Left-Handed Pens Writing Supplies

Left-Handed Pens and Writing Supplies

This may be the best time in history to be left-handed.

The days of psychologists advising parents to train left-handedness out of their children are over. Although lefties used to be regarded with suspicion, few people today would argue that they are more sinister than the average person. Despite these gains, the left-handed 10% of the world’s population still have to adapt to tools and systems designed for right-handed people. The most pervasive example of this is writing.

Writing from left to right as in English, Chinese, and most other modern languages is ideal for right-handed writers, but difficult for left-handers. Lefties’ hands naturally move across the line of writing and smudge the ink. Some languages like Chinese and Japanese can be written vertically, but even then, the stroke order for individual characters moves from left to right.

In the spirit of International Left-Handers Day and in appreciation of left-handers everywhere, we present several writing implements that are especially suited for left-handed writers.

COMMON LEFTY CHALLENGES

Common Lefty Challenges
Many Lefties Contend with Smudging, Hand Cramps, and Uncomfortable Notebooks

In addition to dealing with right-handed writing systems and tools, many lefties do not receive proper handwriting instruction in school. Instead, they figure out how to write on their own. The resulting combination of right-handed materials and awkward hand positions causes many lefties to contend with at least one of the following challenges:

  • Smudging and smearing
  • Nibs catching on paper
  • Poor ink flow
  • Uncomfortable notebooks
  • Cramps and hand fatigue

RECOMMENDED TOOLS

Some writing instruments are specifically designed for lefties, but the right features can help even righty-friendly products solve left-handed problems. Choosing these tools can make your life significantly easier.

QUICK-DRYING, SMOOTH-WRITING PENS & INKS

Avoid smudging with ink that dries before your hand moves across your writing. Pens that write smoothly or feature special ergonomic left-handed grips help prevent cramping and fatigue. Smooth writing and fast drying times can seem contradictory, but some pens balance these competing demands remarkably well. Check out our picks below.

Ballpoint Pens

Uni-ball Jetstream Ballpoint Pens

The Uni-ball Jetstream
The Uni-ball Jetstream’s Ink Dries Fast and Writes Smoothly

The Uni-ball Jetstream Alpha Gel
The Alpha Gel Features a Soft Grip

The Uni-ball Jetstream is a lefty’s dream. Unlike stereotypical ballpoints, its specially formulated, low-viscosity ink writes very smoothly with little pressure. It also avoids the ink blots that some ballpoints suffer from, allowing it to consistently dry within three seconds. It is available in several pen styles. The ultra-comfortable Alpha Gel is a standout option if you prefer a cushy grip. With four tip sizes and a total of 13 colors, the Jetstream can fit almost anyone’s life. Check out our Guide to the Uni Jetstream for more information.

Also Consider: Uni Power Tank Ballpoint Pens

The Uni Power Tank
The Uni Power Tank Comes in Standard or Smart Series Models

The Uni Power Tank
The Uni Power Tank Can Write Well at All Angles

Lefties who work outdoors, in hospitals, or in kitchens will appreciate the Uni Power Tank. It’s not quite as smooth or dark as the Jetstream, but performs well on wet or greasy paper, in hot or cold conditions, and on vertical or sideways surfaces. It dries about as fast as the Jetstream, with all smudging gone within three seconds. Those dealing with hand fatigue should choose the Standard model over the Smart Series, as its rubber grip is easier to hold.

Gel Pens

Zebra Sarasa Dry Gel Pens

Zebra Sarasa Dry Gel Pens
Zebra Sarasa Dry Gel Pens Dry Almost Instantly

DESCRIPTION OF IMG
Zebra Sarasa Dry Gel Pens Write Smoothly

Zebra Sarasa Dry Gel Pens have a truly astonishing drying time – almost instantaneous. The ink dried on most of our tests before we could touch it. The wettest samples dried completely within two seconds. They produce satisfyingly dark lines and write very smoothly. Their grips offer no special ergonomic benefits, although they are composed of a pleasant-feeling rubber. Like other Sarasa pens, the Dry Gels include a binder clip that holds them in place more securely than typical clips. Read our Guide to the Zebra Sarasa to learn about the rest of the line.

