Monday, September 21, 2009
A fountain pen, a ballpoint pen and a rollerball pen all walk into a bar....
Ballpoint pens use oil based inks and require pressure on the ball to make the ink flow. Rollerball pens often use thinner water based inks and though pressure on the ball is still required to make the pen write, rollerball pens (also known as "gel" pens) require less effort to write with than a ballpoint.
Fountain pens use water based inks that move through a feed system to the nib and require the least amount of pressure for them to write - there's no ball that needs to spin. Lightly push a fountain pen across a page and it just flows... For me, writing with a fountain pen is effortless - but then why oh why am I still exerting a death grip on my pens?
I know there have been days where I've thought, "This nib is scratchy" or, "This paper feels weird" or "The ink flows poorly" and I've only just recently figured out that a good half the time, it's not the nib, the paper, or the ink.
It's my grip.
I'm holding my pen too tightly and I'm exerting more pressure on the nib than is actually necessary for it to write smoothly and I'm wrecking the whole fountain pen experience.
Prior to my using a fountain pen on a regular basis, this was my pen of choice. A Paper Mate Stick Pen. I've used them for at least a dozen years and they are still all over my house. (Because Staples only sold them in boxes of like a million...) I loved the way these medium point pens wrote in my journal - loved the way the ink looked on the page - the way each letter was indented into the page behind it. Wait - did I say into the page behind it? Yup. That's how hard I was pressing with a ballpoint.
As I have been consistently using fountain pens for just about two years, I'm not sure why I'm still choking the heck out of my poor Lamy Safari's. The only think I can think of is that it might be connected to my drawing. When I draw my mandalas, I'm usually pretty careful about where I wish to place a line on the paper. Me thinks that results in my holding my pen/marker quite tightly.
And I think that might be a metaphor for my entire life. I need to lighten up and relinquish a little control.
Anyway... just be aware of how you are gripping your pens. A lighter touch might make your life a little easier.