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Maker: Rotring.

I will note that “ArtPen” is how the name appears on Rotring’s own site, so I’m going to bow to them in this goofy construction.  This pen is the sole surviving fountain pen in the Rotring line-up since the company was recast by its owners into a more purely technical-instrument maker.  My experience with this pen is as a calligraphy tool, mounting italic points of great size (their small is Lamy’s medium), but it is also available with sketching points.

The shape of the pen is described by Rotring as brush-like, but it is also very like the long-tailed dip-pen holders which so many calligraphers prefer.  The points is smooth for a relatively crisp italic, and the feed is readily drawn from the section for thorough cleaning.  These are both points of advantage over its nearest competitor, the similarly shaped Lamy Joy, whose point is a little less crisp, and whose section is essentially the same as the Safari’s, and thus not really user-serviceable.  It might also be seen as superior in maintenance to the less-expensive Sheaffer and Manuscript calligraphy pens, wlthough crispness is not an issue with those.

The cap of the ArtPen is a bit of an oddity, bearing as it does a long clip.  While in a standard shirt pocket its length allows it to engage fabric, about two-thirds of the cap remains above the top of the pocket.  I can only image it to be envisioned as useful on some sort of artist’s tool-roll, with either much deeper slots or a mere trapping band.  The cap is also designed to post on the end of the pen, like one of more conventional design, which is handy in preventing the loss of the cap, but it also amends the balance of the whole affair.  It’s not a heavy cap, but when one is about delicate artistic efforts, an ill-balanced tool is not at all welcome.

Production Run: c.1985 – present.

Cost When New: MSRP currently €20.80, although they can be found for under $25 with a little searching.

Size: 17.9 cm long capped, 17.0 cm posted, 16.6 cm uncapped (and to forestall any letters asking if I’ve reversed some numbers, I will say clearly that it is indeed longer capped than it is posted).

Point: Steel.

Body: Plastic.

Filler: Cartridge, 0.6 or 1.4 ml (international pattern); frequently sold with converter, capacity approx. 0.6 ml

The Rotring ArtPen, with the cap very inconveniently but (despite appearances) securely posted; the 2.3mm point is what some pen fanciers would call “a big fat paint brush”.

With the cap on to show the nice taper. I know this is an older example because of the “W.Germany” on the clip.



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