Also Consider: Uni-ball Signo Gel Pens

Uni-ball Signo Gel Pens
Uni-ball Signo Gel Pens Come in Several Tip Sizes and Colors

Uni-ball Signo Gel Pens
The 0.38 mm Tip Size Balances Smoothness and Drying Time

The Uni-ball Signo is well-known for its impressive smoothness, fast drying time, and range of tip sizes and colors. Although it is available in a tiny 0.28 mm tip size, we recommend the 0.38 mm size for the best balance between smooth writing and fast drying. It dried completely within five seconds, wrote consistently, and didn’t scratch at all. The thinner size dries slightly faster but could exacerbate ink-flow problems. The larger tip sizes are naturally smoother and slower to dry. The Signo is available in six tip sizes and 26 colors. For more information, read our Guide to the Uni-Ball Signo.

Rollerball Pens

Pilot Multi Ball Rollerball Pens

Pilot Multi Ball Rollerball Pens
Pilot Multi Ball Rollerball Pens Can Write on Several Surfaces

Pilot Multi Ball Rollerball Pens
Pilot Multi Ball Rollerball Pens Dry Within Three Seconds

Although it is best known as a multi-surface pen, the Pilot Multi Ball also writes well on paper. It dries completely within three seconds. It’s smooth enough for easy writing, but not exceptionally so. The thin grip steps down from the pen body and is made from easy-to-hold rubber. The fact that the Multi Ball can write on glass, plastic, and metal makes it an unusually versatile addition at home or work.

Also Consider: Tombow Zoom 505 Liquid Ink Rollerball Pens

Tombow Zoom 505 Liquid Ink Rollerball Pens
The Tombow Zoom 505 Comes in Black and Brown

DESCRIPTION OF IMG
The Tombow Zoom 505 Has a Thick Grip

If you want something smoother and more elegant, try the Tombow Zoom 505. It takes about 6 seconds to dry completely. This is slower than our other recommendations, but should be sufficient if you use a grip that does not take your hand across the line immediately. The shiny metal body and rubber grip are fairly thick. Although the pen has some heft to it, it is well-balanced for a comfortable writing experience.

Highlighters

Uni Propus Window Q-Dry Double-Sided Highlighter

Uni Propus Window Q-Dry Double-Sided Highlighter
The Uni Propus Window Q-Dry Double-Sided Highlighter Features a Transparent Window in its Tip

Uni Propus Window Q-Dry Double-Sided Highlighter
The Uni Propus Window Q-Dry Double-Sided Highlighter Dries Within Four Seconds

The Uni Propus Window Q-Dry Double-Sided Highlighter lives up to its name. It is specially formulated to dry in a third of the time as most other highlighters. It dried within four seconds when we tested it on Rhodia paper. It will naturally take longer on glossy textbook pages. It has both a wide tip for highlighting lines of text and a fine tip for more precise markings. The wide tip has a window that lets you see exactly what you’re highlighting. It is available in five colors.

Also Consider: Kutsuwa HiLiNE Highlighter Pencils

Kutsuwa HiLiNE Highlighter Pencils
Kutsuwa HiLiNE Highlighter Pencils Can Be Sharpened Like Colored Pencils

Kutsuwa HiLiNE Highlighter Pencils
Kutsuwa HiLiNE Highlighter Pencils Never Smear

HiLiNE Highlighter Pencils aren’t as bright as traditional liquid highlighters, but they never smear at all. They work especially well on thin paper that is prone to bleeding but do not stay on glossy paper. As a bonus, you can sharpen their tips with the included pencil sharpener to mark your pages as precisely as you like.

Read our Guide to Choosing a Highlighter Pen to learn more about highlighters.

