For Lefties, By Lefties: 6 Fountain Pen and Ink Pairings for Left-Handed Writers

Header image of left handed writer using fountain pen

Hey there, fountain pen friends, Lydia and Katy here. We are the two resident southpaws here at Goulet Pens. Us lefties are used to being the minority in the writing world and it’s hard to find the right tools for a fun and easy writing experience. We wanted to take a second to highlight some of our favorite pens and inks to help our fellow lefties find their footing in fountain pens. We both have very different writing styles and favor different pens and inks. Hopefully, we are able to give you all some great ideas to try. Check out our recommendations below!

Lydia’s Favorites:

Lydia here, I’m so very excited to share my favorites with you. As a lefty who struggled with hand fatigue and smudging throughout my school career, it was such a euphoric experience to find fountain pens and begin to actually enjoy long writing sessions. My writing style changed when I made the switch to fountain pens and is now probably the easiest adaptive lefty style, an underwriter. When I write, I am holding the pen from below the line I am writing on. I do not have to worry too much about smudging my writing and I do not have to be as careful with wet inks. My personal preferences lean towards smooth, wet, juicy nibs and inks with personality.

Edison Nouveau Premiere & Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts

Edison Nouveau Premiere Caribbean Sea fountain penSwab of Noodler's 54th Massachusetts fountain pen ink

It’s no secret if you read our Edison Pen Battle that the Edison Nouveau Premiere is the pen love of my life. My Premiere is the first pen I reach for in my pen cup every single time. I could not make this list without including it. The Medium nib is pleasently wet and I find that I can write with it from just about any angle. When trying to mimic other lefty writing styles, I can still get a decent skip-free line. The line width of the medium is perfection for me.

I have recently discovered Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts. I already had a favorite navy blue (you’ll hear more about that later) so I never really gave it a chance. Boy, was that a mistake! 54th Mass. has the right amount of dryness that I can write without concern of accidental smudging, but it flows so nicely in my Premiere. I also love the permanence it offers. It’s not often, in my experience, us lefties can find a permanent ink that works for us with a reasonable dry time.

TWSBI Eco & Diamine Amaranth

TWSBI Eco White Fountain Penswab of Diamine Amaranth fountain pen ink

Another wet writer that has my heart is the TWSBI Eco. I have one in both medium and extra fine. Unlike Katy, I am not a fan of extra fine nibs because they write too dry for me. I like a nice, juicy line. I was quite pleased with the TWSBI extra fine as it was surprisingly smooth and flowed well, without putting down too much ink. It is the only extra fine I’ve ever enjoyed. The medium is heaven. I can put a dry ink, like a Pelikan 4001 ink, in it and it still keeps up and flows with the writing experience I expect. But when I use a wet, shading ink, it is my favorite for really highlighting what the ink can do.

One such instance is Diamine Amaranth. I am a sucker for the purpley pink hues, like Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses, so when I stumbled on Amaranth, I was excited to try it. It adds so much depth and dimension to my writing. Each letter starts out lighter and I love watching the ink become more saturated and darker toward the end of my letter. Amaranth adds so much personality to my already colorful writing and flows so well to keep up with my rapid fire scattered brain.

Pilot Metropolitan & De Atramentis Sherlock Holmes

Pilot Metropolitan Purple Retro Pop fountain penDe Atramentis Sherlock Holmes ink swab

This pair was my first love and still remains a steady part of my pen rotation in some way. The Pilot Metropolitan in Retro Pop Purple was my first fountain pen, given to me when I started here at Goulet. The fine nib provides a restricted but smooth flow and it was great for my newbie self to get used to the flow of fountain pens without smudging anything. I still rely on this pen nightly for my Leuchtturm1917 Some Lines a Day journaling. The Metro is like an old friend that will be with me forever. No matter what pens enter my life, I will always have use for this pen. It’s especially great for less than fountain pen friendly paper.

My love for De Atramentis Sherlock Holmes started shortly after it went out of stock for a few months the summer after I started at Goulet. I got a sample and inked up my Metropolitan and from the first letter, it was love at first sight. Sherlock Holmes is my favorite ink of all time and I’m not afraid to shout it from the rooftops. The navy blue makes it a classic ink, appropriate for any circumstance, but I still find it a fun color. I love how well it flows from every pen I own. It’s wet enough to keep my Metro and EF Eco flowing well, but not so wet that it’s impossible to use in my flex pens. Without hesitation, I’d call it my work horse ink.

