How to Use a Ruling Pen

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Ruling pens precede technical pens in the history of art supplies. They were used for drawing lines by hand with India ink. This was an application for drawing lines on a commercial art mechanical. Today, ruling pens and technical pens are still being used as a medium for illustrators creating pen and ink drawings. While some artist prefer one to the other, a ruling pen is easier to clean and works well when only a small amount of ink is needed. You can also get a variety of line thicknesses from one ruling pen. To do the same with technical pens, you'd need to buy a variety of sizes.

Things You'll Need

  • Ruling pen India ink (or another ink product)
  • Adjust the screw on the side of the ruling pen to the desired line thickness.

  • Load the pen with ink by dropping a small amount of ink into the side of the pen between the two metal reeds.

  • Drawing a line on paper, hold the pen perpendicular to the paper surface and draw a line in a subtle stroke. A metal cork backed ruler can aid in drawing a straight line.

  • Continue to add ink as needed until the drawing or use is finished.

Cleaning the pen.

Tips & Warnings

  • While simplistic in creation, the use of a ruling pen does take some practice to gain confidence in it's use.
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