Fountain Pens

Pelikan Pelikano Junior Fountain Pen – Left Handed

Pelikan Pelikano Junior Fountain Pen - Left Handed
The Left-Handed Pelikano Junior Fountain Pen Has a Comfortably Thick Body

Pelikan Pelikano Junior Fountain Pen - Left Handed
The Left-Handed Pelikano Junior Fountain Pen Has an Ergonomic Grip to Guide Proper Finger Placement

Designed for children learning to write, the Left-Handed Pelikano Junior provides a specially-designed ergonomic grip to guide proper finger placement. It also features a medium nib with a rounded tip that makes it easier to push the pen without it catching on the paper. Its colorful, thick plastic body is comfortable for adults and kids alike. It can accommodate Standard International Long or Short Cartridges or a Converter.

Also Consider: Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen

Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen
The Pilot Metropolitan Comes in Three Colorful Editions

Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen
The Pilot Metropolitan is the Smoothest Fountain Pen at its Price Point

The Metropolitan is the smoothest fountain pen available at its price point, so it is a good choice for lefties who have difficulty with scratchy nibs. It may not be appropriate if you prefer an ergonomic grip, as its grip section is smooth plastic. It comes in both medium and fine tip sizes, although its Japanese origin means that the nibs run about a size smaller than European-made pens. Choose the fine for faster drying times and the medium for more smoothness.

Check out our Guide to Choosing a Fountain Pen and Great Beginner Fountain Pens for more general information and recommendations.

Fountain Pen Inks

Noodler’s Bernanke Black Ink

Noodler's Bernanke Black Ink
Noodler’s Bernanke Black is the Ultimate Fast-Drying Black Ink

Noodler's Bernanke Black Ink
Noodler’s Bernanke Black is Smudge Free After 10 Seconds

For the ultimate fast-drying black ink, go with Noodler’s Bernanke Black. It is not as dark as some other black inks, but quickly penetrates paper fibers with a special quick-drying formula. This renders it smudge-free in slightly more than 10 seconds with a broad nib. It dries even faster when paired with finer nibs.

Noodler’s Bernanke Blue Ink

Noodler's Bernanke Blue Ink
Noodler’s Bernanke Blue Dries Exceptionally Quickly

Noodler's Bernanke Blue Ink
Noodler’s Bernanke Blue is Beautifully Bright

Noodler’s Bernanke Blue is part of the same fast-drying ink family as the more famous Bernanke Black. It is a beautifully vibrant blue that dries shortly after 10 seconds on the page when written with a broad nib.

For more ink suggestions, check out our Fountain Pen Ink Comparisons.

Calligraphy Pens

Speedball Left-Handed Pen Set

Speedball Left-Handed Pen Set
The Speedball Left-Handed Pen Set Includes Six Nibs

Speedball Left-Handed Pen Set
The Italic Nibs in the Speedball Left-Handed Pen Set Are Angled For Lefties

This dip pen set includes a straight nib holder and six nibs, five of which are specifically designed for left-handers. The Italic nibs in the Speedball Left-Handed Pen Set feature a flat edge that is angled in the opposite direction from those on right-handed nibs. This helps lefties achieve the appropriate slant for Italic and other edged calligraphy.

Also Consider: Pilot Elabo Fountain Pen

Pilot Elabo Fountain Pen
The Pilot Elabo is More Forgiving Than Most Dip Pens

Pilot Elabo Fountain Pen
The Pilot Elabo Has a Relatively Stiff Flex Nib

The Pilot Elabo is not specifically designed for left-handers, but we recommend it because its fountain pen flex nib is stiffer and less sharp than a typical dip pen nib. This makes it more forgiving of accidental pressure variations and less likely to catch on paper. It isn’t as dramatic as a dip pen, but it can achieve beautiful line variation.

If you’re interested in calligraphy more generally, check out our posts on Calligraphy for Beginners: Using a Pointed Pen and Brush Lettering for Beginners. They do not have lefty-specific instructions, but a good rule of thumb is to start with firmer nibs and write under the line for pointed pen calligraphy, and with more of a hook for brush lettering.