Honorable Mention: LAMY Left-Handed Nibs

Writing with a LAMY Left-Handed Nib on a LAMY Safari

We were recently able to start carrying the LAMY left-Handed Nibs and I fell in love with them. Brian brought a sample around the office for us to try and it was a magical moment for me. I have always thought I was fine using regular nibs, but there must be an ever so slight angle to my writing that makes these nibs really work for me. The Left-Handed nibs are not for every lefty, as I’ve heard in discussion with fellow lefties on our social media channels, but for those of us that it does work for, it is a whole new frontier of fountain pen enjoyment.

Katy’s Picks:

Hi, I’m Katy. I was the original lefty with The Goulet Pen Company. Now it’s great to have a friend in Lydia so we can figure out this fountain pen thing together.  I am an underwriter and I kick my notepad to be parallel to my body and write sideways. I like to call myself a side underwriter. All of this adds up to me loving extra-fine nibs.

Pilot Vanishing Point Decimo & Monteverde Purple Mist

Pilot Vanishing Point Decimo fountain pen- PurpleMonteverde Purple Mist fountain pen ink swab

The purple Pilot Vanishing Point Decimo with an extra-fine nib was gifted to me a number of years ago. Once I had it in hand, I had one of those eureka moments. The extra-nib was so fine which helped remedy any smearing that I previously had experienced with other fountain pens. The nib just didn’t lay down as much ink as say a gushy Lamy broad nib. My favorite ink pairing I’ve written with is Monteverde Purple Mist. The lubrication in the ink allows for a smooth flow and the ink color is spot on with the color of the pen. I don’t typically love a pen and ink match up but when it’s right, it’s right.

LAMY CP1 & Robert Oster Deep Sea

LAMY CP1 Fountain PenRobert Oster Deep Sea fountain pen swab

Next on my list is the LAMY CP1 which was the first pen I ever picked for myself. This pen is slender, light, and lovely. My CP1 started with a left-handed medium nib but over time and with the ease of nib swapping, it now has an extra-fine nib. The left-handed nib didn’t do much for me. I actually had some skipping issues. But every other nib has been a pleasure to write with. I even tried a 1.9mm stub once which was so broad. Once again this extra-fine line of ink saves me from smearing and making a mess of my notes. If I had to choose an ink to pair, I’d say Robert Oster Deep Sea. My teammate Anna and I think there should be more talks surrounding this ink. Deep Sea is beautiful and I like that the Robert Oster inks are slightly drier but still rich in unique color.

Kaweco Perkeo & Diamine Golden Sands

Kaweco Perkeo fountain pen- Indian SummerDiamine Golden Sands fountain pen ink

My final pick is the Kaweco Perkeo, which really caught me off guard when it showed up in the office. I love each of the colors that came out of this pen model. Indian Summer with a medium nib is a stand out for me. Maybe that is because I have a china cabinet in that same warm yellow color but who knows. What I like about this pen is the triangular grip section. It is less pronounced than the Lamy Safari but still nice to have when orienting my nib to the page. In the Perkeo, I like inking up Diamine Golden Sands because well, sparkles. I find that the shimmer inks tend to feather less making it more friendly with different types of paper.

We hope that these picks provide some useful tips for our left handed fountain pen friends out there at all experience levels. Each writer has their preferences and factors they look for in their next writing tool. The key to enjoying fountain pens as a left handed writer is having the patience and persistence to enjoy the journey until you find your perfect pen and ink pairing. Happy hunting!

What are your go-to pen and ink pairings that work best for you?

Write on,
Lydia & Katy

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2017-10-17T17:25:13+00:00 October 17th, 2017|Tips & Tricks|49 Comments
  • Jessie Schuster

    Love this! Thank you.

  • peter hofmann

    Lydia / Katy; Thanks for this, really nice to have some “lefties” at Goulet.
    In my case I have a slight overwrite and mostly use medium nibs, and after some reading on the Goulet site, discovered that there were wet and dry inks (who knew?).
    I have had great success with the Robert Oster, Diamine and Noodlers are great for lefties.
    The only ink that I have some smudging with is the Noodlers Rattler Red and I attribute this to the fact that it has more lubrication, but it is wonderful on cheaper paper.

