Category: Ink Review

Ink Drop Double-Up

Sorry to have dragged my feet sharing the most recent Ink Drop colors from Goulet Pens but sometimes priorities get a little shuffled. Alternately, you get a two-fer this month of both the August color offerings, described as the “best shading colors” and the September offerings “staff favorites”.

Ink Drop September 2012

September “staff favorites” featured: Diamine Apple Glory, De Atramentis Sandalwood and Dianthus and Noodler’s El Lawrence and  Liberty Elysium. I used each of my Esterbrook vintage fountain pens (each with a different nib) to test these colors. The Liberty Elysium seemed to be the wettest inks I’ve ever used. I would recommend trying it out in a pen that feels particularly dry or very fine. All these colors were fun. I even liked the El Lawrence black though I have not bought a whole bottle of black ink because I so enjoy writing with colored inks. I’m hard-pressed to choose a shade of black to warrant a whole bottle. Do you use a lot of black ink? What’s your favorite color and why?

August Ink Drop 2012

The August Ink Drop featured ink colors noted for its ability to shade and vary in color. Some people love this especially if you want to use flexible or stub nib pens. My doodles don’t show the quality but click through to the larger images on Flickr to see more details. I tested these with my flexible nib Parker vintage pen. The colors are Diamine Ancient Copper which is quite legendary on The Fountain Pen Network, DeAtramentis Steel Blue and R.L. Stevenson, Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan and Habanero. I loved the Steel Blue and Ancient Copper right out of the vials and loaded them up into my two favorite Kawecos and have been using them regularly. After testing all the colors, I love the Kiowa Pecan color and the quality of the R.L. Stevenson as well. This is one of my favorite sets yet.

The mess

I also thought you might enjoy seeing a bird’s eye view of what it looks like when I test inks and pens. I make a big mess.

Messy fingers and stained rags

My darling husband brings me rags from his print shop to use to clean up my pen mess and then the rag service takes them back, washes them and brings back fresh ones. Environmental and kind of pretty.

As for the inks, all these colors are available as samples from Goulet Pens or you can join Ink Drop yourself and get monthly surprise packages of ink. Each vial contains enough ink for one or two fills, depending on the size of your pen (I syringe fill Kawecos and can fill at least three small cartridges).

I use a Miquelrius medium flexible 300 grid paper book purchased from B+N for my ink tests.

Ink Drop Reveal for July 2012

July Ink Drop 2012

In preparation for the Olympics, Goulet Pens put together an Ink Drop sampler featuring the colors of the Olympic rings. Bright vivid colors from Pilot Iroshizuku, Noodler’s, Diamine, J. Herbin and de Atramentis are a nice festive flair for the Olympics. I particularly like the de Atramentis Gold which is not metallic but a good yellow ochre color.

I tested these colors with my vintage fountain pens on my Miquelrius medium flexible 300 grid paper book purchased from B+N.

July Ink Drop close-up

Ink Drop for June: Summer Picnic

Spoiler peek at the Goulet Pens Ink Drop sample colors for June arrived and they are themed “Summer Picnic”. Its all fruit and vegetable themed. None of the colors were particularly keen to my flex nib dip pen but I think that actually bodes well for the fountain pens. I am particularly fond of the warm orange of the Sailor Jentle Apricot and the de Atramentis Plum which is a lovely deep teal blue.

I’m looking for a different method for sampling inks in the future. Does anyone have a suggestion?

(Sorry about the cruddy photo!)

Ink Drop Reveal for May 2012

May 2012 Ink Drop

Goulet Pens brought out all the “May Flowers” to contrast last month’s “April Showers” with an array of brightly colored and scented inks for this month’s Ink Drop. My favorite is Elderberries from De Atramentis which smells lightly floral-y but makes me want to say “and your mother’s smells of elderberries” every time I see the ink. The color is a deep burgundy red.

This month I used a stiff metal dip nib as well as swabs for a different look and hopefully a lot less feathering and bleeding. I don’t think most fountain pen inks were designed to withstand the abuses of a super-flexible dip nib.

