What Is A Rapidograph And How You Can Use One In Your Art

By Nicole Tinkham


You may have heard of the term “Rapidograph” and thought to yourself “what in the world is that?” To be honest, I felt the same way until I did some research on it, only to discover that it’s a very simple tool (with a name like “Rapidograph”, I thought it would be much more complex). Since this tool has some very helpful qualities, I thought it would be a great product to feature this month. Read on to discover what a Rapidograph is and how you can use it in your art.

Are you ready for this? A Rapidograph is simply the name for a technical pen. That’s it! I don’t know about you but I had some type of machine in my head when I first heard the name. Often times you’ll find that engineers and architects use this type of pen to produce detailed drawings. It helps to keep lines consistent in these types of works, where precision is incredibly important.

“Isograph” is another term you may hear thrown around. It’s just a technical pen in which you can refill the ink. Rapidograph pens on the other hand, have replacement ink cartridges.

When it comes to technical pens, you have many different options. You can go with one of our favorites, a Sakura Pigma Micron pen which is not refillable and has a plastic tip in 7 sizes ranging from 0.2-0.5mm. The Koh-I-Noor also makes a Rapidosketch that’s a great refillable option with a metal tip in 3 different sizes (0.25-0.5mm).

Now there is a trick to using technical pens that you should be aware of. You may be tempted to hold the pen at an angle, like you most likely would when sketching. However, these pens are designed to be held perpendicular to the paper. Smooth surfaces work best for technical pens as rougher surfaces can damage the tip.

As mentioned, Rapidograph pens were originally created for engineering and architecture drafting. However, many other artists have been fond of using technical pens for various illustrations, comics and lettering. If you love working in fine detail and precision, this could be the pen for you.

If you’re anything like us, you love learning about new products, techniques and inspiration. The idea for this blog about Rapidograph pens and how to use them in your art actually came from an artist friend on our Facebook page. Tell us, what would you like to learn about next in our blog? Just leave a comment below and it could be featured!

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