So many myths surround our favorite writing implement. Fountain pens are often misunderstood for being messy, expensive, difficult to maintain, and hard to use. This last misperception is particularly concerning to those of us who greatly, and exclusively, appreciate the sensation of writing with a fountain. If you’ve wondered if fountain pens are hard to use, we’ve broken down the myth and have your answer.
Is the Writing Technique Different?
Essentially no, however there are small modifications that should be made to your writing style to optimize the fountain pen’s ink flow. What’s important to understand is that these modifications are not difficult to adapt to, and are not physically straining. In fact, once you adapt your style for writing with a fountain pen, you’ll find the grip and pressure needed are more comfortable, allowing you to write better, longer, and with higher quality results.
Why the Difference?
Unlike ballpoint pens, fountain pens have a “sweet spot” which enables the ink to optimally flow. Once the sweet spot is identified, and your grip, angle, pressure, and posture are adapted to stay in that sweet spot zone, you’ll notice the more enjoyable writing sensation that so many fountain pen lovers talk about—the feeling of the pen gliding across the page, the reduced hand cramping and fatigue, and the need to use less pressure.
Some individuals new to fountain pen use, unfortunately, don’t spend the necessary time finding the sweet spot. Instead they abandon the fountain pen, which we think leads to the misperception that fountain pens are difficult to use.
Adjusting Your Grip
While every writer, and every fountain pen, are unique, in general, the best way to hold a fountain pen to find that sweet spot is as follows:
• Hold the fountain pen between your thumb and index finger
• Rest the barrel over or just ahead of your middle finger’s bottom knuckle
• Rest your palm, ring finger, and pinky against the writing surface
• Hold the pen at a 40-55-degree angle
Will it possibly take an adjustment from how you write today? Yes. Is it difficult? No. Is it worth it to find the sweet spot and feel the difference of writing with a fountain pen? Yes.
Here are two more reasons fountain pens are ultimately more comfortable, and not difficult, to use:
A Better Balance
Unlike your cheap, lightweight, ballpoint pen picked-up from the office storage close, fountain pens are ergonomically designed to feel balanced in your hand. Some pens in particular are best balanced when the cap is posted on the back of the pen (a simple tactic). A comfortable balance means the pen is weighted evenly between the writing end, and the opposite end, eliminating hand strain and cramping, making it easier, not harder, to write, and to write for long periods of time.
Fountain Pens Adapt. To You.
How many ballpoint pens can say that? We’d be surprised to find one. Fountain pen nibs are delicate and fine instruments. Over time with much use, the tines in the nib will repeatedly flex to accommodate the angle and pressure you generally employ when writing, and will actually adapt to your style. The result: Your fountain pen will adjust to your own personal writing habits, optimizing it for your use. How could such an accommodating tool be difficult to use?
If you’re ready to see the fountain pen difference for yourself, we recommend the LAMY Al-star as an ideal fountain pen choice for first-timers. Visit our gallery to shop our line of LAMY Al-star fountain pens.