I’ve always been interested in writing instruments. Through school I was quite particular about how I put thoughts onto paper. The humble pen has always been something that I obsessed over. For a time, a gel ink pen that wrote smoothly was what I found myself pinning for. Alas, I couldn’t find one that suited my needs; everything skipped, splatted or scratched1.
Enter fountain pens.
Everyone knows what a fountain pen looks like. The nib, where the ink comes out, is ubiquitous in illustrating the written word. It’s classic, which appeals to me in an odd way.
You see, most of my day is spent at a keyboard, which I love. At times, I appreciate disconnecting from the digital age to think. While any pen will do, I choose to disconnect in style.
What Keeps Me Using a Fountain Pen
Sure, I think fountain pens are cool. That’s extremely subjective. There are a few key reason which go into deciding which pen I should write with.
It’s not just the “cool” factor that pushes me to use fountain pens; I love the feeling. Fountain pens flow like, well, fountains. Instead of rubbing ink from a ball onto a page, fountain pen ink is pulled from the nib onto the page. This allows for what can be described as a “glassy” feel to some pens. While every instrument is different, the general feeling of zero-pressure, saturated color spilling onto paper is something I have a hard time moving away from.
Most office store pens come in two standard colors: black and blue. We all know that. While some new colors are emerging as standards, most pen colors are straight up boring. I am absolutely in love with vivid colors animating my notebook.
When I was first using a fountain pen regularly, I had more mainstream colors. Since then, my ink purchases have become wilder. I’m to a point where I have three fountain pens inked with complimentary colors to match the fall season. Some people have fancy fashion, I have illustrious ink.
How to Start Using a Fountain Pen
While not for everyone, fountain pens can be seriously fun. I recommend starting off slow before jumping head first into this hobby.
Fountain pens require an astronomical amount of effort versus typical gel or ballpoint pens. It’s not a ton of work, but you’ll be re-using these pens which does requires cleaning. If that’s your bag, then keep reading.
One other caveat: Fountain pens require you to have a light hand. If you’re known for piercing through the page with your ridiculous Hulk pressure, stay away.
I first got the Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen. It’s a solid pen for the price. I hated the filling mechanism2 and I messed up the nib by fiddling with it. Otherwise, it’s a great beginner pen. I’d also recommend the Lamy Safari, which is a pen that I use to this day3.
For a step up, I can’t recommend the TWSBI 580AL enough. This is a serious pen that costs a serious amount. I currently have a medium nib which lays down a juicy line that let’s my inks flourish.
Pens are just the beginning. I’m picky about everything I interact with. My notebook is insanely important, even where I store I pens. I hope to share more about what I use on a daily basis that I absolutely adore.