If you want to know why fountain pens are the best pens around, this article is for you. I used to use ballpoints religiously, but I've switched and never looked back.
What are the advantages of using a fountain pen? Fountain pens write more ergonomic and improve your handwriting. They reduce hand fatigue, cramping, and allow you to write for longer periods of time. They are also more customizable and expressive than other pens. In some cases, they might even be cheaper than ballpoint pens.
There's a lot more to fountain pens than people think. Also, there are some outdated myths floating around that just aren't true anymore. Read on to learn more.
They Write More Relaxed
Fountain pens are one of the most ergonomic pens around. They are wetter than ballpoint pens, and don't require you to press down on them to write. Wetter simply means that the ink flows really well. This is because fountain pens use waterbased inks, instead of oil-based ink (like the ballpoints). Actually, fountain pens write so effortlessly, a good fountain pen writes under its own weight. You've read that right! I don't know of any other pen that writes more easily.
This results in less hand fatigue, allowing you to write for longer periods of time.
Most fountain pens also have a thicker barrel than regular ballpoints. This means you have better grip and less cramping in your hand.
Overall, making the switch from ball point pens to fountain pens has allowed me to write longer, more relaxed, and with less strain.
They Improve Your Handwriting
There's an ongoing discussion on whether your pen affects your handwriting. Of course, it does. Of course your tools matter. The writing qualities of the pen will impact the way you write, and also the way your handwriting looks.
Since fountain pens have the most effortless writing experience of all pens, your handwriting will look precisely as effortless and smooth.
Fountain pens are also more dynamic. You can choose from all kinds of different nib sizes and designs, which will, in turn, change your hand. I write differently with every pen.
They also make your handwriting LOOK better
But besides affecting the way you write, it also simply LOOKS different from any other pen. You can almost always tell whether something was written with a fountain pen or not. It has this characteristic line to it.
If you don't believe me, here's a video showing you the difference:
You Can Use Different Inks
This is a bit of a geek reason, I admit. But I'm a nerd for ink colors. I didn't used to be: the first four years I wrote exclusively with black Parker Quick in a Parker IM. I had one pen, one ink, and no fun.
Until recently, I found that there are HUNDREDS of inks available - and they're cheap! So now I have roughly 20 colors laying around - which cost me just $20 or so.
There are also archival inks available, which are waterproof and fraud resistant. Or UV or freeze-resistant inks, like Noodler's Bulletproof Black.
I also use different ink for different projects, or for each day in my diary. This makes tracking my progress really easy.
You Can Use Different Nibs
Another great reason is the possibility to use different nibs. It's another way to personalize your handwriting without any effort.
We all know how awesome calligraphy looks, for example. Well, with the right nib, your handwriting can immediately look like that.
There are basically a couple of basic nibs available:
- extra fine and fine nibs
- medium and broad nibs
- italic or cursive nibs - these are the calligraphy nibs
- stub nibs - these are mild italics and better for everyday use
- flex nibs - these give cool line variation
Some (cheap) fountain pens even allow you to swap nibs really easy. If you get yourself a Lamy pen, for example, you can purchase cheap, new nibs, to try what works best for your personal hand. If you're just starting out and you want one of the best, affordable fountain pens with an interchangeable nib, I highly recommend this Lamy Safari.
I'm just getting into this, but cheap interchangeable nibs means you can actually grind your own nibs. This way, you can finetune your writing tools even more to your personal style. It does take some practice, though.
They Look Great
Fountain pens are the best looking pens out there. And they are available in all different shapes and sizes. But I'll let them speak for themselves:
It Helps Me To Take Writing Seriously
Using a good pen that has a bit of weight to it helps me to take writing seriously. It signals that I want to use the best tools available to write, which automatically results in a better-looking hand. Also, it's more fun to write with a good pen, which will result in more practice time, which will, in turn, result in better handwriting.
When you love your handwriting, you love to write.
You won't lose a fountain pen (I never did, anyway), and you will take care of them.
Fountain Pens Are a Great Hobby
To be honest, I needed a hobby. I didn't collect anything, and didn't have any fun doing things just for the sake of it. At the same time, my friends thought I've been collecting postage stamps all my life, or something similar.
What makes pens such a great hobby? Well, they are small, so you can really load up your entire home with them and have thousands of them. Try that with old cars. Also, they are relatively inexpensive. At least, they can be. There are a lot of great writing fountain pens available for less than $20 a piece - but even with just $5 you can get yourself all kinds of cool pens.
You need to maintain them, which is quick, easy, and very satisfying - another win for the hobby part.
And you can get unlimited ink samples from shops like the Goulet Pen Company for nickels, and fill up your pens for just a couple of bucks.
The Fountain Pen Community Is Just Great
People that enjoy writing with fountain pens, generally like each other and want to help each other out. There are all kinds of cool YouTube channels out there, really making the hobby accessible. Some are:
- Brian Goulet from Goulet Pens
- Figboot on Pens
There is a long tradition of people using these pens extensively, religiously almost, and once you get them started, you won't be able to stop them. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, for example:
Fountain Pens Might Be Cheaper
That is, if you write a lot. I write all my work longhand, so that's multiple pages every day. Using refillable pens just makes sense to me. In the long run, I actually save money this way.
Compare it to regular ballpoint pens. The decent, industry-standard BiC ballpoints cost roughly $1 each. Let's say I use one per month. That adds up to $12 / year.
Well, my first fountain pen will cost me roughly $20. After that, however, I can keep filling her up for less than $5 / year.
This doesn't take into consideration the ENORMOUS AMOUNTS of ballpoints you will lose, break, or give away.
These pens are a lot more environmentally-friendly, and just a great way to go if you write a lot.
They Are More Personal
As I noted before, fountain pens are very customizable to your needs and tastes. That means they are also more recognizable. The ink you use, the nib you use, the line variation you get - these are all individual. People will instantly recognize your hand if you choose to write this way.
But the fountain pen is also more expressive than the ballpoint monoline. Instead of a thin, pale-blue line, you get brushy, thick strokes with line variation. It allows you to show your current mood better. It's just more bold, to be honest.
They Are More Versatile
These pens are great for lots of things, and if you own different inks and nibs, you can do all sorts of things well. Professional drawers, for example, use fountain pens all the time (- and also architects).
Choose more bold inks for writing greeting cards. Personally, I use a broader nib for notes and messages. This allows me to be more expressive and have a more characteristic hand. Similarly, I use a finer nib for manuscript writing. This allows me to write smaller and more efficiently, and it increases legibility.
They Help Me Think
This actually goes for pens in general. Sitting down with pen and paper allows me to think more clearly, more coherently, than writing on my laptop. It allows for deep thinking instead of fast thinking. Especially with fountain pens, which are so smooth and effortless, it really becomes an extension of the mind.
It's Just Fun
This probably is as important, if not the most important, of all the reasons mentioned above. Writing using the best tools avaialbe makes it so much more enjoyable, and so much more fun. Yes, they can be impractical - they require maintenance, they can leak (although this is mostly something from the past). Fountain pens nowadays are a lot better than they used to be, back in the old days, making them almost as practical and reliable as a ballpoint pen. Add to that the enjoyment they will give you, and there is truly no reason not to use them.
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