The essential nature of fountain pen writing is that wet ink is fed to a chisel point by capillarity. The chisel point varying from very fine to extremely broad allows the writer to control his or her hand and as a result of resistance to the paper to give thick, thin or angled lines.

Fountain pens consist of a barrel, nib section, feed, nib and cap. The barrel contains a reservoir of ink that flows to the nib through the feed. The reservoir is either an ink cartridge or a twist siphon mechanism.

In a properly adjusted fountain pen, the forces of gravity, capillarity and air pressure, are under control. Hold the pen, nib downwards, and the ink will not leak. Once the nib touches the writing surface, the ink will flow.

Iridium tipped nibs offer less resistance to the paper and give a smooth ball type writing feel. The feed consists of a series of baffles and fins, that control the flow of ink to the nib. It fits snugly into the nib section. The flow is controlled by adjusting the nib and feed in the section.

The fountain pen is different from other writing instruments in being very personal to each user. When purchasing a fountain pen most suitable for each individual, the following points must be considered: Nib size, pen size, filling method and instruction, care and maintenance. As the pen is written with, the nib will begin to take shape based on the users writing style.  It should not be written with by others.