The other colors this month were:

Ink Drop: March 2012

Ink Drop March 2012

I received my second Ink Drop shipment from Goulet Pens this weekend and it is full of sunny, springy bright colors! Included this month was Schaeffer Skrip Brown, Noodler’s Summer Tanager, Platinum Cyclamen Pink, Private Reserve Foam Green and Diamine Washable Blue.

To be honest, I am loving all of the colors and quite enjoy that this month’s samples are so widely different in color. Just when I want more color in my world, even my ink samples provide!

Also included was a vial of  J.B.’s Perfect Pen Flush to help clean ink residue from inside your pens. I haven’t tried the Pen Flush yet but I’ll let you know all about it when I do. I’ll put it to the test with one of my craggy vintage fountain pens to really see how it works!

I ran a quick swab of each color and then just scratched out some text with a dip nib just to see how the colors looked in actual writing. Again, I am using my Miquelrius grid notebook as a constant for all my samples. It is not overly fond of dip nibs (bleeds a lot!) but seems to hold up well to the same inks when used in an actual fountain pen.

To demonstrate, when I dipped into the Noodler’s Summer Tanager, it bled so badly as to be nearly illegible. When I put the same ink into my Lamy with a 1.1mm nib, there was no bleeding or feathering at all. So, the same inks can behave radically differently depending on the tool. The Private Reserve Foam Green and Diamine Washable Blue performed best in the dip pen with very little feathering on the paper so I suspect they will be excellent in my fountain pens.

Noodler's Summer Tanger

And since I now have four different brown inks here I can compare, I added the Sheaffer Skrip Brown to my brown swabs.


The Sheaffer Skrip Brown is the lightest brown I have so far and the most terra cotta in color. In writing, it looks the most “brown” where the Havana Brown and Chocolat look more like a brown-black. (Pardon my spelling in the photo)

Ink Drop Samples: February 2012

I just joined the Ink Drop, the Goulet Pens monthly subscription service that sends five ink samples directly to subscribers every month. I was lucky enough to subscribe in time to receive the February Valentine’s Day assortment which included Noodler’s Purple Heart and Black Swan in Australian Roses, Diamine Pink Hope, Waterman Red and Private Reserve Chocolat.

To test these colors, I used a dip pen so I could quickly sample each color with minimum clean up between colors — just swipe the nib with a rag and dip the next color. Nib is of an unknown origin, fairly stiff in a Koh0i-nor No. 127 N cork and wood holder. This is not my finest lettering or anything, I just wanted to see how these colors performed.

I was surprised how much I liked the Diamine Hope Pink, with a fine line its a bright magenta pink. With a flexible or wider nib, the color darkens to a rubine red. It also feathered least of all the inks. As this is my first experience with Diamine inks, I am excited to discover if this phenomena is common with all Diamine inks or if its just a quirk of this perky pink.

I would describe both of the Noodler’s colors as tinted blacks. The Purple Heart is a black-purple and the Black Swan in Australian Roses is a black-red. The Purple Heart is not distinct enough in color for my taste but I find the subtle color of the Black Swan in Aussie Roses to be intriguing.

The Waterman Red (now called Audacious Red) is a bit on the orange-y side of the reds. Its a bright tomato-y color. Red isn’t an ink color I would normally choose for myself but this makes me consider searching others out to compare.

The last sample is the Private Reserve Chocolat which is a rich chocolatey tone. They couldn’t have picked a better name for it. I have tried two other browns so far, J. Herbin Lie de The and Waterman Havana Brown (now called Absolute Brown) and I think I am going to prefer Private Reserve Chocolat. Its a much warmer dark brown. Havana Brown is a little bit lighter and a touch more neutral in color. Lie de The is lighter with a distinctly greenish cast in comparison.

Brown ink samples.

PS: In case you’re curious, I used my Miquelrius medium notebook with grid paper to test the inks.