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Can anyone tell me a method to write properly with a fountain pen?


Chandon
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I am a professional writer who writes all of his work in long hand first. Despite this, I cannot write properly with fountain pens. I have been using them, on and off, for over 30 years! I still find them really hard to use; much harder than using a pencil, ballpoint or rollerball. I can write slowly and relatively neatly with a fountain pen, but have never mastered the correct angle at which to hold the pen to the paper and find it impossible to let the pen rest in the web of my right hand and manage to write in an intelligible way. Writing a line of A4 paper can take me five minutes as it so hard to hold and angle the pen. I was never taught how to use one at home or school, and have "learnt" the little "ability" I possess from copying other people. Does anyone have any ideas, tips or suggestions (other than stop using fountain pens) that they could offer? I thought that fountain pens were supposed to make writing easier and be a pleasant experience, and not something to dread using. They are actually a real pain to use. I own a lot of pens (that I've acquired over the years) of different types but none of them are easy to use, but I have persevered as some of the pens are expensive and I have never yet managed to derive any of the enjoyment from using them that other people have.  I am seriously thinking of getting rid of them all, as they are so hard to write with. Despite years of trying, I fear that writing with a fountain pen is another one of those things in life that I have failed to master (like driving a car or playing the piano) but I thought I would give it one last go (as I would like to enjoy some of their supposed "benefits"). Any thoughts would be most appreciated. Thanks.

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Short answer is no.My handwriting is not good, although you didn't say that yours was bad, just that fountain pens were problematic.

 

Your problem is either physical or mental.Physical has to do with grip and you could change or get a fatter/thinner pen such as a safari etc.There are also nib cuts such as the parsons essential where you can get a left footer italic etc.Some pens like my parsons guide your hand like train tracks.Others like my MB calligraphy are very freeing, but my skill level doesn't match the pen.I have an MB ef which writes very well when I concentrate.My Lammy 2k ef gives me a decent result.If I lose concentration or rush I can't read my writing myself.

 

A fountain pen gives me a much better result than any other pen and also some sense of satisfaction- which I believe is the common view and where you differ.

 

I have a few phycological issues (with writing). I use an apple MacBook Air with scrivener and this makes me virtually a writing God.As you know writing is actually rewriting and the computer makes this easier.For any non writers reading this let me give an example.The screenplay for the film sixth sense was written over ten or more drafts before the author had the idea that the protagonist had been dead all along.That is not the exception but the rule.If you want to create anything any good you have to keep redoing it.That way someone ordinary can become an Einstein.Or put another way hard work instead of talent although to have both helps.

 

So writing with a pen does have drawbacks, but for most of us a fountain pen is visually better and more forgiving of a poor hand.

 

Not much help sorry.Someone else have a go.

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Chandon said:

but have never mastered the correct angle at which to hold the pen to the paper and find it impossible to let the pen rest in the web of my right hand and manage to write in an intelligible way.

 

 

Could this be because you use your fingers to shape the letters?  If so learn/practice using your arm, from the shoulder.

 

 

 

 

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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4 hours ago, Chandon said:

I am a professional writer who writes all of his work in long hand first. Despite this, I cannot write properly with fountain pens. I have been using them, on and off, for over 30 years! I still find them really hard to use; much harder than using a pencil, ballpoint or rollerball. I can write slowly and relatively neatly with a fountain pen, but have never mastered the correct angle at which to hold the pen to the paper and find it impossible to let the pen rest in the web of my right hand and manage to write in an intelligible way. Writing a line of A4 paper can take me five minutes as it so hard to hold and angle the pen. I was never taught how to use one at home or school, and have "learnt" the little "ability" I possess from copying other people. Does anyone have any ideas, tips or suggestions (other than stop using fountain pens) that they could offer? I thought that fountain pens were supposed to make writing easier and be a pleasant experience, and not something to dread using. They are actually a real pain to use. I own a lot of pens (that I've acquired over the years) of different types but none of them are easy to use, but I have persevered as some of the pens are expensive and I have never yet managed to derive any of the enjoyment from using them that other people have.  I am seriously thinking of getting rid of them all, as they are so hard to write with. Despite years of trying, I fear that writing with a fountain pen is another one of those things in life that I have failed to master (like driving a car or playing the piano) but I thought I would give it one last go (as I would like to enjoy some of their supposed "benefits"). Any thoughts would be most appreciated. Thanks.

