How Many Fountain Pens Do You Need?

Ask yourself: how often do you use a fountain pen and how much does your handwriting matter to you? Many people these days hardly write by hand at all, preferring smartphones and computers for composing text. They are only occasional pen users.  If you’re a student, diarist, or writer who still makes notes by hand, you may be using a fountain pen every day.

So, how many fountain pens do you need?

If you’re an artist working with different colors, you might need a fountain pen for each. If you use fountain pens for official documents or work, you need one and a backup pen. You need only one for journaling or writing letters. But if you’re a collector, you’d want hundreds of fountain pens!

These days journaling is an art form for many people, and it is here that different colored inks come into their own. Artists also use fountain pens for sketching, drawing, and other art forms. If you’re part of a group that still enjoys using that old-fashioned form of social correspondence called letters, you may use your pen every day. The ink in fountain pens can dry out, so it’s not worth having a bunch of fountain pens filled with ink that will be lying around for weeks or months before you use them.

Using Fountain Pens For Writing Letters and Articles

It still gives many people pleasure to write a letter using their beautiful script for others to read and adds a personal touch that is sorely lacking in these modern times. Using a fountain pen can be a sensual experience that shows off one’s individuality and personality.

People who correspond regularly often have their preferred color and fountain pen and rarely need more than one. However, to settle on which one suits them best, they may try a few before deciding on a favorite. This means they could have a few pens with various nib types and a couple of different inks in their writing desk drawer.

Some letter writers might want to use a few different colored inks to express their emotions on a particular day or convey sympathy, condolences, or compassion to the reader. In this case, three or four fountain pens filled with different ink colors may be useful, depending on how often letters are written. Since letters are usually written at home, there is no need to think about the practicalities of carrying around several pens.

Using Fountain Pens For Taking Notes

There is an art to taking notes, which may involve using different colored inks to stress a point or make some text stand out from the rest. Students may want to make notes in two or three different colors, in which case they will need two or three different fountain pens. It is not practical to use only one pen in these circumstances because of the time it takes to empty the pen of one color before drawing up another.

Mapping as a note-taking technique works well with different colors, as does the charting and outlining method. With the mapping method, one uses a diagrammatic figure to reflect the relationships between diverse facts and concepts. It is useful when a lecture is heavy in content and well-organized, and color-coding can separate facts into different categories.

With the charting technique, a table is drawn to represent the different types of content, and it helps to further distinguish it by using inks of different colors. The outlining method uses a sequence of nested headings and sub-headings to identify main points and sub-categories beneath those points. Using a couple of different colors helps to make the distinction.

Students usually move around from class to class, or they did in the pre-COVID days, so it’s impractical to carry too many pens around. They can leak in a book bag or dry up if not used frequently, so two or three is probably a good number. Always carry spare cartridges for each color that is used to avoid being left high and dry. If classes are online, then the number of fountain pens on a student’s desk may be higher, depending on personal preference.

Another way to make notes more interesting to read is to use different nib sizes for headings, bold bullet points, or lists to distinguish them from the main text. For instance, one might use a broader, wetter nib for headings and bullet points and a finer nib for ordinary script.

Journalists, police officers, and other professionals who take notes on a daily basis should find that a single pen suffices. Even for a long session, it is easier to carry around an extra cartridge or two rather than another pen. For those belt and braces types, however, there is no hardship in carrying a spare.

Using Fountain Pens For Art

Artists will require more fountain pens than most because they tend to use many different-sized nibs and ink shades for effect. Fountain pens offer a wide variety of weights, grips, inks, and nib sizes compared to other types of pens. If an artist only works in black and white, they may still want to take advantage of the many shades of black and grey available for fountain pens.

Different nibs deposit more or less ink on the paper, giving a darker or lighter effect which artists love to exploit for line variations. When the creative forces are flowing, the last thing an artist needs is to keep stopping to refill the same pen with different colors. They could have as many as ten different pens, depending on the palette they are using, although many work with only two or three favorites.

Fountain pens are wonderful for precise, fluid linework and are prized by many artists for drawing and sketching. The fact that inks dry out if left for too in a pen is a consideration when deciding how many to use at any one time. However, if a pen is empty of ink, there is no harm in having a bunch of them at the ready for a particular piece of art you are planning.

Using Fountain Pens For the Experience

Many people just love using fountain pens for the feel, the flow, and the shape of the characters they make. These people are explorers, not collectors, who tend to see pens as display items rather than utilitarian objects. Explorers like to try out different pen brands by famous manufacturers and various inks in the same way that a whiskey lover wants to try out different brands and types of whiskey.

For these people, fountain pens are a thing of beauty but also a tool to create lovely handwriting in their diaries, journals, and notebooks. They may re-discover the attraction of older additions to their collection after writing for a while with newer ones. They are explorers of all the beautiful ink colors and love to experiment with different pen and ink combinations.

For explorers, only a few fountain pens are never enough. They will always be alert to new and old kinds of pen coming onto the market, scouring the fountain pen forums for reviews and tips, and generally enjoying getting as much information as they can about their hobby. Although you can use only one fountain pen at a time, there are many different times and occasions for which you’d use one, and variety, as they say, is the spice of life.

Many of these explorers are also into handwriting and like to experiment with different scripts and fonts. They are not the pragmatists who declare that one pen, and maybe a spare, is enough. For them, the design variations in fountain pens are part of the fun!


The number of fountain pens you need depends on your love of handwriting, art, colors, and style. Need is a relative concept that depends on the context. If your objective is a purely practical one, taking notes for studies, work or business, one pen is enough. If you want to explore the delights of writing with a fountain pen and different inks, ten or more may not be enough. If you use fountain pens to create art, the number of pens you need will be determined by the color palette you prefer and the nib types you use for linework.

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