After trying and rejecting (due to left-handed smearing issues) many types of gel pens over the years, I’ve finally found two kinds of gel pens that I absolutely love!
At the top of my list would have to be the Pentel Energel liquid ink gel pen. Even when I use this pen with a 0.7mm needle tip I do not smear the ink! The Pentel Energel pens I’ve been using have lasted several years without running out of ink and I love that you can get refills in the color violet (I have them in all colors). Another great thing about the Pentel Energel pen is that it comes in other styles besides the basic pen. The Energel refills work with the Pentel Hybrid Gel Grip DX pen and the Pentel Tradio is available in colors ranging from a subdued a matte brown to a zingy metallic watermelon red. I find the grip on these Pentel pens to be very comfortable in my hand and they are nice smooth writers.
The other gel pen that I love also happens to be made by Pentel – the Pentel Slicci gel pen with a 0.25mm tip. This pen comes in an array of colors and I prefer it when I need to write small or when I’m doing detailed drawings. This is another gel pen I can use without smearing ink all over the place. I’m still working on my collection of pen colors… perhaps I should just break down and buy the set of 8 pens. We’ve heard from Pentel that a metallic version of this pen is coming soon!
If any of you know of other good gel pens to recommend for left-handed writers or have thoughts about Pentel Energel liquid gel pens we would love to hear your comments!
I was rather excited to get my hands on another fountain pen specifically designed for left-handed writers – the Pelikan Pelikano Junior with an “L” nib. It is an amazingly smooth writer for such an inexpensive fountain pen!
This pen is designed with beginning fountain pen users in mind and is actually a children’s school fountain pen. The nib is rounded in shape so it is not “pokey” (especially important for us lefties) and it is very forgiving. I can even write a fine line with it when the nib is upside-down!
The nib is a Pelikan “L” size for left-handed writers, or an “A” size on the version of the Pelikano Jr. for right-handed writers. It makes a medium-broad size line and has a very wet ink flow. In fact, if you carry this pen with you, you’d better have an extra ink cartridge on hand for when your ink runs out (Pelikan 4001 giant ink cartridges are a good choice). Some people might not appreciate this small inconvenience, but I like changing ink colors frequently so this is one thing about the Pelikano Jr. that I really like. Since this pen lays down a lot of ink, for a lefty I would suggest using an ink with a decent drying time to help prevent any smudges. Because it produces a bold line, this is also a good pen for those of us that like to use light or bright fountain pen ink colors.
The funky, minimalist and colorful design of the Pelikano Jr. instantly appealed to me. The pen is rather chunky, but not heavy, and provides a good rubber grip designed to assist with finger placement. When you unscrew the pen there is a smooth area to attach a name sticker to (plain stickers are included with the Pelikano Jr.). When the pen is screwed back together you can read your name through the pen barrel, which is helpful to keep well-meaning right-handed friends, students, etc from swiping one of your favorite everyday fountain pens.
The Pelikano Junior has no clip, and the body is very plain except for a couple of oval shaped bumps to keep the pen from rolling and the cap has the word “Pelikano” on it in raised lettering. I like to write with the cap off of this pen. I would imagine that the rather large size barrel on this pen would be helpful to assist small hands learning penmanship for the first time, as well as for older ones that have a bit of trouble gripping a pen.
The Pelikano Junior fountain pen is a great pen for everyday use and it has fans that include people of all ages! The bright translucent Pelikano Jr. colors include green (my favorite), blue, red and yellow.
My continuing experimentation with fountain pens has recently included the Kaweco Sport Classic Fountain Pen with a medium nib and Noodler’s Ink, as well as the Pelikan Pelikano Left-Handed Fountain Pen with a medium nib and J. Herbin Ink. I found that both of these pens worked equally well for a Lefty and their qualities were very similar.
The first thing I wondered about was whether or not I would notice a difference using the specially designed nib on the left-handed Pelikano. This nib has a more rounded shape than a regular nib to accomodate the angle of left-handed writing. As an “overwriter” I, personally, only noticed a small difference in performance using this nib. It performed well, as did the Kaweco Sport, and both wrote in a medium line of similar width.
I appreciated the compact size of the Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen. With its cap safely screwed on it is only 4″ long and is great for carrying in a purse or pocket. I wasn’t worried that the cap would come off and stain the leather on my Fossil bag with ink!
I did find that I preferred the grip of the Left-Handed Pelikano to the grip of the Kaweco. The grip on the Pelikano is rotated slightly for the left hand, and it worked well with my very strange pen grip. You Lefties out there know what I mean…. One strike against the Pelikano is that the first Pelikano Fountain Pen that I bought was defective and I had to exchange it. The second pen did work much better, and there were no problems with the Kaweco.
The Noodler’s Ink seemed to have a more generous flow than the J. Herbin Ink, but it could be because it was a custom ink mix that included Noodler’s Firefly. When added to other Noodler’s colors, this ink seems to produce a wetter flow. So if you tend to smear your ink while writing, perhaps it would be best to stay away from Noodler’s Firefly and use the J. Herbin instead.
I was satisfied with both the Kaweco Sport and the Left-Handed Pelikano, and felt that these were both practical and well functioning fountain pens for everyday use by a Lefty. However, I am in love with my LAMY Safari and it still tops of my list of favorite pens.
After my successful experiment with the Platinum Preppy, I was eagerly anticipating taking my new LAMY Safari Fountain Pen for a test drive and I wasn’t disappointed!
Armed with my LAMY Safari and Exacompta Club Leatherette Journal I travelled to a 3 day convention ready to take lots of notes. Many, many pages later there was not one ink smear and my hand felt less fatigued than it normally does thanks to the smooth action of the LAMY nib combined with the ultra-smooth Clairefontaine paper in my journal. This combination would be an asset to anyone who does a lot of writing!
For this experiment I used LAMY standard ink cartridges in turquoise. Since I tend to poke holes in paper when I use extra-fine nib pens, I choose the LAMY fine nib for my pen. The fine nib produced a consistent flow of ink in a medium to fine line. The benefit of the LAMY Safari’s ergonomic grip was lost on me because my left-handed grip is rather strange, but it was not a hindrance either. The Clairefontaine paper in the Exacompta Club Journal is 64 g, a lighter weight than the usual 90 g paper used in Clairefontaine notebooks. Even though there was a little bit of ink bleed-thru, I was still able to write on both sides of the page with a fountain pen.
This lime green LAMY Safari quickly became my favorite pen!
(Just a note: LAMY Studio, Safari, Vista, Joy and AL-Star Fountain Pens all use the same type of stainless steel nibs.)
Without any personal input from other Lefties, I decided to slowly ease in to the world of fountain pens by first trying out the Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen. After all, this pen is very inexpensive so what would I have to lose?
After several weeks of use around the house on random types of paper I only had one ink smearing incident. This is better than what I had hoped for! I found this pen easy to use and it provided a consistent flow of ink in a smooth, fine line. The biggest drawback for me is that the Preppy ink cartridges come in a limited number of colors. This problem can be easily solved by using an ink converter and bottled ink instead of cartridges. Before obtaining these things I first wanted to do a “test drive” to see if it is worth it, which I think it is.
(Just a side note – although Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen ink is not waterproof, it is water resistant. Don’t get any of this ink on your clothing because it is very difficult, if not impossible to get the stain out!)
As a left-handed writer I am quite satisfied with my first fountain pen experience. Consequently, I now have in my possession a fun, new, special edition lime green LAMY Safari Fountain Pen. Another report will follow shortly with the test results.