How about hiring a tutor?  It might be expensive (about $60 / hour) but should readily solve the problem.

 

There are many books which aim to teach a particular style, e.g. Palmer Method, Spencerian, Copperplate and they start with how to hold the pen, how to position yourself and how to write.  Some have photographs.  Some are oriented towards classroom instruction.

 

I've just finished all the lessons in Michael Sull's American Cursive Handwriting and am still improving pen position.  It's important to keep the back of the pen pointed towards my right shoulder.  Over decades of writing, I had gotten into the habit of resting the side of my palm on the paper.  I'm unlearning that habit and practicing twisting my wrist a little bit counter-clockwise.  This is but one of hundreds of considerations.

 

A tutor could help you identify what you need to do.

 

Good luck!

 

 

Dan Kalish

 

Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Santini Libra Cumberland, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Waterman Kultur, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude, Osmiroid 65, FPR Guru

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Been writing cursive since I was very small, when I learned it in elementary school. So reading that first article about arm writing that Karmachanic shared got me curious about how I actually hold a pen, since it's not really something I think about at all. I learned to write with a pencil and later with ballpoint pens, as we didn't use fountain pens in the US anymore when I was growing up. Once I started getting curious about fountain pens, I did read on one the pen sites that fountain pens require more slant to write properly, but it was really easy for me to figure out how much without really thinking about how I held the pen.

 

What I have noticed just now while testing it out and actually looking at the pen in my hand, is that a ballpoint (requiring a more vertical writing angle) tends to sit up against my index finger just barely above, or forward of I guess I should say, the bottom knuckle on my hand. A fountain pen, on the other hand, sits further down/back, either just up against the underside of that knuckle or further down on the hand at just around the start of the webbing, depending on the length, size and weight of the pen, the placement of the grip and the best place to hold it for balance, and the length of the nib - basically whatever angle feels most comfortable when putting the smoothest, roundest spot on the nib to the paper. I saw some talking about it fitting in the webbing between your thumb and hand/index finger, but I don't think it should just lie in there as if it was a hammock 😁 That seems too far down to me. I think that would create much too small an angle (too low) to be able to write comfortably. Drawing or certain types of calligraphy, maybe, but not regular day-to-day writing. My grip is just regular: resting the bottom of the pen on my middle finger just above the top knuckle and holding it in place on either side of the top with my thumb and index finger, with the rest of my fingers rolled up toward my palm. I do rest that outside edge of my hand and my wrist on the paper or surface for stability - don't know if that's right or wrong, it's just how I've always written and I've never had any issues with cramping (unless it was a reeeeeeaaaaaallllly long letter, haha). 

 

I should note that I am right-handed and I write with the nib straight up and not tilted left or right. I have acquired some obliques lately in my quest of collecting certain pen models (chasing the pen, not the nib, in this case), and I can see how it could feel more comfortable for one to be able to see the whole top side of the nib as you are writing. I've also been enjoying this little variation in the otherwise boring all M bunch of pens that I had before.

 

Hope any of this helps!

Cheers,

Darla

FP addict thanks to #Penpalooza. Currently can't stop collecting Diplomats.

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You want to find the sweet spot of the fountain pen.

Dan Kalish

 

Fountain Pens: Pelikan Souveran M805, Santini Libra Cumberland, Waterman Expert II, Waterman Phileas, Waterman Kultur, Stipula Splash, Sheaffer Sagaris, Sheaffer Prelude, Osmiroid 65, FPR Guru

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10 hours ago, Chandon said:

Does anyone have any ideas, tips or suggestions (other than stop using fountain pens) that they could offer?

