Monday, 7 September 2015

Pen Love: The Rolinx Mapping Pen

I like using dip pen and ink. Over the years I have tried various nibs, holders and ink hoping for the right combination. They will work for awhile but then something happens in the execution of a drawing which means I suddenly fall out of love with my chosen one. I'm fickle like that.

During that fall out period there is always one dip pen that I return to for reassurance and this is it. A Rolinx Mapping Pen I first found them in a stationers shop in my home town of Bletchley about 33 years ago. I was doing comics for fanzines and the small press at the time and knew that artists used a dip pen of some kind. Being in a small Buckinghamshire town the Mapping Pen was all that was available to me, a mapping pen and a bottle of the cheapest black Parker ink.

At that time I hated using the dip pen because it did what I love it for now. It made a mess, curves were not smooth, paper fibre clogged the extra fine tip and the ink dripped. My hand would cramp and the middle knuckle would ache from gripping the cheap plastic body too tightly. I was trying hard to draw in someone else's style and not comfortable with my own. The Catch 22 situation, I didn't have confidence back then, I over compensated and did not relax until decades later.

The tip is very sharp and capable of very fine lines where the tines are flexible enough to give good line variation with pressure. And they are cap-able. The amount of times I have pricked myself on a nib reaching for something in the dark means caping a dip pen is a very good idea.

After using fibre tip and brush pens for the Young Waterton strip these three  months past it's time to get back with the Rolinx again. They are not cheap and have a short life span in which you throw the whole thing away so environmentally maybe not the wisest choice. When they work, for drawing and sketching they are magnificent.

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