How to Hold a Fountain Pen: A Complete Guide

Imagine someone gifted you a beautiful fountain pen or you liked and purchased one, but now the problem is you don’t know how to hold a fountain pen properly. Yes, you cannot hold a fountain pen like you hold a pencil or ballpoint pen.

Fountain pens offer bold and vivid lines with a smooth flow, but if you don’t hold them properly, then it will be hard to write with them.

Some might think this is not essential, but holding a fountain pen in the right way is quite important as it can help you in writing flawlessly without any interruption.

There is a certain way of holding a fountain pen, and you will get to know about it in this article below.

What Is the Right Way to Hold a Fountain Pen?

Holding a fountain pen is different from holding a ballpoint pen or pencil. We mostly use the tripod grip while holding a ballpoint pen, but for a fountain pen, we need to hold it at a certain angle so that the ink flows smoothly.

First, hold the center of the fountain pen firmly between your thumb and index finger. Keep the other three fingers on the paper to make your hand stable. Rest the barrel of the pen against the middle finger.

You can remove the cap while writing or can attach it at the back of the pen. Now rest the nib on the paper and form a 45-degree angle with the writing surface by adjusting your fountain pen between the fingers.

Don’t hold them too low or at a too-high angle and apply slight pressure on the nib.

How to Hold a Fountain Pen if You Are Left-Handed?

Many fountain pens are advertised as “fountain pens for left-handed people”, but the truth is that there is no difference between right-handed and left-handed fountain pens.

They all are the same and don’t come with extra features for left-handed people. So you need to learn how to hold a fountain pen left-handed instead.

The problem commonly faced while writing with the left hand is the smudging of the ink. When you move your hand from left to right while writing, the side of your hands weeps over the fountain pen ink before it dries and therefore smudges the lines. To avoid this, you need to write in a certain style.

You can write either in underwriting or overwriting style. In underwriting, you need to keep your hand under the line while writing to avoid smearing of the ink. In overwriting, you need to make a hook shape with your hand and hold the pen above the writing line.

While writing with the left hand, pull the pen across the paper instead of pushing it, as this may scratch the nib and stop the ink from flowing smoothly.

How to Use a Fountain Pen?

There are many essential steps you need to follow while using a fountain pen. Let us explain them.

Types of Fountain Pen: There are 3 types of fountain pens, and you need to know which type of fountain pen you are using or will use as they differ in the ink refill method.

  • Cartridge Fountain Pen: These pens are used with pre-filled ink cartridges that can be replaced when the ink runs out. Most of the people use cartridge pens, as they can be easily refilled.
  • Converter Fountain Pen: Some fountain pens come with a reusable converter cartridge. They contain a small piston that helps to draw in ink from a bottle of fountain ink into the cartridge. You can use a variety of ink colors with this converter fountain pen.
  • Built-in Filling System Fountain Pen: These fountain pens come with a built-in filling system (piston or vacuum), which lets you fill the pen directly from the ink bottle. They have a large ink capacity than other types of fountain pens.

Refill the Ink of the Pen: After knowing the types of fountain pens you are using, you need to refill the ink. For cartridge pens, you need to unscrew the grip section of the pen from the barrel and remove the ink cartridge.

Now take a new cartridge and push the small end side of the cartridge into the grip section until it clicks and places firmly. If you are using a converter or piston fountain pen, then remove the cap and barrel of the pen and dip the whole nib into the ink jar.

Next, twist the end knob of the fountain pen until the piston extends fully. Now, twist the knob in the opposite direction to draw ink from the ink bottle into the pen.

Select the Nib: You will find a variety of fountain pen nibs for everyday use. There are round nibs for creating uniform lines, small nibs for making thinner lines, and italic nibs for narrow and wider lines. You can easily get the top rated flex nib fountain pen to create perfect strokes.

Start Writing: Hold the fountain pen in the right way as explained above, and start writing by keeping your hand rigid. Apply gentle pressure while writing. Otherwise, the nib of the pen will be damaged. Place the pointed nib properly and evenly on the paper and make few light strokes.

Continue practicing until you get a smooth flow and your sweet spot. Avoid rotating the nib of the fountain pen as this will scratch the nib, and you will miss the smooth flow. Therefore, the sweet spot will be lost.

I will suggest the beginners start their journey by purchasing the best fountain pen under $100 and practice with it to improve their writing skills.

Clean It: If you want your fountain pen to perform well, then you need to flush the pen and its nib every 1 to 2 months. Moreover, it is necessary to flush it before using a different ink color or another type of ink.


A fountain pen offers an amazing and unique writing experience. Daily use, calligraphy, and art are the best for all kinds of writings. Choosing the fountain pen and nib is quite essential, but you also need to know how to hold a pen properly for a continuous and smooth flow.

With frequent fountain pen writing practice, the motion will slowly improve and you will be more comfortable writing with it.