The bad news is that nothing is going to take the place of deliberate effort over considerable time.  The more you use non-fountain-pens while trying to learn fountain pens, the longer it will take.  Here are some of my observations, for whatever they're worth:

  • It took me about 6 months of ~90% FP use to learn to relax my grip
  • Relaxing your grip requires deliberate effort each time you realize you've got a death grip on the pen
  • My handwriting got worse before it got better - I had to re-learn how to control the pen with a relaxed grip
  • Experimenting with different finger positions (relative to each other, and how far up from the nib they were) helped me to find a position that facilitated a relaxed grip.  (Look at some of the books about writing Spencerian or Copperplate, and try imitating their finger positions, then experiment from there.)
  • Good posture, the right desk height, room to move your arm around on the desk, all help to make writing easier.
  • Hunching over the page, not having a hard writing surface, strong emotions, being in a rush, etc. can all cause you to tense up, death-grip the pen, and write poorly
  • I found that French rule (Seyes) paper really helped me focus on writing practice, and it can be used to improve the consistency of your own writing, regardless of the "font" you use.  Here's a video that shows how to use French rule paper - the important part is the relative size of the parts of each letter, and spacing between letters and words.
  • FWIW, here are two threads where I post pictures of me holding a fountain pen: Karas Kustoms Fountain K Mini impressions, and Lamy Safari Grip.

Hope that helps.

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I don't use whole-arm writing very much, but I do use whole-hand writing, and that seems to work for me well enough. At least, if my handwriting is not stellar it is readable and I enjoy doing it. 

 

I think LizEF has the right of it, holding a fountain pen is very different from holding any other writing instrument, especially a ballpoint/gel/rollerball type of pen. It must rest in your hand, only supported by your fingers, and be guided by the larger movements of your hand and arm. 

 

I'll bet if you inquired at the Melbourne Pen Group you would find at least one person who would be willing to help you out at least a little. If they can watch how you write, and you can watch how they write, and they can help you with holding the pen in a way that works for you, you could probably carry on and practice on your own after one or two sessions. Here's a link about the club: https://www.weekendnotes.com/melbourne-pen-shops-and-clubs/ 

 

I hope this helps. 

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You might try taking an extreme approach: Pick up cheap broad-edge calligraphy pens (Pilot Paralllel, Sailor High Ace Neo, Lamy Joy, &c.) in *large* tip sizes, and study one of the broad edge pen styles, either Italic, Textualis Quadrata, or Uncial. Look at the traditional demonstrations by respected scribes, or teachers like Lloyd Reynolds and Alfred Fairbank.

 

The other direction would be very fine needlepoint pens/flex pens and the Palmer/Spencerian texts and exercises. The old manuals have very clear instructions on holding the pen for this style of writing.

 

Then, go *very slowly* and let yourself specifically retrain your hand. The goal is to enter a completely "clean" space devoid of any of your existing habits to give you a chance to carve completely fresh neural pathways around writing with a fountain pen instead of potentially conflicting with your existing habits.

 

Given that you have a professional goal in mind, you might be causing learning interference by trying to get too practical too soon. Additionally, it's very helpful to appreciate and understand what scripts looked like and how they were written when people were using pens more like fountain pens that were much more sensitive to pen angle. There are some styles of writing that people have which are optimized around a ballpoint pen, and trying to use that same script in a fountain pen can work, but it can often strain the capabilities of the fountain pen, and might require additional learning on your part, thus further frustrating your efforts. 

 

The benefit of going the extreme route is precisely that the nibs I've recommend and styles of writing I've recommended are much less forgiving, and so they will give you much more feedback about what you are doing wrong and why than you would get from just writing with a very round, wet, ball-tipped fountain pen. With the ball-tipped pen using your usual style, you might just feel "bad" without being able to tell why. However, writing with these less forgiving instruments will make it possible for you to actually see what you are doing and why the feeling is going wrong, and then you should be able to translate that back into your normal writing after you've given some deliberate thought on how to make specific corrections.

