Fountain Pen Basics: What size of nib should I get on my first fountain pen?

(LAMY fountain pen nibs)

When choosing your first fountain pen you may notice that they are outfitted with a variety of nibs. The most common nib choices are extra-fine, fine, medium and broad. Other types of nibs include soft fine, BB, stub, italic, calligraphy, music, left-handed and more.

When you pick up a ballpoint or rollerball pen to write, not much thought is given to the way you hold the pen. Pretty much no matter which way the pen is oriented in your hand, the pen will write – assuming you are not out of ink of course! Fountain pens are different. Most of them need to be held correctly, with the nib oriented in the right direction, in order for the pen to write well. Depending on how coordinated you are this can take a little practice.

Nibs that are in the middle of the nib size spectrum are often the easiest to write with because they will usually write even if the fountain pen is not held exactly right. We would recommend a medium nib as a good choice for a beginner, or if your writing is small, a fine nib. Left-handed nibs are often medium-fine in size, so they are also a good choice for a beginner that is left-handed. However, a left-handed nib is not essential for a left-handed writer.

Something to keep in mind is that nib sizes are not standardized. For example, generally German-made nibs are broader in size than the equivalent size of Japanese-made nibs. This does not apply 100% of the time though, sometimes there are exceptions. A couple of popular brands with German-made nibs are LAMY and Pelikan. Pens with Japanese nibs include brands such as Platinum, Sailor, Nakaya, Pilot and others. Japanese extra-fine and fine nibs may seem very very small compared to the tips on the ballpoint and rollerball pens that Westerners are used to writing with.

These recommendations are based on our own personal writing experiences. If your first fountain pen does not have a medium or fine nib don’t let that hold you back from enjoying the satisfying experience of writing with a fountain pen. With a little bit of practice and experimentation you may find there is a place in your pen case for nibs of many different sizes! If you are an experienced fountain pen user, what nib size recommendations would you like to pass along to a beginner?

(Platinum President Fountain Pen nib)

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Trending Taupe

Taupe is a neutral color that is frequently used in the world of fashion, interior design, graphic design and elsewhere. According to Wikipedia the word “taupe” comes from the Latin name for the European mole and was originally used to describe the average color of the actual animal. Today, the word taupe is used to refer to varying shades ranging from grayish-brown, tan, rose taupe and more.  It is also the most popular color for leather sofas! The color taupe also appears in the world of notebooks, ink and fountain pens.

In 2012 Pelikan created a special edition M205 fountain pen in the color taupe that will only be available for a limited period of time. This sophisticated color subtly stands out of the crowd of traditional black fountain pens. It’s definitely on my want list!

For a matching ink color, I would fill my Pelikan M205 fountain pen with J. Herbin’s Cacao du Bresil fountain pen ink which I would call a dark brown taupe color. For a contrasting ink color, I would choose Tanzanite from Pelikan’s Edelstein Ink collection. This blue-black ink would be a nice complement to the classy taupe body of the fountain pen.

Leuchtturm 1917 created one of their thoughtfully designed lined journals with numbered pages with a taupe cover. The soft ivory color of the paper in this journal really makes a brown shade of ink pop on the page.

Even hipsters like the color taupe as evidenced in this funky retro design “Doing Good and Feeling Good” Write Now journal from Live Inspired.

If you prefer a journal with bright white paper, there are a limited number of taupe Quo Vadis Habana Journals available while they last. The Clairefontaine paper in the Habana journal works great with fountain pens.

To top it all off, I would paint my nails with Opi “Over the Taupe” nail polish. Yeah, that’s right, even my fingers would match my fountain pen, ink and journal.

Even my cat Rori has a taupe chin and taupe spots!

I’m afraid that once I buy the Pelikan M205 in taupe I will also need to get a matching Fiat 500 in my favorite color they call “punk grey”. Think of how good I will look driving this car!

Do you have any favorite products or designs in the classic color of Taupe?

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