Rotring Isograph is a Hit!

Before deciding to add the Rotring Isograph pens to our inventory, we had them tested by a variety of customers. No matter what the use, customers were happy to find a pen similar to the Rapidograph with a few slight differences. Whether you are outlining letters, creating maps, or doing Zentangle, the Isograph pen delivers great results. We thought the best way to officially introduce them to you was to share what our customers have created, along with their thoughts on the pens.


Calligrapher Dan Mooney used the pens for detail in his exquisite work. According to him, “Some of the minor differences is that the Isographs don’t ‘blob’ when you first use them as I find aggravating with the Rapidographs. There is a size difference as well. The .25 (3X) rapidigraph makes a thinner-finer line than the .25 (3x) Isograph, which is a bit strange. The Rapidograph seems a bit smoother whereas the Isograph seems just a tad bit scratchier when used on drafting velum. Both pens are stainless points and can not be used on Drafting Mylar which will destroy the points. ”

As you can see, Dan put the pens to great use, from drafts to fine detailing:

dmooney9 dmooney7 dmooney6 dmooney5 dmooney3 dmooney2 dmooney

He further comments, “The biggest difference between the pens is that the Rapidograph can be taken completely apart for cleaning, which is not necessarily a good thing especially with the very fine points because the fine wire that keeps the ink flowing can be easily damaged when it is removed. The Isograph has a protected unit that conceals the wire making it impossible to get at it. This was a smart and innovative move! Any technical pen I’ve ruined (and there have been many) was because of bending that little wire. I strongly recommend these pens.”


Calligrapher Ann Kaese also tested the pens for us. She adds, ” My other pens like this have always given me trouble with leaking and this one has not – and I have not been kind to it.  It has been in my purse or jacket pocket for 3 weeks (in a baggy just in case), jiggled around, exposed to extreme climates and it has done just fine.  Once the ink froze when I left it on the dashboard of the car and after it thawed out, it was fine.  There is a nice rubber gasket in the cap where the nib goes in that appears to do a really good job of sealing the pen.”

Ann shared a draft for a customer of a card that she was creating, and we absolutely love what she’s designed!

thanks versalskaese - Copy

Ann further shared, “I put watercolor, ink and coloured water through them with no ill effects. The standard ink that came with the pen is just fine for a good black.   I did not try any waterproof inks.  They cleaned up nicely and a little spin in my trusty unltrasonic cleaner got them ready for another spin around the paper. (I think an ultrasonic cleaner is mandatory for the fine pens.) The ink barrel is a good size and is larger than my Koh-i-Noor so less refilling needed with this pen.  These worked fine on hot press, bristol, vellum and copperplate practice paper – and post-it notes when I needed a quick message!

The heft of the pen is light.  The cap does not attach to the back of the pen to add counterweight either like the white Koh-i-Noor does.  It is light and flighty which is good and bad.  I prefer a pen that has more heft.  My trick is to add some putty to the end of the ink barrel to add weight and that worked just fine.

My biggest issue with this pen:  you cannot see how full or empty the ink is.  You also have to be careful when filling it else ink leaks out the nib due to air pressure.  And remember to store them with the nib up else a blob of ink will dry over the tip sometimes and then you have to dissamble and clean it all out really well.  All technical pens need maintenance and this pen is no exception to that.  Ink does accumulate around the base of the nib so keep a paper towel handy when you open the pen.  But the pen is reliable and gave me good clean, even lines.  I grew to really like it (after I added some weight to it) and it was always ready to let me do my work.”


Hilary Williams, also a calligrapher, actually used her pen to create a lovely Zentangle design on a thank-you note she sent to us. Though Pigma Microns are often recommended for Zentangle and work very well, the Isograph allows you to have a tip which will not wear out as easily as the Microns, as well as a pen that is refillable. The rich black ink also lends itself well to Zentangle designs. Hilary commented, “The point seems stronger than the Rapidograph. I love them, and they are still going strong. ”




Traci Green, calligrapher and graphic designer, used the Isographs to create lovely maps of Wildberry Farm in SC. After she completed her project, she shared, “I have to say, I liked them just fine. I  think they could give rapidograph a run for the money.  The ink worked well with watercolor. I use them all the time and never would have thought I’d replace my 20 year old set from college!!”

Traci’s maps are not only beautiful, but also delightfully fun. We love the nostalgic aspects of hand drawn maps!

wildberry farm wildberry map


As you can see, the Isograph pens can be used for a variety of projects, and our testers all had positive things to say. If you are ready to purchase your own Isograph pen, you can find them on our website here:

We also now have the Rotring Art Pens back in stock as well. Though they were temporarily unavailable, they’re back!


  1. I love my Isograph pen. After years of using Koh-I-Nor Rapidographs, I agree with Dan, smart that they can’t be taken apart! These don’t seem to clog as much when not used either, as i put a small drop of water in the lid. keeps tip moist. Highly recommend them!

  2. I agree with Dan. The blob at the end of the Rapidograph is majorly annoying and the Isograph doesn’t seem to do it. I’m very pleased with mine as well. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I used Rapidiographs for medical illustrations 35 some years ago, in 1977. I was kind of wondering recently where to get Rapidiographs, but the Isograph sounds like a good replacement. Yes, high-maitenance was drawback of Rapidograph, also price.

  4. Hmm.. I better like rapidograph than isograph, because it has a cartridge. I’ve some rotring and staedtler but in my opinion, rotring is the best 🙂
    Rotring ink has a deep black color when I compared with another ink (and pen).

  5. Beautiful post!
    Can I ask you an infomation?
    Are Isographs suited to draw on normal smooth paper or using on this kind of paper might compromise the nib?
    I recently bought a series of 7 isographs from e-bay, and the seller told me that I can only use the smallest nin (from 0.13 to 0.35) only on vellum paper. Is it true?

  6. Hi! I’m doing a custom drawing of FSU (Florida State University) and their colors are garnet and gold. I have been unable to find the right garnet to match their colors in regular pens and was hoping I could give the Isograph a try. Can I use any ink in them? The Private Reserve Fiesta Red ink seems to be close to their color but I’m not sure if the Isograph will work with any ink. Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated!

    • Jessie,
      The Isograph should work with the Private Reserve, but that won’t be a waterproof ink. Also, you wouldn’t want to leave it in your Isograph pen for long periods of time.

    • That paper would likely be very soft. The Rotring has a metal tip, so it may be a little more difficult to use on the paper. If you use an ink with a thin viscosity and clean the pen correctly, the tip should not clog.

    • I would not suggest metallic inks in the Rotring pens. They would be too thick to flow well and would clog the pens. I suspect Dan actually gilded his piece with patent gold.

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