Calligraphy is a hobby that has more and more followers every day. If you are reading this post, probably writing has already caught your attention. To start writing and develop your calligraphic skills you will need new instruments and materials. But choosing your first fountain pen can be a difficult decision. Which fountain pen should I buy? Which writing brand is the best to start? Which aspects should I take into account when choosing a fountain pen? Which are the most affordable brands?
If you have never used a fountain pen before, you might not know how it works, nor the different parts. For instance, the nib and the filling system should be taken into account when choosing your first fountain pen. You will find further information about the anatomy of a fountain pen here.
Let’s see why is so important for choosing your first fountain pen:
Nib. it will be the part that will determine the stroke of your calligraphy. The size of the nib should be chosen depending on your handwriting. The most common nib sizes are Extra Fine (EF), Fine (F), Medium (M) and Broad (B). Fine nibs are for people with smaller and clearer handwriting since their fine lines prevent them from joining. A Medium or Broad nib is recommended for those with long handwriting. Its tip is usually wet, allowing the user to adapt easily to a quicker writing rhythm. It is the ideal nib for those to want a fountain pen for signing, calligraphy, or showcasing inks. Check this article to find more information. If artistic calligraphy is what really interests you, maybe you’d rather trying a Flex, Music, Zoom or a Goccia nib, since they are used to vary the line-width by modifying the pressure while writing.
Filling system. The most common options you will find are the following ones:
Cartridge. Likely the best option if you are a beginner. They are easy to carry, to set inside your fountain pen and to replace them. Although in the long term they could be more expensive, the initial expense is affordable.
Converter. You can fill your fountain pen with cartridges or use a converter that is filled manually with ink thanks to the plunger they feature. Thus, you can have access to a greater number of inks and colors than using cartridges. If you need some help to choose the converter that fits in your fountain pen, do not hesitate to contact us.
Piston filler. Pens with this filling system are inserted directly into the inkwell and the ink tank starts to fill up by turning the piston at the back of the pen.
It is well worth remembering that fountain pens are objects conceived to last over time, so finding a pen that you like aesthetically and that suits our style is quintessential if you want to keep it for many years.
Having said that, our recommendation for those who are taking up calligraphy and writing is to start with budget-friendly yet well performing pens. Once used to writing with fountain pens, surely you will opt for higher-quality options that will allow you to expand your creative options.
Lamy Safari is one of the most known models on the market: for over 40 years these German-design pieces have been on the market. Lamy Safari collection is made up of fountain pens in the range of “student pens” for their ease of use and comfortwhen transporting.
With a plastic body, this collection features a “triangle grip area” that forces you to hold the pen correctly. Its stainless steel nib is available in various sizes including one called “LH”, that is adapted for left-handed people.
The loading system of this piece is by cartridges, or converter, which can be purchased separately.
Twsbi is a Taiwanese brand that has revolutionized the low-priced fountain pen market with its fantastic quality-price ratio. The Twsbi Eco collection features stainless steel nibs for a smooth and precise writing experience.
Their piston filling system is an unusual luxury in low-priced pens, since this mechanism tends to increase the prices.
Another notable feature is the transparent plastic of the body that allows you to see the ink inside the piece. This kind of piece is called “demonstrator” and those who own a demonstrator point out that each time you change the color of the ink is like using a new fountain pen since the aesthetics turns completely different.
The Kaweco Frosted Sport collection is another good option for beginners. They are comfortable, easy to use and feature a comfortable grip zone.
A striking feature of this collection is the hexagonal shape of the cap. This peculiar design prevents the fountain pen from rolling when it is placed on the table and not in use. But when the cap is uncapped, we discover the typical cylindrical shape of a writing instrument.
The nib of this collection is made of stainless steel and the loading system is by cartridges or converter, which should be purchased separately.
Aurora is an Italian brand that enjoys great prestige among writing enthusiasts as it is one of the few brands that still manufactures its own nibs. If you are looking for your first fountain pen, we recommend two of their most affordable collections: Aurora Style and Aurora Ipsilon Demo Colors. Both collections come in a small case with an ink cartridge included.
Aurora Ipsilon Demo Colors is one of the most colorful Aurora collections, each pen is made of a different brightly colored resin. However, the grip section is transparent so that you can see how the ink flows to the nib.
Visconti Breeze pieces are also Italian-designed, and they stand out for the liveliness and color nuances of its vegetable resin body. The grip area is also made of the same material, but a metal ring separates it from the barrel.
The pieces in this collection have a stainless steel nib made in Germany, which guarantees smooth and precise writing. It can be used either with cartridges or converter, that should be purchased separately.
Pelikan is one of the brands with more enthusiasts in its ranks, and the Pelikan 200 and Pelikan 205 collection is undoubtedly the best one for those who are taking up calligraphy.
With the traditional Pelikan-shaped clip and a wide variety of colors available, the fountain pens included in this collection stand out for their stainless steel gold-plated nib that glides over the paper with total smoothness. In addition, they feature a piston-filling system so it is not necessary to buy any converter, just your favorite ink.
In addition, these pieces come in a special synthetic leather case with a bow to match the color of the pen.
The pens of this collection have an interesting anodized aluminum finish which gives them a firmer weight and exquisite carriage compared to those ones which are made of plastic. Its design feels robust when holding the pen in your hands; so much that this fountain pen was awarded with the ISOT 2019 as the best stationery instrument of the year.
Something to bear in mind if we choose Platinum Procyon is that the nib (made of flexiblestainless steel) is Japanese so the nib point is thinner than in European nibs. In other words, the F would correspond to the usual European EF.
This model includes neither the cartridge nor the converter.
MY FIRST JAPANESE FOUNTAIN PEN
If your budget is higher, and if you'd rather trying a Japanese gold nib or the beauty of a Maki-e, we would suggest...
Pilot Capless fountain pens are well known for its retractable closure system. Our customers, both collectors and amateurs, highlight that these excellent-performing pieces are among their favorites for every situation. This is also due to their great quality 18K rhodied gold nib.
The barrel of Pilot Capless can be found made of several materials, but they all share the same aesthetics. Something that never changes, it is the position of the clip in the gripping area, instead of being situated in the cap, as we are used to. This allows the user to know the orientation of the nib even when the piece remains closed, as well as it eases a correct gripping and hand posture when writing.
They can be used with cartridges or converter, which is usually include with the piece.
The nipon country is well known for the accuracy of its writing instruments, since Kanji characters require high-quality fountain pens to be written. Platinum is one of the most renowned brands in Japan, and its Modern Maki-e collection is one of our favorites due to their excellent value for money.
The Maki-e Technique is a traditional japanese painting technique. Master artisans decorate the fountain pen before lacquering it to harden it. In the Modern Maki-e Collection by Platinum, this ancient technique is renewed when combined with modern screen printing techniques. As a result, the pieces of this collection are affordable, yet incredibly beautiful.
If you are interested in getting a beautiful japanese Maki-e piece as your first fountain pen, this collection is the perfect one.
Moreover, these pieces feature a 18K gold nib, which secures a softer and smoother writing.
They do not include a converter, but it can be bought separately.
If you need further information to choose your fountain pen for beginners, do not hesitate to contact us. It is our pleasure to assist you.