I have got Parker Vector Metallics fountain pen. Its grip is very thin.

I use tripod grip. My thumb and index finger touch each other when I grip this pen. This causes kind of irritation and pain in the lower right side of the hand.

What is the proper way to grip a thin pen?


3 Answers 3


Finding the right way to hold your pen might simply not work since your preferred way of holding a pen is incompatible with said pen. I hold pens using the (dynamic) quadropod grip, and, although I think it's relatively easy to switch these grips, I doubt that changing grips will prevent your fingers from getting irritated.
I think the problem might simply be a relatively large difference between the size of the pen and one's fingers or hand. Up to a certain diameter, one's fingers will always touch.

Instead, I suggest to get a 'pen grip':


You can find them for pens of any size, and in any kind of size or shape.
You can also fashion them yourself out of foam, wood, hair curlers, by rolling rubber bands around the shaft, and a plethora of other options.
I've once used old kneadable eraser to get a surprisingly comfortable (albeit slightly sweat-inducing) 'pen grip':

DIY kneadable eraser pen grip
Reconstruction. But basically the exact same thing.

  • Additionally: the horror of having a classy fountain pen, and having to carry that horror with you. Not to mention that the hole of the grip might be incompatible with the diameter of the pen. Even in the first grade, when nobody knew how to hold a pencil, these things were out of sight.
    – virolino
    Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 5:51
  • 1
    @virolino "The horror of having a classy fountain pen" and using such a grip, you mean? There are less intrusive grips, the image just shows some painfully colourful ones. I'll try to find an image of a more 'mature' grip and add it. Besides, apart form not using the pen, being able to use it comfortably seems like a small sacrifice.
    – Joachim
    Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 7:11
  • @Joachim: my bad, for not being specific enough. From my point of view, a fountain pen is a "symbol" of fashion, beauty, elegance. The grips you showed are anything but beautiful / attractive. Even in the new picture you added, the grip is not suitable because: 1. It is specific to roll-ball pens - a totally different kind of tool, addressing totally different customers and 2. That grip comes by design with the pen. The best hack to write comfortably with fountain pens is to learn how to do it properly. It is the same with any other tool and with any other activity. IMHO
    – virolino
    Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 8:27
  • @Joachim: pairing fountain pens with grips is like pairing penguin tuxedo's with ripped jeans.
    – virolino
    Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 8:31
  • 2
    @Aquarius_Girl no, I mean that the pen might simply be too small for you. A tripod grip is quite common, I think, and a quadropod grip would force even more fingertips on the shaft, so apparently there is no way to properly hold the pen without your fingers touching each other (from my answer: it "might simply not work").
    – Joachim
    Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 10:56

Different people hold the fountain pens in different ways. There is also an opinion that only one person should use a specific fountain pen - because depending on the holding style, the tip "erodes" in a specific way - which makes the experience lees-than-good if it changes hands.

This causes kind of irritation and pain in the lower right side of the hand.

Whatever style you use, do not squeeze the pen too hard (between your fingers), and do not press your hand against the able too hard while writing. Both of these will cause pain in the respective areas of the body.

Note: Almost all my life I used a fountain pen to write (from the age of about 6 until after the age of 23, several hours a day - the fountain pen was my only instrument of writing), so I know what I talk about. During all these ears, I had higher quality fountain pens, lower quality, thinner, thicker, steel nib, gold nib...

I am quite sad now that I write using a computer a lot, and not have an opportunity to use my fountain pens more.

Bottom line: use whatever style is comfortable to you, just do not use too much force.

Another note: occasionally, to the extent possible, take breaks from writing and exercise your fingers, to relax them. Slightly massage the affected areas. Washing your hands, even with plain water, might alleviate the problem to some degree.


Let me post a slightly different perspective. The starting point for the question is that you bought a thin fountain pen (presumably because you found it attractive). Then you discovered that it is uncomfortable to hold and are looking for a solution to make using it more comfortable. The existing answers directly address what you asked. This answer will be more for other readers who have not yet made a purchase.

A fountain pen is a little different from other kinds of writing instruments. It isn't just a question of holding the pen against the paper and dragging it around. The pressure against the paper affects the line. The rotation of the nib against the paper must be within a narrow range. The angle of the nib against the paper must be within a narrow range. The pen behaves differently on a pull stroke vs. a push stroke, which can affect how you form characters, especially with certain nibs. If you want to take advantage of the ability to create artistic flourishes, you need a hand position that facilitates much longer strokes. So it isn't just a question of securing the pen in your hand. How you hold it affects your ability to write with it.

With a fountain pen that you use for everyday writing (as opposed to something you use for just brief periods for a special purpose), it's very important to start with a pen that fits your hand and is comfortable to hold. There are a lot of factors in this, including the diameter, length, weight, balance, shape of the grip area, whether or not you post the cap on the back during use, etc. And the type of nib affects the importance of different elements of the hand position.

If you are first starting out with fountain pens, it's a terrible idea to buy a pen based on its appearance without trying it out. Plenty of pens are gorgeous, but may be problematic for you to use. Go to stores that carry a selection of fountain pens and try different ones. You'll find that some feel like a natural fit and are comfortable to use, while others are the opposite. After you've been using fountain pens for awhile and have tried different ones, you'll find what design is the best fit for you. At that point, it will be much safer buying a pen without trying it first.

If you've already bought a pen that is too thin (or not optimum in some other way), the best solution may be to cut your losses and try again. You may be able to return the pen, or just save it for its beauty and limit how much you use it. If you bought it for its appearance, any kind of accessory grip you add will negate that. Modifying your hand position to use a pen that isn't a good fit for your hand isn't a good solution.

There's an old Henny Youngman joke: Patient to doctor, "Doctor, it hurts when I do this." Doctor, "So don't do that."

  • Overall good points, but note that this will only help readers setting out to buy a pen. The OP simply wrote “I have a pen”, it may have been given as a gift or acquired in another way the asker couldn’t influence.
    – Stephie
    Commented Sep 28, 2020 at 4:29
  • @Stephie, that's what I said in the first paragraph. For someone who already has such a pen and can't, or doesn't want to, return/exchange it, my suggestion in the next to last paragraph was to limit how much you use it. The basic suggestion is for everyday writing, to buy a pen that's comfortable to use. For whatever reason a person wants to keep a pen that isn't comfortable to use, it doesn't mean that they need to use it for their everyday writing. It isn't something that can be properly fixed by changing how you hold the pen.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Sep 28, 2020 at 9:33

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