When I was younger I used an HB2 pencil for most of my work. When I was a little bit older I was allowed to use a Bic stick pen. Those were the tools of the trade for many years. When I was in my teens I picked up a Calligraphy set for Christmas and tried my had at calligraphy.
I determined early on that my ability to write neatly was limiting my skill level in calligraphy. I had difficulty with almost everything related to writing neatly. Shortly thereafter I went to the University of Alberta and experienced the “quarter page cheat sheet”. We were allowed a quarter of a page of loose leaf paper to bring in to our exams and we could write anything we wanted on that piece of paper. I learned that a Bic stick pen was not fine enough. I learned that printing was better for me than writing. I learned that I could take a line on the paper, subdivide it into three separate lines and then write legibly on each of those lines. I could easily take an entire course and put it down on this quarter page.
From that point on I printed with fine point pens, very fine point pens. Normal pens weren’t good enough as I experimented with pens that had nibs 1 mm and smaller. Up until recently my favourite was a 0.3 mm Pentel pen. When I ran out of those pens (it’s amazing how a 10 pack gradually disappeared from my desk) I switched to some very fine point Sharpie pens. While they were nice markers, they weren’t as fine as I wanted. I then switched to a Uniball Vision Needle (Micro) pen. A very nice model.
But something wasn’t right. While all of these are nice pens they lacked something: style. Grant Adsit pointed out the Stylus store in town. I discovered Fountain Pens thirty years after my calligraphy days. While there were a lot of pens for me to look at I was scared of buying an expensive pen and discovering that I still sucked while writing or printing. As a result I chose a modest pen, a Shaeffer 100. To be honest, I am quite surprised by the smoothness of the writing and the quality of the pen. While my $3 pens are good for many purposes, it feels better to write with a higher quality pen. Although I have only had it for 24 hours, I am impressed by the quality of the pen and I actually want to write
If you have never had the opportunity to write with a good fountain pen, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. It is a fabulous experience.