Of the various writing instruments we know and love, the rollerball is most recent addition. Designed and released in Japan during the 1960s, the rollerball pen actually didn’t gain much popularity in its country of origin. Instead, it conquered the American and European markets. Today, it has become a more popular alternative to fountain and ballpoint pens for its clean and smooth writing. However, each writing instrument has its advantages and drawbacks, such as bleeding, smudging, or show through. Here we will answer whether rollerballs do indeed smudge, the factors involved, and how to prevent it.
How do rollerball pens work
Rollerball pens were designed to have the benefits of a fountain pen, such as laying down wet, vibrant ink, but with the convenience of a ballpoint pen. Ballpoint pens use a thicker, more viscous oil-based ink that dries instantly upon writing, but they are not nearly as vivid or dynamic as fountain pen inks. The rollerball combines the best of both worlds, using ballpoint technology with water-based ink.
Do rollerball pens smudge?
This depends on the type of ink your rollerball pen is using. Most use a water-based liquid ink that is more susceptible to smudges and bleeding. This is especially true for left-handed writers, and it is a similar issue that many fountain pen users encounter.
However, hybrid inks are also used in some rollerball and ballpoint pens. For instance, some brands have rollerball pens that use oil-and-water-based ink that is dispensed using a valve system at the tip of the pen. It releases ink when the writer puts pressure on the pen, and the ink comes out with a gel consistency while drying instantly like its oil-based counterpart.
Hybrid inks have many advantages, namely that they provide the same vibrancy of water-based inks with the longevity of oil-based inks.
The role of paper
The type of paper you use can also have an impact on the smudging of rollerball pens. Generally, the more absorbent paper that you use, the less prone your rollerball will be to smudging.
Fountain pen-friendly papers such as Leuchtturm 1917, Midori, and Rhodia are more absorbent than other options like Clairefontaine and Tomoe River. This would make them great options for writing with a rollerball pen to minimize smudging.
It is best to try different fountain pen-friendly papers to see which works best for your various rollerball pens as each combination of ink and paper may produce different results.
The bottom line
Purchasing high-quality rollerball pens should give you relatively few issues. However, if you are experiencing problems like smudging, bleed through, and even skipping, it might be worth changing some things up in your writing routine. Perhaps your writing technique and paper need to be adjusted, or your pen might need a new refill. Though rollerballs can smudge, there are ways to prevent them, such as choosing a pen with a hybrid ink or more absorbent paper.
Written by EndlessPens Blogger Ramona Kabigting