The Complete Fountain Pen Guide: What Is a Fountain Pen, How To Write With One & More…
November 04, 2021

We’re living in the computer age, and putting pen to paper isn’t something we do as often as we used to. There is something satisfying about writing with a high quality pen, paired with a crisp, blank sheet of paper. To encourage yourself to write more, why not switch out your ballpoint pen for a fountain pen

Some of you may be thinking, “what is a fountain pen?”, as they aren’t commonly used these days. Fountain pens are elegant, and create smooth, rich lines when you write with one. It really enhances the writing process. They traditionally have metal nibs and use water based ink. Inside the pen is a small ink cartridge which holds the ink, and steadily releases it when the pen is used. We’re going to tell you how to write with a fountain pen, and take your writing to the next level.

How to Write with a Fountain Pen

A selection of premium pens are lined up on an open page of a dotted notebook.A selection of premium pens are lined up on an open page of a dotted notebook.

Writing with a fountain pen is slightly different from writing with a ballpoint pen, so we’ve got some handy tips for you to follow. 

Fountain pens don’t require you to apply as much pressure when writing. If you apply too much, it could damage or break the metal nib, and it would need replacing. 

Decide whether you want to write with the pen lid placed on the end of the pen, or completely off. Some people prefer to have the lid on the end of the pen as it feels more balanced. Be sure to experiment and see what feels best for you.

Holding the pen between your thumb and index finger is the optimal way to write with a fountain pen. It allows you to have complete control of the pen. Also, keep your little finger and palm resting against the surface you're writing on for balance. 

Writing with the pen at approximately a 40° angle should allow you to write with smooth flowing ink. If you’re writing and it sounds like the pen is scratching along the surface of your paper and feels like it’s catching, readjust the angle. Continuing to write this way would damage the nib and look messy, you don’t want that!

How to Clean a Fountain Pen

Cleaning your fountain pen is important if you want it to continue functioning well, and last a long time. 

It’s recommended that you clean your fountain pen around 4 times per year. Perhaps more if you aren’t using it frequently. If fountain pens aren’t used often they can dry out. Cleaning them properly can help with this. Follow these simple steps to keep your fountain pen clean and working well.

1. Remove the ink cartridge and run the front of the pen, including the nib, under warm water.

2. When the water runs clear, place the nib in a mug of warm water for at least 2 hours. This will help loosen any dry ink.

3. Shake out any water and gently wipe clean with a microfibre cloth.

4. Leave to dry overnight. Wrap the pen in some kitchen roll to absorb any excess water.

Fountain Pen Buying Guide: Which Fountain Pen Should I Buy?

A silver premium pen is lying in a box and next to it is a gold premium pen.A silver premium pen is lying in a box and next to it is a gold premium pen.

The Best Fountain Pens for Beginners

For our fountain pen newbies on a budget, the Pilot V Fountain Pen (£4.99) with a medium nib is ideal. Available in a variety of colours, this disposable fountain pen is perfect for those looking to dip their toes into the world of writing with a fountain pen. Don’t be fooled by this pen’s modest look and price, it produces smooth ink for skip free, and fluid writing.

If you’re looking for a pen that you can reuse, then the Helix Oxford Fountain Pen (£8.99) should be at the top of your list. Comfortable to hold, and with a premium steel tip, this pen has excellent writing control and is perfect for beginners. The Helix Oxford Fountain Pen is compatible with all standard ink cartridges.

The Best Fountain Pens for Gifts

Fountain pens are such elegant pieces of stationery that make brilliant gifts. They will always be well received, everyone needs a pen to write with!

The Cross Bailey Medalist Fountain Pen (£39.99) is a beautiful silver and gold fountain pen. This sophisticated pen provides professional quality at an affordable price. It has a smooth lacquer finish and a stainless steel medium nib. Plus, it comes with a lifetime mechanical guarantee, so it will be appreciated for years to come. Also, for an extra £5, you can have this fountain pen engraved, making it an even more personal gift.

For those looking for a high-end, luxury fountain pen to give as a gift, look no further than the Parker Sonnet Matt Black CT Fountain Pen (£134.99). This elegant pen has been intricately designed to deliver perfect results every time you use it. It has been coated in satin effect, matte black resin with palladium finish trims. You will be extremely popular with whoever you give this fountain pen to, especially as this pen can also be engraved for an extra £5.

A fountain pen is an investment, and something to put thought into before buying. You can find our full range of fountain pens here, and don’t forget the ink!