How To Use a Fountain Pen

It's time to ditch your five cent ballpoint and paper-scratching handwriting.

It's time to ditch your five cent ballpoint and paper-scratching handwriting. Once you've nailed down the proper technique of writing with a real man's pen (hint: they don't come in boxes of 50), you'll never look back.

Keep the cap on

Unless your hands are especially small, keeping the cap on the back of the pen while you write will distribute weight evenly in your hand and give you a more balanced feel. Too much weight towards the tip of the pen and you'll be pressing down unintentionally hard and leaving too much ink on the page.

Take it easy

There's no need to death grip a fountain pen like you would with a standard ballpoint since you're not scratching your notes down. Loosen your grip and move the pen gently to let the ink flow smoothly and evenly.

Get into position

Unlike pens you're probably used to, fountain pens can't be used from any angle. You want to rest the nib (the tip of the pen) at a careful angle pointing towards the top of the page. You'll know the sweet spot when you hit it -- from any other angle, the pen will scratch and skip, but at a gentle angle with minimal pressure the nib will flow the ink evenly as you move it across the page.

Write with your arm, not your fingers

Controlling a pen by rapidly moving your wrist and fingers while keeping your arm steady is exhausting. Instead, keep your hand relatively still and use the larger muscles in your lower arm so that you're moving your hand and arm as you write rather than your fingers.

Practice (duh)

This should go without saying, but to make good use of your pen, you've got to put in the work. Take time to slowly and carefully learn the angle and pressure that feels most comfortable for you and results in a steady ink flow from your pen, and you can slowly start to develop a familiarity and speed.

It takes a bit of extra effort, but once you’ve got these tips down, you’ll be ready to write in style (and stop showing up to the office with cheap disposables or grade school pencils).

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