Many people find that they enjoy writing with a fountain pen much more than with a ballpoint pen or any other kind of pen because it’s more deliberate and intentional. Here’s our guide on how to do it!

Using A Fountain Pen Is A Special Writing Experience

These days with technology and innovation, we don’t even need to write by hand anymore, but we can just send messages or emails through our cell phones or laptops. However, a handwritten note can really convey that you really care about the recipient and they feel much more valued, than if you sent them a digital communication.

Even though you can use a ballpoint pen or a roller-ball, using a fountain pen gives you that unique character to your handwriting that can’t be replicated by anyone else. 

Now, if a fountain pen is more expensive than a ballpoint pen or a rollerball, why would you want to invest in one? 

Well, the connoisseur appreciates the personality added to his penmanship, and it’s just a very different writing experience.

So, if you’re ready to give writing with a fountain pen a try, read on to find out how to choose a fountain pen that’s best for you, how to use it, and how to write with it so it brings you joy.

Choosing Your Fountain Pen

1. Size

A fountain pen is a very personal instrument and it’s supposed to be perfect for your hand; if you have a big hand, get a bigger fountain pen. If you have a smaller hand, get a smaller one. When in doubt, it should never be too short and rather be a little longer, but you also want to pay attention to the width. When you hold it and if the pen is too wide,  it may be uncomfortable to write with it. Honestly, there is no clear-cut answer for it, you simply have to try different ones, and different widths and lengths to figure out what feels comfortable in your hand.

2. Weight

The second thing to pay attention to is the weight. In general, we often associate weight with something luxurious that is really full of craftsmanship. For fountain pens, that may be really nice if you just want one to sign something, but if you want it to write into letters that are pages long, you want something that is not too heavy, otherwise, your hand will tire out more quickly.

Again, figuring out whether something is too light or too heavy, also depends a bit on your personal preference; so I urge you to try different fountain pens so you can make sure you find something that really works for you. And don’t just settle for the first fountain pen you come across.

3. Filling Mechanism

To write with the fountain pen, you need ink and it is typically found in a little cartridge inside the fountain pen. They’re basically small, disposable plastic tubes that hold the ink and they’re widely available. Yet, finding different colors can be a bit more tricky. Some brands also design their cartridges so you can only buy proprietary ones, which limits you in the choices of ink and it’s also more expensive, the longer you have the fountain pen.

A more old-school way to re-ink a fountain pen is a piston mechanism. Typically, you just turn the spindle of the fountain pen which pushes a piston back and forth. It creates a low-pressure environment that sucks in the ink inside the fountain pen. When you do that, always make sure there’s a little bit of air left inside the piston, otherwise the ink flow may not be as smooth and nice as you want it to be.

4. Nib


First of all, the material can be important and of course, the workmanship of the nib and how refined it is. Generally, the softer and more flexible the nib is, the better. While steel nibs are rather smooth and very economical, higher-end fountain pens typically come with gold or palladium nibs. Whatever the case, they’ll almost always have an Iridium-tipped point which hardens it because that’s where the nib touches the paper. Of course, gold and palladium tips are also much more expensive than more economical steel or other metal nibs.

Size & Tip

On top of that, the size of the nib itself is also important; the larger the nib, typically, the nicer it is to write with it. Because of that, the most expensive fountain pens typically have larger nibs than less expensive fountain pens. Again, if you need twice as much gold for a nib for a big one, it gets even more expensive. The one thing even more important than the nib size is the tip of the nib, because that’s what you write with.

In general, if you have a big hand and big handwriting, a slightly broader nib may look more appealing. On the flip side, if you like an elegant look and you have small handwriting, an extra-fine tip may be the right one for you. In calligraphy, stub or italic nibs are very popular.

Medium-sized nibs are the most common standard sizes.

1. Use A High-Quality Paper

Many regular printer papers are not really suited for fountain pen ink because as soon as you write on them, the ink bleeds and looks very bad. Instead, buy a paper that is made for fountain pens and when you write on it, it will look beautiful. The same is true for stationary if you want to write greeting cards — make sure it works with a fountain pen. A good paper doesn’t feather or run.

The broader your nib, the more ink will transport onto the paper and the longer it takes to dry. So if you write with a fountain pen and you touch it with your hand, you may smudge it and it will look terrible. To prevent that you have to either let it dry or use an ink blotter. If you want to get ahead quickly, and of course, always be aware that you can smudge the ink.

