Posts Tagged ‘ink’

Ink Lightfastness, The Scientific Approach

Review: Caran D’ache Chromatics INKredible Colors Delicate Green

Caran D'ache Chromatics Delicate Green Ink

Someone recently asked me if I had a recommendation for a really good green ink. That’s such a loaded question for me. Are you in search of a jewel-toned kelly green? A green-black? A green ever-so-slightly hinted with blue? Maybe something woodsy? There are just too many variations when it comes to green to pick just one and say “THIS is THE green”. Until now.

Caran D'ache Chromatics Delicate Green Ink writing sample

Caran D’ache Chromatics INKredible Colors Delicate Green is, for lack of a better description, officially my signature green. It is a bright, vivid green with just a hint of yellow to keep it citrus-y. I’m pretty sure Delicate Green matches my masthead and I wouldn’t describe it as delicate. Its punchy, cheery, “spring grass” green. I had to sniff it to make sure it didn’t smell like grass clippings (sadly, it doesn’t).

The only comparable shade I could find in my stash was Diamine Kelly Green ($12.95) or Pilot Iroshizuku Chiku-rin ($28). But the Kelly Green is obviously more kelly and the Chiku-rin leans more of a mustard seed yellow-green.

Often times, green inks in this yellow-green category are often a bit too light for everyday use and get relegated to “highlighter” inks or used just for play. But Delicate Green is bright and vivid enough to be legible and usable.

Caran D'ache Chromatics Delicate Green Ink

This is by no means a budget priced ink. But the inks come is a sturdy hexagonal box that hides the funky angle the bottle sits on when its removed. The bottle is a thick sturdy hexagonal glass with a solid silver metal cap. At $32 per bottle, the Caran D’ache Chromatics line is definitely a “special occasion” purchase but there are nice details in not just the ink but the packaging and presentation as well. Trust me, you’ll be glad you splurged.

To see more images of this ink in action, check out last weeks review for the Monteverde Intima.

Caran D'ache Chromatics Delicate Green Ink

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Goulet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Three Drops in One: April, May and June Ink Drops

For some reason, doing Ink Drop reviews seem to take forever. Maybe its because I have to dip and clean a pen five times. Then I get behind and have to dip and clean a pen TEN times. This time, I’m THREE months behind. So, hopefully, this was worth the wait.

Here’s the colors from the April, May and June Ink Drops:

 

April 2014: Islands in the Sun

May Ink Drop 2014 "Garden Party"

Blue skies, blue oceans, sunny days and sandy beaches are captured with the inks in the April Ink Drop. The R&K Helianthus was surprisingly usable for a yellow ink with more orange-y undertones. Private Reserve Shoreline gold was a warm orange-y brown. Both the Diamine Beau Blue and the Pilot Iroshizuku Ama-Iro are turquoise-y blues and the Diamine Coral is actually a blisteringly fluorescent pink-y orange. Its not so pinky as to be bubblegum, more of a vivid geranium blossom red/pink. This is a super fun assortment and was a perfect antidote to rainy, cold, snowy April. I love both shades of blue and will probably have to flip a coin to choose one or the other to buy as a full bottle. The Diamine Coral is also a favorite. It’s a bit more orange-y red than the Platinum Cyclamen Pink. J. Herbin’s Rose Cyclamen and Rose Tendresse are much more purple in comparison.

May Ink Drop 2014 "Garden Party"

May 2014: Garden Party

April 2014 Ink Drop "Islands in the Sun"

Garden Party lived up to its name with an array of reddish colors: DeAtramentis Apple Blossom (scented), Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji and Pelikan Violet. The PI Tsutsuji is a tiny bit brighter, cleaner color than Pelikan Edelstein Turmaline. The DeAtramentis Apple Blossom is not overpoweringly scented but it has a fragrance in the bottle that is not noticeable when dry. The color is sort of mulberry reddish purple. Its actually a lovely color and probably my favorite in the bunch this month. Private Reserve Buttercup is super bright yellow but not a fluorescent. It has a hint of orange to it but not as orange-y as the R&K Heliathus from the April Ink Drop. Platinum Leaf Green is part of the mix-free line and is a truly kelly green — like a beautiful spring lawn. Not my lawn, but someone’s.