    Thanks for this post I really enjoyed it!

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      The lubricated inks have given me more trouble than most, I agree, Peter. I have issues with the Monteverde gemstone inks for the same reason.

      • peter hofmann

        Another ink that should not be overlooked is Rohrer & Klinger I have a Magenta one and it writes nicely and dries fast. Add to that the Pilot Namiki black dries fast and does not dry on the nib (currently using this in an old Parker 25).

        A suggestion for the Goulet team, why not have a check box in the ink review section that indicates left handed witting?

        • Lydia At Goulet Pens

          I just recently used R&K Verdura and it’s lovely and the sheen it gives so so unique. It’s become a new interest that’s working it’s way to the favorite list.

          We could consider adding that to ink reviews but it’s also going to be a subjective answer as lefties can differ so much in writing style but definitely worth considering.

    • Danise

      I totally agree with the 1st 2, based on my 3 RO inks – Tranquility, Gold Antiqua, and Shiraz which all dried quickly enough for me as a side-writer on several different papers and with several diff pens — and a number of Diamine inks which I’ve been able to use with minimal smearing on varied papers. I think you have to categorize Noodler’s inks carefully just because of all their different properties and how they vary. Unfortunately, Noodler’s “Purple” (yeah – just “Purple” – how cool) and more recently “Squeteague” broke my heart. I have tried them in several F and XF nibs and just smeared them everywhere… I’m still hunting for a combo that works with the Squeteague because it’s such a dark, saturated teal-like color I love…

      • peter hofmann

        Danise have you tried Noodlers American Aristocracy or Polar Green? May not be the favorite colours, but I find that both are dry faster than the EEL one I have.
        HTH

        • Danise

          I know you’re right — that he has some faster drying inks too. I may try some samples of those 2 – Thanks!

  • Sara

    Lydia and Katy,
    I too am a side underwriting lefty like Katy. You (Katy) mentioned that the Vanishing Point was a eureka moment for you. I’ve been drooling over that pen for a while now, but haven’t gone for it because I have heard that the clip placement is less than ideal for us lefties. What are your thoughts on that argument.

    Thanks for a lefty post!! I loved it!!
    Sara

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Katy said “so my hand position naturally gripped on either side of the clip. It wasn’t a problem for me but I could understand it being in the way for other grips.” I can echo this, Sara. I had no problems gripping the Vanishing Point because my fingers rest on either side.

      • Sara

        Thanks so much! It is such a beautiful pen. I may have to reconsider. 🙂

        • Danise

          Do not want to be a Debbie Downer here — but I’m a lefty “side writer” and the position of the clip has made my Vanishing Point almost unusable for more than a few lines at a time. I struggle to rotate and hold my hand at a position that feels pretty awkward. Not sure this is an indicator of any kind — but I also can’t use a LAMY Safari or AlStar bcse of the triangular grip which does not fit me at all. So maybe if the LAMY grip fits you, the Vanishing Point would work OK?

          • Lydia At Goulet Pens

            Hi, Danise. I think your issue with the VP may have less to do with being a lefty sidewriter and more to do with the way you grip your pens. Check out question 3 of this Q&A episode to learn more about pens that can cause people trouble depending on their grips: https://blog.gouletpens.com/2016/12/goulet-q-episode-147-open-foru

          • Danise

            Thanks ! I read over that and will try to watch it later today since I feel sure there’s a visual/demo. I agree that it probably is how I hold the pen, although I’ve always attributed my grip to the fact that I write from the side so I can at least partially see what I’m writing… If I hold those 2 LAMYs or the VP in the orientation they seem to require, I end up “pushing” on about 1/2 the strokes and just get dry scratching. To write with the VP, I have to rotate it and my thumb ends up on the clip… I’m super happy with my Pilot E95s and Metropolitans, as well as the LAMY 2K, CP1, and Studio, so haven’t felt excluded from either line of pens !!!

      • Sara

        Lydia, I went for it! It came a couple days ago and I am in love!! Best decision ever!

        • Lydia At Goulet Pens

          Oh wonderful! I’m so happy to hear that!

