Among the many varieties of pens available on the market, fountain pens stand in a class of their own. Dealing with them, however, seems everything but. Regardless of what hand you write with, getting used to this pen after being accustomed to ballpoint pens or pencils may be a messy affair. For lefties especially, using this pen could prove to be quite the hassle. Unlike righties, you have to go against the flow while writing, and with wet ink, that can only result in one thing: smudging. But don’t let that discourage you, as there are always tips, tricks, and certain models of this classy writing tool to make things less challenging. In this article, we show you how to write with a fountain pen left handed.
Table of Contents
- 1 Can Lefties Use Fountain Pens?
- 2 Challenges That Left-Handed Writers Face
- 3 Are There Left Handed Fountain Pens?
- 4 Which Nib Size is Best for Lefties?
- 5 How to Write Left Handed With a Fountain Pen Based on Left Handed Writing Style
- 6 How to Write With an Italic Nib
Can Lefties Use Fountain Pens?
Do fountain pens work for lefties? The answer to this question is a definite yes. Sure, it may take a little more effort for you to get used to writing with a fountain pen, as opposed to a ballpoint or rollerball for lefties, but it is still possible with just a few tweaks and you can love it just as much as a right hander does. To make writing with this pen simpler, you can adjust your writing style or the angle at which you hold the pen. Buying a fountain pen that’s designed to be used by left hander or that’s ambidextrous and using fast-drying ink will also help, as it supports the push motion that lefties have to use while writing instead of the pull motion that righties use.
Challenges That Left-Handed Writers Face
The first challenge you might face while writing with a fountain pen is smudging. If the ink has a longer drying time, or if the pen uses too much ink, or if the paper is too glossy, you will face more smearing. As your hands glide over what you write, along with smearing the paper, the side of your hand gets stained with ink residue, which makes the entire writing process all the more frustrating.
When a right-handed person writes with a pen, they use a pulling motion. This motion results in minimal tension, and the pen almost glides over the paper. On the other hand, lefties use a pushing motion which is unnatural for the pen as it moves against the paper. It leads to more tension or feedback, which could tear the paper. At the same time, if your nib is not of good quality or not suitable for rougher motions, it could quickly split or get damaged, making it even harder to write. The ink will not be able to come out uniformly, and that may lead to skipped writing.
Using a fountain pen means that you will have to use a lower writing angle. You may also have to modify your angles based on your writing style and the type of nibs you use. It may take some time getting used to, but it’s smooth sailing after that! It’s not just fountain pens, but writing with any pen or pencil can be challenging for lefty kids, especially if the classroom has only right-handed desks and no left-handed school desks. Learn more about left handed writing problems and how to overcome them.
Are There Left Handed Fountain Pens?
Like with most conventionally right-handed tools, there are versions of fountain pens on the market that are better designed for lefties than others. Here are our top picks of fountain pens for lefties. These pens allow you to get a good grip and ease the surface tension. The best way to figure out which pen works for you is through trial and error. Each pen comes with different features that vary from grips to nibs with their pros and cons. For example, the ergonomic grip of the Maped left-handed ballpoint pen is comfortable, and its innovative design makes it easier to see what you write because of the bend in its shaft.
Another essential feature is the nib. It can be flexible or rigid, fine or broad, and the nib’s shape also comes into play. These features affect how you write with the pen, so select the one that feels the most comfortable. A great example of a nib that takes left-handed challenges into account is the Lamy left-handed nib. This nib is an oblique version of its standard stub or italic nib. The rounded stub tip offers a smooth flow, free from scratching, while the slightly slanted shape favors the angle of your hand as you write. In this case, as a left-hander, you’d have to pick the oblique nib for lefties.
These features are designed to make your writing experience more convenient, but it all comes down to a matter of personal preference in the end.
Which Nib Size is Best for Lefties?
The nib size makes all the difference when it comes to achieving a smooth flow with your pen. There is no uniform nib that works for lefties. Once again, it all boils down to a matter of preference. The plus point for broader nibs is that it allows you to write the smoothest and has the least amount of feedback or scratchiness out of all the nibs. At the same time, nibs that are broader than a medium dispel more ink, which increases your smearing problems, and it especially isn’t suited for lefties who have a more compact script.
Dry inks are not the answer to your problems with this nib, as it is often too dry. If you have a larger script and smudging is your only issue with broader nibs, use a medium nib with dry ink. The medium nib is the most common one on the market, and its smoothness is close to broad nibs.
Next, you have fine nibs. These nibs sacrifice the smoothness and low feedback that the previous two nib sizes have and instead offer a quicker drying time and allows you to write neatly.
Finally, you have the extra-fine nib. It is meant for neat and precise writing, and it uses less ink overall. You may encounter issues such as scratchiness while using this nib. It has a delicate tip which makes it prone to give you more feedback, and figuring out its angles is quite complicated. Mastering the use of an extra-fine nib could cost you time and effort, but if you want to make it work for you, using a wetter ink could help you avoid problems such as skipped writing.
