Every cartoon artist has there own preference when it comes to choosing drawing pens and this personal choice changes as you try out different products. There are very important factors in making that choice including quality of the ink finish and feel of the pen in hand. Value for money is a high consideration especially when you are on a tight budget but in the long run it comes down to quality and comfort. The following 5 pens which can be used to produce a variety of cartoons have been thoroughly road tested:
Rotring are renown for their technical drawing pens and thankfully developed the Rotring Art Pen which is versatile for drawing cartoons with excellent ink quality.
It is a great looking design and feels superb in hand. You can adjust the drawing line simply by tilting the pen as you ink in your artwork. The pens are supplied with a push fit cartridge or there is the option of a refillable cartridge (plunger type adaptor) which is more economical as you can refill direct from a bottle.
The medium nib is ideal for cartoon drawing but there are a range of Rotring pen nibs from very fine up to calligraphy width. The only down side of the Rotring Art pen is maintenance as you need to keep the barrel and nibs clean as soon as you finish. They can become clogged with dry ink if you don’t wash them thoroughly. Other than that this is one of the best cartoon pens you will find. See current price of the Rotring Art Pen right here…
The Staedler pigment liner gives a very accurate finish with very little ink bleed. It is a throw away pen but does last quite a long time and is relatively cheap to buy.
Most of the cartoons on this site have been produced using this pen due to its absolute consistency of line width, which is important for web design images.
The 0.5mm pen is great for the initial drawing but also consider using the 0.3mm for fine lining and 0.8mm for thicker lines and larger areas to fill.
Disadvantages are that the body of the pen is quite thin and can get a bit uncomfortable in prolonged use and that they are not refillable. The main advantages are the line quality, relatively low cost and ease of use with no maintenance. This is our number one choice of cartooning pen and you can see the latest price of the Staedler Pigment Liner right here…
Faber Castell Pitt Artists Pen
This is the same league as the number one choice (Staedler Pigment Liner) as this pen produces excellent drawing line finish which is consistent with great ink definition. The pen is slightly thicker than the Staedler and as such feels good in hand even over a longer period of cartooning work.
The Faber pens come in fine medium and broad. The fine and medium pens are ideal for cartooning and the broad nib is really useful for inking in larger areas or for larger artwork. The broad nib is more of a brush than a pen but is infinitely more accurate than a brush.
The fibre tip is very high quality with a lovely flow of ink. The disadvantages are that it is not refillable but on saying that it does last a decent duration before running out. The main downside over the Staedler is the cost which is is higher and the nibs are slightly less flexible on paper which may or may not suit your style of drawing.
This is an excellent drawing pen and well worth trying out to see if it fits your style of cartooning. See that latest price of the Faber Castell Artists Pen right here…
Rotring Rapidograph 0.5mm Technical Pen
I have included this pen as it covers both cartoon work and technical drawing and there are some artists who do both.
The 0.5mm Rotring Rapidograph pen produces a superb and consistent line as you would expect for a technical pen. It feels pretty good in hand but can become slightly uncomfortable if in prolonged use due to the cap threading on the barrel.
The advantages are the superb line/ink finish and robust build of the pen. The downsides are pen maintenance as they must be kept clear of dried ink and slight discomfort over longer periods of use. They are also relatively expensive when compared to disposable pens.
If you are a cartoonist and Technical artist this may be just the pen for you. For cartoon work I would advise you to use the 0.3mm, 0.5mm and 0.8mm. See the latest price for the Rotring Rapidograph 0.5mm technical pen right here…
I discovered the lamy pen range on Amazon and was put off by the price and the fact that they are principally for writing. However I read that that the barrel shape was designed for maximum comfort with a unique shape so I decided to give it a test drive. Yes the Lamy Pens are expensive but they feel absolutely fantastic in hand – the best design for comfort on the market with out a shadow of a doubt!
The general Safari fountain pen range is very stylish and comes in a multitude of colors with metal and plastic bodies (which are more affordable). They are provided with push fit cartridges with high quality Lamy ink. The pen head cap comes with a large stylish clip which is very strong and makes the pen rock solid secure when you clip it in your pocket.
Disadvantages – the relative cost and the line finish is not as accurate as some of the disposable pens in this review. The pens are supplied with cartridges which can get pricey but there are converters available (personally I thought they should have provided a converter as standard). However it feels silky smooth in hand, is very stylish and is the best writing pen I have ever used.
I am recommending the Calligraphy set of the Lamy as it comes with three different nib sizes -1.1 mm, 1.5 mm and 1.9 mm (each nib is in its own barrel that screws into the main body). Although slightly wider than the usual range of nibs for cartooning they work really well feel natural and luxurious in hand! It is longer than the Lamy Safari range but is beautifully balanced and so stylish. It is also good value as it is in effect three pens in one. The set comes in a purpose made metal box. See the latest price of the Lamy pen set right here…
In conclusion – which are the best cartoon pens?:
Each drawing pen has its own merits. For best precision the Staedtler pigment liner fineliner technical drawing pen is the recommended choice. It has great line finish for accuracy with very little bleed.
If you want a totally stylish pen that not only looks good but feels great then the Lamy pen is the right choice. For an artist who has prolonged use in one sitting the Lamy pens provide the ultimate grip comfort.