Fountain pens are well-known and liked for the elegant penmanship that they offer. However, like all good things, it takes some skill and practice to achieve those beautiful legible strokes of handwriting.
The good news is, learning how to write with a fountain pen is not complex, and neither does it require you to reinvent your writing style. You only need to grasp a few basics to help you get the kind of quality penmanship you have been yearning for.
So, in this guide, we explore some key tips on how to ace writing with a fountain pen.
Choose the Right Pen
Fountain pens are not made equal. They are available in different thicknesses, pen casings, and even filling methods. This is great because, amidst the variety of options, you could easily find a fountain pen that suits your writing preferences.
As you choose your fountain pen, aim for a design that you can handle with ease. Get a feel of the weight of the pen and how it fits between your fingers. If it feels comfortable, then you are more likely to write better and enjoy using it. If not, try a different design.
Additionally, endeavor to choose the right type of fountain pen for your needs. For example, if you are looking to write some calligraphy, then a calligraphy fountain pen would be best. On the other hand, if you are new to the whole fountain pen experience, consider a beginner fountain pen. You could always advance to something more sophisticated later on.
These details may seem trivial at first impression but once you get to writing, you will realize that they play a major role in how well you write.
Choose the Right Fountain Pen Accessories
One of the great attributes of a fountain pen is that it offers considerable flexibility. You can, for instance, choose a type of ink or nib that you feel would improve your writing experience. If you are wondering how to choose the right accessories, here are some insights to guide you.
You are likely well aware that you can have your choice of ink color. What you may not know is that there are different types of fountain pen ink and they can significantly elevate your writing experience.
Quick-dry ink, for example, would be a good choice if you are worried about smudging while scented and shimmering inks would be ideal for special pieces of writing like invitation cards. Other options to consider include lubricated inks, waterproof inks, and specialty inks, among others.
Look out for quality brands of ink too because the quality of the ink you pick affects both your writing and the longevity of your fountain pen.
Nibs vary based on the material they are made of, their flexibility or rigidity, and their thickness.
Flex nibs are recommended if you enjoy smooth gliding strokes while more rigid nibs are ideal for more controlled strokes of writing. You can learn more about this on our Flex nibs writing guide.
In terms of thickness, a stub nib will yield thicker lines of writing whereas an italic nib is a great companion if you would prefer thin lines.
Fountain pens dispense fresh ink as you write. Although the ink is dispensed in a steady and measured stream, it can begin to blot if your writing surface is made of poor-quality paper.
Consequently, it is advisable that you choose absorbent types of paper. Look out for leading paper brands like Faber-Castell, Rhodia, or Scheaffer, among others.
Once you have the right fountain pen and the right accessories, you can officially get down to the business of writing. That said, instead of jumping off the deep end, you could start with some practice sessions.
At this point, you are probably thinking; ‘Why would I need training?’.
Plenty of reasons. For starters, practice sessions give you a chance to get more accustomed to your fountain pen if you are a beginner. On the other hand, if you have used fountain pens before, practice reawakens your muscle memory and helps you get back in your writing groove.
Additionally, learning from pros on Youtube and platforms like Instagram could introduce you to a broader variety of fountain pen writing techniques.
This would also be a great way to find out if you have picked the right fountain pen and accessories. All you need is your ink-filled fountain pen, a writing surface, and some spare time.
Above all, fountain pen writing practice does not have to turn into a boring and rigid class. Keep it light and fun. Think of it like a doodle challenge where you keep building your skillset and unlocking more advanced techniques as you go along.
Technique refers to more than just putting pen to paper. It encompasses details such as how you hold your fountain pen, the style of penmanship that you choose, and your posture too.
Here are some pointers to help you nail your technique.
An upright posture goes a long way in ensuring that you can position your fountain pen comfortably and write with ease. As a result, your writing is likely to be more legible and effortless.
To achieve this, try and invest in a chair with good back support and a quality writing desk for fountain pens. These provisions are especially important if you will be writing regularly or for prolonged durations.
As with most pens, it is perfectly okay to hold your fountain pen between your thumb and index finger. Some people even opt to use the middle finger for extra support.
However, if you would like to glide your fountain pen away to quality penmanship, make an effort to keep your arm loose. This ensures that you do not exert any undue force as you write with your fountain pen or tire out your hand. Steady and loose works just fine.
There is no standard measure or acceptable style of legibility. The only goal is to ensure that your writing is consistent, appealing, and easy to read.
Make an effort to differentiate ascending and descending letters. For clarity, avoid chaining or looping them together so much that they are difficult to tell apart. Spacing between words and letters is equally important as it makes your writing neat and easy for the eye to perceive.
It is important to mention that if your typical handwriting is illegible, using a fountain pen is unlikely to transform it. It would be best to take up handwriting practice using templates and then advance to fountain pen practice sessions as discussed above.
If you happen to make errors as you write, it may be easier to strike through the error and move on to write what you intended. Trying to write over an error using a fountain pen often results in unsightly blotting or an ineligible muddle of letters.
Writing with a fountain pen often looks like a sophisticated art but with the right tools and some practice, it is quite simple and pleasant. Now that you know where to begin, write away!