Writing with a Fountain Pen: How to Write with a Fountain Pen

The correct use of precious writing instruments


To the simplicity of the disposable pen, some prefer the precision and elegant stroke of the fountain pen. Naturally, this type of pen has characteristics that make it completely different from everyday writing tools. First of all, it should be noted that all fountain pen models are equipped with a pointed nib and not rounded tips: this allows for different writing, depending on the pressure exerted.

One of the advantages of using a fountain pen, then, lies in its ability to be refilled: the ink cartridge can be filled endlessly, making this pen a perfect companion for life. Writing with a fountain pen? This activity requires a different technique compared to that used with classic ballpoint pens: let's discover together how to use a fountain pen to get the most out of its performance.


How to Hold a Fountain Pen

Position for smooth writing

writing with a fountain pen

Perfect fountain pen writing begins with how you hold the pen. How do you hold a fountain pen in your hand? Remove the cap and grip the pen in your dominant hand, between the thumb and index finger, ensuring that the cylindrical body rests on the middle finger. The other fingers rest on the paper to stabilize the hand. Depending on the size of the hand and pen, there might be some issues with balance: placing the cap on the end can help balance the weight of the pen in some cases, but the feeling of balance is not the same for everyone: it's better to do some tests to find your own point of stability.

During the writing phase, the hand must remain firm and rigid: it is necessary to control the movement with the hand to not lose the point where the nib's writing proceeds smoothly. Holding the pen with the hand, we also keep the fingers and wrist rigid while moving the arm and shoulder to move the fountain pen.


How to Hold a Fountain Pen Between the Fingers

The right pressure to apply on paper

Apply gentle pressure: it is not necessary to press hard to make the ink flow, in fact, excessive pressure could damage the nib and alter the ink flow. Moreover, excessive pressure is not recommended as it prevents free movement of the hand on the paper. In this regard, it is also not advisable to position the hand towards the end of the pen: a grip too close to the nib alters the correct angle of fountain pen writing and the related ink flow.

Many believe that the best position for a fountain pen between the fingers is one where it rests near the end of the middle finger, on the lower knuckle: naturally, if this grip is not comfortable for your writing style, it is possible to move the end of the pen towards the V-shape created by the meeting of the thumb and the other fingers of the hand.


How to Tilt a Fountain Pen the Right Way

All a Matter of Angle

As already mentioned, the nib is pointed, not round like that of a ballpoint pen, and in order for it to write, it must be positioned in a certain way on the paper, tilting it at 45 degrees. Initially, it will take some getting used to, rotating the pen as needed, until finding the inclination and the right point where the nib glides easily without scratching the paper and without writing interruptions. The correct angle is very important, as it allows the wings to move away from the feeder, allowing the ink to flow: although the pen should be held at an angle of about 40-55 degrees to the paper, each fountain pen has its own right angle, necessary to separate wings and feeder.

Writing with a fountain pen differs from that with a ballpoint pen also and especially for this reason: while the classic ballpoint pen is designed to write at various angles, even vertical, a fountain pen needs an inclination that we could define as unique, to take advantage of the full width of the nib. During the writing phase, we must not rotate the pen, as rotation could change the alignment with the page resulting in a tear of the paper. Those approaching a Montegrappa fountain pen for the first time should first practice making single strokes, like lines, circles, and then spirals, moving on to letters, until getting used to the use of the pen, achieving well-spaced and uniform writing. In the beginning, it might be useful to practice on different lines, gradually narrowing them.


Writing with a Fountain Pen: Choosing the Nib

Fountain Pen Writing for Different Strokes


The way of writing depends on the choice of the nib. For everyday use of the fountain pen, we can opt for a rounded nib, which allows for uniform lines, a fine nib, for creating thinner lines, or a rigid nib, which does not move helping us to keep a firm grip on the paper.

The material of the nib also affects the performance in fountain pen writing. Gold is the material that allows for greater flexibility, enabling the writer to control the width of the lines. Steel is undoubtedly the most elastic material: the writing is quite uniform and presses on the paper without the nib's wings widening.

For artistic writing, however, we do not rely on a nib for everyday use. What are the best nibs for an artistic stroke?
A stub or italic nib: these nibs are wider and flatter and allow for creating broad or thin strokes, thanks to the vertical movement that traces lines as wide as the nib, and the horizontal one, which traces fine lines.
A traditional nib: to choose from the various sizes available that usually correspond to five types of stroke (extra-fine, fine, medium, broad, or double broad).
A flexible or semi-flexible nib: suitable for an experienced fountain pen writer, because it allows controlling the thickness of the lines depending on the pressure exerted.


With a Montegrappa fountain pen, it's love at first sight: from the grip begins a journey that is pure passion for writing, for refinement, for elegance, for the Made in Italy tradition. And as the nib dips into ink and glides across the paper, one is increasingly captivated by every small detail of a pen that tastes of eternity.