For many who are deliberating the switch to fountain pens, they often want to properly inform themselves of the advantages of doing so. Frankly speaking, there is quite a steep upfront cost that comes with it. The most practical concern they have, it being a writing instrument, is does it actually improve your handwriting? I went around the web’s go-to communities to find out the answer.
Do fountain pens improve handwriting? The fountain pen can improve your handwriting because its design allows you to hold the pen with a more relaxed grip, improving your overall writing form. The flow of ink and not needing to apply pressure for it to write, also lets you write smoother and with more flow.
While the fountain pen can significantly improve your writing, it does require practice and is not an instant result of switching.
I’m sure that you would want to learn more on the subject, being as the fountain pen also does have a small learning curve. As such, there are quite a few sources that are better than the rest, so I’ve gathered all the best information from them that you might want to consider before buying a fountain pen of your own.
I’ve also included some tips on how to improve your handwriting with a fountain pen in this article for those who already have their own pen and who are seeking to improve.
How The Fountain Pen Improves Handwriting
Less Pressure Required
There are quite a few factors that come into play with how the fountain pen improves your handwriting. One of the most common responses from the community is that the relief it brings with a significant reduction in hand fatigue is one of the biggest factors.
Unlike a ballpoint pen, a fountain pen doesn’t require you to apply pressure for it to work. The ballpoint needs this to work because it needs friction and force to shall we say, get the ball rolling – literally, as in the ball bearing on the ballpoint pen’s tip.
The advantage with the ballpoint, though, is that it uses oil-based ink to work. This means that it’s more permanent and that it dries quicker.
The fountain pen, on the other hand, uses water-based ink. It flows from the reservoir and uses the capillary action of water for the ink to flow. This allows the user to gently and smoothly run the pen across the page, without having to apply much pressure, and still have it write perfectly.
Of course, this does come with a downside. Being water-based, the ink takes a little longer to dry and it may cause smearing if you are not careful and run by it with your hand.
The design of the fountain pen also factors in greatly with how it improves handwriting.
It’s thicker and heavier design is more ergonomic, letting your write for longer without experiencing significant hand fatigue.
The thicker body of the barrel, often more balanced than a ballpoint, lets you grip it in a relaxed manner. The balance point in fountain pens is often located in spots where it would feel better for your hand.
While it is heavier than a normal pen, you’ll notice that when you use it, it doesn’t exactly slip from your hand because of the thickness. The weight also acts as a force that lets your pens write properly with you pressing down on the paper.
The ballpoint pen, which is light and narrow, often requires you to exert effort when writing and with the actual grip. The narrow body makes it that your hold on it is tenser, and which contributes to your hand getting tired quicker.
Adaptability Of Nibs
The nibs are the part of the fountain pen that controls the thickness of the lines and the flow of ink. This is the actual tip of the pen which touches the paper and is used for writing.
There are nibs that can make your lines thicker, thinner, or maybe more dynamic with certain strokes, etc.
While the nib goes hand in hand with the effectivity of the other parts, the nib is also the part you consider when trying to go for more aesthetically pleasing handwriting as it has a direct effect on the line variance of your writing.
Line variance is basically the thickness of lines with certain strokes. You see this a lot with professional lettering, where some lines of a certain letter are thicker, angled, or thinner.
As opposed to ballpoint that only has a uniform tip, the adaptability and ability to change line variance make it so the fountain pen writes better.
You can check this out for another great explanation of why fountain pens write better.
Tips To Improve Your Handwriting
Having a fountain pen doesn’t instantly make your handwriting immaculate. Handwriting is still as skill, and while the tools significantly improve the results, the main driver is still practice.
Here, I’ll go about how you can actually do that.
Because there is no one definitive source of great information, I’ve attached two great youtube videos that will help you significantly improve your writing. They aren’t that long, so you can take a quick peek at them while I lay out the gist of what’s in them.
Take this first video from youtube.
The gist of it is:
Try different things – everyone’s handwriting is different, as such, we can’t expect that one thing that works for someone will work for another. So they encourage you to try different things when it comes to fountain pens.
This mostly is done through the nib you choose to use. While some nibs are better for certain types of writing others won’t. For example, if you write with small letters, you might want to experiment with a fine nib. This will let you properly form the letters without them railroading or smearing to the next.
Alternatively, for broader strokes, you can try a thicker nib depending on your style.
For left-handed users, finer nibs with faster drying ink and thicker paper are better to avoid smearing. This works because of pens with finer nibs drying faster, couple that with the right ink and paper, you’ll have no problem.
It’s important for you to mix and match to find the proper combination for you.
Relax – Having a relaxed stroke will significantly improve your writing and will let you right for hours without hand fatigue.
This will result in better lines and will preserve your nib. For most nibs, pressure could affect them and/or break them. Only flex nibs are meant to have pressure applied to them.
Write More Deliberately – Aside from making you more aware and focusing on what your writing, this practice can save you from smearing or railroading, things that greatly affect the legibility of your writing.
The second video is a bit longer and goes into more detail on the mechanical aspects of writing with a fountain pen.
Take a look at it, and come back for the quick summary.
Posture – For better writing, you’ll want to have your arm and your torso relaxed. Best be in a comfortable chair, of course. This extends to the writing medium, meaning the paper or notebook you are using. You’ll want to angle it in a comfortable way that your arm doesn’t have to twist and contort into a difficult position.
Like the previous video, relaxing is a key point, you’ll want to have your arms and wrist relaxed as well. This will have a domino effect and extend to your shoulders and back.
Consistency – One of the main factors that affect the aesthetic aspect of handwriting is consistency. You wouldn’t want to read something that is all over the place, and is a chore to read right?
Make sure all your lines are balanced, and the size of each letter is consistent throughout the page. One piece of advice he gives is to make sure all your letters are attached to the grounding line, or in other words the ruled line on each page.
Throughout the video, he dives into choosing nibs and ink, which you might want to check out.
The one piece of advice that is consistent between the two, and is probably the most important is:
As I’ve mentioned before, handwriting is a skill. Skills only improve with practice and are often improved proportionally to the amount of time and work given. The same applies to handwriting.
True, the tools, in this case, the fountain pen, significantly improve them too. But these two go hand in hand to deliver a better result.
Say you practice hard with a ballpoint pen, you will improve by a large margin, yes, but switching to a fountain pen will still markedly improve the results.
How Do You Start Practicing?
There are various sources for great references, namely Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube.
You can go around the web and look for a worksheet, or copy a good font.
Littered around youtube are videos explaining in detail various types of fonts and they are quite easy to follow.
The main thing here is that you invest the time, the tools, and the hard work to improve on an area of your being which will affect it as a whole.