A Thick Line of Ink

For the broad strokes.

Like many pen nerds, I used to reach for a nice thin ink cartridge. Rollerballs have always been my go to type, as they write smooth and dry fast enough that I can usually not destroy my hand with ink (I am left handed, you either get this or you don’t). A lot of people like ink that is 0.38mm, and most people find around 0.7mm to feel pretty good.

I was firmly in this camp of normalcy, of wanting a tidy and relatively thin line when I wrote. This way I could write small and I could write neat. But I have found that this thinking and ink type actually works against you.

Small and neat, encourages a lot of writing, otherwise your page looks empty. It encourages you to not only write more words each time you put the tip to the page, but it encourages you to capture more things. You have space, the tidiness of it is compelling, and so forth.

And then I got a pen as a gift, and the ink cartridge in that pen was fat. Sorry, I mean broad, how could I use the word fat. Except that is what it is. I am talking about what most companies call Medium tips, which are closer to 1mm in flow. These tips are pure magic for writing.

They encourage you to write larger words, and to write fewer words. Which means fewer things fit on the page, and why write if you cannot distill something down to just a few words?

And that is the key. Broad is good. Bold is good.

Let me explain because now that I have switched to a broad tip, I find finer tips to be frustrating to write with.

With broad tips two things happen: more ink flows out of the tip at one stroke, and it flows out smoother. Think of a pen tip like a funnel, and the size of the tip is the size of the small funnel opening. If you put water through a funnel with a small opening, then it will flow through slower than if that opening was almost twice as large. This makes sense and is what is happening essentially with a more broad tip.

Therefore you have less friction when you write, and you are encouraged to write faster so that you don’t pool ink on the page. But the pen also responds better to the faster writing because of how freely the ink flows.

This is magic when you are writing, whether it is for note taking in a meeting or for planning and ideation. Writing with a broader tip allows your fingers and the pen to move at the speed your mind is. And it also forces you to make marks that are distilled thoughts and not verbatim sentences. Thus your notes tend to carry more meaning and impact when you review them later. Instead of just being recordings from your day, they become thoughts from your day.

Oh, and it makes signing things way more fun.

Give it a try.

Personally I like the MontBlanc M rollerball tip size, and the Delta 1mm tip size.

Note: This site makes use of affiliate links where and when possible. These links may earn this site money when utilized. 


Join Today, for Exclusive Access.