2. Post The Cap (Or Don’t)

Typically fountain pens come with a cap, and some people like to “post” the cap on the back part of the fountain pen because that creates a different balance.

Some fountain pens, especially smaller ones, are designed to have a cap posted in the back for the perfect balance. This is something you have to try out yourself and see what kind of feel you like.

3. Hold The Pen at The Correct Angle

When you write with a fountain pen, it’s essential that you keep it at the right angle, and that you’re not flexible with your fingers. So, what exactly does it mean? If the tip of your nib is facing down on the paper and the slit is facing up, it should have a net angle of about 45 to 55 degrees. Once with that angle, write a few words to find that “sweet spot” for you that feels comfortable writing.

If you angle your nib above 55 degrees or below 45 degrees, it won’t write as nicely, it won’t be as smooth, and the ink won’t be transported as well onto the paper, and it’s just weird, it also sounds strange and scratchy. You also want to avoid twisting the pen because the tines should be in touch with a paper at times, otherwise, the ink won’t flow.

4. Keep Your Hand Rigid

A really important distinction of writing with a fountain pen from writing with a roller-ball or ballpoint pen is that you have to keep your hand rather rigid. What do we mean by that? Well, some people are finger writers and they move their hand and their fingers as they write. With a round ballpoint pen that is okay because it works in every angle but with a fountain pen with a straight nib, that is not the case.

So, once you have the right angle with your fingers, you shouldn’t really adjust your wrist; it should just stay rigid, so you just keep on writing. Yes, there can be a little bit of movement, but you’ll figure out at what point in time it’s too much movement and the pen won’t write anymore. As a general rule, your arm and your shoulder will do more of the work than your wrist. Honestly, it sounds more difficult than it is, if you just try it a few times you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly.

5. Apply The Right Pressure

Last but not least, you have to learn how to apply the right amount of pressure onto your nib. As the tip of the nib touches the paper, just apply gentle pressure and you’ll feel how the ink flows out. Please don’t press hard on it because it may damage your nib as well as the paper. Also, it means that you’ll get a lot more ink out of the nib and just not a good look, you’ll likely smudge it.

Fountain Pen Care Tips

So, now that you know how you choose the right fountain pen for your hand and how you write with it, what else do you need to keep in mind?

1. Keep The Cap On

You should always keep the cap on top of the nib when you don’t write with the fountain pen. Why? Well, if you don’t, it dries out and you’ll have a hard time actually starting to write the next time around. Also, your nib may get damaged, so unlike with a ballpoint pen, you always want to put the cap and cover your nib.

2. Clean Your Fountain Pen Regularly

A fountain pen needs a bit more maintenance which means it has to be cleaned regularly. It is suggested to clean your fountain pen every two months, ultimately, it depends on how often and frequently you use it and if it looks dirty and it doesn’t write properly, it’s time for a clean.

To do it, you can hold your fountain pen under running water, you can also put it in a glass of water, let it soak and you can exchange the water until you don’t see any more ink color. Ideally, you take all the parts apart, wash them individually, and let them dry gently on a cloth towel, for example, so you make sure there’s no water in the ink reservoir, otherwise, when you write and there’s higher water content, your ink won’t look as strong and it’s also more likely to bleed.

3. Keep It Away From Extreme Temperatures

You shouldn’t just let it sit in the car where it gets really hot because the ink can also dry in and then cleaning it may take a much longer time.

If you expose the ink to extreme temperatures, it will dry out. So what are the ideal conditions for ink storage?  – Cool room temperature, darkest spot.

Should You (or Should You Not) Lend Your Fountain Pen?

One hotly debated item is if you should lend your fountain pen to someone else. Some people argue that giving your fountain pen to someone else means the whole dynamic of your fountain pen that took several weeks to achieve will disappear because someone else holds the fountain pen slightly different than you do. Others think that it doesn’t matter if someone else takes a quick note with it. At the end of the day, it’s something for you to decide, and you can see and feel how long it takes to write in your fountain pen until it feels like it is your fountain pen.


While writing well with a fountain pen is a skill that will take time and practice to master, the results are second to none. 


We buy Mont Blanc fountain & rollerball pens, browse through our website or contact us to find out what we have available.


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