Hi there, fountain pen friends! Lydia here again to bring you our third episode of the Left Out series for left handed fountain pen users. In this episode we will be taking about handwriting, smudging or smearing, and my picks for fountain pens, inks, and paper for each lefty writing style.
One of the common misconceptions about us southpaws is that all lefties have messy handwriting. Because we are forced to learn writing backwards basically with tools that aren’t always ideal for us, it is assumed that our handwriting will never be neat and tidy. In my own personal experience, I can definitely say I struggled with handwriting in school. I was a sidewriter all throughout my school years and it wasn’t until I found fountain pens that I actually discovered the joy of writing for fun. My handwriting even got better when I started using fountain pens! Here are my three tips to help you improve your handwriting with fountain pens.
- Practice and take it slow! To change your writing, you need to slow it down and take care in forming the letters the right way. I find even I regress into poor penmanship when I start writing too fast. When you’re working to clean up your handwriting, be sure to take it slow and let your brain remember how to form each letter and give it its due attention. This will improve your writing tremendously.
- Get a feel for your pen and ink and allow yourself to get comfortable. Coming from the ballpoint world, it’s hard to get used to the fact that fountain pens require no pressure to write and the ink just flows. The pressure and resulting hand-cramping of ballpoints is a huge culprit in bad handwriting. Practice releasing that tension and watch your handwriting grow better before your eyes.
- Decide if Cursive or Manuscript is better for you. As an underwriter, cursive works better for me so I can move my hand in a fluid, continuous motion and I don’t break my concentration or writing motion by picking my pen up and putting it down with each letter. I utilized the CursiveLogic workbook to help me slow down and appreciate each letter I was writing. That may not be the case for everyone. Practice both writing styles and find the one that’s right for you.
Smearing or smudging is another issue we face as lefties that makes writing difficult. If we use the wrong ink or have our hands in the wrong position, writing can go from beautiful to illegible in the swipe of a hand. Here are some of my tips to avoid this occurrence.
- Turn the paper to stay out of the line of writing. Keeping your hand perpendicular to your writing line will keep it out of danger of smudging what you just wrote
- Use a drier ink. The LAMY or Pelikan 4001 lines of inks are on the drier side and yet, still perform well. They do not remain wet on the page as long, so you can’t track them along the page as you go.
- Train yourself to be an underwriter. It may seem impossible to fathom teaching yourself a new trick like this but you may find it actually turns out to be comfortable to write this way when you get the hang of it. If you focus on keeping your hand out of the line of writing, it will become second nature and you can write without concern in no time!
Finding the right pen, ink, and paper for your writing style can be a challenge. I included some recommendations below to try, in hopes it will give you a good starting point.
- LAMY Safari/ AL-Star – The swappable nibs on this pen allow you to find the one that works for you, they even have a Left Handed nib with a slight oblique grind that may work great for some lefties. I really enjoy the smooth flow of mine.
- TWSBI Eco – This pen is definitely one of my favorites. The ink flow is so smooth and easy. I have a Medium and an Extra Fine and have never had a smudging problem with either one. The Eco is especially good with some of my drier inks, because the generous flow helps me to avoid hard starts while still letting the ink dry quickly on the page.
- Pilot Varsity – This great value pen comes pre-loaded with a well behaved ink and can be refilled with a different ink of your choice (just yank out the nib and feed and refill the body of the pen).
- Noodler’s Bernanke Blue – This ink is fast-drying and vivid. You can have fun with your writing using a colorful ink without the fear of smudging your writing.
- Pelikan 4001 Violet – The Pelikan 4001 series inks are my top recommendation for a brand that is dry across the board. This Violet ink is especially fun for its color but conservative in its flow and saturation for worry-free writing.
- Robert Oster Black Violet – This is the most conservative of my picks in color but still holds up well in the dry time category. This complex purple-black hue is great for the office and behaves well on all paper types.
- Underwriters: Clairefontaine – This is smooth, coated paper that helps the pen float across the page. It is my personal favorite as an underwriter, but can be an issue for lefties that need a paper that sucks the ink in to avoid smudging. Ink tends to linger on this paper.
- Sidewriters: Leuchtturm1917 – This is my favorite absorbent paper we carry. I find I can use any ink on this paper and not worry about my hand smudging it later on.
- Overwriters: Rhodia – It’s the perfect blend of absorbent and smooth. Your pen will glide across the paper but your ink won’t sit on the page quite as long and will absorb in a decently quick time.
