Last updated: August 15, 2021

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If you are passionate about drawing and calligraphy, just like us, and you are interested in learning about one of the most popular drawing techniques, you have come to the right place. This time we will talk about the stylograph, a useful device that is very common among artists for its high quality and definition when drawing.

It is very common for conventional markers and pens to draw rough lines with little definition. Ballpoint pens, on the other hand, are also not the best tools for drawing clear lines. The best solution to this is to use a stylograph, which is designed to produce fine, precise and well-defined lines.

Stylograph can be strange for those who are used to drawing with tools such as markers or pens. If this is your case, don't worry, because in this article we will give you an introduction to this useful drawing gadget. We'll show you its features and introduce you to the best ones on the market.


  • The stylograph is a drawing and sketching tool, commonly known for the high precision and quality of its lines. It is very popular with designers, architects, draughtsmen, writers, calligraphers and cartoonists alike. They come in different tip thicknesses, so there is an ideal one for every project and situation.
  • There are disposable and refillable stylographs. As the names suggest, the disposable has limited use, and the refillable can be used unlimitedly as long as it is refilled manually. There is also the fountain pen, a very close variation of the refillable stylograph. This, however, is not refilled, but soaked in ink.
  • The stylograph is a great penciling tool, but there are points to consider when choosing between a refillable and a disposable pen to get the best line quality. These include the tip thickness needed for the type of project you are working on, the type of paper, the drying time and the convenience of refilling.

The Best Stylograph: Our Picks

Buying Guide: What you need to know about the Stylograph

If you're one of those people who feel the sudden urge to start drawing when you see a pen or marker, wait until you meet the stylograph. It's perfect for artists, technical draftsmen and calligraphers alike. Read on to learn more about this tool that is sure to become your favourite.

The line quality of the stylograph is far superior to that of a pen, pencil or marker. (Photo: Trutta/

What is a stylograph and what are its advantages?

A stylograph is a drawing and writing instrument that works with ink, which has a characteristically thin tip. They are classified by the thickness of their tip. There are stylographs with tips from 0.03 to 1.2 millimetres thick. The stylus pen is distinguished by its fine, precise, clear and well-defined line.

Stylus pens are quite common in technical drawing. Many architects and designers use them when drawing plans manually because of their high quality and precision of line. However, they have many other applications and are also the main choice of thousands of draftsmen, artists, calligraphers and writers all over the world.

  • Clear, well-defined lines
  • Ease of use
  • Can be erased from tracing paper
  • Easy to find in art shops
  • Refillables are very fragile
  • Can be quite expensive
  • Refillables require maintenance
  • Disposable line is often less precise

Stylograph - what should you pay attention to?

The stylograph has three variants: the refillable and the disposable. The fountain pen is also considered by many to be a variant of the stylograph. Although they all serve very similar purposes, the main difference between them is the durability and the type of uses they can be put to.

  • Refillable stylograph: This stylograph is manually refilled with ink. The stroke of this pen is usually the most precise of all. Its tip is very delicate and can be irreparably damaged by even a slight bump. If cared for, it lasts for an unlimited period of time. It can become clogged with use and therefore requires regular cleaning. It is expensive.
  • Disposable pen: Although lovers of the refillable pen sometimes dismiss the disposable pen as a simple pen, this is not exactly true. Their tip is just as thin as that of a refillable, and the stroke is almost as precise. They are much cheaper and come in the same thicknesses. Their lifespan is limited.
  • Fountain pen: Although considered a separate instrument in Mexico, in some parts of the world the word "stylograph" refers to a fountain pen. This makes sense, as it is very similar to a refillable stylograph. The fountain pen, however, is usually used only for writing, and its design is more elegant. It is soaked, not refilled.
Refillable Disposable Stylograph
Duration Unlimited Limited Unlimited
Refill Manual None Soaking in ink
Cost High Accessible Moderate

Purchasing Criteria

Here is a list of factors to consider when choosing the right stylograph option for you and your situation.

Tip thickness

One of the main attractions of stylographs is that they come in different tip thicknesses. You can choose the one that suits you best for each situation. Both disposable and refillable styluses offer tips from 0.03 to 1.2 millimetres.

Very thin tips (between 0.03 and 0.5) are recommended for very fine details in architectural and design drawings. They are often used for drawing ashurados and other types of very thin lines. If you are looking for a stylograph for drawing, we recommend one with a thickness of 0.5 millimetres and upwards.

The fountain pen is considered by many to be a variation of the stylograph (Photo: Luca Bertolli/

Type of paper

The stylograph produces a very aesthetic stroke. However, this may not be the case if it is used on the wrong paper, as the ink may smudge or be over-absorbed. This is not a serious problem, but for those seeking the highest possible accuracy, the type of paper can make a huge difference.

  • Bond paper: It is prone to absorbing a lot of ink, so if the pen's stroke is slow, the line may end up thickening unevenly, losing its characteristic precision. This does not mean, however, that a stylograph should not be used on bond paper. It is just not the best choice if you are looking for maximum clarity.
  • Vegetable paper: Although less common, it is excellent for the use of stylograph ink. The absorbency of this type of paper is ideal. When tracing on tracing paper, the line will always look even and very well defined, no matter how slow the stroke. Some shops refer to tracing paper as "albanene" paper.

Also, due to the physical characteristics of tracing paper, stylograph ink strokes can be erased with a plastic eraser. This is a huge advantage over bond paper, where correcting an accidental or poorly made stroke is impossible.

The refilling process of the refillable stylograph can be messy and complicated. (Photo: iazhong yu /

Drying time

The stylograph you choose may depend on the type of work you are doing and the time you have available to finish it. The ink drying time of a disposable stylograph is almost instantaneous. However, refillable stylographs, working with fully liquid ink, take a few moments longer to dry.

If you are an architect or designer working on a plan and have enough time to detail it, it is worth using a refillable stylograph for maximum line quality. However, if you're doing a quick sketch during a sudden burst of inspiration, you're probably better off with a disposable.

Convenience of refilling

Although the refillable stylograph offers the best line quality, one of its main problems is that it must be refilled by hand. This process can be messy, messy and inconvenient in many situations and locations.

To refill a stylograph, you must disassemble it to access the ink tube. The ink is inserted using the nozzle of the bottle. It is very common for the ink to drip out, even if the process is done carefully. This ink does not wash off clothes, and it can also irreparably stain a wide variety of surfaces.

Using a refillable stylograph can be convenient if you are in a convenient place where you can refill it calmly, and where you have cleaning materials (such as paper, soap and water) in case something goes wrong. If you plan to use a stylograph for drawing on the go, a disposable one is highly recommended.

(Featured image source: Trutta/ )

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