Palmer Method Tools & Supplies

All you need to study the Palmer Method is a pen and paper. Below are recommendations of various pens and papers you can try.

Pens

Ballpoint

Ballpoint pens are the easiest way to get started. They are cheap, available everywhere, and work great for arm movement writing. Not a rollerball or a gel pen, but a regular ballpoint. Rollerballs and gel pens write much too smoothly, making them hard to control when writing with the arm. The regular Bic ballpoint pen is a great option.

Dip Pen & Ink

The Palmer Method was created in a time when the dominant writing instrument was the steel dip pen and unsurprisingly, the dip pen is the best instrument to use when writing Palmer Method style. It’s a little more complicated to use then a ballpoint pen, which is why it is recommended that you start with a ballpoint.

When you are ready to make the jump to a dip pen, you’ll need a straight pen holder, a nib, and flowing ink.

Fountain Pen

It is not impossible to write Palmer Method style with a fountain pen, but it’s definitely more difficult. Similar to a rollerball or gel pen, fountain pens are typically harder to control than a ballpoint or dip pen. If you really want to try a fountain pen, the Lamy Safari EF is a great pen.


Paper

There are a few things to consider when choosing paper:

Paper Format & Size

Notebooks are not ideal for Palmer Method writing as they elevate the writing surface from the desk and make it more difficult to execute arm movement writing. Loose leaf paper of an adequate size (greater than B5 or standard letter size) will serve you well.

Paper Quality

Cheap copy paper or notebook paper is great for a ballpoint pen, but might bleed through or feather with a dip pen or fountain pen.

Paper Texture

The ideal paper for Palmer Method writing is smooth, but not slippery. You do not want overly textured paper (e.g. laid or handmade) nor you do not want overly slick or glossy paper.

Lines

It is nice to have horizontal lines pre-printed on the page. You can work with just about any size of line space; depending on the size you might write within a single line space or within two or three line spaces. Blank paper is not helpful, unless you enjoy placing lines on the paper yourself with a ruler.

Paper Recommendation

Rhodia paper pads are tried and true. They work really well with ballpoint pens, dip pens, and most fountain pen inks. The only drawback is they don’t come in loose sheets, but all their pads have perforated edges for clean tearing.

If you want loose sheets of paper, Campus Kokuyo paper is high quality, has great texture, and a variety of line options. The only drawback is they are hole-punched, but I’ll trim that away if I need the writing to look fancy. When purchasing, make sure you are buying the right size paper with the lines you want (horizontal or grid).