 

It might be that you will want to completely retrain your normal every day hand writing into some more traditional, fountain pen friendly style, foregoing your existing habits entirely. If you are willing to go cold turkey on this sort of thing and are good at deliberate practice, you can see significant results in a matter of months. If not, the relative rate of learning will be much less for the average person. The cold turkey approach is the most effective and rapid, but also the most difficult and most frustrating. Most people evolve their hand over years of practice, rather than doing a cold turkey switch. 

 

Books I can recommend would be Briem's Handwriting Repair, Alfred Fairbanks Handwriting Manual, Getty-Dubay's adult writing books, the New American Cursive series (there's an adult self-paced book), Palmer's 1930's manual on writing, the Spencerian theory book and 5 copy books, Sull's American Cursive handwriting book (available from Goulet and others). 

 

I can also recommend searching up videos of calligraphy on YouTube and seeing how those people write with dip pens.

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19 hours ago, Pointyscratchy said:

Short answer is no.My handwriting is not good, although you didn't say that yours was bad, just that fountain pens were problematic.

 

Your problem is either physical or mental.Physical has to do with grip and you could change or get a fatter/thinner pen such as a safari etc.There are also nib cuts such as the parsons essential where you can get a left footer italic etc.Some pens like my parsons guide your hand like train tracks.Others like my MB calligraphy are very freeing, but my skill level doesn't match the pen.I have an MB ef which writes very well when I concentrate.My Lammy 2k ef gives me a decent result.If I lose concentration or rush I can't read my writing myself.

 

A fountain pen gives me a much better result than any other pen and also some sense of satisfaction- which I believe is the common view and where you differ.

 

I have a few phycological issues (with writing). I use an apple MacBook Air with scrivener and this makes me virtually a writing God.As you know writing is actually rewriting and the computer makes this easier.For any non writers reading this let me give an example.The screenplay for the film sixth sense was written over ten or more drafts before the author had the idea that the protagonist had been dead all along.That is not the exception but the rule.If you want to create anything any good you have to keep redoing it.That way someone ordinary can become an Einstein.Or put another way hard work instead of talent although to have both helps.

 

So writing with a pen does have drawbacks, but for most of us a fountain pen is visually better and more forgiving of a poor hand.

 

Not much help sorry.Someone else have a go.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for this  - very helpful. The weird thing is my handwriting is very neat, especially with a leaseholder or pencil! I can also write very fast. I find the Safari am impossible pen to write with if I put my fingers in the right places! 

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Thank you all very much for your help and ideas. I will try some of these ideas out. Part of the problem is that I need to keep writing at a certain pace for work, so it is hard to take time out to completely retrain myself. I've just written 5000 words of notes today for work - all with a 2mm Caran d'Ache leadholder. I use a tripod grip but have the pencil resting along/on my index finger of my right hand. I exert next to no pressure with my thumb. This style of writing works fine with pencil and ballpens but is useless for most fountain pens aside from a vintage Lamy 27 I own that has a Kugel nib. I actually think that the Kugel nib may well have been made for people like me, by the likes of Pelikan, Montblanc and Lamy (up until the 1970s). It is a shame it is no longer made. 

 

I've been trying to sort this issue out for years. I've sure wasted a lot of time and money on fountain pens but have at least managed to give a fair number of them away to people who can use them properly. Thanks once again.

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2 hours ago, Chandon said:

I actually think that the Kugel nib may well have been made for people like me,

 

From what I have read in my admittedly brief research into these types of nibs on German pens, especially Pelikans, they were indeed made to compete with / work the same as the new ballpoint pens that became all the rage (and also worked better when writing carbon copies). I’ve never written with one, so any experts here please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the sweet spot is more toward the end of the tip so the writing position is also more vertical than a standard fountain pen nib. 

 

Funny thing for me is that I now have a harder time writing with ballpoint pens. I’ve gotten so used to the smooth, solid flow of ink while having to exert almost no pressure that trying to get a ballpoint to write like that has become annoying.

