For someone who enjoys writing with a physical pen and paper as much as I do, I was admittedly late to the fountain pen game. A year or two ago, my dad sent me a link to ipenstore.com because they have a storefront in Dexter he wanted to visit. I signed up for their newsletter and we headed to the store on his next visit, where he and the owner connected over their shared love of fountain pens and exchanging the names of their favorite manufacturers. (My dad used to work in an art supplies store in Grand Rapids.) My daughter and I passed the time staring at rows and rows of gorgeous, colorful pens, and I suddenly had a new item on my wish list.
Even after deciding that I wanted a fountain pen, it took me a while to actually buy one. There are so many options and so many price points that I was a little intimidated - I didn't want to spend a significant chunk of money on one only to find that I hated writing with it.
Luckily, the store's newsletter delivered exactly the right information. One of them had a feature on the Lamy Safari Fountain Pen, which was on sale for less than $30 and was described as a great introductory option due to its comfortable grip and smooth writing capability. I took the plunge and ordered it.
One important note: The nib of a fountain pen may look similar to that of a calligraphy pen, but the nib of a fountain pen doesn't flex. It can't create the different weights of upstrokes and downstrokes like a calligraphy pen can. The writing experience is more closely comparable to writing with a ballpoint or a gel pen.
- Refillable ink: This is one of the main pros for any fountain pen. Sure, they cost more than a package of Bic ballpoints at Target, but after the initial purchase you can just buy replacement ink cartridges. This gives you complete control over the color of the ink and contributes much less plastic to your local landfill in the long run. Win-win!
- Smooth writing: These are such a pleasure to write with. The pen just glides over the paper. It also shows up well on the page (I bought the fine nib, for reference):
- Comfortable to hold: The pen is nice and wide, meaning it's very comfortable to hold in your hand. It doesn't feel like I have to grip it too hard to control it as I write.
- The ink takes a little while to dry: This is the downside of the smooth glide, I think - the ink is very wet, which means it takes longer than a typical ballpoint or gel pen to dry on the page. This is okay if you're writing notes or a first draft of a story or something; as long as the ink stays exposed to the air, it's no problem. However, if I use this pen to jot a quick note in my planner and then close it up, I find that it smudges and transfers onto the opposite page pretty easily.
- The nib sometimes leaks: The above issue can be solved by being mindful of which instances you use the fountain pen vs. a normal ballpoint or gel pen. This issue is a little trickier, and I must confess I haven't found a solution to this one. The more I use this pen, the more prone the nib is to leaking a little at the location pictured here:
I'm hooked. I took most of my notes for the Leverage Your Art course with this pen just because it's so fun to write with. I get ink/paint/pastel/etc. on my hands no matter what I'm doing, so I'm not too fussed about the little leak at the top.