  • Daniel S

    Another under-writing left handed fountain pen user here. Great informative post, I have been wondering about the Lamy left-handed nibs. I think it would be a really cool unique thing to have, and maybe even throw off some of my other fountain pen using friends! Currently I use Kon-Peki in my Pilot VP fine, and it is just a fantastic combo, haven’t had any problems with smearing. I kinda like the challenge of left handed fountain pen writing, honestly.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      It is definitely a worthwhile challenge 🙂

  • David L.

    I’ll need to show this to a few lefties I know. My favorite pairings are my Pilot Metropolitan with Noodler’s Black and a Kaweco Classic Sport with Diamine Blue Black or Oxford Blue. The Kaweco has been a workhorse pen ever since I got it. I take it everywhere and use it the most.

  • Steve Cook

    I am a left handed overwriter who prefers a fine nib. I have discovered that bigger nibs work best. My favourite pens are the Twsbi 700 and the Pilot 823. I really wanted to love the Pilot Vanishing Point, but could not use this due to my writing angle.

    • Steve Cook

      Btw–I exclusively use Iroshizuku ink, and they never give me a problem.

  • Karl

    Katie and Lydia, thank you for posting your recommendations and experiences for the sinister side! We 6-percenters appreciate the recognition and help. Most of “them” don’t know we exist or are too small a sub-Market to fool with. I am an overwriter and tend to keep the nib at a high angle. Generally, Fine nib. I am learning from your repondees more about the importance of faster-drying inks. I had not considered that facet.. My favorite papers are Tomoe River and G. Lalo — and the cheap legal pads at the office supply chains, of course. And give Franklin Christoph’s sugar cane paper a serious consideration. What is in my pocket? A 1940s Eversharp with my first 14K in from Susan Wirth Assocs., a Noodler’s Ahab, a Conklin Duragraph, a new Monteverde Monza, a Twsbi Eco and a Pilot metro. A year ago, if you had asked me any of these questions, I would have showed you my Cross pen … and a Bic ballpoint.

  • B.

    As a lefty who is just getting into fountain pens I really enjoyed this post. Thank you so much for writing this – I was happy to see that a pen I’ve been considering (Lamy CP1) was recommended.

    So far a Pilot Prera with Med nib and samples of Pllot Iroshizuku and De Atramentis inks have worked out pretty well, but I love the chance to see other recommendations in both the post and the comments.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Great choices so far! Happy experimenting!

  • Scott Dilley

    54th Mass is my go to, it was the first bottled ink I purchased. Love writing with it as a lefty.

  • Aubrey Milliron

    Nice info! I guess I’m abnormal in how I write, as I write from left to right….. straight. Means I tend to drag my hand over what I wrote which causes an endless search for the ultimate waterproof archival non smearing ink. Haven’t found it yet!

    • Danise

      Aubrey — I can’t remember where I found it in the Goulet archives, but I believe they divide us lefties into 3 categories — 1) Over writers (I always called it “hookers” who crank their hand over the top so we can see what we’re writing), 2) Side writers, which I believe you are (and me) — we just slide our hand directly across the line, and 3) Under writers — which is what all fountain pen using lefties aspire to. I’ve tried, rotated my paper, practically stood on my head — and can’t hold my hand under the line and write legibly. To generalize, I do best with an XF or F nib and many Diamine inks… Also, maybe try a sample of a de Atramentis Document Ink if you want something waterproof — it feathers a little but their Fog Grey did not smear.

      • Aubrey Milliron

        Danise, yep definitely a side writer. Sider?

        Thanks for that info, I’ve been trying mostly with noodlers as their bulletproof line appeals, but I’ll give your suggestions a go!

  • Inka

    Hi Lydia and Katy!
    Awesome post!
    I am also lefty, and underwriter and I love your input on pens, nibs and ink pairing.
    As lefties, have you try shimmering inks? I’m trying to figure out what shimmering ink and pen combo would work the best for a lefty, any suggestions?

    Thanks!

    Inka

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Hi, Inka. The Diamine Golden Sands Katy mentions is a shimmer ink. As an underwriter, I find I can use all of the Noodler’s Flex Pens with ease and I’m not restricted in my ink use so I’ve used most of the Diamine and J. Herbin shimmer inks. The New Nemosine twINKle inks are gorgeous too. I have found though that Stub nibs do not work well with me.

      • Inka

        Hi Lydia,

        Thanks!
        I looked at Noodler’s Flex Pens but was skeptical they would work for me. Now that I know another lefty doesn’t have a problem with flex pens, I’ll revisit the idea.

