Blast from the past—Rapidographs!

“Jon Erik Hexum” ink on paper, approx, 9×12″. Drawn many years ago, using my trusty Rapidographs.

I loved Rapidographs at art school. I didn’t “get” pen and ink at first, always having worked in pencil when I was a teenager and before going to Otis. But they were really stressing ink in the Illustration classes, so I wanted to learn.

I remember struggling with ink, not seeming to get into the flow of it, not finding a way to “click” with it. I wanted to give up, but my parents were paying for a lot of my education, and darn it, I hated the idea of wasting a perfectly good Rapidograph pen, which was expensive (compared to regular pens). So I kept on trying and doodling with my Rapidograph, hoping that eventually something would “stick.”

Well, finally it did! It was almost out of the blue. One day it all seemed to come together, and suddenly, all the sketches I did in Rapidograph just looked so much better than before.

I miss using Rapidographs, but without regular and steadfast maintenance, they dry up and are rendered useless, and I hate to ruin a perfectly good (and pricey!) Rapidograph through neglect. Since I spend most of my time painting these days, I definitely fear I’d neglect any Rapidograph I used.

Micron pens have been recommended to me, the “archival” kind, and I think when I next get a yearning for pen and ink I’ll try a Micron. I’m not sure if anything will be quite the same as Rapidograph, though. Oh, how I loved you, Rapidograph.

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