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Can Left-handers Use Fountain Pens?


Of course, lefties can use fountain pens. When using a fountain pen, however, a left-hand dominant writer’s hand always seems to find a way over the newly written ink, smudging their work. This problem has brought about the idea that lefties can’t use fountain pens. However, this thought isn’t true. Smearing your work across your paper is only a problem to be solved. It doesn’t mean a southpaw can’t use a fountain pen; it only means that left-handers must do a few things to fix the problem.

 Even though there aren’t specific left-handed fountain pen designs, southpaws should experiment with different fountain pen nibs, inks, and papers. While one left-handed writer may like a thin barrel and flexible gold nib, another may prefer a thick grip with a stainless steel nib. Again, it’s all a matter of experimentation and personal preference when finding a desirable fountain pen to fit you.

 The way lefties hold their pen affects their penmanship. Left-handers use techniques that have higher smudge rates than right-handers. In addition, specific ways lefties write can lead to a higher likelihood of ink smearing. An example would be holding your pen in the hook style. Next, we’ll look at how southpaws hold their pens. The best way to avoid smudging is to write carefully and allow the ink to dry.

Writing with a fountain pen left-handed

As lefties, we spend our lives conforming to the right-handed world. When it comes to fountain pens, whether scissors, desks, or clashing elbows at the table, lefties are on a level plane with righties. Lefties must do just a few things to write well with a fountain pen.

Left-handed writing styles

​ There are several writing styles left-handers adopt, each type with its level of comfort.

Underwriter– This is the most adaptive style. With this preference, the writer holds their nibs perpendicular to the writing line. They position their hand underneath their writing and can use any pen or ink without smudging or flow problems.

Sidewriter– These lefties hold their nibs parallel to the writing line. With their hands in this position, they often end up running their hand across the freshly written ink. Side writers have smearing and feedback problems because their pen angle can be too severe for optimal ink flow. As a result, they are most prone to problems caused by pushing the pen across the paper.

Some solutions side writers can use to relieve writing stress would be:

  • Turn their paper at a slight angle
  • Try a drier ink
  • Use more absorbent paper that sucks in ink.

Overwriter– These lefties are also called hook-handed writers. They hook their hands over the top of their work. As a result, it can seem they write upside-down. Overwriters also have smearing issues. Their pen angle is rough because they hold their pen too far upright.

Some solutions for Overwriters are: to relieve their typical troubles would be to

  • Turn their paper at an angle
  • Adjust their writing style
  • Ease up on their pen angle
  • Try a wetter flowing ink
  • Back off their grip a little bit to hold the pen farther back

 Below are some tips for all lefties writing with fountain pens. Lefties can have more issues than righties don’t, and the information below will help with these issues.

  •  Use wetter inks in finer nibs. De Atramentis Sherlock Holmes ink and Pilot Metropolitan Fine nib are examples of the ink and nibs you might want to try.
  •  Use drier inks in wetter nibs.  If you like bold writing, try a drier ink less prone to smudging, like the Pelikan 4001 inks or the Graf von Faber-Castell inks. Conversely, a wet nib allows a generous amount of ink to flow onto the paper.
  •   Find the right paper, pen, and ink trio. A Paper brand such as Leuchtturm1917 tends to work well because it’s absorbent. You can purchase sampler sets of paper to test different absorbencies to see which works best for you.
  •   Focus on your grip. A comfortable fountain pen allows maintenance of stability across the page, decreasing any chance of smudging the ink. This process means you’ll be able to write quickly for as long as desired.
  • Be aware of the pressure on the fountain pen. Fountain pens can’t withstand much pressure. Heavy pressure will make the ink pool on the paper, can cause nib damage, and misalign the tines. Heavy stress can also cause hand fatigue, making it a considerable challenge to write with consistency.
  •  Avoid Smudging. Lefties are famous for smearing their ink. Instead, you should choose a method of holding your hand and pen in a position that works well and avoids smearing the ink.

Tips to avoid smudging the ink

  •  Avoid using the hook style. This style pushes ink and pen across the paper toward the stroke, which is the trouble with left-handed writers with any pen or pencil.
  •  ​Don’t angle your paper to the side when writing. A slight angle is okay, but try not to turn your paper entirely to the side.
  • Avoid soft or movable writing surfaces. A stable, hard writing surface is vital for using a fountain pen. When writing with your fountain pen, you should place your paper on a tabletop, desk, or other solid writing space to keep your paper from shifting.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Using your pen often makes for excellent work. Once you get used to your pen and the ink flow, you’ll be able to do fantastic writing with your fountain pen. Even doodling with your fountain pen will help you find the best way to hold and use your pen.

Fountain Pens for Lefties

Fountain pens aren’t explicitly designed for southpaws. However, some offer unique features that accommodate left-handed writing styles.

Ergonomic fountain pens can provide a unique grip that creates a larger slant or angle. These features can help writers avoid smudging ink. In addition, the triangular shape of these pens forces fingers to hold them in a way that keeps the hand away from wet ink. Some ergonomic pens also offer finger supports that allow the writer to see the line of writing.

Fast-drying inks also help lefties avoid smudging. In addition, They also allow the writer to feel more at ease while writing. Lefties should experiment with various brands to ensure their ink choice meets the level of the desired feathering.

Finer point nibs create thinner lines that will dry faster. These nibs allow the left hand to glide across the paper and alleviate flow issues. Lefties should avoid sub or flex nibs because they can promote smudging problems.

Try several types of paper. Several options are available: satin finish, classic composition, or lightweight versions. Your choice of paper, pen, ink, and nib will make for smooth, clean writing.


​Left-handed writers use and enjoy fountain pens just like righties despite believing that lefties can’t write with fountain pens. Southpaws can reduce smudging concerns by simply adjusting their hand position. In addition, experimenting with different pens, papers, and inks can make using a fountain pen, when matched with a comfortable writing style, provides a pleasurable experience.

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