Thursday, November 16, 2017

Review: Rotring ArtPen Calligraphy Set @GoldspotPens

Thanks to Goldspot Pens, a current sponsor, for sending this ArtPen calligraphy set over for review! It's been a popular request so I'm pleased I can finally fulfill it!
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Body material: Plastic
Trim: Metal
Cap: Snap on
Posts: No
Nib material: Steel
Filling system: Standard international cartridge/converter/eyedropper for the brave
Length (capped): 178.55 mm/7.03"
Length (uncapped): 166.80 mm/6.57"
Length (posted): N/A
Length (section): 34.36 mm/1.35"
Diameter (barrel): 8.54 - 10.82 mm/0.34" - 0.43"
Diameter (section): 5.29 - 11.71 mm/0.21 - 0.46"
Weight (all): 14 g
Weight (cap): 4 g
Weight (body):  10 g
Price: ON SALE $48.05 USD!
Where to buy: Goldspot Pens


The ArtPen Calligraphy set is conveniently packaged and presented in a plastic case with a black cardboard sleeve. The sleeve has the Rotring logo, Germany 1928, and the product name on it, along with pen details on the back. The plastic case has a lift lid and comes with a box of Rotring ink cartridges, a paper pamphlet with minimal information, a full ArtPen, and two additional nib units with caps.
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The packaging is simple and useful. It does not waste space and offers a convenient way to store and/or carry your ArtPen Calligraphy set. 


The ArtPen is not the most stunning pen on the planet. I'm not wild about the design, to be honest, but it isn't hideous. It has a long barrel and is shaped like a desk pen. The cap has a flat top and the pen tapers all the way to the end of the barrel. The top of each cap has white rings with black stickers on them, indicating three nib sizes - 1.5, 1.9, 2.3. The clip is attached through a very small clean cut out in the cap. It is a long, thin clip with a rounded end and it's engraved with Rotring at the top. The barrel has Rotring ArtPen painted on in white. The end of the barrel has a white plug.
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When capped, there is a red plastic ring in between the cap and barrel, hence Rotring (red ring). The section is long, tapering slightly towards the nib and it has raised rings covering the whole thing. It's a simple design.


The nibs are stainless steel in three sizes: 1.5 mm, 1.9 mm, and 2.3 mm. They feel like stubs as they are quite smooth and the edges are not sharp (like an italic). They each have a single slit, no breather hole, and are engraved with Rotring and the nib size.

I like these nibs. They're enjoyable to practice calligraphy with. They are smooth, assuming you keep the nib aligned with the paper, and they are medium wet, so suitable for regular writing and practicing with. Typically with calligraphy practice, one writes on the slower side so the ink flow can keep up with the demand. Fast writing is not ideal with these nibs, not only because of ink flow but because it's hard to keep them properly aligned with the page. Line variation is obvious from the shape of the nibs - thin side strokes and wider downstrokes. The lines are clean and distinct, but smooth enough on the edges for even new users to be comfortable with. I like crisp edges so I wouldn't mind some more tooth and bite, but it still serves me well for calligraphy. The nibs can be a little skippy on coated/smooth paper, which can be annoying, but overall they perform well.
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I like the idea of the nib units and caps - this helps keep things cleaner and prevents drying out if you are switching between nibs. One downside is the red plastic ring on the section is loose - it can (and will) fall off your additional sections. Funny design choice! That's not a deal breaker for me, though.

I would love to have three converters included in the set and a starter calligraphy guide (like that found in the Pilot Parallel calligraphy pen) to really complete the set. The cartridges work fine and if you settle on a nib, you can use the ArtPen as an eyedropper, but I like converters. 


The clip is springy and can be used with one hand. It easily slides on and off pockets, pouches, and papers. The section looks like it could be painful to grip but the pen is light and does not require a tight hold to control it. The rings prevent finger slippage and I like the long section.
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Top to bottom: Rotring ArtPen, Pilot Parallel, Lamy LX, Sheaffer Calligraphy Pen
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The cap on this pen cannot be posted. The pen is long and slender at the back end. It feels balanced, light, and comfy to use. No one wants a heavy or unbalanced when practicing calligraphy.
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This is a fine starter calligraphy set at a fair price. It is packaged in a useful, convenient plastic case and comes ready to go. The pen itself is simple but practical and the nibs are clean, easy to use, write well, and do not dry out easily. Great for flourishing for fun, great for serious work, and excellent for calligraphy practice. The three nib sizes are also practical sizes - the 1.5 and 1.9 mm could even be used for regular writing. The downside - I experienced a few hard starts on smooth paper or if I moved too quickly. This is not unusual for wide nibs with a flat, stub shape.

Totally worth it if you are in the market for a calligraphy pen or want something to spruce up your handwriting.

I received this item/these items free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.


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