Starter Pen Recommendations

Published: May 09, 2022

Important Concepts


  • Thing that touches the paper
  • Comes in different sizes
    • Standard sizes
      • Extra Fine
      • Fine
      • Medium
      • Broad
    • Every brand's size is going to be slightly different
    • There are many, many different nib sizes that are not standard
    • Asian-made pens tend to make a thinner line for their size compared to European pens

Filling Mechanism

  • Cartridge/Converter
    • You can use an ink cartridge or buy a separate piece of hardware called a converter to use bottled ink
    • Some pens use standard ink cartridges, some use brand-specific styles
      • You'll see the phrase "short/long international cartridge/converter"
    • There are different lengths that fit different pen lengths (short and long are the most common)
  • Piston
    • Only can use bottled ink

Starter Pens

All of these pens won't break the bank and will provide a fantastic writing experience:


  • Stay away from...
    • Iron gall ink
    • Noodler's (bay-state blue is particularly bad)
    • Pigmented inks

Ink Brands I've Used

  • Pilot / Namiki
  • Pilot Iroshizoku
  • Sailor
  • Mont Blanc
  • Akkerman
  • Platinum