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Using a Fountain Pen Left-Handed and Tips for Left Handed Writers

In this guide, we officially dispel the rumour that you can’t use a fountain pen left handed! We also share our top left handed writing tips and show off what we believe are the very best pens for left handers to help you decide on a pen that is right for you.

Can you use a fountain pen left handed?

Yes – you can use a fountain pen if you’re left-handed!

Left-handed people are often discouraged from using fountain pens because there’s a common belief that they’ll just smudge the ink everywhere. If you’re left-handed, you may have even tried to write with fountain pens in the past and experienced this result! But, believe it or not, getting ink all over your hand and page has less to do with you being left-handed and more to do with your technique.

What issues do left handed fountain pen writers face?

The biggest issue that left-handed fountain pen writers face is smudging ink across the page. Many languages are written from left to right, including English, which means left-handed fountain pen users need to be conscious of their writing hand dragging through the undried ink. Plus, fountain pens use liquid-based ink which typically takes longer to dry than ballpoint ink.

Are there left handed fountain pens?

The design of fountain pens has come a long way, which is good news for left- and right-handed writers alike. Nowadays, most standard fountain pens can be comfortably used by left handers.

In the past, fountain pens typically had soft, flexible nibs. This caused issues when using a fountain pen left handed. Left handed people often push their pens when writing as opposed to pulling them; this accommodates writing from left to right. However, the flexible nibs would often pull apart when pushed across the page, leading to smudging, messy writing and an unpleasant experience overall.

Lefties can take solace in the fact that, in this day in age, most fountain pens have a solid nib. Nevertheless, when choosing a left handed fountain pen, we recommend:

  • Using a pen with an ergonomic grip
  • Using quick drying ink (Parker’s Quink fountain pen ink is a popular choice)
  • Using a pen with a steel nib
  • Using a pen with a fine nib
  • Using normal paper as opposed to fountain pen friendly paper

Every writer is different so these tips are not hard and fast rules, but they can be used as guidance for beginners.

Top Tip: We always recommend buying fountain pen ink produced by the same brand as your fountain pen.

What is a left handed nib?

A small number of pen brands offer left handed nibs for fountain pens. The difference being that the nib is cut in the opposite direction than a regular nib.

You can try a left-handed fountain pen nib, but you may find the same thing happens if your method isn’t correct. With a little bit of practise, you can soon fall in love with the beauty of writing with a smooth fountain pen, never again to feel limited by being left-handed. Read our tips for left handed writers below.

Tips for left-handed writers 

  • Place your paper to the left of your body. This will mean you can easily see what you are writing as you go.
  • Tilt the paper so that your arm is at a right-angle to the bottom edge of the paper. This might feel unnatural at first but will help you in the long run.
  • Write with your hand below the writing line and with your wrist straight.
  • Use your right hand if needed to steady your paper. This means it is less likely to move or slide while writing. A steady piece of paper is essential when writing with a left handed fountain pen.
  • Try to pull your pen across the paper rather than pushing it. This will help you to avoid scratching your nib or ballpoint. This will keep your nib in good nick.
  • Hold your pen between the thumb, index and middle fingers. This may take a bit of practice and be uncomfortable at first but is well worth it in the end.
  • Some people are helped by writing on a sloping surface. This means they cannot then rest on the paper and smudge the ink.
  • A left-handed fountain pen nib can help some left-handers. We can help you find one that is right for you.

Top Tip: If your fountain pen has dried up, it’s not going to perform properly no matter if you’re right or left-handed. You can attempt to fix your dry fountain pen or take it in for repair.

Best Fountain Pens for Left Handers

LAMY Safari

using a fountain pen left handed

The LAMY Safari fountain pen is very popular all round. It has a steel nib, so it’ll help lefties write smoothly and without scratchiness. Plus, it’s an affordable fountain pen, making it a great option for beginners. We also love that it’s available in multiple fun colours.

Parker Sonnet

using a fountain pen left handed

The Parker Sonnet is a classic and sophisticated pen which can be used with Parker’s Quink – ideal for lefties. The Sonnet also has a steel nib and is a very reliable, timeless choice.


The LAMY CP1 is another LAMY choice that’s popular with left handed fountain pen writers. This pen is slimline, fuss-free and comes fitted with a steel nib.

The Pen Shop team member, Hannah, joined the company believing she couldn’t use a fountain pen as a left-handed writer. After practising and perfecting her technique, she became a firm fan of fountain pens and built quite the collection:

using a fountain pen left handed

If you would like to purchase or learn more about left-handed fountain pens and left handed nibs, please contact us to see which brands supply them or pop into one of our stores to try writing with one.


  1. Sharon Kennedy

    This is good advice, and something that all lefties should be told! As a leftie myself, I was lucky enough to be told this when I was at junior school (I’m 45 now), because I told the teacher I wanted to write with a cartridge pen. She explained that, because of the way I held my pen, the ink would smudge, so I needed to change my style – note, I wasn’t told I couldn’t, but was told how I could! I practised and practised, and had to show her how I was improving, until a few short months later, I proudly wrote my first essay with my ink pen! Since then, I’ve gone from strength to strength, using Waterman, Parker, Cross and have just purchased a beautiful Visconti. Enjoy your new fountain pen skills 🙂

  2. Mrs Lee Robinson

    This is good advice which should also be given to all children who are left handed when using any kind of writing implement. I am in my late sixties and have always held pens/pencils in that way. In those days teachers and many parents tried to force children to use their right hands, fortunately my mother stepped in and refused to allow this to happen. Working in schools for over twentyfive years I despaired of the way left handed children and some left handed teachers held their pens, but could do nothing as I was in admin! If you are left handed it is best not to let a right handed person use your fountain pen whether it is a conventional nib or one for lefties. Being left handed should never stop anyone from doing anything and to use it as an excuse is lazy.

  3. David Crowley

    As a leftie I wish that someone had taught me how to write with a proper fountain pen. I enjoy writing and have had to “make do” with a lovely roller ball but would love to be able to change that for a fountain pen.
    Maybe one day I will learn. You are never too old I guess.

  4. This is great advice I work in a primary school and we encourage the children to hold their pen exactly as you said. We start with no pencil in hand and pretend to be holding an orange with our fingers, hand held outright, then we close the fingers as though holding a marble. Then put the pen nib end in first between the fingers and thumb, as you grip the pen flip it over so it rests between the thumb and forefinger. You should then have the perfect pen hold. Practise makes perfect. We also explain how sitting correctly helps. Have to say it really works. the writing has improved dramatically.

  5. Thank you. Without exaggeration, this advice has changed my life!

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