April 2014 Ink Drop "Islands in the Sun"

 

June 2014: Down to Earth

June 2014 Ink Drop "Down to Earth"

When the June Ink Drop arrived, I was a little bit of a doubter that the earthy tones of the Down to Earth theme would be appealing to me in the bright June sun but both of the browns were really appealing and the greens will be given a good deal more consideration than I initially thought. Private Reserve Ebony Brown is a deep clean brown on the reddish side of brown, warm like 70% cacao chocolate. It’s almost a warm brown black. If I were to buy a bottle of brown ink, this would be it.  And the Platinum Mix-Free Earth Brown is a warm orange-y brown that is richer than Pelikan Brown. Diamine Salamander is an olive-y green black. It reminds me of the color of American currency — like the green on a dollar bill — feels historical. Noodler’s Sequoia Green has a true evergreen vibe, like pine needles. The Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine is a bit deeper green than the Platinum Leaf Green from the May Ink Drop but still a vivid kelly green, just a touch deeper, darker green with a tiny bit of a bluish cast.

June 2014 Ink Drop "Down to Earth"

Ink Drop is a monthly ink sampling service from Goulet Pens. Subscriptions are $10 per month (add $5 for international subscription), pre-paid or ongoing, and include five different colors of ink and discounts on purchases of full bottles of ink in the Ink Drops.

Swabs are done with a watercolor paint brush on Kyokuto Word Cards, writing samples are done on Rhodia No. 18 Uni-Blank pad using a soft bristle watercolor paint brush and a Pilot Prera with a Pilot Plumix 1.1mm Medium Calligraphy Nib.

Link Love: Four P’s and some I’s

Link Love Link Mascot

Inks:

Pens:

Paper & Notebooks:

Pencils:

Penmanship:

Ink Review: Pilot Iroshizuku Ama Iro

Pilot Iroshizuku Ama Iro

I always think I’m not going to like blue ink. I think I expect blue to be pedestrian like those horrible blue ballpoints from school but then it would be inconceivable to compare PIlot Iroshizuku to a drugstore ballpoint. Ama Iro (Sky Blue) is a stunning blue like melted blue skies. The color is vibrant with a capital V.  It darkens ever-so-slightly when it dries but the color is still stunning.

Pilot Iroshizuku Ama Iro

I thought it had a little green in it like De Atramentis Pigeon Blue but Ama Iro is much more blue. I guess I like blue inks after all.

Pilot Iroshizuku Ama Iro is $28 per 50 ml bottle

 

Link Love: Official Mascot and more catch-up

Link Love Link MascotFirst, I’d like you to all admire my new and fully customized Link mascot thanks to my pal and co-worker Adan who, clearly, is a fabulous illustrator. I think I need Link on a t-shirt!

Now, on to the links:

Paper:

Pens:

Inks:

Pencils:

Misc:

 

Ink Review: Noodler’s Bad Green Gator

Noodler's Bad Green Gator

I was so excited to get a bottle of Noodler’s Bad Green Gater ($12.50 for a 3 oz. bottle). A bulletproof green? This should be a win-win for me. But I have to confess that I was severely underwhelmed by this ink. Yes, it is waterproof. Yes, it is green. But the color is very flat and dull. It lacks a richness or a pizazz. When its wet, it has more depth and  zing so I had such high hopes. When its dry, its just BLAH. The hunt for the perfect green ink continues.

This ink was tested with a hacked Pilot Prera with a Plumix calligraphy nib on Rhodia plain paper pad.

Ink Review: J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen

J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen Ink

As the weather warms up and I’m seeing the first peeks flowers and trees budding, I decided it was time to get out some brighter inks. I had this J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen ($9 for a 30ml bottle) from the massive ink haul I won last year from Julie B over at Pens Paper Inks … Whatever. I’m not normally inclined to purchase pink inks, Pelikan Edelstein Turmaline Color of the Year not included, but I was getting the itch to use an ink that wasn’t blue-black. So the J. Herbin Cyclamen found its way into circulation and, boy, am I glad it did.

I painted the title with a paintbrush and then wrote the writing sample using the Pilot Plumix calligraphy nib currently residing on my “spare” lime green Pilot Prera. Following the nib hack a couple weeks ago, a reader (Denis) mentioned that this hack also worked with Preras. Since I had a Prera with a too-fine-for-me F nib, this seemed like a great way to make it useful again. Besides, the pink ink in the lime green pen made me think of Lilly Pulitzer summer resort dresses.

J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen Ink writing sample

It’s a very purple-y pink, more raspberry than a fuchsia or hot pink. It really is the color of a Cyclamen flower.

