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introduction

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I’ve always loved Rotring. When I was young I used to draw a lot. I liked it and spend hours drawing and sketching. Back then I used « child » tool, cheap pencils, watercolor markers, color pencils…

My father was an architect and his office was just close to our home. I used to spend some saturdays and sundays at his office when he was working extra-time, and I loved that. I can draw all day with much more « professional » tools : compasses, ellipse templates, rulers… But there was also that impressive set of black pens with strange thing written on : 0.18 – 0.3 – 0.8… They were stored in a plastic base with an even more strange humidity gauge, which give them a very futuristic appeal. Of course, I was not allowed to used them an I was told they were expensive and fragile stuff. Definitely not for the kids!

Then one day, my father came home with two Variant pens (big nibs : 0.8 and 1.0) and gave them to me. I can’t remember if they were lightly damaged or if he bought new ones, but anyway : they were mine ! From then I was hooked. They were far superior from everything I have used, and nothing can beat the dark and profound black they produced. You can erase the lead pencil, the black remains black. No watercolor marker can come close to this…

When I was 15, I started art studies. I’ve spent 8 years in Art Schools, ended-up my cursus at the Arts Decoratifs of Paris. At that time Rotrings were crucial tools. 3 or 4 Isographs, some Letraset sheets and an assortment of Pantone markers were vital stuff if you intended to became a serious graphic designer. Rotring was so inescapable, that – in fact – it was a generic name that can apply also to Staedler Marsmatic or Faber-Castell TG1 or any other cheap clones. We just named these tools « Rotring ».

I still use Rotring product on a daily basis, especially mechanical pencils for sketching. I also frequently use my Isograph and Rapidograph pens for illustrations purpose, and I still do some technical drawing, but this time for my own pleasure to use tools like compasses, french curves set, ellipse templates…

I haven’t found many blogs or websites dealing with Rotring products. The new official Rotring website is very attractive and you can buy online most of the current production. They are very reactive and ship fast. You should definitively paid a visit if you’re a Rotring bug. There a short history of the company, but nothing about the old product line or a complete listing of what Rotring have produced over the years. I’m in no way an expert of Rotring products, but my aim in this blog, is to show all the Rotring product I’ve collected over the years and share infos and pictures with other enthusiast all over the world.

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13 réflexions sur “introduction

    • Hi Mathew, thanks for the kinds words, I appreciate! Regarding the pictures, I use a Nikon D810 with a 60mm macro lens, two medium sized professionnal daylight led torch, with a very long exposure time (up to 10 seconds sometimes) to get the maximum deep of field. I then correct, adjust and clean the pictures in photoshop. I put a lot of time and efforts in theses photos, so I’m glad you’ve liked them!!

      J'aime

  1. Dear Olivier,
    If you email me I can tell you a bit more about rotring and my fond reminiscences of using their various things, like the variant (my favourite pen for looks), isograph, radiograph and all the compasses, french curves, pencils etc. . .

    Basically, to be honest, rotring went downhill simply because the days of technical drawing got computerised. Their market is much smaller than it was two decades ago. I still remember how utter ridiculous the price of their sonic cleaner was back in the days.

    Unlike most rotring pen users I actually use them to write with, using a stencil joint, and it’s still my favourite way of writing even now.

    J'aime

    • Hi SKS,
      I 100% agree with you. The Variant is also my favorite Rotring technical pen regarding to the look. Although designed in the early 1960’s it remains to me a classic and a landmark in design. Did you know that I’ve identified 4 different kind of Variant that have been produced? I’m planning a VERY long and very detailed post about Rotring technical pen, but it takes considerable time for me to finish it… Rotring has never been a cheap brand and I also remember the price tag of their sonic cleaner back in the days… Fortunately you can found some today much cheaper on the bay! If you want to contact me directly, you can send me a personal email via the contact form that is located on the small menu on the left of the page (the small square with 3 horizontal bars)

      J'aime

  2. just sent you an email but at the top of my head regarding the variant

    variant : most likely offspring of the first radiograph (not to be confused with the present day one)
    micronorm : the reddish brown version of the variant that catered to the different nib sizes (you never had a 0.13 or 0.18 variant, and there was no 0.15 micro norm)
    foliograph : basically a tungsten carbide nib version of the variant made of acid proof grey plastic, hence no metal reinforcement in it’s barrel. This was most likely superseded by the isograph P. Both pens can use etching inks which was why they had to to be made out of this different plastic. There was also a cleaning unit P (much smaller than the standard red on) that was meant for cleaning these pens.
    varioscript : like the variant but with a grey top section on its black cap. Also the nib was chrome but did not have an « shoulder », it’s use was for stencilling

    J'aime

  3. Hello my friend,
    You have an amazing blog about Rotring pens, I absolutely loved it. For quiet sometime now, I have been looking for a specific Rotring mechanical pencil: the Rotring Tikky II turquoise (petroleum green) version. The pencil is in the following pictures: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2600/3886388362_69d9c99812.jpg (9th from left) and http://store.donanimhaber.com/d6/9c/81/D69C816459B391E0273C97938EE6910E.jpg . I have been looking for this pencil the last 4 years with no result! I have searched everywhere from internet shopping sites to Rotring fan pages, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. So I was wondering if you have this pencil in your collection, or maybe you know where I may look for it ? I’d be really glad if you reply to me. Thanks and best regards.
    Müge

    J'aime

    • Hello Müge
      Thanks for your interest. The blog is very quiet at the moment, but I’m working on several posts that should be published by early 2016, so stay tuned. As for your Tikky? I know this pencil, but doesn’t have one to sell or to trade. Some rotting items can be really hard to find. I’ve bought some of them in very unusual places !! I’m still searching for a 1.2mm pink Rapidograph that is virtually impossible to find!!

      J'aime

  4. Very interesting…… I’ve ony had a quick scan through this, but didn’t notice any of the Rotring 700 range of which I have a few as well as many of the 600 range and a few leather pen holders which hold 4 ballpens or pencils.
    Will check site again.

    J'aime

    • Hi Douglas,
      Thanks for your interest in my blog. You can find a post ion the 700 line of pens here : , and two posts about the 600 line here and here.
      The Rotring 600 line is a very complex and foggy thing. I’m working on specific posts about it, but there I progress the more confused it became… Hope to make things clear and documented one day…

      J'aime

  5. Dear Olivier, I’m illustrator & graphic designer. I work with Rotring since 1996 and I love this brand.
    I’m always looking vintage pieces. Your work with this web its fantastic, thanks for all information, texts and pics its really genial. My work its very precise and rare, its a artistic and technic fusion. If you want to see you can go to my website: http://www.powerflames.com.
    Thanks & regards.

    J'aime

    • Hello Oscar,
      Thanks for your kind words ans interest in my blog. I’ve checked your website and found your work really great and – as you said – very precise! Those lighters are so small, you must be working with a 0.1 :-))

      J'aime

  6. Thank you for your excellent WordPress blog – it has a huge amount of information and details of Rotring items I didn’t know existed, and has enabled me to improve my collection – I collect all makes of technical pen (but not drawing instruments). Rotring pens are interesting to me because I used Variants at college in the 70s- I bought old ones to restore for nostalgic reasons and got hooked as it were! I will keep watching this page for updates!

    J'aime

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