  • peach&orange

    I am originally from Georgia so this Noodler’s is my signature ink and it doesn’t smear- almost strange that it dries so fast! So my left pinky never turns PINK!! Or peach in this case. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c85590fc392c18dc1f54dd9826088bb7ae014a1c0cf589f2c614f98f71525639.jpg

  • MP

    I love Diamine Golden Sands, but I’ve found that it feathers like crazy in my Leuchtturm. I had no problems with my other shimmer inks though. Guess I’ll have to stick with Rhodia for that one.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      I noticed Golden Sands did that for me when I didn’t shake it well enough before inking up. It is a pretty wet ink though so it could be just the nature of the ink on the LT paper.

      • MP

        Lydia, I shook it up well and I’m getting good shimmer. I am using a wet 1.5 Stub, but it’s weird because it works better on every other paper I’ve tried, including copy paper and Field Notes standard edition paper. So I’m thinking that it’s not a shaking it well enough issue. It seems like Golden Sands and Leuchtturm just don’t play well together for some bizarro reason. I’m open to suggestions if you have any others though. Thanks for the response.

        • Lydia At Goulet Pens

          hmmmm… that is weird. I would suggest maybe giving the J. Herbin Anniversary inks a shot if you want shimmer. They are a bit drier in my experience than the Diamines.

          • MP

            Thanks for the help. I’ll just stick to Rhodia for now with my Golden Sands. I’ve had zero problems with my other Diamine and J Herbin Shimmer inks. Maybe it’s just a fluke; I’ll give the extra shaking a go like you suggest.

          • MP

            Just to follow up. Used Golden Sands in different Leuchtturm and had no feathering problems. Maybe my Other Leuchtturm was older/less good paper. It was a gift, I believe purchased from Amazon. Or maybe the shimmering gods are with me today. Thanks again for the help.

  • Danise

    Really enjoyed this —- thanks for writing something for us lefties !!!!

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Glad to help 🙂

  • Angel

    Thanks so much, Lydia and Katy, for this post! I’m not a leftie, but I have several in my family. My 17-year old is a side writer, but she’ll borrow my Pilot Metropolitan (M) to use on cheaper paper and it works well for her. Almost time to get her one of her own! 🙂

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      How exciting! The first pen!

  • Tom Johnson

    This is a great article, thanks Lydia and Katy for sharing your experiences. I’m not a lefty, but my twin brother is, but I never paid attention to his writing style. He loves fountain pens, his Lamy and Vanishing Point (which he had no problems with gripping). Even though I’m not a southpaw, I enjoy learning all about fountain pens and others’ experiences with them.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Great tip! Thanks, Tom.

  • Smokey Lynx

    I just began to use a Pilot Metropolitan in F, M and stub with the supplied cartridge and also Noodlers Black as my first fountain pen and really like it .
    As a side writer lefty I turn the paper counterclockwise 35-40 degrees like a righty for cursive, and more straight for block or italic style writing, and pretty much push the pen across the paper . I’m wondering what is the best choice for my next pen or nib . ? I was thinking about a Lamy Safari or an architect grind nib.

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      Safaris and Al-Stars are great pens. I really love the Left handed Nibs. They are so smooth. I haven’t had too much experience with an Architect grind.

  • Dean-Glen Allen Haller

    I’ve only gotten into fountain pen within the last year but I absolutely love my Pilot Metropolitan fine nib and Noodler’s Luxury Blue. I’m an underwriter and typically rotate the page anywhere between 20-45°. I never used to use cursive but now it’s all I ever use when writing with my fountain pen

    • Lydia At Goulet Pens

      I definitely have adopted cursive much more often since picking up fountain pens! Totally agree

  • Cory Kirk

    I can’t say I even have a go-to. I love trying new combinations all the time. It’s more like a have different pens for different areas and then I just switch out their inks constantly. I currently keep either my Monteverde Monza or a Jinhao in my backpack, then I have an extra-fine no-name brand pen I keep for doing Japanese Kanji practice, and I’m currently playing with my newest pen my Wingsung 3003 with Golden Oasis ink around the house. Disclaimer: I’ll eventually switch out all of these pens with the others in the fountain pen cup though so there’s no actual organization to this.