ERGONOMIC PENCILS

If you have trouble with hand fatigue or cramping, look for pencils with ergonomic features. Triangular pencils often help lefties hold pencils more comfortably and facilitate a tripod grip.

Faber-Castell Grip 2001 Pencils

Faber-Castell Grip 2001 Pencils
Faber-Castell Grip 2001 Pencils Feature Grippy Dots

Faber-Castell Grip 2001 Pencils
Faber-Castell Grip 2001 Pencils Help Reduce Hand Strain

In addition to their triangular shape, Faber-Castell Grip 2001 Pencils feature grippy dots that reduce slippage. This reduces hand strain by helping users hold their pencils gently. They come in 2B, B, and HB grades for writing and sketching.

Also Consider: Staedtler Triplus Jumbo Pencils

Staedtler Triplus Jumbo Pencils
Staedtler Triplus Jumbo Pencils Are Designed for Young Learners

Staedtler Triplus Jumbo Pencils
Staedtler Triplus Jumbo Pencils Are a Comfortable Thickness

These oversized triangular pencils are designed with young learners in mind but are also suitable for adults who prefer a thicker grip. The Staedtler Triplus Jumbo’s shape and size encourages a good hand grip and reduces fatigue.

COMFORTABLE, FAST-DRYING NOTEBOOKS

Lefties looking for a more comfortable writing experience should avoid typical wire-bound notebooks that can dig into their wrists. Top-bound notebooks, notebooks with lay-flat bindings, and specially-made left-handed notebooks with the binding on the right side are all excellent options.

Top-Bound Notebooks

Maruman Mnemosyne Notebooks

Maruman Mnemosyne Notebooks
Maruman Mnemosyne Notebooks Come in Several Styles

Maruman Mnemosyne Notebooks
The Maruman Mnemosyne Weekly Calendar is Top-Bound

Maruman Mnemosyne Notebooks are known for their beautifully smooth, fountain pen friendly paper and thoughtful design. Most of their styles and sizes are top-bound with a twin ring, although some are stapled. Their top-bound weekly calendar is an excellent option for lefties who enjoy using paper planners. The acid free pages are micro-perforated for easy removal and suitable for a wide variety of pens. Bernanke Blue feathered moderately on this paper and dried within 10 seconds. These notebooks are available with blank, gridded, or lined paper.

Also Consider: Rhodia Notebooks & Notepads

Rhodia Notebooks & Notepads
Rhodia Notebooks & Notepads Have a Variety of Bidings

Rhodia Notebooks & Notepads
The Rhodia Reverse Book Works Well With the Binding on Top

Rhodia notebooks and notepads also use smooth, versatile paper that is suitable for fountain pens. Bernanke Blue only feathered slightly, but took more than 10 seconds to dry. These notebooks come in several different styles, including staple top-bound notepads. The square Rhodia Reverse Book is specifically designed to work as well with the spiral binding on top as on the side. They also offer high-quality notebooks with lay-flat bindings. Rhodia notebooks and notepads are are available with blank, gridded, dot gridded, or lined paper.

Quick-Drying Notebooks

Doane Paper Grid+Lines Flap Jotter Notepads

Doane Paper Grid+Lines Flap Jotter Notepads
Doane Paper Grid+Lines Flap Jotter Notepads Use More Absorbent Paper

Doane Paper Grid+Lines Flap Jotter Notepads
Doane Paper Grid+Lines Flap Jotter Notepads Have an Unusual Grid and Line Pattern

The rustic-looking Doane Paper Grid+Lines Flap Jotter Notepads use more absorbent paper that allows ink to dry faster. Writing from the Tombow Zoom 505, our wettest recommended pen, dried instantly. Bernanke Blue dried within two seconds, while ordinary fountain pen ink took 25 seconds to dry. We experienced feathering with both pens. It was barely noticeable with the Tombow Zoom, but moderate for the fountain pen. These notebooks feature a light blue grid with darker blue lines for writing and sketching. They come in either large, which is similar to A5, or pocket-sized. They are top-bound with a twin ring.