 

I can’t speak to issues like a death grip or holding the pen in the wrong place, etc., but for me, it really has been as simple as understanding that the ‘ball’ of a fountain pen sits on the bottom of the pen tip and not the very end of it. Hence the need for a bit more angled position. From there it’s just a little practice to figure out how far back you like to hold it, which can also be different with each pen. So my recommendation, without a full understanding of your personal situation obviously, would be to relax and try writing while letting the pen do the work for you and see if it doesn’t become addictive 😉

FP addict thanks to #Penpalooza. Currently can't stop collecting Diplomats.

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6 hours ago, arcfide said:

carve completely fresh neural pathways

Very accurate description, from what I've seen on science-y shows about the brain.  To summarize and butcher: what the brain does not already have pathways for, it perceives as "dislike", whereas what it has pathways for, it perceives as "like".  As soon as I learned that, forming new habits (and discarding old ones) became a tiny bit easier, because I knew that it was just my brain whining about having to work.

 

I like your alternate approach, @arcfide.  For some, gradual is the way, for others, cold turkey is the way.  I appreciate your providing this alternative as I hadn't even considered that one could go the extreme version of a whole new (old) style. :)

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21 hours ago, Chandon said:

Part of the problem is that I need to keep writing at a certain pace for work, so it is hard to take time out to completely retrain myself. I've just written 5000 words of notes today for work - all with a 2mm Caran d'Ache leadholder.

 

I don't know how long it'd take me to write 5,000 (English or Chinese) words even without thinking, but as a schoolboy we regularly had to do “dictation” — which I think would more accurately be described as regurgitation — in class putting between 500 to 800 Chinese words on paper in 30 minutes, depending on the length of the essay we had to commit to memory by rote learning for that session. Of course, I used ballpoint pens back then, and it was a struggle sometimes even so. I don't think I'm actually any slower or quicker using a fountain pen, which I hold more or less I would a rollerball pen — with the same grip as I would a ballpoint pen but with less downward pressure.

 

I completely disagree that writing with a fountain pen requires or demands holding the pen at a shallower angle. Platinum's published chart of nib width grades versus line widths is based on testing with the pen at 60° incident angle (from the plane of the writing surface), and so that must be the (>100-year history) fountain pen manufacturer's assumption of how the average user of (at least its brand of, if not by extension all Japanese-made) fountain pens would hold their pens when writing.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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1 hour ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

I don't know how long it'd take me to write 5,000 (English or Chinese) words even without thinking, but as a schoolboy we regularly had to do “dictation” — which I think would more accurately be described as regurgitation — in class putting between 500 to 800 Chinese words on paper in 30 minutes, depending on the length of the essay we had to commit to memory by rote learning for that session. Of course, I used ballpoint pens back then, and it was a struggle sometimes even so. I don't think I'm actually any slower or quicker using a fountain pen, which I hold more or less I would a rollerball pen — with the same grip as I would a ballpoint pen but with less downward pressure.

 

I completely disagree that writing with a fountain pen requires or demands holding the pen at a shallower angle. Platinum's published chart of nib width grades versus line widths is based on testing with the pen at 60° incident angle (from the plane of the writing surface), and so that must be the (>100-year history) fountain pen manufacturer's assumption of how the average user of (at least its brand of, if not by extension all Japanese-made) fountain pens would hold their pens when writing.

Thanks for this. You made a very interesting point about the angle at which you hold a fountain pen. Received wisdom has it that everyone should hold a pen at a very shallow angle - something which I find very unnatural. There is also the issue of how "flat" your hand should be to the page. 

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20 hours ago, DvdRiet said:

 

From what I have read in my admittedly brief research into these types of nibs on German pens, especially Pelikans, they were indeed made to compete with / work the same as the new ballpoint pens that became all the rage (and also worked better when writing carbon copies). I’ve never written with one, so any experts here please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the sweet spot is more toward the end of the tip so the writing position is also more vertical than a standard fountain pen nib. 

