My Newest Addiction - Penmanship

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by gryphon1911, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Top Veteran

    Feb 6, 2015
    Central Ohio, USA
    I've always envied others who had very good hand writing. I've also appreciated the calligraphic art forms.

    For the longest time I never thought that I could have good hand writing, let alone be able to write in another hand altogether.

    Well, 2 weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to jump out of my comfort zone and do both. With the winter weather in this region, sometimes being outside is not an option, so I wanted something other than photography to do.

    I initially thought that I would give calligraphy a go, so got a few calligraphy pens and markers and paper. Did research and joined some forums specific to the art form. I'm currently teaching myself the Roman capitals(for upper case) and italic (for lowercase). Links provided for examples. Roman capitals are far more complex than you'd think.

    I'm well on my way and quite happy with my progress so far.

    Then, I snooped about the forums in other threads and started taking interest in improving my cursive. It is so bad, that I abandoned it years ago to make sure that anyone who needed to could read my hand writing.

    I decided to pick it back up. I started doing research and looking for ways to improve my penmanship.

    Another issue that I had was hand cramping writing cursive for long periods of time.

    Then I discovered fountain pens. Talk about the ability to get GAS all over again. lol.
    So far, I've gotten 3. Pilot makes a disposable fountain pen called Varsity for $5. Talk about a whole different writing experience!! It was love at first letter!!

    From there I ordered a Pilot Metropolitan. This is a re-usable fountain pen that uses ink cartridges or a refill converter. $15 on Amazon. Such a quality writer for the price. The thing is, the Japanese tip sizes (nibs) run small compared to the nibs made in Europe/NorthAmerica. While the pens write beautifully, they also make very fine lines, which are sometimes not desirable.
    I was at an office supply store and they had a Franklin-Covey Freemont medium nib for $15, so picked that up. I definitely see myself liking the larger tip size more.

    The images below are manufacturer's product shots and not mine, but they are teh exact pens I have.


    Pilot Metro


    Pilot Varsity


    Franklin Covey Freemont

    I keep the disposable on me all the time and journal with the other 2 at home.

    Prices range all over the place, just like camera gear. I've seen pens as cheap as $3 adn even ones more expensive than the last used car I bought.

    From MontBlanc $9,600 Meisterstuck 90 Years Skeleton 149 Fountain Pen

    I could go into a whole other discussion on paper.

    So now, I've got a writing and fountain pen GAS problem. lol.

    So anyone else get sucked into analog writing?
    • Like Like x 3
  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    My memory of using a fountain pen (several decades ago) was that they didn't flow as smoothly as a ball point pen. Was I just using a bad one or improper technique? I certainly don't want to pick up your new hobby, but I am curious. I have experienced great ball point pens and understand how one could appreciate the experience enough to go down that rabbit hole.
  3. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    I make a point of taking longhand notes in meetings, etc. It keeps me "grounded" and makes a quirky statement in the circles I frequent, where the iPad is the norm. Trouble is, if someone is sitting in front of you fiddling with a tablet there is always the suspicion that they might just be playing Candy Crush instead of capturing your every word...

    I used a Montblanc Platinum Meisterstuck Grande for years but recently sold it (to fund the X-Pro2) and am happier than I have been for years with a fifteen quid Lamy fountain pen. I am sinistral and I started using fountain pens to slow me down and make me think, which meant my handwriting was neater than it was with a ballpoint. Today my handwriting is distinctive, but a little illegible when I speed up - perhaps I ought to look into this myself...
  4. john m flores

    john m flores All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    As a lefty, I envy you.
  5. I've always enjoyed nicer pens, although I never found fountain pens enjoyable.
  6. Richard

    Richard Top Veteran

    Feb 1, 2013
    Marlow, UK
    I have lousy handwriting and although I can see the appeal of using an elegant fountain pen, I can't help feeling that if I made that choice I'd still have lousy handwriting, plus occasional ink-related accidents.

