, the tip you choose is important. A broad nib is typically used for writing music. But if you're applying calligraphy to a piece of art, a fine nib is best suited. The shape of the nib is also important; a broad nib will create larger letters than a fine one. Also, if you're handwriting notes or doodling, a fine nib will be better suited.
The angle of the iridium affects how much of the flex nib touches the paper and the outflow of ink. Keeping it at a diagonal angle to the paper will allow you to write more smoothly, avoiding uneven pressure.
You will notice that the nib is designed with a concave surface, with one side being curvaceous (involving arches) and the other flat. The flat side faces up, while the concave side faces down so that you can see it while you write. Keeping the nib's diagonal parallel with the paper ensures that the pen will glide smoothly across the page. Also, the nib should be positioned so that one tine of the nib touches the paper at the same angle on both sides of the sheet. Finally, make sure that both tines are touching the paper evenly to avoid any ink being caught on the nib.
Posting (or Not Posting) the Fountain Pen Cap
Fountain pen writers have a choice between capping (also known as ‘posting’) the fountain pen case, which is putting the cap on the inverse end of the pen barrel whereas writing. Or the other alternative is clearing out it off of the pen body (‘unposted’). When you hold a fountain pen, it's important to post the cap for a comfortable grip. In Europe, people tend to post their cap, while in the United States, people tend to leave it unposted.
Quick Writing Tip: When working with fountain pens, it's important to keep your writing pen properly aligned with the nib. This ensures that you're making the best possible marks with your writing instrument.
Some people write by moving their fingers up and down in a smooth manner while they flex their hands and fingers to help guide the pen. This is very comfortable for the hand and finger but may lead to long-term finger strain. It also frequently moves the pen, making it impossible to stay in the pen’s sweet spot.
To avoid injuries caused by using the wrong hand, use your lower arm muscles to control the pressure of your pen while writing. Using your arm muscles with a pen instead of your fingers will give you more control over the pressure and velocity of your pen, helping you write in the middle of your hand and wrist. While you can’t correct shaky handwriting, constant elevation and rotation are key to producing consistent handwriting.
If you’re accustomed to using ballpoint pens, you may be overworking your fountain pen. Ballpoint pens require constant pressure from the pen tip on the writing surface. Fountain pens don’t require nearly as much pressure; simply guide the pen across the writing surface and ink will come out. Overworking a fountain pen can cause damage to the nib or wear it down over time.
Once you utilize a pencil or ballpoint pen, it is common to lock in your finger and hand muscles as you write. By contrast, fountain pens require you to control the pen without moving your hand. As you hold the fountain pen unfaltering and at a reliable point, you ought to utilize the movement of your lower arm to move the write over the page.
This will feel unusual at first, but it has a few benefits. First, writing with the lower arm avoids strain within the little fingers and wrist, which isn't exceptional in extended/prolonged composing sessions with a ballpoint write or pencil. Moment, it makes it less demanding to hold the pen unfaltering, with a steady point and without turn. At last, this strategy of writing makes strides in the reliability of the script and makes a difference keep the estimate and shape of the letters you're making more steady.
Picking a Fountain Pen
How you select and hold a fountain pen depends on numerous factors, including your hand measure and what kind of writing you’re doing. It’s comparable to picking out a pair of shoes. Are you trying to find a pair of shoes to run a marathon? To make an impression on a first date? Or to walk through blustery streets? Consider a few of the questions underneath to direct your fountain pen or dip pen choice and make composing sessions comfortable.
How big is your hand?
Using a pen that is too small or too large can result in hand fatigue and cramping. A pen with a long barrel and grip will be more comfortable for larger hands. A slim pen with a curved grip will be more comfortable for smaller hands. The 5-inch Performance Point features just enough balance but not too much bulk. Hand arthritis sufferers will appreciate the length of the Performance Point without the worry of it being bulky.
What kind of characters are you writing?
Because they are made up of many characters, Asian scripts such as Chinese and Japanese require writing with thinner lines to make them readable. Calligraphy is often written on very thin paper to make it easier to see the characters. For example, a writer may begin writing with heavier pressure on the paper and find it necessary to lighten his or her work at the end. Great fountain pen nibs are for writing in Asian characters. You'll need to choose a pen with a flexible nib to create different width lines depending on how hard you press down on the pen. The Western alphabet has more simple shapes, but it's easier to write with. Western writers are often taught to use a script form of hand lettering called cursive. This approach, which is generally not as fluid as print writing, is usually done with a hefty amount of pressure from the pen. If you do this too much, the ink can become too concentrated and pool in a large area. If you make a mistake, you can create bleedthrough.
How big is your handwriting?
The most important step is to determine what type of writer you are. The writing tool depends on the size of your handwriting. If you have a small, cramped writing style, a finer nib will help you write smaller. If you have a tall and wide handwriting style, a broad nib will help you get all your letters in the same width. If you’re a fountain pen user, consider Japanese fountain pen nibs. If you’re a fountain pen user, consider broad Western fountain pen nibs.
How fast are you writing?
When it comes to writing ability, there are a lot of things that influence speed: the occasion, the mood, and even personal preference. Depending on the type of writing you’re doing, your writing speed may be fast or slow. For example, if you’ve got something important to write, you may write quickly to get it out as soon as possible.
Whether you write with speed or with your signature style, there's an option for you. The best fountain pen has a broad nib which makes writing smooth and fuss-free. Regular writers will appreciate the feel of a heavier pen in hand. Writers who use light fountain pens should not grip their pens too hard. While it’s important to compensate for a light pen’s lack of heft with firm pressure, writers who use heavier pens should take frequent breaks to avoid hand cramps.
Using your Fountain Pen
Practice makes perfect, and it doesn’t get any easier than having a fountain pen handy. If you want to use your fountain pen for writing, but don’t have time to write every day, try squeezing in a few minutes of writing a day.
- Create a lovely, handwritten greeting card to convey to a loved one how much you appreciate them.
- Bring your lecture note-taking game up a notch with the spiffiest writing utensil in the classroom.
- Send your long-distance friend snail mail.
- Write down deep dark secrets in your diary.
- Jot down captions for your DIY scrapbook.
- Use it for signing your John Hancock on checks and important documents.
- Write out a rough draft of the next best-selling novel.
For more detailed information on fountain pen storage, read our article:
“How to Store a Fountain Pen”
What makes fountain pens so popular? The writing experience offered by a pen is incomparable to any other writing instrument. The truly unique aspect of fountain pens is how they handle calligraphy, music, art, and everyday writing. This is done by choosing the right pen for the job and a pen tip that best suits your writing needs. To find out if a pen will fit your needs and writing style, try writing with the pen for a while. You will learn to write more efficiently and your handwriting will improve. A fountain pen is designed to make it easier for you to write. As you use the tool, it will become more familiar and your writing will become more fluid.