I’ve only started using fountain pens this year, and at first I struggled with how the lines are not as fine as ballpoint pens. My first FP purchase was a Lamy Safari (charcoal black, fine nib) and of course the nib felt too wide for me, and it feathered and bled through like crazy on the journal I was using back then.
I learned gradually that I should use fountain-pen friendly paper. Good paper + good nibs + gorgeous ink = happiness. I discovered that I preferred medium nibs because it shows the shading of ink easier than fine nibs. It allowed me to appreciate the beauty of inks generously laid down on paper.
Then I came across people talking about other kinds of nibs, like cursive italics, left oblique, music nibs, etcetera. I got curious about cursive italic nibs since I tried a 1.1 italic Lamy nib. So when I got my TWSBI Micarta, I decided that I’ll convert that pretty basic medium nib to a cursive italic through Pentangeli. JP was kind enough to accommodate me and finished the regrind in a week. He loaded the ink with Pelikan brown, which of course I promptly used up because when I tried that nib that he did for me, I was hooked.
It offers a more dramatic line variation than the 1.1 italic Lamy nib that I tried, and though I don’t write in cursive too much, it fits my current penmanship well.
To be honest, before I started using fountain pens again, my handwriting had deteriorated to an almost indiscernible scrawl. I’ve only just begun to rediscover the pleasure of taking the time to thoughtfully form the letters that you’re writing. I’m happy to say that my handwriting is gradually going back to how it used to be back when I was in college, which is readable even if it is quite boring.
JP taught me a few things about holding the pen correctly. He noticed that I rotate my pens while I write (a habit I acquired from prolonged ballpoint pen use). Since all my other pens have rounded tips, this isn’t really a big issue, except that the tines get misaligned sometimes. However, with a cursive italic nib, I found that it’s less forgiving of pen rotation, so I need to be conscious about how I hold it. I’m not completely used to it yet, so I have problems starting. I need to correct the way I hold my pen in order to get the ink flow started.
It does add a lot of character to the letters, though. I am so happy with it that I sent off my Waterman Expert II to be reground too. I’m not ready to completely give up my pens with basic nibs, but it’s good to have other kinds of nibs to use. Pentangeli did an awesome job on my Micarta. I am very happy with it. 🙂
Read more about specialty nibs here.