  7. I love fountain pens and use them daily (but rather for drawing than writing):

    | 2015 – FOUNTAIN PEN DAY

    Have you discovered the infatuating world of inks yet? I have a few reviews on my site (just recently put my long-term evaluation of one):


    I have several fountain pens and even franken-made some myself:

    | PIERCE

    I guess you already discovered Fountain Pen Network, but if you haven't, you're in for a helluva ride:

    The Fountain Pen Network

    And for acquiring, I highly recommend Goulet Pens, they are really great:

    The Goulet Pen Company
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  8. And forgot to add, for inspiration in penmanship and drooling at impressive calligraphy, check out Leigh Reyes:

    Leigh Reyes. My Life As a Verb.

    I'll tease you with this video for example:

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  9. bartjeej

    bartjeej Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    We HAD to write with fountain pens in primary school. Being lefthanded and somewhat clumsy, I would always smudge my just-written words with my hand. Which made it even less likely that anyone would be able to decipher my truly awful handwriting (I can hardly read my old writings myself now!)... So no, fountain pens are not a happy memory for me ;-)
  10. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    The review is great, Milan. But even more than that, your art simply blows me away. I look forward to checking on your website when time permits to linger over your beautiful art a little longer.

    • Agree Agree x 2
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  11. Well thank you so much, Luke!
  12. ReD

    ReD Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    Official Warning - Fountain Pens are especially addictive
    Fortunately I managed to get mine on the affordable cheaper end of the scale and some of the cheapest of those were the nicest to write with
    some of my best writers are Reform 1745 / Pelikan 2000 - quite rare as it happens / and a slim Sheaffer balance

    For pure design enjoyment its the Wahl Eversharp Skyline
    • Like Like x 2
  13. grillec

    grillec Veteran

    Jan 16, 2014
    Well, my hand writing was very bad at primary school (and after) where we did use ink pens always. At begin it was forbidden to use something other. I've tested once a fountain pen, but not for long.
    At one time I was interested in calligraphy, too, so I've bought a few Rotring Art Pens.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
  14. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    I, too, have extremely questionable handwriting. I once had to call my wife on the cell phone because I couldn't read my own writing on a shopping list.

    A few years back, I got interested in italic handwriting using Osmiroid calligraphy pens and Osmiroid "incredibly black" ink. The result: incredibly black fingers and incredibly black spots on my pockets.

    Pictogramax, your artwork puts a grin on my face. You're probably familiar with the work of Hal Foster. I have several of his original Prince Valient books. If I could draw like that . . . (sigh).

    Cheers, Jock
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  15. I went through a fountain pen addiction phase 6-7 years ago. They did nothing to improve my handwriting skills and i no longer allow myself to go to fountain pen network or the Goulet's. I have better things to do with $99, like impulse buy a Fuji X10 when someone else notices them on eBay.
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  16. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Top Veteran

    Feb 6, 2015
    Central Ohio, USA
    I like the fact that I do not need to write with any pressure, the nibs glide over the paper, feel so smooth. If the nib and flow are not tuned properly, there can be issues with ink flow and smoothness.
    • Like Like x 2
  17. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    Here's a video I did yesterday in the local park in my car, of my four favorite Mont Blanc pens. Crude filming, but should be brief...

    • Like Like x 1
  18. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Top Veteran

    Feb 6, 2015
    Central Ohio, USA
    I liked the review, Dale. Thanks for sharing that.

    I have one Mont Blanc that I got back in 1997. It is very similar to this one:
    Request Failed

    Fine pen, was a gift from a consulting company I worked for as an anniversary gift.
  19. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    I had the Czar Nicholas II - a partly-gold partly-Malachite rollerball (large version) that I sold on eBay a few years ago. I would have kept it, but the gold (plated I suppose) part was accumulating scratches, so I got rid of it. Nice collector's item. I bought their big fountain pen in the 1980's, around $500-$600 in those days, but it leaked, so I gave up on fountain pens. I remember in high school we had some nifty pens (Sheaffer?) that took little plastic liquid-ink cartridges, and we even refilled some of them. I think there are some cartridge pens even today.
  20. Petach

    Petach Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2011
    UK, Essex
    Peter Tachauer
    ye gods........I have just returned from looking at your site. Man oh man, you have some great talent