Hey there, Fountain Pen Friends! My name is Lydia and I am a Community Coordinator here at Goulet Pens. You’ve probably seen me here on the blog and on Facebook as well. I am excited to bring you a project close to my heart, specifically for lefty fountain pen lovers like me! Brian made a great Fountain Pen 101 video for those of us southpaw pen people, but I thought it might be helpful to see some of these tips from an actual lefty. In this series, I hope to provide you with some helpful tips that will enhance your fountain pen experience. These are completely my personal opinions and may not work for everyone but hopefully you can get some inspiration to find something that works for you.
In this episode, we will talk about the three types of left-handed fountain pen users and I will provide some tips to combat the biggest lefty fountain pen struggle, smudging. But first, I want to share a bit of my story with you! I had never picked up a fountain pen until I got here to Goulet. All throughout my life, I dealt with the permanently gray smudged hands and the painful cramping of pencils and ballpoint pen usage. When I picked up my Pilot Metropolitan and started writing for the first time, it was as if the angels started singing. I found a pen that flowed nicely and didn’t require me to hurt my hand applying pressure to write. I hope that this series can help other would-be fountain pen wielding lefties also find writing euphoria. So without further ado, here are my first set of Left Out tips!
Lefties fall into three categories regarding their writing style. Each of these depends on where their hands fall in the line of writing. The three different types are:
Underwriter– This is my style of writing and is the most easily adaptive style. Underwriters hold their nibs perpendicular to the writing line and the hand is positioned beneath their writing. They can use any pen or ink without the issue of smudging or flow problems from a pen. They are much less likely to have issues with pen angle or feedback.
Sidewriter– These lefties hold their nibs parallel to the writing line and their hands often run across the freshly written ink. Side writers can have smearing issues and feedback issues because their pen angle may be too steep for optimal ink flow. They are most prone to the issues caused by pushing the pen across the paper and are most susceptible to smearing. Some of the solutions sidewriters can look to relieve some writing stress would be to turn their paper at an angle to get their hand out of the writing line, try a drier ink that won’t leave as much wetness on the paper to smear, or to reach for a more absorbent paper that sucks in the ink.
Overwriter– The final type is the Overwriter. These lefties are also called hook-handed writers, as they hook their hands over their writing and almost seem to write upside-down. Overwriters can also have smearing issues and their pen angle can be rough because they’re more likely to hold the pen more upright. Some solutions Overwriters can try to relieve their common troubles would be to also turn their paper to adjust to their writing style and ease up their angle and well as to try a wetter flowing ink or backing their grip off a little bit to hold the pen farther back if they struggle with any flow issues from a steep angle.
As the only lefty in the Goulet office, I often get asked how to combat the common issues lefties face when using fountain pens. Below are some of my helpful pointers that I suggest lefties keep in mind when trying to find the perfect trifecta of writing tools (pen, ink, and paper):
- Use wetter inks in finer nibs. You can still use all of the beautiful colors without worrying about smudging. I prefer De Atramentis Sherlock Holmes in my Pilot Metropolitan Fine.
- Use drier inks in wetter nibs. If you like bold writing, try a drier ink that’s less prone to smudging, like the Pelikan 4001 inks or the Graf von Faber-Castell inks.
- Find the right paper, pen, and ink trio for you. Paper like Leuchtturm1917 tends to work best because it’s absorbent. I recommend getting our notebook sampler set to test all the papers we carry for yourself to see what’s right for you.
- HAVE FUN! Practice makes perfect, keep working at it and get used to the feel of the pen, don’t get discouraged, just have fun, I doodled a lot when I first got my pens and that helped me feel more comfortable using my pens.
I hope you’ve found some useful tips from this video and blog. If you have any feedback or would like to share your experiences with other lefties, please feel free to comment below. Be sure to tune in for the next episode when we talk about Lefties and using Flex and Stub nibs. Thanks for tuning in!