 

Funny thing for me is that I now have a harder time writing with ballpoint pens. I’ve gotten so used to the smooth, solid flow of ink while having to exert almost no pressure that trying to get a ballpoint to write like that has become annoying.

 

I can’t speak to issues like a death grip or holding the pen in the wrong place, etc., but for me, it really has been as simple as understanding that the ‘ball’ of a fountain pen sits on the bottom of the pen tip and not the very end of it. Hence the need for a bit more angled position. From there it’s just a little practice to figure out how far back you like to hold it, which can also be different with each pen. So my recommendation, without a full understanding of your personal situation obviously, would be to relax and try writing while letting the pen do the work for you and see if it doesn’t become addictive 😉

You are right about the kugel nibs made from the 1950s to 1970s being designed to compete with ballpoints. 

 

One thing I would say for modern ballpoints, especially those with better refills (think Caran d' Ache 849, 888 and 825, Schmidt, Schneider, Montblanc, Faber Castell) is that the ink is much better than it used to be and this means that they flow far better and you can write very fast and smoothly with next to no pressure. 

 

Thanks for your ideas in the last paragraph. I'll have a go at relaxing with my smooth Faber Castell Grip with a broad nib!

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I do not totally agree with the ones who claim there is a proper way to write. I just can't bear myself to think so.

 

I suspect the problem is being used to ballpoints and the like, which require more strength in the grip and more pressure against the paper. This can ruin almost any FP experience.

 

Writing with a (good) FP should require no or almost no pressure, which is what for me makes them more pleasurable and allow me to write a lot faster with them. For the same reason the "grip", whichever it is (and I've seen many) should be loose and relaxed. When you are used to BPs, these two seem like contradicting, absurd, unacceptable premises, and you tend to force your way in.

 

As for "writing", I find that using a computer has strongly degraded mine. It is so easy to correct that I often do not think much, just write and fix. This makes me use less certain "logical paths" in the brain, they degrade and I become a talkative, hard-to-follow moron because I can't any longer explain myself correctly without a lot of words.

 

So, how to go around FPs? I would advise to get a cheap, yet good, FP with a strong, "nail", nib. This will allow you first of all to keep the old BP habits, possibly with an M nib so ink flows better. You may need to test a couple of pens and inks to find one that slides well for you. My (now discontinued) Montblanc Noblesse/Slimlines are great for this -specially when writing on auto-copy paper forms-, but I am sure you can find a smooth writing Lamy or Kaweco or Parker or...

 

Then, quietly, slowly, practice loosening your grip. Writing faster than your usual fast is a great way to force yourself to loosen the grip. Tight gripping does not allow flying ideas. Then, once you have learnt to let the pen rest in your hand (almost) freely, move on to a better pen.

 

The only other point is that you may need to watch if you are rotating the pen in your fingers and thus putting it in a position where both tines do not come into contact with the paper. You'll need to learn to relax the grip so you do not rotate the pen unconsciously.

 

All the rest... you'll find teachers for any kind of writing, holding, gripping, whatever, and people doing in all imaginable ways. Just find the one that works for you. The rest will come by itself eventually.

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18 minutes ago, txomsy said:

I do not totally agree with the ones who claim there is a proper way to write. I just can't bear myself to think so.

 

I suspect the problem is being used to ballpoints and the like, which require more strength in the grip and more pressure against the paper. This can ruin almost any FP experience.

 

Writing with a (good) FP should require no or almost no pressure, which is what for me makes them more pleasurable and allow me to write a lot faster with them. For the same reason the "grip", whichever it is (and I've seen many) should be loose and relaxed. When you are used to BPs, these two seem like contradicting, absurd, unacceptable premises, and you tend to force your way in.

 

As for "writing", I find that using a computer has strongly degraded mine. It is so easy to correct that I often do not think much, just write and fix. This makes me use less certain "logical paths" in the brain, they degrade and I become a talkative, hard-to-follow moron because I can't any longer explain myself correctly without a lot of words.

