My tips on how to successfully unblock an old technical pen

My tips on how to successfully unblock an old technical pen

Like a lot of artists I’ve collected and gathered a lot of artist materials over the years. Some are old favourites that I still use, like brushes, and the wooden board that I lean on to cut paper and card with, that was my grandfathers many years ago.

One of my favourite tools is the Rotring technical pen that is perfect for very fine black and white line drawings, and I’ve used for many years to great effect for architectural drawings. Although it’s been sitting in a cupboard for a while and I seem to recall the last time I tried to use it I decided that it may just be time I replaced it and bought another! I think I bought it in the 1980’s, as the pricing label is still on it… £8.59 ! I’m sure they’re about four times that price now!!

P1080983Knowing that I have a nice commission coming in in the next few weeks that requires me to ideally use a technical pen and having a couple of hours spare this week I dug out the pen and tried it to see if it would work.


No chance!

Ok, that’s a shame, maybe they just get old and useless and dried up over a gap of some years I thought and wondered how much a new one would be.

Then, just as a matter of curiosity I thought I’d have a good look at the instruction paperwork with it, and was delighted that not only did it helpfully give a couple of instructions for a quick clean, but also a more thorough one.

Okay, lets see what that will do…

It involved dismantling it, and running the nib under a running tap to get the water to run through it. Now I know these nibs are fine, they’re almost as fine as a needle point, and the ink would easily clog it up it. So, after running it under a cold water tap, and tapping it down onto paper as they suggested and lots of fine bits of ink coming out BUT  it still didn’t work I had a think, and thought that since I had nothing to lose, I would try soaking it in boiling HOT water to see if that would work. And after a few soakings, tapping it, and soaking it again in hot water, again, and then running it under the tap to get the ink to run out of it, and of course, me getting black fingers and nails in the process (an artists normal life!!!) I am delighted that it has returned to working again, and the lovely fine thin line that its always done!! YAY!

I don’t have to buy a new one after all…. happy days!!

Now, how do you get rid of waterproof black ink out of fingernails..?

I've been an artist all of my life, and my paintings now hang on walls in Europe, USA and Canada. I'm working on getting them on the other continents! My wide range of artwork has been exhibited nearer to home in the East Midlands, with the Guild of Erotic Artists at Beaumont Hall Studios in Hertfordshire, and at "Erotica", Olympia, London. I have also been featured alongside my work in the Guild of Erotic Artists book (volume 2). I love to create dramatic interest in my pictures, whether it’s to paint an unusual landscape, or just to utilise dramatic lighting in my figure drawings or strong colour in my animal portraits. Delighting in the spontaneous tendencies of watercolour adds an interesting and distinctive look to my paintings, some of which are purposefully ambiguous, enabling the viewer to use their own interpretation of my artwork. I also love to hide images, and humour within my paintings, whether it’s a secret message, or an erotic couple hidden within a landscape, or even an erotic landscape where the couple are camouflaged as the features of the land itself. I am equally happy painting in oils, acrylics or watercolours and love to draw with pencil or ink. I have also developed the very effective method of drawing using white pencil on black card which creates dramatic pictures by just picking out where the light catches the body and leaving the rest of the image to the imagination, in darkness. I can also utilise many different styles, whether it is realistic, abstract, surrealistic, erotic, fantasy or camouflage art where something is hidden within the painting. I'm just passionate about my art, whatever I paint! But, it doesn't matter how many landscapes or pet portraits I paint, its always the erotic stuff that people are interested in! I started blogging to share some of the strange conversations I have with the people I meet. But its evolved into far more than that now.

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