(via Wikipedia)

The ink has a little shading but not much and its not as noticeable once the ink is dry either. But overall, J. Herbin ink is very reasonably priced and offers vivid colors that brighten my day.

J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen Ink Pink comparison

For comparison, here are some swatches of other pinks I had on hand. From left to right, Diamine Deep Magenta, J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen, J. Herbin Rose Tendresse, DeAtramentis Dianthus, Platinum Cyclamen Pink (actually neon which was hard to capture in a photograph), Diamine Hope Pink (also neon bright) and Pelikan Edelstein Turmaline (no longer available).

To be honest, I found very little difference between the J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen and Rose Tendresse. I find the Cyclamen a tiny bit deeper and a little more complex and the Tendresse a tiny bit brighter. I think the Tendresse looks like it would shade a bit more. The De Atramentis Dianthus is very similar in hue, maybe a tiny bit brighter and it is a scented ink. I could only smell it slightly when it was wet and was lightly floral. When dry, there is no scent. The only other color close (in my collection) was the Diamine Deep Magenta which was more of a deep, dirty pink not as raspberry purple as the other three mentioned. The Platinum Cyclamen, Diamine Hope Pink are much pinker and neon when wet. They both dry to a vibrant pinky-red. The Pelikan Edelstein Turmaline is the most subdued as a deep, complex red/pink/brown.

Do you ever use pink ink? What’s your favorite?

Ink Drop: March 2014 Lasting Impressions

Ink Drop March 2014

This month’s Ink Drop featured five inks known for their stay-put properties and titled the collection Lasting Impressions. These inks are all designed to be permanent or very water-proof. The colors featured were Rohrer & Klingner Salix and Scabiosa, Platinum Carbon Black (that dark sheen spot is dry ink though if I rub it with my finger, it smudges like charcoal), Noodler’s Bad Green Gator and Upper Ganges Blue.

I was delighted that, when presenting permanent inks, Goulet Pens didn’t send just black and blue inks. I had wanted to see Scabiosa in person for a long time because I do like a deeper, more complex color and it really is unique. Its a deep plum, almost purple black.

In my swash test, I really liked the woodsy green of Bad Green Gator but I’ll have a full review of the color later this week. Noodler’s Upper Gange blue is a deep blue on the edge of a blue-black while the R&K Salix is more of a denim-y blue.

As mentioned, the Platinum Carbon Black left a shiny deposit in my swash test when dry and when I ran my finger over it, it smudged like charcoal pencil. The swash had been sitting for almost 24 hours when I smudged it. Keeping in mind, this was not a writing sample but it is definitely a black ink that is going to stick around.

Overall, these colors seem more sedated and subdued than their less-permanent, more-vibrant brethren. Not that subdued is a bad thing at all. I find their muted colors to be pleasing.

Both of the R&K colors are iron gall inks and I know a lot of people are concerned with potential damage to their pens as a result of these inks. I don’t know much about caring for pens with iron gall inks or other permanent inks but I think if you change your inks at least monthly, it shouldn’t be much of an issue. If concerned that any of these permanent inks might stain or clog your favorite pen, I recommend trying it first in a cheaper pen (maybe a Plaltinum Preppy or a Pilot Metropolitan) before trying it in your top-dollar or vintage pen.

 

Word Cards + Ink Drop = Ink Organization

Word Cards

I picked up this stack of Kyokuto Word Cards at Maido in San Francisco. They are small cards measuring just 1.5″ x 3.5″ (3.7 x 9 cm) and contain 100 sheets. I paid $2.75 for them. They are hole punched  at the narrow end and held together on a clamp ring making them perfect to store and collect ink sample swabs. Because the clamp ring is easy to open, ink samples can be rearranged by color or manufacturer on a whim.

I’ve started using them to have swab references of the Ink Drop colors I receive. I plan to go back and do all the previous color swabs so that I can get all OCD and mix and match them by color, which ones I’ve purchased and manufacturer at a whim.  The paper quality seems good, only one ink swab of the ten I tried showed any bleeding or feathering. Its bright white and my printer husband estimates the paper weight between 60 lb and 80 lb cardstock. Think of the card stock used for magazine blow-ins (those subscription cards that fall out the first time to open it) for a comparable weight. The cards are very smooth paper, there is little-to-no texture.

The nice thing about this set (or any of these mini-flash-cards-on-a-ring) is the ability to add more cards as needed. If they exceed the ring capacity, larger rings are available in most office supply stores or I can split the colors between multiple rings or divide them into smaller rings — all the reds, all the blues, all the blue-blacks, etc. I just love how easy it is to review, sort and be as anal about my ink collection as I want to be.

