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Left-handed Writers and Fountain Pens

While there is a common perception that fountain pens are problematic for left-handers, the truth is that lefties love fountain pens. In fact, left-handers tend to own fountain pens at a higher rate than their percentage of the population might otherwise indicate.

The perception that fountain pens are problematic for left-handers probably dates from the era when many fountain pens were equipped with flexible or semi-flexible nibs, which can pose challenges for some (but not all) lefties. Most modern fountain pens, however, ship with rigid nibs that are both smoother-writing on the page and also easier for writers of all kinds, including lefties, to use.

That said, there is one significant issue facing left-handed fountain pen users - in any language such as English that is written from left to right, writers have to develop a strategy to avoid dragging the pen hand through the drying ink. Most writers do this so easily and instinctively that they don't even think about it - the photos below on this page illustrate the various writing styles utilized by left-handers.

Knowing what kind of left-handed writer you are helps John when he tunes a pen for your individual writing preferences and characteristics - with a few seemingly simple adjustments, most any pen and nib combinations can be made to work. Please consult the photos below - and if the method you use is not shown here, let us know that as well.


Michael McCarthy is an underwriter. His writing line slopes downward at about 20 degrees. He is holding his pen at a right angle to the writing line.He writes neutrally, neither pushing or pulling the pen.

wMichael McCarthy left-hand writing.JPG (12344 bytes)


Rick Propas is an overwriter, sometimes called a 'hooker'.  His line rises at about 15 degrees.
He writes neutrally, neither pushing or pulling the pen.

wRick Propas left hand writing.JPG (14580 bytes)


Jimmy Yu is an overwriter, holding the point of his pen toward himself and the writing line rising at about 40 degrees. He writes neutrally, neither pushing or pulling the pen.

wJimmy Yu at LA pen show.JPG (13455 bytes)


Linda Avanzino is an overwriter. She writes vertically, away from herself at about 90 degrees. She pushes the nib across the page.

wLinda Avanzino at LA pen show.JPG (13992 bytes)


Pat Ackor is an underwriter. Her writing line slopes downward at about 45 degrees. She writes neutrally, neither pushing or pulling the pen.

wPat left hand writing LA show.JPG (13395 bytes)


Jose Suro is a side-writer keeping his paper vertically in front of him. He pushes the nib almost directly across the page.

Left Handed Writers Page Jose Suro


Steve Barnett gives a slightly different twist to his side-writer style. You can see that he rotates his pen so that the imprint of the nib is facing the top right corner of the page. He pushes the nib across the page.

Steve Barnett


Emily Eldredge is a side-writer. She is a pusher with her line falling at about 25 degrees. She pushes the nib across the page.

wEmily left hand writing.JPG (21240 bytes)

Left-handed Calligraphy

By Vance Studley

Left-handers are just as likely as right-handers to practice the art of calligraphy, but virtually all calligraphy books are written literally from the right-handers' point of view. This book, by noted calligrapher and educator Vance Studley, presents an introduction to calligraphic scripts including Italic and Cursive with an emphasis on positioning and layouts that will make sense for southpaws.

References to the history of calligraphic script and the usual writing techniques of left-handers make this a fascinating book even for those not practicing calligraphy themselves. And for those lefties who are getting their first oblique or cursive italic customization made by John, this book will be invaluable. Our price $5.95*

Click here to read the review written on this book by our own, Jonella. * This book does not meet our $25.00 minimum order. Please consider another book, other products or services in order to meet our minimum. If you want only this book, you will be charged the $25 minimum.

Kiwaguro ink is fast drying and is good for lefties.

Sailor Kiwa-Guro Black Pigment ink and the Sei-Boku Blue/Black Pigment ink (also known as Nano inks) are now available both in cartridge and bottled ink. This is a pigment ink which has excellent water resistant qualities, quick drying, and color-fast properties. The perfect products for all official documents. $24.00 for the bottle and the cartridges are $10.00 for a pack of twelve.

Sailor Carbon ink

An article was written for the PENnant about left-handed writers. 'Notes from the Nib Works'

Left-hand Writers
revised 6/8/04

      While just over ten percent of Americans are left handed, they represent a disproportionate number of fountain pen users (at least from the perspective of The Nib Works.) This may at first glance seem strange, given the difficulty that they have using fountain pens. But, on further thought, this may not be so strange. Faced with a difficult situation, left-handers seem to push ahead and embrace the challenges that are thrown their way... Click here to read more.

Jonella and David are both left-handed writers. Click here to see what they like to write with on the employee picks page.


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