I am not a lefty but have a friend who is, and is intrigued, I'm not sure if by fountain pens or just worried about my sanity with (only) 25 inks and pens. I have read and watched videos about lefties and writing, pushing vs pulling, my sincere commiserations, I didn't know it could be such an ordeal.
I have some specific questions, in particular for lefty overwriters:
- What is your favorite pen (fountain or other)? Why?
- I've read about the advantages of quicker drying inks; do you prefer rollerballs? Gel pens?
- Are there more comfortable pens for lefty overwriters? What aspects to look for? Cushioned sections?
- More expensive pens seem to be fountain pen variants: do these make sense ergonomically for lefties? For instance a Pelikan Souverain or Parker Sonnet rollerball.
- Any lefties using Sheaffer Triumhps or Pilots with WA nibs ("upturned"or "Waverly type" nibs)? Do these work for you?
- Strictly stick to quickly drying paper? No Clairefontaine for you?
- Is it worth the hassle? Just get a cheap gel pen and forget about it?
- Any other aspects I should look into?
I am doing this as if it were an analysis of consumer experiences, following specific goals (design, comfort, practicality, statement pen). Budget is $100 USD.
I think you're overthinking this. I understand that if you were organizing a mountain climbing expedition with a quadraplegic that you might need to make some special considerations. But this isn't the same thing.
Watch your friend write. Have you noticed that the ballpoints are pencils aren't different or special?
I'm a leftie. I've been using fountain pens for just a few months, so I'm not an expert. But here's what I've learned so far:
There are two things to think about: Mechanics and Smudging
Mechanically, lefties push the pen across the paper more than pull it. And I think I read somewhere that, on average, the pens tend to be held at a slightly higher angle (I.e. a bit closer to vertical). But the "average lefty angle" isn't going to be significantly different from that of right-handed people. For example, if 75% of right handed people held their pen between 38 and 52 degrees off the paper you could say the average is 45-degrees, but pretty much ALL of those people will be different from the ideal that the factory nib grinder had in mind. If the left handed writers instead are in the range 40-54 degrees, then they're still all pretty close to the factory grind, and still almost none are exactly matching the factory grind.
Note that I completely made up those numbers. But the point is that person-to-person variation is greater than the difference between average left handed and average right handed.
In other words: being a lefty doesn't significantly change the odds that somebody will want or need to adjust the grind of the nib. Certainly there will be some lefties who are "way out there" and really need a special grind, but not much different than their being the occasional right-handed that is way out there.
But, since we push the pen more than pull, a super-flex nib isn't really going to work. I know this because Honeybadgers was kind enough to let me try one of his wet noodles, and most of what I did was watch the tines splay out of control as I pushed the pen forward. Maybe one day I'll try working my way into flex, but I'm not climbing that mountain now.
Note that this pushing/pulling isn't just because of being a lefty: it's being a lefty and writing left-to-write. A right hander in a right-to-left script (Hebrew or Arabic) would also be pushing.
A completely unrelated thing is smudging. Many lefties are over-writers or side-writers. I'm an over-writer. With either of these scenarios our wrist moves over freshly written ink. This means it's more important that the ink dry quickly: if it's wet when the wrist rubs over it then you get smudges on the paper.
When I bought my first pen & ink I chose a super fast drying ink (Noodler's Q-Ternity). I didn't like it because it feathered too much, but the experience got me to thinking about and watching how I write.
With the way that I hold the pen, my wrist is usually about 3cm above the tip of the pen. I write small, words easily fit in one line of the 5mm grid in the journal. So 3cm is about 6 lines. So here's the thing: I want the ink to be dry in the time it takes me to write 5 lines (6 - 1, the minus 1 is the line I'm working on). If it takes me 30 seconds to write 5 lines then the ink needs to be dry in 30 seconds. How long that time takes will vary a lot with the person: how they hold the pen, and how fast they write, how many lines are between the nib and their wrist, and even the width of the page (wider pages means more time to write a line). Note that a side-writer will have it worst: the wrist will rub over the line you're currently writing on.
There's also the "normal" things that affect ink dry time that I guess everybody knows about: the ink, the paper, and the nib (width/wetness).
I'm currently using IRO Yama Budo and Asa Gao, Sailor Souboku and Epinard, Diamine Midnight and Oxblood. I don't think any reviews refer to those inks as freakishly fast drying. But they're not freakishly slow, either.
I use Leuchtturm paper as it's pretty good stuff and ink tends to dry faster on it. It's not the best paper, but the best paper often takes longer to dry (I've got a paper sample pack and I measure my nibs/inks on the different papers). For now I'm sticking with Leuchtturm because it allows me a greater variety of inks, which is important to me (and there are other aspects of their journals that I like, too).
Also, the side-writing / over-writing "thing" isn't purely lefties. I read or heard just in the past few days of an over-writing right handed person. Same problem. I really wish I could remember where I came across that, but as far as I know it's quite rare for over-writers to be right-handed.
Final summary: I don't need a special pen or nib, but may never use a wet noodle. I pay a small amount of attention to what ink I'm using, but I still pay more attention to the color/shading/sheen parts when reading a review, as most inks are fast enough. Your mileage may vary.
Have your friend ask some questions, we'll be happy to help. Or have them buy a cheap pen and some ink, and just learn.
Edited by XYZZY, 02 October 2018 - 19:46.