There is a common misconception about left-handed writers using fountain pens. Most left-handed people are made to believe that it is impossible to use a fountain pen because of the danger of smearing ink all over their page.
So, the question is, can you use a fountain pen as a left-handed writer? Yes! There is a left-handed fountain pen for left-handed writers. Studies have shown that being able/unable to write with a fountain pen has more to do with your writing technique than your identity as a leftie.
Here, we’ll be clarifying more on left-handed fountain pens, the best type, and how to choose which one is best for you.
Using a Left Handed Fountain Pen
Years ago, most fountain pens were more suited for right-handed people. Fountain pens were famous for their soft and flexible nibs that pulled apart when pushed over the page. These nibs made it difficult for left-handed people to write because they tend to push rather than pull their pens when writing, causing them to smear ink everywhere.
Nowadays, the problem of smearing has been solved due to the production of modern fountain pens tailored specially for left-handed writers. These left-handed fountain pens are made with solid/rigid nibs that don’t separate as you write across the page. They also have better grips that allow you to write for longer hours without getting hand cramps.
But regardless of how you use a left-handed fountain pen, your writing position as a leftie will determine whether you’ll have a smudge issue or not. Understanding your writing style will help you avoid a smearing problem. Lefties usually adopt three writing styles: underwriting, overwriting, and side writing.
Underwriter Definition: Underwriters usually write with their wrist below the baseline. This is an ideal writing angle for left-handed people, as it allows you to write without pushing or pulling the pen on the paper.
Overwriter Definition: Overwriters write with their wrist over the baseline. As a left-handed overwriter, there is a potential for smearing the page because of your writing angle.
Side Writer Definition: Side writers write with their hands at an angle too steep for optimal ink flow. Their writing style has the most potential for smearing because they hold the nib parallel to the paper.
Things to Note When Choosing a Left Handed Fountain Pen
To get the best writing experience with your fountain pen, there are some things you have to take note of when buying a left-handed fountain pen, including the following:
The fountain pen nib is an essential part of the fountain pen, and it is the bedrock of a fountain pen’s performance. You cannot use a nib designed for right-handed people as a leftie, and you must find a nib just for you.
The left-handed nib is a nib explicitly created for left-handed writers. This nib is cut in the opposite direction of a regular nib. One of the best fountain pen nibs is the LAMY left-handed nib.
The LAMY left-handed nib is similar to the medium nibs created by LAMY, and it has a round head to prevent scratchy lines. It is set apart from other medium nibs because of its slight oblique nature. Since most lefties hold their pen at an opposite angle than righties, the oblique nature of the nib is needed when the pen is held at this angle.
This stainless steel nib is firm and solid, unlike the gold nib that is soft and flexible. The firmness of the nib is ideal for left-handed writers who push rather than pull their pen across the page and is preferable for left-handed overwriters and side writers.
One of the challenges left-handed people face when writing is the time it takes for their ink to dry. When the ink takes longer to dry, there is a higher tendency of smearing ink everywhere on the page.
Some people find it helpful to use a fountain pen with fast-drying ink to avoid smudging. For fast-drying inks, try the Bernanke blue from the Bernanke line. They are specifically crafted to penetrate paper quickly, rendering them smudge-free.
When paired with a fine nib, the ink will dry faster, although there is a risk of feathering. If you want fast-drying ink without the dangers of feathering, try the LAMY blue ink. It dries faster than other inks, even with a fine nib.
Grip of the Pen
For a leftie that writes for long sessions, you need a pen you can grip comfortably that allows you to write for hours without hand cramps. Fountain pens need to be held at a specific angle to make writing more effective.
At certain angles, you only need a little bit of pressure to get the ink onto the writing paper. To achieve this as a left-handed writer, you need a pen with an ergonomic grip. Ergonomic grip pens allow for proper placement of the finger to give you a better writing experience.
Fountain pen users need to choose their writing paper the same way they would their ink or nib, with careful consideration. Due to the water-based quality of fountain ink, you can’t just use any type of paper to write.
Thin papers cause the ink to spread across the page, i.e., feathering. Most of the regular paper we have today can’t hold fountain ink. When choosing a fountain pen-friendly paper, it must allow the nib to glide smoothly across the paper without getting snagged. An example of this is the Rhodia paper or notepad.
Best Left Handed Fountain Pen for Writers
LAMY Safari Fountain Pen
The LAMY Safari for lefties is a beginner-friendly model option for those who don’t know anything about fountain pens. It comes with a refill cartridge and a flared grip that allows you to hold the pen in a way that doesn’t tire you out. It is also a cheap and affordable option for beginners.
TWSBI ECO Fountain Pen
Although it is larger than the LAMY Safari, it is still comfortable enough for lefties with a small hand. It has a slightly more flexible nib than the Safari pen but isn’t uncomfortable for left-handed people. The ECO Fountain Pen comes with a triangular grip that guides your fingers when writing, making it effortless to use.
Pelikan Pelikano Junior Left Handed Fountain Pen
The Pelikan Pelikano pen was explicitly made with children in mind. The rubber grip of the Pelikano Junior is for comfort and prevents rotation of the pen. It has a stainless steel nib designed for lefties. However, it isn’t advisable for adult use because of the size.
PILOT Vanishing Point Decimo Fountain Pen
The Decimo Fountain Pen is known as one of the best retractable fountain pens in the world. It is perfect for writing for long periods without fatigue. It comes with a rhodium-plated 18KT gold retractable nib.
This nib comes in four different sizes, allowing you to choose one that fits your unique needs. No matter what angle you’re writing from or what nib size you choose, you’re guaranteed to have a smooth writing experience. It also has an ink cartridge as well as an ink converter.
Custom Heritage 912 Fountain Pen by PILOT
The Custom Heritage is a lightweight pen with a Waverly nib, slightly upturned at the tip. It gives the writer a vast writing angle advantage. The PILOT Fountain Pen is perfect for fountain pen users and is one of the few fountain pens suited for writing music. It also comes with an ink converter and cartridge.
Tips on Becoming a Better Left Handed Writer
- Keep your wrists straight and write with your hand below the baseline to avoid getting a hooked wrist.
- Pull your pen rather than push it across the paper.
- Place your paper at a proper angle, as the paper should be tilted to the right at 30-40° to allow you to see the page clearly and avoid smearing ink.
- Always use your right hand for stability.
- Adopt a tripod grip that allows you to hold your pen more firmly in your hand. In this method, you are required to hold your pen in between your thumb and index finger while resting the pen on the knuckle of your middle finger. This method favors smooth ink flow and allows you to write fluidly across the page.
About 10% of the world’s population is left-handed, and less than 10% of them use fountain pens. Given that fountain pen users are a relatively small group to begin with, this isn’t too surprising.
Now that there are more left-handed fountain pen models globally, it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to find the perfect fit. Having the right fountain pen with the proper grip, ink, and nib will assist you significantly on your writing journey.