The closest product I could find online is the Maruman Mnemosyne Word Cards which measure 4.1 x 2.1″ (5.4 x 10.5 cm) with 100 sheets for $4.95. For more about the Maruman Mnemosyne Word Cards, check out the review on The Pen Addict. Have fun and nerd out with your new ink cards!

Word Cards Ink Drop

Link Love of Epic Proportions!

Clampersand (via Domesticated Desk)

Clampersand (via Domesticated Desk)

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Writing & Letter-Writing:

Paper & Notebooks:

Link Love: Instagrammatical & TWSBIs (made-up words!)

Image credits (clockwise from top left: Noyolajose, Mary Kate McDevitt, Tuesday Next [that's me!],  FPGeeks, Rad And Hungry, MyCoffeePot, Rad And Hungry,  Elltbr, and GouletPens)

Image credits (clockwise from top left: Noyolajose, Mary Kate McDevitt, Tuesday Next [that's me!], FPGeeks, Rad And Hungry, MyCoffeePot, Rad And Hungry, Elltbr, and GouletPens)

Yeah for awesome Instagram friends! If you’re not following the folks in the photo collage above, I highly recommend them for wonderful office accoutrement photo yummies.

In other news:

Paper and Notebooks:

Pens and Ink:

Pencils:

For Valentine’s Day:

(via Creatively Curated)

Download the hi-rez file at  Creatively Curated

Ink as Watercolor

watercolor ink sample

Watercolor lettering sample (via Well-Appointed Desk)

Following the post this morning about painting with ink, I started thinking of other ways ink could be used. Its very much like watercolor paints so I thought I might share some fun ways to use watercolors that might inspire you to play and experiment with all those bottles of ink and ink samples you’ve accumulated. I wouldn’t recommend trying these with bulletproof or other waterproof inks but most fountain pen inks should play nicely.

Leslie Shewring experiments with ocen inspired blue watercolors (via Decor8 and A Creative Mint)

Leslie Shewring experiments with ocean inspired blue watercolors (via Decor8 and A Creative Mint)

Just brushing ink on paper, like you would with watercolors, can inspire and inform you. You can see the undertones of an ink color easily as well as the range of lights and darks of a color.  Add a little water to ink in a dish or bowl to create color washes.

Watercolor quote by Rocketrictic (via Flickr)

Watercolor quote by Rocketrictic (via Flickr)

Try blending two colors and drawing your favorite quote in ink.

Ink dipped ediging on doilies to decorate gifts (via Decor8)

Ink dipped ediging on doilies to decorate gifts (via Decor8)

The inks can be used to tint other papers, create tissue puffs, coffee filter hydrangeas or something else entirely!

Liquid Masking Fluid demo (via Comic Tools)

Liquid Masking Fluid demo (via Comic Tools)

Use masking fluid to block out areas on your page. Let it dry and then paint over it with your inks. Then peel the latex away to create a fun, colorful piece.

While any paper should work, a heavyweight watercolor paper will give texture and will be less inclined to curl or distort. I’ve been using an Aquabee Super Deluxe 9×12 wirebound sketchbook for playing with watercolor and ink. It is textured (cold pressed) on the front and smooth (hot pressed) on the back. If you’re searching the internet for watercolor paper, think hot is like ironed (smooth) and cold is wrinkly (textured) if that helps to remember the difference.

Hope these ideas inspire you. Drop me a link if you try any of these. I’d love to see what you create.

Ask The Desk: That’s not a pen!

Ask The Desk Header

I received an actual letter from Leah a week or so ago. She asked lots of different questions about pens and tools so I thought I’d include some of my answers here as well as in a letter to her.

She asked:

What pen/nib did you use for the titles of your 12 Days of Inkmas?

The secret is that I didn’t use a pen at all. I used a brush!

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 10.44.46 AM

I got the idea to use a brush from seeing some ink “swabs” on European Paper. They were using a brush to create a lovely little ink swab. I like that a brush was easy to clean and I wasn’t creating a landfill full of q-tips in sampling inks each month.

brushes21

I’ve used several different brushes that I’ve accumulated over the years to not only create “swabs” but also to create a more interesting header for the 12 Days of Inkmas. I’ve tried to keep up the habit for future ink samples and reviews as I can see the range of shading with the inks this way.