HELPFUL ACCESSORIES

Some lefties don’t want to give up their favorite writing tools for ones with more lefty-friendly features. Others see improvement from switching, but aren’t quite satisfied. Supplement your writing materials with well-chosen accessories to address your specific challenges.

Tombow Yo-i Pencil Grip Aid – Left-Handed

Tombow Yo-i Pencil Grip Aid - Left-Handed
The Tombow Yo-i Pencil Grip Aid Makes Ordinary Pencils More Ergonomic

Tombow Yo-i Pencil Grip Aid - Left-Handed
The Tombow Yo-i Pencil Grip Aid Helps You Hold Your Pencil in a Tripod Grip

If you don’t like triangular pencils or need more precise grip guidance, try the Tombow Yo-i Pencil Grip Aid. It is molded to keep the thumbnail parallel to the paper in a tripod grip. Although it was designed to help children learning to write hold their pencils properly, adults may find it a comfortable ergonomic aid.

SmudgeGuard Gloves

SmudgeGuard Gloves
SmudgeGuard Gloves Come in One- and Two-Finger Varieties

SmudgeGuard Gloves
SmudgeGuard Gloves Prevent Smudges and Smears

If you always smear your writing no matter what you use, protect your hand and words with SmudgeGuard Gloves. They cover the one or two fingers on the side of the hand that touches the paper to keep your hand clean as it moves across the paper. They also minimize smearing on the page by absorbing excess ink and graphite. Their low-profile, lightweight design preserves the user’s dexterity and keeps them comfortable. As a bonus for tablet users, SmudgeGuard gloves also prevent stray marks on non-capacitive screens.

HOW TO WRITE LEFT-HANDED

Left-handers often use a variation of one of three different hand positions to write. Underwriting, in which the hand stays below the writing line, is the best for most people. Those who received lefty-specific writing instruction usually use this method.

Underwriting has the least potential for smearing and nib problems, so people who use this style can use almost any pen they like. Lefties using Italic nibs will naturally produce the opposite angle as right-handed writers. They may use nibs specifically angled for left-handed calligraphers to avoid this.

Two other writing methods are overwriting (hooking) and sidewriting.

Overwriting is the most common method used by left-handers and is often the result of trying to imitate right-handed writing. Overwriters hook their hands over the line of writing. This often causes hand fatigue and smudging. Some people minimize ink smears by bending their wrists more sharply to keep their hands off their writing for a longer period of time.

The rare sidewriting style keeps the hand in line with the writing. People who use this style push the nib across the paper more than those who use the other styles, so it has the most potential for paper snags as well as ink smears.

If you’re having trouble with your current writing style, we suggest giving underwriting a try. To help you get started, here are a few basic tips.

How to Write Left-Handed
The Tripod Grip is at the Heart of Underwriting

Take a Seat

Sit comfortably, facing the table straight on. Keep your body relaxed, but don’t slump.

Rotate Your Paper

Rotate your paper clockwise by 20-30 degrees. Paper rotation is very individual, so if this angle doesn’t work for you, experiment!

Hold Your Pen Gently

Underwriting uses a three-point grip that allows you to control the pen without using too much force.

  • Rest the pen on the side of your middle finger by the nail and hold it gently with your index finger and thumb.
  • Keep your fingers about an inch from the tip of the pen.
  • Don’t clench. Hold the pen just firmly enough to keep it steady.
  • Keep your wrist straight and relaxed. Write by moving your arm.

It takes time and practice to learn a new grip. Don’t give up!

Mirror Action

You will often need to push the pen where right-handers drag it to form letters. Use light pressure and make crossbars from right to left to avoid digging the nib into the paper.

CONCLUSION

There are lots of ways to tackle left-handed challenges. We hope our suggestions gave you some ideas, but now we want to hear from you. Are you left-handed? Let us know what pens and notebooks you use in the comments!