I hope these tips have proved to be helpful for you. If there are other topics you would like to see me cover in a future Left Out video or tips you’d like to share with fellow lefties, feel free to post in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
Cool air, crisp falling leaves, and a warm cup of something tasty; the first signs of autumn are all around us as we await the arrival of October. Thursday Things: It’s Fall Y’all features a variety of seasonally-appropriate pens and inks perfect for writing away the autumn days. Fresh up your writing line up with a new fall-inspired pen or ink!
Featured products from left to right:
- Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan (3oz bottle)– $12.50
- Diamine Pumpkin (80ml bottle)– $14.95
- Colorverse Gingko Trees and Golden Leaves (65ml + 15ml bottle set)– $36
- Traveler’s Notebook- Brown, Regular– $45.92
- Visconti Homo Sapiens Fountain Pen- Bronze Swirls– $1,150 MSRP
- Diplomat Aero Fountain Pen- Orange– $156
- Opus 88 Fantasia Fountain Pen- Terracotta– $125
- Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen- Orange– $160
- Stipula Ventidue Tocco Ferro Fountain Pen- Orange– $159 (on closeout!)
- Opus 88 Koloro Fountain Pen- Orange– $93
- Conklin Classic Fountain Pen- Harvest– $124 (on closeout!)
What is your go-to autumn pen and ink pair?
The Goulet Pen Company Team
A star is born! New to the illustrious line of collaborations between the Edison Pen Co. and Goulet Pens, we are pleased to introduce Galaxia, the 21st Edison Nouveau Premiere seasonal edition fountain pen. This stunning flecked resin pen is just the sparkle of otherworldly excitement your pen collection needs. You could travel the length of the cosmos and still never find a pen as gorgeous as this!
This stellar pen is a true gem bespeckled with blue and purple flakes and accented with silver furnishings. The depth and chatoyance of this material is captivating and every pen features its own unique arrangement and concentration of flakes, no two pens are exactly alike. Each Nouveau Premiere is handcrafted by the skillful members of the Edison Pen Co. team in Ohio. You can learn more about this great family-owned company in Brian’s interview with Brian Gray of Edison Pen Co. here. The Nouveau Premiere pens are handcrafted from resin, making them ideal for an eyedropper conversion. This Quick Tip video will show you step by step how to complete the eyedropper conversion process. The Nouveau Premiere can hold a whopping 4.15ml of ink when eyedropper converted. Don’t know much about eyedropper pens? Check out our Fountain Pen 101 video on them! The included Standard International converter also offers a 1.21ml capacity if you’re not ready to dive into eyedropper pens. Additionally, this pen accepts standard international cartridges.
The Edison Nouveau Premiere uses a #6 nib and you can pick it up with an Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad, or 1.1mm Stub nib size. The smooth writing Edison steel replacement nibs are also available in EF, F, M, B, 1.1mm, and 1.5mm Stub sizes for $25. You can also upgrade to an 18kt gold nib for an additional $150. Not sure how to go about swapping nibs? Check out Brian’s video!
Looking for an ink to coordinate with this stunning pen? Give these three lovely inks a try!
You can find the Edison Nouveau Premiere Galaxia exclusively at GouletPens.com for $169 for a limited time only. To learn more about the pen and find technical specs and details, head over to the product page!
What is your favorite celestial or space themed pen or ink?
The Goulet Pen Company Team
**WINNER: Congrats to Gustavo M. (Entered on Facebook). Check back next week for another awesome Monday Matchup Giveaway**
Hey pen friends, Sarah here! I got the opportunity to try out two new products, the Faber-Castell Essentio and the new Kyo No Oto Aonibi ink. I photograph a lot of new products every day and love whenever I get the chance to try them out!
The Kyo No Oto Aonibi ink reminded me of water, but honestly, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to draw. It has been raining every day for almost two weeks now and the soft blue went along with the mood outside. The rain can be a little bit of a downer after a while, so I tried to put a positive spin on it by looking at the bright side of how beautiful rain can be. I remembered this L.M. Montgomery quote and it seemed perfect for what I was feeling. Every time the seasons change into Fall or Spring I get the itch to read L.M. Montgomery because of how well she describes nature.
I began by drawing a simple circle using the bottom of a cup for my earth illustration. The drawing was very basic for this week, as I really wanted to draw attention to the quote. It was harder than I thought it would be to draw out the continents and shade the earth. Clouds over the ocean are hard! I leaned into the loose watercolor feel so it didn’t have to be too perfect. I used a water brush pen to make it loose and went back in with the fountain pen to clean up the lines.
The Essentio broad nib was soooo smooth. It’s the same nib as the Loom, and I always love how buttery smooth the broader Faber-Castell nibs can be. It really showed off the Kyo No Oto Aonibi ink color, and it flowed really wet. It has me wanting to try out more Kyo No Oto inks, I’m going to have to grab some samples. You can’t go wrong with this pen and ink combination and I’m glad that I was able to try it!
