Handwriting And Fountain Pens

You have to work in partnership with a fountain pen.. I hear a lot of children are not even taught cursive lettering. What a waste. My experience with handwriting and fountain pens says that it’s a skill well worth having.

To go back a bit, my handwriting started to drift all over the place from using ballpoint and gel pens.

So I bought a fountain pen. This was about five years ago. I bought a Cross Bailey, the cheapest in the Cross line, as I remember.

I bought that particular pen because the barrel was comfortably thick enough to hold. There was a slight tapering outwards just before the nib. Therefore my finger wasn’t just going to run into the nib, which I don’t want to happen.

the nib of an ink pen with text 'Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns', except the the last word is not yet fully written.

I Scraped The Barrel

I liked the shape of the nib. And I definitely liked the way it wrote – and still do. Then somewhere along the line I scraped the barrel. Something heavy and hard must have scraped along it – though I can’t think what that could have been.

So part of the black barrel is now scraped down to the brass. It’s just a small section about a centimetre and a half. And at first I thought, oh no, I’m going to buy another pen because I didn’t like my pen being scuffed like that. And then I thought again and thought how precious I was being. Precious, because after all the pen worked just fine.

And now, now I not only put up with it, but I like it.

So why decide that a fountain pen is going to solve the problem of poor handwriting? Well, I think it’s because a ballpoint pen or a gel pen or any of those kind of pens aren’t really pens at all. They’re more like brushes that just happen to have a fixed or a slightly flexible tip. And they will go whichever way you go. They don’t dictate anything. Whereas a fountain pen, you have to hold it at a certain angle and you have to hold the nib at a certain angle, and it dictates where you can go. You have to work in partnership with a fountain pen.

And those tram lines pull your handwriting together. They certainly have done with mine.

I don’t use the pen for everything but I keep it right by the side of my computer and I use it for quite a lot of notes that I take. It’s proved to be very economical. I am still on my first bottle of ink five years down the line. And although I bought a second bottle of ink I still have, well let’s see, when I look in here I still have quite a bit of the bottle left so that’s unbelievably economical.

Other Brands I’ve Tried

Love Life: A hand and arm holding a pen like in an Escher drawing and writing 'You Are Wonderful, And The Love Of My Life'

Looking back, years ago I had Parker pens and Schaefer pens. I had unfortunate experiences with Schaefer pens leaking. And I have to say this cross pen has not leaked at all. But the thing is that years ago I would have chosen a fine nib. I’m not quite sure exactly why, but something I can picture that I would have thought it was somehow better.

Well, I’ve no idea what better means anymore. But the nib I’m using is a medium and it makes writing. The writing that comes out of the pen is much more fluid and rounded. I’m very pleased with that.

Pencils Too Have Their Place

I can’t finish this without a shout out to pencils because they definitely have their place. When I’m making really rough notes on a sheet of paper or making a little mark on a book that I’m reading, then I’d rather use a pencil. Pencils are just quicker. They’re the quickest of all. And even though they don’t leave a very permanent long-lasting mark that’s fine if you’re just making quick notes. And if you’re marking a book it’s even the preferred thing to do. After all who wants to get a book from somebody else and find out it’s been marked up all over the place with ink?

You know there’s something about a pencil that doesn’t affect handwriting the way that a ballpoint pen or a gel pen does. At least in my experience. Pencils are more controllable and it’s easier to write with character just like it is with a fountain pen. No, it’s not exactly the same as a fountain pen and a fountain pen definitely helps to bring out character. But pencils are definitely a step up from ballpoint pens and gel pens.

You Have To Work In Partnership With A Fountain Pen

The bottom line for me is that handwriting and fountain pens go hand in hand. And given that I hear a lot of children are not even taught cursive lettering, they are missing out. They are missing out on one of the delights of being a person who can make marks on paper. The very fact that you have to work in partnership with a fountain pen is what makes it so great.

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