The Oh Comely guide to pens

Photo: Liz Seabrook

Photo: Liz Seabrook

From Berol fine liners to leaky cartridges, most of us paid little attention to the implements we were handed as we learned to write. In issue 32 we took a handwriting lesson to find out just how easy or difficult it was to change your handwriting – turns out your choice of pen makes a big difference.

Seeing as September will almost always be associated with going back to school, it may be worth taking note of our handy pen guide.


words: Aimee-lee Abraham


The rollerball

The best of both worlds, a rollerball combines the convenience of a ballpoint with the smooth ink flow of a fountain pen. The ink dries more slowly and is more prone to smudging, but if you’re diligent enough to keep the lid screwed on tightly it works a treat.


The fountain

Containing a reservoir of water-based ink that dispenses through a nib onto the page, the fountain pen we remember is scorned for its tendency to leak all over whatever ensemble we decided to put on that morning. Though it’s the stuff of playground nightmares, it’s a thoroughly grown-up investment; deeply personal, beautifully old-fashioned and with an air of importance all at once.


The ballpoint

The ballpoint rarely leaks, doesn’t smear and dries at record speed. Thanks to its oil-based ink, you can write easily in virtually any environment. However, there are few things that look more unprofessional than whipping out a cheap biro with a slobbery lid chewed beyond recognition.

Photo: Liz Seabrook

Photo: Liz Seabrook

The wild card (as pictured)

Grossly impractical, completely unprofessional, totally endearing. Be it a garish Lady Liberty ignited in neon green each time you press down on the nib, a sugar-scented gel, or a fluffy quill that moonlights as a tickling device, novelty conquers all. 

For more pens and stationery goodness, take a look at Oh Comely issue 32