When I unwrapped a Cuttelola Electric Dotspen on Christmas Day I didn’t have a clue what it was. I haven’t noticed them advertised, mentioned by any other illustrators on Instagram or seen them in arts stores. My other half who had gifted me the pen had heard about it from a positive review he has seen on reddit.
On first inspection the weight of the pen feels slightly off-putting. We all have our own preferences when it comes to illustrating in the tools we use and it seems that how they feel in our hands is important somehow. The pen is battery operated and charged through a cable plugged into the base. It takes ink cartridges and although I just have black I understand there are a lot of colours available to purchase.
Giving it a whirl
The pen operates on two speeds so it seemed sensible to try the slowest speed first. Always the renegade I tried it directly onto a piece I was working on rather than a test piece of paper. The first test was to keep the jolting, vibrating nib within the lines, which was happily easy enough to pick up. Although the weight and movement of the nib mean that you control this one very differently to a usual pen, it’s simple to pick up and adjust to. The faster speed results in denser, darker dot distribution.
After a few attempts I got comfortable enough working with the pen to create some good effects. It’s a lot quicker to use than manual stippling and saves you valuable time and wrist ache. It means you can create detailed and professional looking stippling effects with much mess effort than an ordinary pen. It’s simple to use and enjoyable to get in the rhythm of stippling with as you need a consistent speed and pressure if you want to deliver a consistent tone.
When you want to create contrasting stippling effects it is easy to do. You can change the speed of the pen and the speed of your use. I also find that I still do some dot work manually as it again contrasts to the effects produced by the Dotspen (I.e. I can create dots that are close don’t touch whereas this is not possible with the Dotspen).
The cons are just minor inconveniences as opposed to problems with the pen, which I am really happy with. The charge does not last long so you will find you regularly have to plug the one in. If you have a convince to power source and are happy to draw whilst it is plugged in then this isn’t a problem at all. This doesn’t work for me though so I find myself structuring my drawing process differently, drawing all the dots with the Dotspen in one go and then doing the line work as it charges. It charges fully in about half an hour so it’s easy to work your process around it.
Due to the sporadic placement if the dots created by the Dotspen it is also not possible to create dots that are close to each other but not touching as mentioned before. Again though, this isn’t a dealbreaker as these I can just do manually for contrast as I have already said. It just means that you have more shades and textures to play with.
The final con is the noise that the pen makes. If you are a serial doodler and like to draw in public or idling away with a sketchbook in front of the telly with your nearest and dearest then this pen is not going to make you popular. It’s not super loud but it is noticeable, like a teeny tiny helicopter surveying your drawing.
A big ole yes! The benefits clearly out way the minor negatives of the pen. It’s a great tool for saving time and energy whilst producing high quality work. I’m very happy Santa sent one down my chimney and I hope that you guys get the chance to lay your hands on one too.