Does Handedness Matter When Writing With Fountain Pens?

When using fountain pens, there is always a group of writers that struggle a bit more than others. We are, of course, talking about our left-handed fountain pen users. Writing with a fountain pen — or any pen really — is different for left-handers, and this can come with certain challenges. 


Despite these challenges (or perhaps minor inconveniences), fountain pens continue to be a wonderful writing instrument no matter one’s handedness. In fact, left-handed nibs and fountain pens were designed to help make the writing experience better, no matter which hand you write with. 


However, one can’t help but wonder whether handedness really matters when writing with fountain pens. Not only do left-handers have to worry about ink smearing as they write across the page, but the nib angle may be different for them too. 


Here, we’ll focus more on the concerns that left-handed writers have and how to work around them — only then can we determine whether handedness really matters when writing with fountain pens. 


Using fountain pens as a left-handed writer

Many people wonder if left-handed people can truly have the same writing experience as right-handers when using fountain pens. The answer is yes — you can us a fountain pen if you’re left handed! 


Because it's widely believed that left-handed folks will simply smudge the ink all over, fountain pens are sometimes prohibited from being used by them. If you write with your left hand, you may have even tried using fountain pens in the past and had this experience! Contrary to popular belief, however, the fact that you write with your left hand has less to do with this than your technique.


Issues that left-handers face when writing with fountain pens

Smudging ink over the page is the main problem left-handed fountain pen writers encounter. Since English is one of many languages that are written from left to right, left-handed fountain pen users must be aware of their writing hand dragging through the wet ink. Additionally, the ink used in fountain pens is liquid-based, which normally dries more slowly than ballpoint ink.


Solutions to left-handed issues

A great way to remedy this is by using tools such as a writing mat that you can place your hand on as you write. This prevents your moist skin from coming into contact with dried ink, leading to smudges. 


Fountain pens used to have soft, flexible nibs in the past. When writing with a fountain pen left-handed, this created problems. When writing, left-handed people frequently push their pens rather than pull them; this allows for left-to-right writing. But when pushed over the page, the flexible nibs frequently pulled apart, causing smearing, untidy writing, and an unappealing experience all around.


Nowadays, the majority of fountain pens have a firm nib, which is consoling for lefties. However, it’s best to do the following when selecting a left-handed fountain pen:

  • Use quick-drying ink, such as the Quink fountain pen ink from Parker 
  • Use a pen with a fine, steel nib
  • Get a pen with an ergonomic grip
  • Using normal paper versus fountain pen-friendly paper


These bits of advice are not set in stone because every writer is unique, but they can serve as great tips, especially for beginners.


Other tips

  • Place the paper you are writing on to the left of your body. As a result, you will be able to see what you are writing clearly as you go.
  • Adjust the paper's angle such that your arm forms a straight angle with the bottom edge. Although it may seem strange at first, this will benefit you in the long term. Write with a straight wrist and your hand below the writing line.
  • To steady your paper, use your right hand. As a result, writing is less likely to slide or shift while being done. Writing with a left handed fountain pen requires a steady piece of paper.
  • Instead of pushing your pen across the paper, try pulling it. You can prevent damaging your ballpoint or nib by doing this. This will help maintain the condition of your nib.
  • Place your thumb, index, and middle fingers together to hold the pen. This may require some practice and feel awkward at first, but it will be well worth it in the end.
  • Some people find that writing on a sloped surface is helpful. This prevent them from resting their hand on the paper and smearing the ink.
  • Some left-handers benefit from using a left-handed fountain pen nib. 

Left-handed fountain pens

There are also left-handed nibs available on the market. Only a few fountain pen manufacturers offer left-handed nibs. The distinction is that the nib is shaped differently than a typical nib.


You can try a left-handed fountain pen. However if your technique needs work, you might still experience the same issue. You can quickly fall in love with the smooth writing with a fountain pen with a little practice, and you won't ever again feel constrained by your left hand. 


So, does handedness matter?

At this point, you may be wondering about the question we started with: does handedness matter when writing with fountain pens? To give a short answer, yes, it does. It matters in the sense that there are several adjustments that left-handed writers have to make in order to write without any issues. 


However, that doesn’t mean that left-handed fountain pen writers cannot have a smooth and enjoyable fountain pen writing experience. Fountain pens are enjoyed universally, whether you use them for journaling, note-taking, sketching, or other purposes. 


With that said, whether you are a leftie or a rightie, happy writing!



Written by EndlessPens Blogger Ramona Kabigting

Author: RamonaTutorial

1 comment


Hi, I’m a lefty, and sometimes I do smear ink. Some inks and pens and papers are treacherous, but i still use them. I have a blotter around always just in case. But most modern inks dry pretty fast, so I can use my fancy papers and super wet pens and have a great experience. I do own 2 “lefty” fountain pens. I don’t find them any easier to use than the others.

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