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bourbonyNY posted a topic in It Writes, But It Is Not A Fountain Pen ....a question for those with technical pen knowledge -- i remember futzing around with some old school plastic rotring technical pens when i was a kid visiting some older cousins. i would mostly just draw/sketch/doodle with them, and it wasn't until years later when i got into fountain pens that i started reading up on rotring. these days, rotring remains a favorite partly because of this nostalgia, but i'm really more interested in their fountain/ballpoint/rollerballs. i remain curious about those technical pens, though. can someone tell me what they were originally made for? i've read online that they are for architecture/design/technical drawings, but i think my cousins were only in high school, or maybe college. also, what's the difference is between rapidographs and isographs? it is simply that one uses cartridges and the other refills from ink bottles? thanks!
Sasha Royale, Hmm. What an interesting question—one I can answer only for my own experience creating www.TwelveDrawings.com Fountain pens are much more closely associated with writing than with drawing. In fact, I don't personally know any artists who use a fountain pen. I am pleased to find artists here on the Fountain Pen Network, but I think fountain pen usage is probably rare in the general population of artists. WHY NOT USE PENCIL? First, I should explain why I prefer using pen and ink vs a pencil. I can and do use pencil for sketching but have always preferred the demands and rewards of pen and ink. I would compare pencil use with skydiving, where there is real excitement involved but also ample room for correcting minor errors. Pen and ink is more like B.A.S.E. jumping which is very unforgiving of even the smallest mistake. (Not that I am brave enough to actually try either dangerous sport for real). Every mark or motion made by a pen will remain visible in the final drawing, so there is a bit of risktaking in each new stroke of a pen. WHY NOT USE A CALIGRAPHY PEN? This one you already know. The chisel-shaped nib required to make those wonderful letter forms is not well-suited for my style of illustration. WHY NOT USE A TECHNICAL PEN? Most pen and ink artists I know are fond of Rapidograph technical pens https://d2npbuaakacvlz.cloudfront.net/images/uploaded/large-present/2012/7/13/rapidograph-pens-1342201371.jpg These unique pens were used worldwide for creating architectural blueprints and engineering drawing. They come in an astonishing array of nib widths, but are must be held almost perpendicular to the page, rather than in an oblique handwriting position. Although I love Rapidographs, I prefer a pen that lets me use a relaxed handwriting grip.....thus, I use a Phileas. WHY NOT A MORE EXPENSIVE FOUNTAIN PEN THAN PHILEAS? Here I must declare a tiny bit of Divine intervention. I had only a brief interest in fountain pen as a child. Then, in middle age, I came across a display of Phileas pens in the Staples office supply store. I was mostly an idle doodler at that time, so I'm not sure why I suddenly wanted to own the Phileas. Its $50 price tag seemed absurdly high since my favorite drawing pen at the time was a $1.49 Pilot RazorPoint felt-tip pen. I took the plunge and bought what for me was an exorbidant luxury item. (Only much, much later did I learn that the Phileas is viewed by connoisseurs as a low-end "economy model" pen.) I was mesmerized by the very things that Waterman had purposely included...nostalgic Art Deco styling, glossy black enamel, and gleaming gold details. I don't usually collect "bling", but I liked owning this one particular bit of dazzle. WHY NOT A LESS EXPENSIVE PEN? I have formed a loyal bond with the Phileas. My devotion is not entirely rational, but it harms no one that I don't seek out less-expensive alternatives. WHAT'S TO LIKE ABOUT THE PHILEAS? • FEEL: Looks aside, I found the Phileas to have an excellent "feel" when writing or drawing. Other than my one childhood pen (a Sheaffer?), I have no basis for comparison. Today, I realize I was not alone in admiring the smooth performance of Phileas. The high-end Waterman designers seem to done a remarkable job when they created this low-end pen. It writes cleanly, delivers ink reliably, is physically rugged (when the cap is firmly on), and very easy to maintain. • CONSISTENCY: Like most ink illustrators, I primarily use dots (stippling) and lines (hatching) in my illustrations. A typical fountain pen is meant to create handwriting, but there are plenty of dots and lines in that. However, when I am drawing, I work very very fast. My Phileas must deliver up to 200+ dots per minute—that's averages 12,000 strokes per hour. Multiply that by 2 to 8 hours per drawing, times 70+ drawings and you'll see I am putting my Phileas through torture-test conditions. I have never "worn out" a Phileas pen. I have lost one and ruined two (accidentally dropping them nose-down onto concrete), but they work as well when old as they did new. • DIVERSITY: The afore-mentioned Rapidograph technical pens deliver a consistent, near-perfect round ink dot with each tap. That's why so many artists love them. When I draw, I am improvising constantly and do not want to see a perfect uniformity in my pen marks. The Phileas is capable of drawing very neatly, but it can also deliver scratchy, sloppy, and even wild lines given the right drawing technique. When I examine my stippling under a mangnifier, I am amazed that no two dots look alike. That would drive perfectionists crazy, perhaps, but I like it in a jazzy improvisational sort of way. Thank you for asking a very interesting question, Sasha Royale. I had never given any of the above much thought before. I know there are many much-finer pens in the world. But by Divine intervention or just plain luck, I found the right one for me (and my budget) on the first try. Since I am a pen user, not a collector, I am contented to stop with what I've got. I am curious how other fountain pen artists would answer your question. TweveDrawings