Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tool Report: Pilot Razor Point Pen

The Pilot Razor Point pen is one of my most useful sketch tools. I recommended it to a few folks in the last few days and so I thought it might warrant a new, more thorough review. Hence this tool report.
First, a more precise description: The Pilot Razor Point "Marker Pen" is one of those cheap plastic pens that you can find in any office supply store. There are a few different colors, with different colored inks loaded. The one reviewed here is the black ink version. It has a hard fine 0.3mm fiber tip. The black ink version has a grey plastic sparkly body with silver lettering. It has a little yellow button on the end of the cap. Alerts have circulated among artist devotees, on and off for a few years, that Pilot may discontinue making it, but these alerts have -- so far! -- been false alarms. It remains on Pilot's product list.

I was first introduced to the Pilot Razor Point as a sketching tool many years ago by Kath Macaulay, during a "Pocket Sketching" workshop she taught, and continues to teach, at the Sedona Arts Center, in Arizona. I was tickled with how nicely the water-soluble ink washes! And the wash color is a cool neutral grey with no surprising hidden color components. Recently purchased versions of the Pilot Razor Point perform as well as the first ones I tried years ago.

USE: I have these pens all over the place! I keep one of these pens in each sketch kit that I have, one in each pocket of each bag that I carry, and one in the rear zip pocket of my Midori Travelers notebook. I use this pen on the bouncing bus or any place where might be danger to nicer pens.

A compact waterbrush + the Pilot Razor Point pen = a complete sketch kit!

 ---> Inexpensive! If you lose it, damage it, or drop it on the floor of the bus and it rolls away, replacement is not a burden.
 ---> Contains a cool tone black water-soluble ink, that can be washed into nice shading effects.
 ---> Light weight and portable.

 ---> Disposable, so not very eco-responsible.
 ---> Lightfastness of the ink is not great. Test results here. Recommended for use inside sketchbooks. Not for pieces to be framed and hung.
 ---> Runs and bleeds when used with watercolors. Depending on your aesthetic, this can also be quite delightful.

 -- Twelve-minute How-To video by Kath Macaulay is here.


Example: In Strathmore's 'Visual Journal' (90lb mixed-media paper), with a little Caran d'Ache Supracolor 'Burnt Sienna' watercolor pencil:


Example: On Strathmore Aquarius II watercolor paper:


Example: On Rives BFK "Tan" paper, with a little Caran d'Ache Supracolor 'White' and 'Burnt Sienna' watercolor pencil:


Elva Paulson said...

Wonderful review. Thank you!

Printed Plastic Pens said...

Really it's a wonderful review. I like it.

Diane said...

Catching up with your blog today and I went to your link with Kath Macaulay. She has started coming out with teaching DVDS and I wondered about your experience with her workshop. They are kind of expensive so I need to think about it a bit.

Observe Closely said...

Hi, Diane! I enjoyed the workshop taught by Kath Macaulay. But remember, it was well over a decade ago. Email me for more detail.