How to Write Left Handed With a Fountain Pen Based on Left Handed Writing Style
Before you decide to buy a fountain pen that best suits you, you must know your writing style. Based on whether you are an underwriter, overwriter, or side-writer, you may have different challenges when it comes to writing, and therefore, different pens solve them.
You are an underwriter if you notice that your hand is below the line as you write. As an underwriter, you don’t face the problem of smudging as other lefties do. This advantage opens up the options of nibs, inks, and papers available to you, and buying a fountain pen becomes a much easier process.
You may be an overwriter if your hand is above the line while you are writing and your wrist forms a hook with the nib pointing down. As an overwriter, you may experience some smearing. It can be helped by modifying how you write or buying an appropriate pen. Tilting the paper or tweaking how you write may help, but using a pen with a fine nib and dry ink coupled with an absorbent paper might prove to be better aids.
If your hand is in line with your writing, you are a side-writer. With this writing style, your biggest issue may be smudging (even more than overwriters), and ideally, you would like the ink to dry as soon as it touches the page to prevent this problem. Paired with dry ink, fine nibs and absorbent sheets of paper tend to work the best, so you might be partial to this particular combo. You can also experiment with tilting the paper itself and seeing if it works for you. On the other hand, broader nibs with wet ink will not be pleasant to write for both overwriters and side-writers, so it is recommended to stay away from pens with these features.
After taking into account all of the intricacies that come with dealing with writing with a fountain pen left handed, here are a few tips to keep in mind while choosing your writing tools:
Regardless of your writing style, when writing left-handed, the pen tends to be pushed into your hand, bringing your fingertips closer to the nib. It would require frequent grip readjustments, which can be quite the hassle. Gripping too tightly would do more harm than good by pushing the nib against the paper and creating more feedback. Instead, buying a pen that has a flared bottom grip would let your fingers sit nicely on the pen while not causing too much pressure.
If you tend to apply a lot of pressure as you write, a broader nib might be a better option, as its tip has a larger surface area, and it will produce less feedback. If you do this, but you also overwrite or side-write, you may have to opt for fine or medium pens. Buying a broader nibbed pen, in this case, would lead to a bigger problem of smudging, so also be sure to choose a fast-drying ink.
As an underwriter, you can choose pretty much any nib that suits all your other needs, as your writing style is not an obstruction. Based on your particular needs, you may opt for extra fine or broad nibs, but generally, the common choices are fine and medium tips.
Finer nibs are the preferred option for side-writing because they use less ink and have a quicker drying time. The same works for overwriting, and you may also opt for rigid nibs rather than flex ones.
You should also know about nib shapes here. A broader nib, italic nib, or stub nib also gives you variation in lettering in addition to preventing scratchiness if you use it correctly. We’ll discuss how to write with a stub nib if you’re left-handed later on in this article.
- Types of paper
The type of paper chosen can affect the drying time and the overall writing process. For a lefty, the ideal paper is neither too glossy nor too rough. High glossed sheets would increase the drying time for the ink, which leads to smeared writing. Rough paper increases friction, which causes increased feedback, resulting in skipped and scratchy writing. If the paper is too delicate, the nib may even gouge the paper.
Some rough and highly absorbant paper can also cause “feathering”, which is the spreading out of ink through the fibers of the paper. This happens when too much ink is laid down and the high absorbency of the paper pulls the ink in, causing it to spread through the fine capillaries of the rough paper. Choosing a paper that balances absorbency and smoothness is the best to avoid feathering.
Therefore, absorbent, smooth, and durable paper gives you the perfect trifecta for buying the correct type. Rhodia paper has made a name for itself in the market for these particular features. It fulfills all your fountain pen paper needs since it is ink-friendly, smooth, and stronger than regular paper.
- Types of Ink
By now, it is evident that dry ink generally pairs the best with a left-handed fountain pen. The right ink, along with the right nib, allows you to achieve those clean and crisp lines you are looking for. If you opt for an extra-fine or fine nib, go for a wetter ink to prevent scratchiness, and if you opt for a medium or broad nib, go for a drier ink to prevent smudging.
How to Write With an Italic Nib
An italic or stub nib comes with a tipping material that’s ground flat instead of round. Cross strokes are narrow, but the downstrokes are broad and the nib simulates calligraphy without the need for special tools. These are different from flex nibs, as they do not change line width with pressure, only with a change in direction of the stroke. If you’re eager to learn calligraphy properly, we can recommend some good calligraphy pens for left-handers.
Firstly, ensure that one sheet is underneath your writing sheet and you use a smooth hard surface. You will be able to manipulate the pen and get to know it better by doing this.
Hold your pen at a 45 degree angle to the paper instead of at a perpendicular. If you’re a sidewriter or overwriter, you may have to adjust your style of writing at least a little bit. Turning your paper to achieve this is also fine.
Begin with a large stub and keep an eye on the edge. You should always ensure the entire nib edge is always touching the paper with minimal pressure. Rounded corners on the nib glide better, don’t cut into paper, and are very forgiving. Once you are comfortable manipulating pens, move on to smaller nibs.