You could win this pen and ink! In an effort to make entering Monday Matchup a little easier, we’ve done away with the Rafflecopter widget and will be randomly selecting a winner from a randomly chosen platform each week. The entries methods will still be the same: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a blog comment, but you’ll no longer have to complete your entry through Rafflecopter.
How to enter Monday Matchup Giveaway:
- Match a pen and ink together. They don’t have to match in color, any fountain pen, and ink works.
- You can choose to enter only one way or submit up to 4 different entries if you’d like. Feel free to use the same picture for all 4 entries.
- Here’s how to enter:
The contest is open Monday, September 24, 2018, at 12 pm EDT until Tuesday, September 25, 2018, at 12 pm EDT. One winner will be randomly selected and announced tomorrow once the contest closes. The winner must live in a country that Goulet Pens currently ships to. Click here to see the Official Contest Rules.
What is your favorite way to brighten a rainy day?
Goulet Q&A Episode 226: Pilot’s 100th Anniversary Pens, Pens Improving Handwriting, and If Brian Had To Start Over!
In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about Pilot’s 100th anniversary pens, why fountain pens improve your handwriting, and what if he had to start all over!
- Pilot 100th Anniversary
- 7 Gods pen set, limited to 25 worldwide
- $48,000 for the set, 7 Namiki Emperor pens, mix of Maki-e and Chinkin, urushi box, mini bottles of ink
- Ink, only part of the 7 Gods of Good Fortune set, not individually right now
- Emperor Fuji, $9,600, 100 pens worldwide
- Fuji and Meiji-Maru that is Yukari size, $1,600, 800 pens worldwide
- 7 Gods individual pens in limited qty next March
- 7-pack of 15ml mini ink sets at $100/ea
- 50ml bottles at $30/ea
- Rachel and I are traveling to Italy through next week, follow me at @Brian.Goulet on Instagram to see what we do
- Visiting Florence, Naples, Positano and Capri with Yafa, touring Stipula, Pineider, Nettuno
- mix of business and pleasure, looking to get a feel for the Italian culture
- no Q&A next week, but we do have video content planned!
- Drew will hang out with all our Customer Care team in Write Now, we’ll complete the Left Out series on Friday
- Stipula Ventidue Tocco Ferro Blue
- Diplomat Aero Blue
- Monteverde Monza 3 Set
- Jinhao Gold/Red Dragon
- Platinum Procyon (trickling in)
- TWSBI Eco Transparent Blue (probably gone)
- Coming soon:
1) @NanaLovesJesus2- Twitter (16:33)
If I’m using a dry ink with a medium nib, could I improve the flow by changing to a fine nib?
- improve it? no, usually fine nibs are putting down less ink so it’d actually feel drier, you’d want to go broader to improve flow
- dry ink will be dry in any nib size, so the wetter writing the pen, the more the ink flow will feel improved
2) @Realbestboy- Twitter (18:52)
Why is it that when i use fountain pens i have great handwriting but when i use ballpoints it is unpleasant to look at?
- because ballpoints are sticks of nonsense, that’s why
- seriously though, it’s most likely because you’re changing your grip and probably pressing harder, which tightens up your muscles and causes you to write with more finger muscles instead of hand and wrist muscles
- your finger muscles are good for fine movement, but they get tired and thus sloppy
- that’s also why your hand cramps more with ballpoints
- fountain pens (should) write under their own weight, promote more compound muscle movement in the fingers, hand, wrist, even elbow
- the larger the muscles, the less tired you get, and the nicer your handwriting looks, though usually with practice because it takes more work to develop those fine movements in your muscle memory of your large muscles
3) instaraxx- Instagram (24:41)
What’s the most common reason that a fountain pen will leak?
- when there’s a pressure imbalance between air and ink, it leaks
- As Richard Binder says, fountain pens are really just a controlled leak
- there could be a number of causes, like changes in temperature (hot car to A/C building), pen being jostled around in transit, change in altitude, barometric pressure changes
- it’s honestly hard for me to say the most common cause, because it really varies so much based on circumstances and the surrounding environment
- I think the environment the pen is kept in probably has the biggest impact, if I had to sum it up
4) Aadarsh- YouTube (31:41)
Challenge for Brian: you have lost all of your fountain pen stuff, what do you buy with 500 dollars. You don’t get free samples for ink. You can keep all your knowledge.
