Pen Usage Question

7:42 PM, Thursday March 28th 2024

Hello. I'm still new to drawing with pens. After some use, I notice that the tip is flatter, needs to be much more perpendicular to the paper to make unbroken marks, and sometimes squeaks when I draw long lines.

  • Is the main problem that the pen is running out of ink?

  • Am I pressing too hard and damaging the tip?

  • Is this normal wear-and-tear?

This has happened with both my Staedtler pen and Micron pen.


1 users agree
3:04 AM, Friday March 29th 2024
edited at 3:05 AM, Mar 29th 2024

It could be low on ink. It is hard to say without seeing the line. But the squeaking would seem to indicate it is too worn.

Of course you should do your best to hold the pen perpendicular to the paper. However, the more worn a nib is the less freedom you have to vary that angle. So an angle might work on a brand new nib but skip on a nib that is worn down.

It could be you are too heavy handed, causing more wear. It could also just be regular wear and tear. These companies don't want you using the same pen for too long. They want you to run out so they can get another money from you. Planned obsolescence.

I found that the superimposed line exercises tend to wear the felt tip out faster. I suspect there is something in the ink that causes more friction once it dries. The additional friction causes more heat and destroys the nibs faster. I've done my absolute best to not be heavy handed and it still seemed to eat right through my Microns in no time. Consider using a different pen for just that exercise.

I've since switched to a metal nibbed refillable technical pen altogether. Rotring Isographs or Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph. There is no guilt of adding to the plastic waste problem. The flow is better. They are longer lasting. They are nicer quality tools altogether. The only downside is the semi regular cleaning you need to do. As long as you don't let the ink dry out from going unused for long periods of time they are really easy to take care of.

There is a higher upfront cost but it cheaper in the long run. I got a college set of three for $35 on Amazon. You may need to wait a while for that price to come around again. You may be able to find a single for around $25 more easily. In my experience, college sets tend to sit around $80-120 normally.

edited at 3:05 AM, Mar 29th 2024
4:44 AM, Saturday March 30th 2024

I'll look into the refillable technical pens. Thanks for the suggestion!

0 users agree
2:35 PM, Friday March 29th 2024

When the tip gets flattened like that, it's usually a sign that the nib is getting worn down due to excess pressure. Now, keep in mind that is totally normal for a beginner - pressure control is something we develop gradually with mileage and experience, so it's fairly standard for beginners to burn through some pens at first. Over time however, your ability to balance between enough pressure to make a mark, but not too much pressure so as to create undue wear, will improve. For now just keep trying to modulate how much pressure you use, and don't be afraid to let your hand rest gently on the page to stabilize things (some students insist on having their hand hover, and that can make controlling the pressure that much harder).

4:49 AM, Saturday March 30th 2024

Thanks! It looks like I am probably using too much pressure. If anyone else has this problem, I found that I can get some more life out of my pen by wearing down the tip a little on the edges to reshape the tip.

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