Today, I thought I'd share why I've gone back to them but also what's not so good about them for me.
Why Fountain Pens Are Great
1. Goodbye hand cramp! Hello a proper pen grip!
With gel pens and biros, I have a nasty habit of pressing down a bit too hard and this causes me to get cramp. A definite inconvenience when attempting to take notes for an extended period of time. Fountain pens are ideal for me here because they encourage me to hold a pen properly and not exert too much pressure on the nib.
2. The feeling of sophistication
Having been enticed by fountain pens that cost a bit more than the entry level ones, I feel quite grown-up when using them for note-taking now. Two of my more sophisticated ones include this Pilot Vanishing Point in Raden and my Pelikan M400 in tortoiseshell. The latter has seen loads of use in my notes recently due to its ability to hold more ink than the other pens in my possession.
3. The choice. Design, nib, barrel colour, price, the list goes on!
We're all different and that's a wonderful thing about us humans. There'll be pens out there that you love the look of and then there are others that you will not be so enticed by. Two great examples are the Lamy Safari and Pilot Kakuno - both pretty affordable for the newbie user who doesn't want to shell out megabucks for a pen that may not work for them. They both come in a variety of colours and nib sizes so there'll surely be one that would appeal to you.
4. Inks are fun!
When I first got into fountain pens, I was overwhelmed by the different brands and colours of inks out there. However, this can only be a good thing - the sheer variety of inks mean that trying a new one is a bit of a buzz!
5. They are timeless.
Fountain pens are constantly evolving. For example, Lamy come out with a new 'limited edition' colour each year for their Safari and Al-Star pens. The fact that ink companies are also coming out with new inks each year should be further proof that fountain pens are here to stay.
1. Can be expensive.
Depending on whether you're a cartridge user or a converter user, ink can get pretty expensive. Cartridges tend to be more expensive once you work out the price per ml but ink bottles are more messy and more hassle. I use the best of both worlds - I keep old cartridges, wash them out and then fill them with bottled ink using syringes and needles. This way, I always have a cartridge in my pencil case in case ink runs out when away from home.
2. A daunting category of pen if you're a relative newbie.
When I first got into fountain pens seriously, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of brands and pen models. It's also hard to know what kind of fountain pen would be the perfect one: there are so many designs, colours, nibs and brands that choosing your first one can determine how deep you fall in love with fountain pens.
3. Nib sizes differ between brands and even within the same brand!
Shown above is a Pelikan extra fine, a Platinum fine and a Lamy Extra fine. The one that writes the finest is actually the Platinum and the one that writes the thickest line is the Pelikan extra fine. This can be frustrating if you can't get to a pen store to try before you buy.
After a heavy note taking or study session, I usually end up with ink on my fingers and side of my hands. Using bottled ink is also a messy affair!
5. The need for good quality paper.
Generally, 90gsm paper works better with fountain pen ink but I have found a few exceptions: Tomoe River Paper (the type of paper in Hobonichi planners) is amazing and Muji notebook paper is also pretty good (you can see an example above - the ink used is Diamine Blue-Black).
So, the first five are reasons why I've gone back to fountain pens and why I love them and the second five reasons are things I can deal with. Are you also fountain pen obsessed? If so, why? If not, what's put you off them so far?