I have tried out many different pens ranging from cheap dip pens (pens dipped into ink) to very expensive high tech drawing pens. Every cartoonist has their own preference and I am sure that in time you will find the right pen for you. However till you find your perfect pen I have created this cartooning equipment review and have have picked out my top 5 pens. These are all pens that I have used for drawing cartoons. I hope you find this cartooning equipment review useful.
Rotring Art Pen – Medium Nib
This looks great and is very stylish in appearance. I really enjoyed working with this pen as it really feels good in the hand and you can adjust the width of ink line just by turning the pen slightly as you draw. The ink is provided in push fit cartridges or there is the option to install an adaptor which allows you to refill from a bottle.
This really is an excellent pen and very hard wearing. I still have my original pen and nib and it is over 20 years old! There are a variety of nibs with very fine, fine,medium and calligraphy that I have tried and can recommend.
The disadvantage over some other throw away pens is that you have to refill and unless you maintain it to a high standard (cleaning the nib after every use) it can become clogged with dry ink. The main advantage is long term cost. Although the initial cost of the pen is more than good quality throw away pens the Rotring art pen works out cheaper over a longer period as the packs of cartridges or the optional refillable plunger cartridge reduce ink cost.
This is a high quality stylish pen for cartooning with a slight draw back of constant maintenance.
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Rotring Rapidograph 0.5mm Technical Pen
I bought a set of Rotring Radiograph pens with all the accessories. It turned out to be a bad choice as I ended up only using three pens out of the set and none of the accessories. The featured 0.5 technical pen gives consistent line strength and generally feels very good in the hand. I did find that in prolonged use it did get uncomfortable due to the shape of the front end and the annoying threaded portion (where the head cap screws on). The ink source is by snap fit cartridge and the Rotring ink is of a very high quality. One disadvantage is that it requires high cleaning maintenance as it clogs easily if the ink starts to dry out. If you are going to get this pen I would recommend that you also get the 0.3 for fine detail and the 0.8 for larger stroke detail. Ink cartridges are quite expensive and this takes the edge off this model over throw away type felt tip pens.
High quality pen with great ink finish but not the most comfortable to hold when on prolonged drawing. General long term cost is possibly on a par with throw away pens.
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Staedtler pigment liner fineliner technical drawing pen black ink 0.05mm
This is the pen I currently use for cartooning and was used to draw the cartoons on the Procartoon.com website. It has a nice even flow and very good ink finish. This differs from the previous reviews above as it is a use and throw away type pen. So when the ink runs out the pen goes in the trash! Having said that it is quite cheap in comparison to other refillable models. I generally use the 0.3, 0.5 and 0.8 although there are several other sizes available. The only criticism I have is that they are quite narrow and can be a bit uncomfortable to handle when in prolonged use. Apart from thet they are a great workhorse and very reliable if look after them and keep the cap on when not in immediate use.
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LAMY safari Medium Nib Fountain Pen
This may seem a strange choice as its really a writing pen. however the reason I have added this to the review is because it delivers a good ink finish, is very smooth in operation and the best part is the shape of the barrel. The the front of the pen has two indents designed for grip comfort. If you are looking for a pen that feels superb in the hand and delivers a good quality ink finish then this is the pen for you. I have listed this particular model with the medium nib as it is reasonably priced in the LAMY range – some LAMY pens can reach high prices and you would just be paying for the ‘designer factor’ rather than the practicality of the pen.
This doesn’t quite match up to the finish you will get with the Staedler pigment liner but I have put it on an equal rating due to the ergonomic shaping to the barrel – I love this pen when I have to do long working sessions as it feels just as good after a few hours drawing. The only other disadvantages are that it requires ink cartridges and requires a moderate amount of cleaning maintenance. It is also superb for writing so even if you decide to go for a different pen to draw with I highly recommend this for writing – unequalled in that respect.
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Faber Castell Pitt Artists Pen
High quality fibre tip throw away pen with great ink flow and finish. There is not much to chose between this and the Staedler Pigment Liner but the price tag for the Faber Castell pen is substantially higher. Overall this pen performs very well, feels great in the hand and comes in fine, medium and broad (which is more a brush than a pen). I use the medium and fine for cartoon work and the Indian waterproof ink does a great job. It was only the price that stopped this pen from being in joint first place.
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From this cartooning equipment review – pens you can see that I would recommend that you try out the Staedler Pigment Liners. They are great pens and there is no hassle in maintenance – just what I like. Pick up the pen and draw and the price is very reasonable. As I said at the beginning or the article it’s down to preference and you may decide to use another pen altogether. I hope you found this post informative and I will be writing more reviews on equipment that I have personally used or have first hand knowledge of to give you some useful information.