 

So, how to go around FPs? I would advise to get a cheap, yet good, FP with a strong, "nail", nib. This will allow you first of all to keep the old BP habits, possibly with an M nib so ink flows better. You may need to test a couple of pens and inks to find one that slides well for you. My (now discontinued) Montblanc Noblesse/Slimlines are great for this -specially when writing on auto-copy paper forms-, but I am sure you can find a smooth writing Lamy or Kaweco or Parker or...

 

Then, quietly, slowly, practice loosening your grip. Writing faster than your usual fast is a great way to force yourself to loosen the grip. Tight gripping does not allow flying ideas. Then, once you have learnt to let the pen rest in your hand (almost) freely, move on to a better pen.

 

The only other point is that you may need to watch if you are rotating the pen in your fingers and thus putting it in a position where both tines do not come into contact with the paper. You'll need to learn to relax the grip so you do not rotate the pen unconsciously.

 

All the rest... you'll find teachers for any kind of writing, holding, gripping, whatever, and people doing in all imaginable ways. Just find the one that works for you. The rest will come by itself eventually.

Thanks for this. Very useful. Strangely, I own a Montblanc Slimline (2118) with a medium steel nib and an 1157 with a 14 medium and both are a lot easier to write with than lots of other FPS. I'll give them a try. I do not tend to grip BPs and pencils hard, as modern BPs are very smooth (especially those from the likes of Pentel and Schneider), but may inadvertently grip Fps harder owing to the need to "control" and "re-align" the nib to the page! Thanks once again.

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4 hours ago, Chandon said:

One thing I would say for modern ballpoints, especially those with better refills (think Caran d' Ache 849, 888 and 825, Schmidt, Schneider, Montblanc, Faber Castell) is that the ink is much better than it used to be and this means that they flow far better and you can write very fast and smoothly with next to no pressure. 

 

Yes, this is true! I have - after quite a bit of serious searching - finally found some ballpoint refills that have a much superior flow to the 'regular' ones. (And they are the ONLY ones I will use now, obviously!! 😉) Now I just wish they had more colors!! Schneider refills are what I have in my nice ballpoints at the moment, and I like them even better than the gel ballpoint refills from Parker that were at least a step up from standard. I still have the standard Parker refills in a couple of little jotters lying around on my desk but they are just taking up space because the ink flow is just terrible and I have to push them into the paper to get them to write! I guess it's time to either get rid of them or get better refills finally.

 

I also agree with A Smug Dill's point above, albeit somewhat more nuanced than "completely disagree," about whether a low angle is needed because many fountain pens are made to write in almost the same position as a modern ballpoint or rollerball. (This is also why I definitely think hanging it in the webbing of your hand like it's a hammock is wrong.) I would put a bit more nuance to this because I think it definitely depends on the pen, and its nib obviously. I only have a couple of Japanese pens, both of which are new, so most of my experience is with European pens of assorted shapes, girth, lengths and even ages. Some of them write much nicer at quite a (surprisingly) low angle, but some of them like the modern pen (with a big, modern M nib) that I was writing with this morning will write just fine (and fast) almost straight up like a ballpoint or a pencil, and at almost any angle really.

 

I suspect that, just like a favorite type of pencil or ballpoint, you will probably also be able to find your favorite type of fountain pen! Good luck!!

FP addict thanks to #Penpalooza. Currently can't stop collecting Diplomats.

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5 hours ago, Chandon said:

Thanks for this. You made a very interesting point about the angle at which you hold a fountain pen. Received wisdom has it that everyone should hold a pen at a very shallow angle - something which I find very unnatural. There is also the issue of how "flat" your hand should be to the page. 

I've heard, but don't know if it's true, that Asians write the the pen at a steeper angle (something to do with how you write in Chinese and Japanese characters), whereas those using Latin (and similar alphabets) write at a shallower angle.  If that's true, perhaps a Japanese pen would suit better...  Frankly, if you haven't tried writing with the same grip and angles, you should - the worst you could do is have a scratchy, nib-bending experience - use a cheap pen for this test. :)

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