How to Use Fountain Pens: Guide for Beginners



Benefits of Fountain Pens

Owing to new technological advances, we do not need to write by hand anymore. However, handwritten letters are always a wonderful way to connect with your friends with warm regards. For these who want to start writing, fountain pen may be a good choice. Let us take a look at all of the information you need in order to learn how to properly use a fountain pen and find one suits you best.


Anatomy of a Fountain Pen

A fountain pen can be divided into two major parts, the external part including barrel, cap, nib, feed and section. Then the internal structure is a converter or a cartridge which holds the ink in your pen.


Nib and feed:

Two main parts of your pen that allow us to write. The nib comes in a variety of sizes such as fine, medium, and broad. And the feed is a piece (usually made of black plastic) beneath the nib and providing a channel to deliver the ink from the reservoir/converter to the nib.



The converter is a small filling mechanism that fits onto a pen and holds the ink in it, moreover, it allows you to use different kinds of inks by filling/refilling. Alternatively, the cartridge is a disposable ink refill.


How to Choose Your First Fountain Pen?

  • Size and Weight

A suitable fountain pen is supposed to perfectly fit your hand. The quality of the barrel can dramatically affect your handwriting. If you have big hands or long fingers, you will probably prefer a thicker and heavier pen. Similarly, if you have particularly small hands, then a smaller and lighter pen will suit you better. The best way to know whether the pen will fit you is to try it out.


  • Filling Mechanism

Generally, there are three options to choose, including cartridge, converter, and piston system.

Cartridge: This is the most convenient choice for the beginner. When a cartridge runs out of ink, you can simply remove it and install a new one.

Converter: It has the same fitting as the pen's cartridge, but comes with a reservoir and a filling mechanism attached to it. Most converters are piston-type, which is easy to use and reliable.

Piston: A more old-school way to re-ink a fountain pen. This filling system relies on a screw mechanism that draws a piston up the barrel, sucking in ink through the nib and into the reservoir.


  • Nib

The nib has the primary impact on how a fountain pen writes. For beginners, size F and M are more proper options. Besides, there are two types of nibs: Japanese-sized and Western-sized. Japanese nibs typically have much smaller tips than Western ones because Japanese letters are more complex than the alphabet to be used in the Western writing system.



Product Usage

EF (Extra Fine)

0.3 - 0.5 mm
For note writing.

F (Fine)

0.5 - 0.7 mm
For general writing purpose, the first choice for beginners.

M (Medium)

0.7-1.0 mm
Smoother writing texture than size F, an alternative option for beginners.

B (Broad)

1.3-1.5 mm
Good for signing, as the tip is ticker, it is better for advanced users.


How to Use a Fountain Pen?



  • Fill or Install the Ink into Your Fountain Pen

Use the piston to discharge air out of the tube, then hold the pen body with one hand and unscrew the twist-fill mechanism with your other hand until it stops. If it is a cartridge one, just insert the sealed end of the cartridge into the grip section until the seal is punctured and the cartridge slides firmly into place.

It will take a while for the ink to fully saturate the pen for either type of filling system, so remember to give the ink some time to take its own journey.


  • Hold It Tight and Use It Right

Hold your fountain pen between your thumb and your index finger. Rest the pen on your middle finger's knuckle. The pen should make a 45-degree angle with the writing surface.


  • Apply the Right Pressure

If you have been using ballpoint pens most of your life, it is probable that you use quite a bit of pressure when you write. This is because the ink in your ballpoint pen is thicker in comparison to fountain pen ink. You need more force to displace the ink onto the paper.

The ink you will use in your fountain pen typically has a low viscosity. Which means you will not need to press down too hard when writing. A smidge of pressure on the nib is all you need to get the ink flowing.


  • Practice Makes Perfect

It is a little bit hard for beginners to write with a fountain pen. However, keep practicing and you will find your own way to write with fountain pens.


  • Caring for Your Fountain Pen

There are few things you will need to do to keep your fountain pen working. First, you should ALWAYS put the cap on when you finish writing. Otherwise, the ink in the nib will dry out and it will not work anymore. Secondly, you will need to clean your fountain regularly. It is recommended that you give your fountain pen a flush once a month. It ensures proper ink flow by removing any build-up in the nib or feed. Finally, wipe the surface of your fountain pen to avoid oxidation and keep it clean.


Recommendations for your perfect pen

Classic - Portable Fountain Pen

We recommend Classic - Portable Fountain Pen to all first-time fountain pen users due to its portability and multiple functions. ystudio’s portable fountain pen creates a new way to bring your fountain pen with you. You can hang it on your bag and open it to start writing. The pen writes steadily and smoothly because of the high quality of the nib, which is from Schmidt from Germany. It is a true eye-catcher and a great gift suggestion.



Brassing - Desk Fountain Pen

If you are an office worker, Brassing - Desk Fountain Pen is also a fitting choice. With matte black lacquer on the surface and six exquisite golden lines revealing the brass underneath, both the pen and pen holder are made of solid brass. The gold plated nib is from Germany Schmidt, in addition, Brassing also comes with a Schmidt converter inside, which makes the pen work perfectly for all writing needs at work.



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