How to Hold a Fountain Pen Correctly for Beginners?

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

How to Hold a Fountain Pen Correctly

The fountain pen, an elegant writing instrument, continues to captivate those who appreciate the beauty of handwriting. However, to truly unleash its potential, one must carry a fountain pen correctly.

This guide will delve into the fundamentals of how to hold a fountain pen correctly, offering insights and practical tips to enhance your penmanship. Read on to discover the ergonomic principles, various techniques, and pen selection considerations that will elevate your writing experience.

The Correct Way to Hold a Fountain Pen: for Beginners

Step 1: Find a Comfortable Position


Ensure that your forearm rests comfortably on the writing surface with good lighting. This sitting position promotes stability and reduces strain on your hand.

Step 2: Arrange the Pen in Your Hand


Hold the pen with your dominant hand, allowing the cap to face upward.

Make sure the pen is balanced and aligned with the natural extension of your forearm.

Step 3: Grip the Pen Loosely


Once you have gotten a steady hand position, create a loose and relaxed grip by gently holding the pen between your thumb and index finger. Avoid gripping the pen too tightly, as it can hinder fluid movement and cause fatigue.

Step 4: Rest the Pen on Your Middle Finger


Allow the pen to rest on the middle finger, just above the first joint. This finger acts as a support, providing stability and control while writing.

Step 5: Angle the Pen Correctly


Tilt the pen slightly, typically at a 45-degree angle from the paper. This angle allows the pen’s nib to make optimal contact with the paper, resulting in smooth ink flow. Remember, your angle affects how much ink flows from the tip of your pen. The lower it is, the more ink comes out.

Step 6: Position Your Fingers


Place your thumb on one side of the pen, applying gentle pressure. Your thumb and index finger should be slightly bent. Rest your index finger on the opposite side of the pen, providing additional support. Allow other fingers to lightly curve or rest on the paper for better balance and stability.

Step 7: Relax Your Hand and Wrist


Avoid excessive tension in your hand and wrist. Use your forearm and shoulder to guide the movement of the pen slightly to maintain a fluid motion rather than relying solely on your fingers.

Remember, these instructions serve as a general guideline, but everyone’s hand anatomy and writing style may vary. Feel free to make the necessary adjustments to find the most comfortable and effective fountain pen grip.

You do not have to master the proper way to hold pen as soon as you start using it. When getting used to it for the first time, you are bound to struggle and feel awkward.

But with practice and patience, you will develop a natural and personalized way of holding fountain pens that enhances your writing experience.

Other Considerations When Trying to Write With a Fountain Pen


Other than the pen holding style, there are other important considerations to keep in mind for beautiful handwriting.

  • Comfort: A relaxed grip and a comfortable hand position will help prevent strain or fatigue during extended writing sessions.
  • Pen Size and Weight: Consider the size and weight of the pen. Avoid pens that are too heavy or too light, as they can affect stability and control while writing.
  • Pen Design and Shape: Some pens have a more slender profile, while others are thicker and wider.

By considering these factors and allowing for some experimentation, you can find the perfect balance between comfort, control, and style to hold a fountain pen and write without pain.

Common Mistakes That Prevent Beautiful Handwriting


When it comes to holding a fountain pen, there are some common mistakes to watch out for.

  • Gripping the pen too tightly: Holding the pen with excessive force can hinder smooth movement and result in hand fatigue.
  • Holding the pen too high or too low on the nib: Holding the pen too close to the nib can obstruct ink flow, causing skipping or inconsistent writing. Conversely, holding it too far back can affect control and precision.
  • Writing with excessive pressure: Fountain pens are designed to write with minimal pressure. Applying too much pressure can lead to ink blotting, feathering, or damaging the nib.
  • Angling the pen inconsistently: Holding the pen at inconsistent angles can affect the ink flow and line quality. Therefore, it is necessary to aim for a consistent angle, usually around 45 degrees, to ensure optimal contact between the nib and the
  • Maintaining a stiff or tense hand posture: Writing with a stiff or tense hand can limit flexibility and create discomfort. Moving your hand slightly helps maintain fluid motion and reduces strain.
  • Neglecting proper posture: Poor posture can impact the stability of your hand and affect the quality of your writing. So sit up straight and maintain good posture to provide a solid foundation for holding the pen correctly.
  • Using the wrong pen for your hand size: Using inappropriate pen sizes (too small or too large for your hand) is unsuitable for your hand proportions and can lead to discomfort.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is there a specific hand position for left-handed writers?

Some left-handed may find it more comfortable to rotate the paper slightly clockwise to achieve a better pen angle and avoid smudging the ink.

Should I hold the fountain pen differently for cursive or print writing?

The grip for cursive and print writing with a fountain pen remains largely the same. However, you may have to adjust the pen angle and finger placement based on your specific writing style and the desired look of your letters.

How can I prevent my hand from smudging the ink while writing?

To prevent smudging, try using fast-drying ink or allowing the ink to dry before moving your hand across the page.

Additionally, consider using a writing aid, such as a smudge guard or a piece of scrap paper, to create a barrier between your hand and the paper.

How long does it take to develop good penmanship with a fountain pen?

It can be some days to a week to learn all the basics or a delicate month with daily practice to develop your own way of beautiful writing, depending on each person’s purpose. Consistent practice, patience, and attention to proper technique are keys.

Can I hold a fountain pen differently if I have a unique hand shape or writing style?

Yes, everyone’s hand anatomy and writing style are unique. Feel free to adapt and modify your grip to suit your individual needs and comfort. You can experiment with different positions and angles to find what works best for you.

What if my hand starts to feel fatigued while writing?

If you experience hand fatigue, take a rest and relax your hand. Adjust your grip and hand posture as needed to alleviate strain. Gradually building up hand strength through practice can also help reduce fatigue.


Knowing how to hold a fountain pen correctly is a fundamental skill that can greatly enhance your writing experience. By following the proper techniques and considerations outlined in this guide, you can achieve greater control, comfort, and precision in your penmanship.

With practice and patience, you can develop a unique and graceful writing style that showcases the elegance of the fountain pen!

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