Ballpoint Pens
Line Features Drying Time (Sec.) Sizes/Grades
Uni-ball Jetstream Ballpoint Pens Smooth, Dries Fast, No Ink Blots 3 0.38 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, 1.0 mm
Uni Power Tank Ballpoint Pens Dries Fast, Works In Harsh Conditions 3 0.7 mm, 1.0 mm
Gel Pens
Line Features Drying Time (Sec.) Sizes/Grades
Zebra Sarasa Dry Gel Pens Smooth, Dries Fast, Binder Clip 2 0.4 mm, 0.5 mm
Uni-ball Signo Gel Pens Smooth, Dries Relatively Fast, Many Colors & Tip Sizes 5 0.28 mm, 0.38 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, 0.8 mm, 1.0 mm
Rollerball Pens
Line Features Drying Time (Sec.) Sizes/Grades
Pilot Multi Ball Rollerball Pens Dries Fast, Writes on Multiple Surfaces 3 Fine, Medium
Tombow Zoom 505 Liquid Ink Rollerball Pens Smooth, Elegant, Thick Body 6 0.5 mm
Highlighters
Line Features Drying Time (Sec.) Sizes/Grades
Uni Propus Window Q-Dry Double-Sided Highlighter Dries Fast, Window Tip, Double-Sided 4 0.6 mm, 4.0 mm
Kutsuwa HiLiNE Highlighter Pencils No Smear, Can Be Sharpened 0 Variable
Fountain Pens
Line Features Drying Time (Sec.) Sizes/Grades
Pelikan Pelikano Junior Fountain Pen – Left Handed Ergonomic, Rounded Nib, Converter Compatable N/A Medium
Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pens Smooth Nib N/A Fine, Medium
Fountain Pen Inks
Line Features Drying Time (Sec.) Sizes/Grades
Noodler’s Bernanke Black Ink Dries Fast 10-15 3 oz
Noodler’s Bernanke Blue Ink Dries Fast, Vibrant Color 10-15 3 oz
Calligraphy Pens
Line Features Drying Time (Sec.) Sizes/Grades
Speedball Left-Handed Pen Set Angled for Left-Handers N/A Multiple
Pilot Elabo Fountain Pens Stiffer Flex Nib, Less Sharp Than Dip Nibs, Line Variation N/A Extra Fine, Fine, Medium, Broad
Ergonomic Pencils
Line Features Drying Time (Sec.) Sizes/Grades
Faber-Castell Grip 2001 Pencils Triangular Body, Grippy Dots N/A 2B, B, HB
Staedtler Triplus Jumbo Pencils Triangular Body, Oversized N/A 2B, HB
Top-Bound Notebooks
Line Features Drying Time (Sec.) Sizes/Grades
Maruman Mnemosyne Notebooks Smooth, Top-Bound Options, Micro-Perforated Pages Tombow Zoom 505: 0; Bernanke Blue: 5-10 Small, Medium, Large, A4, A5, A6, A7, B5, B6
Rhodia Notebooks & Notepads Smooth, Top-Bound Options, Lay-Flat Binding Options Tombow Zoom 505: 6; Bernanke Blue: 10-15 Small, Medium, Large, A4, A5, A6, A7
Quick-Drying Notebooks
Line Features Drying Time (Sec.) Sizes/Grades
Doane Paper Grid+Lines Flap Jotter Notepads Absorbent Paper, Top-Bound, Dual Grid & Line Design Tombow Zoom 505: 0; Bernanke Blue: 2 Small, Large
Helpful Accessories
Line Features Drying Time (Sec.) Sizes/Grades
Tombow Yo-i Pencil Grip Aid – Left-Handed Ergonomic N/A One Size
SmudgeGuard Gloves Protects Hand From Smudges, Absorbs Excess Ink N/A XS, S, M, L, XL

SOURCE:http://www.jetpens.com/blog/left-handed-pens-writing-supplies/pt/891

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