- this is an interesting question, because I started out when $500 was inconceivable to me for pen stuff in my personal collection
- I have to completely suspend reality to answer this, because just with the pen knowledge and people that I know in the industry, if I love all my pen stuff, I could definitely get a lot of stuff back for promotional consideration
- Let me remove myself as a retailer/vlogger in order to answer this more in what I imagine is the spirit of your question, just for my own personal use
- I love my Homo Sapiens but that would be out, too expensive
- Lamy 2000 is a great pen, I use it daily, that’d be a pick in EF. $160 gone
- TWSBI Eco in both broad and fine, $58
- Pilot Metropolitan fine, $18.50
- Aston Slip, $14
- Traveler’s Notebook with some Goulet notebooks, $100ish
- Leuchtturm Some Lines a Day $27
- Rhodia No. 16 pads, $20ish
- Jacques Herbin Emerald of Chivor $28
- Noodler’s Black $12.50
- Robert Oster Blue Water Ice $17
- Diamine Marine $15
- $30ish tax + shipping, brings me right to $500
5) @kpspera1- Twitter (38:26)
Has Brian ever named, or considered naming, one of his pens?
- Not really, I’ve never been real big into naming inanimate objects, personally
- I tend to call all my pens by their formal brand/model names, just because I am referring to pens all day long
- I do have a couple of nicknames, though, just a couple
- Diplomat Aero is my “Space Blimp” (affectionate name)
- Pilot Plumix “Squid Pen”
- Jinhao Gold Dragon I call “Ancient Chinese Secret” (Arrested Development reference)
- Edison Premiere prototype “Banana Stand”
- Premiere “Unicorn Barf” (I didn’t come up with that though!)
- They’re all pretty obvious and related to characteristics of the pens
- I don’t have any named like people or pets, sorry!
6) @dxhurst- Twitter (42:40)
If you had to start all over again, what would you do differently as a pure online retailer?
- The simple answer is I couldn’t really have done much differently bc I did my best with what I knew!
- But to make the question more interesting, let’s pretend that if I knew what I know now, but had to go back and start where I was
- I would have gotten into fountain pens sooner, in college, and likely skipped pen making all together and just done nib work
- Would have focused more on the paid site of marketing, I had no money really, but there were low-hanging fruit opportunities I passed up out of ignorance or pride
- I’ve really changed my tune a bit on the paid ad stuff, I used to be somewhat prideful about not doing any paid ads
- I swung the pendulum so far towards organic and engagement so that I wouldn’t be a sleazy marketer, but there’s a way to walk the line in an upstanding way
- I would have defined mission and values from the very beginning, and focused on fit and hiring much more early on
- I would have gotten more help on the media/production side of things sooner
QOTW: Do you have any names for your pens? (55:23)
Writing Prompt: What would be your dream vacation if you could go anywhere? (55:37)
It’s not challenge to see why a good stationery helps improve your writing game. But if you’re puzzled as to which pen or notebook to pick, you need to sneak a peek at this Thursday Things assortment. Finding the right tools for you can be a few rounds of trial and error, but finding the perfect fit is like everything matching up perfectly in line. Thursday Things: Rubik’s Cube features some of our favorite nifty notebooks and playful pens with a lovely pop of color and quality construction. Our own Brian Goulet is a fan of challenges and solving of these colorful cubes. If you too like decoding a good mystery, task yourself with tackling the quest for the perfect pen and notebook. You just might achieve sweet victory in the end.
Featured products from left to right:
- Leuchtturm1917 Medium A5 Hardcover- Royal Blue– $19.95
- Rhodia Classic Side Staplebound Notebook – Ice White, Lined– $3.75
- Leuchtturm1917 Medium A5 Hardcover- Fresh Green– $19.95
- Rhodia Classic Side Staplebound Notebook- Ice White, Graph– $3.75
- Leuchtturm1917 Medium A5 Hardcover- Lemon– $19.95
- Opus 88 Fantasia Fountain Pen- Green– $125
- Opus 88 Fantasia Fountain Pen- Red– $125
- Opus 88 Koloro Fountain Pen- Blue– $93
- Opus 88 Koloro Fountain Pen- Orange– $93
- Opus 88 Fantasia Fountain Pen- Black– $125
- Opus 88 Picnic Fountain Pen- Green– $99
- Rhodia Rhodiarama Medium A5 Webnotebook- Poppy Red– $19.95
- Clairefontaine Classic Clothbound Notebook- Blank (5.91 x 8.27)– $9.50
- Rhodia Goalbook- Sapphire, Dot Grid (5.5 x 8.3)– $25.95
- Leuchtturm1917 Medium A5 Hardcover- Orange– $19.95
What is your favorite puzzle game?
The Goulet Pen Company Team