EDIT: The word “Wide Strokes” was done with the Scharff FINELINE 3000 #3, not the #6. Oops!

brushes22

From left to right: Robert Simmons #2 red Kolinsky hair and synthetic filaments round brush, A. Langnickel 670 #5 Red Sable script brush, Scharff Kolinsky red sable FINELINE 3000 #3 round and #6, and a Silverwhite synthetic 1500S #2 Round.

I’ve acquired brushes over the years from friends, yard sales and various art supply stores. I’m stunned to see how expensive the Scharff #6 brush is ($67)! I’ll definitely take better care of it. I’m confident that any good quality round brush recommended for watercolor, acrylic or oil would make a perfect tool for “swabs” and ink tests. Visit your local art supply or craft shop to pick up a couple.

Just remember to wash out your brushes in water, squeeze dry and reshape the tip to dry. Don’t scrub them and make the bristles flair out  or you risk breaking the fibers and/or hairs. Always dry your brushes with the tip up and don’t leave them sit indefinitely in your wash water or the bristles will bend at a weird angle. If you let them cake with inks or paints, try The Masters brush cleaner. It will save just about all your brushes!

Link Love: The Good, The Bad & The Postal Rate Increase

Shades of Lime (via A Penchant For Paper)

Shades of Lime (via A Penchant For Paper)

Pens & Ink:

Pencils:

Paper:

US Postal Rate Increases (illustration by Donovan Beeson via Letter Writers Alliance)

US Postal Rate Increases (illustration by Donovan Beeson via Letter Writers Alliance)

Misc:

Link Love: Puns and Paper

Link Love

(Ironic artwork)

Paper:

Pens and Ink:

Pencils:

Misc:

Ink Drop: November 2013

Ink Drop: Nov 2013

I am so sorry I completely missed/forgot/skipped the Goulet Pens Ink Drop for November 2013. It was filled with colors that could be used for Christmas, unless, of course, you’re me and use green all year long. I also quite like reds so let’s call this my January Ink Drop and move on.

Ink Drop: Nov 2013

The inks included were Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Ryoku which is a green with a blue undertone like a blue conifer. The Diamine Kelly Green is in my sweet spot: a green with yellowish undertones. And the De Atramentis Pine Green with is a deep green black. Maybe its the cold bleak weather but the Pine Green was my least favorite in this assortment.

In the reds is Diamine Crimson which is a wicked, vampish red and De Atramentis Poppy Red which is a brighter red with a slight orange undertone.

At some point, I’ll probably purchase bottle of the Shin-Ryoku as its such a unique green and the Crimson which would be perfect for Valentine’s Day or my first vampire novel.

All the writing samples were done with a dip flexible nib which are a bit more prone to bleeding then a fountain pen but so much easier to test and clean quickly.

Ink Drop: Nov 2013

Link Love: The Deja Vu Edition

A lot of topics I’ve mentioned in the past, have made appearances on other blogs this week. I thought I’d start with those…

Note: In this section, the first link is my original post and the links in parentheses are the posts from other bloggers.

And now back to our regularly scheduled Link Love:

Paper:

Pencils, Pens & Ink:

Misc:

Ask The Desk: Clogged Fountain Pens

Ask The Desk Header

Tom asks:

Several of my fountain pens seem to be clogged.  Certainly the ink does not flow as freely as it did when they were new.

The tried and true cures – such as soaking in a bowl of warm water with two drops of ammonia – do not seem to work.

What is the approved 21st Century approach?

Many thanks,
Tom

I have not had a lot of clogging issues myself. I have purchased several old pens that needed cleaning and I just let them soak in warm water for several days, changing the water every day and then flushing the pen completely with good success.

Since it sound like you have more serious issues, I put a call out to some of the folks out on Twitter and here are there responses:

  1. Azizah from Gourmet Pens: Can you disassemble it? Soak it in 10% ammonia and 90% water (section and nib) and flush it out with water.. Should clear it.
  2. Inktronics says: Time for a total tear down and getting the toothbrush out.
  3. FPGeeks says: After Azizah’s advice, next step would be to use ultrasonic cleaner.
  4. Anderson Pens says: How long did they let it soak? Overnight at least if no ultrasonic or use a bulb to force water through the feed.

I would also wonder about the ink that you are using if you are continuing to have clogging issues. You may want to try a new, different ink once you get your pen cleaned out to see if the issue was a result of gritty ink.

I hope these tips help. Let us all know if you have any luck.

Link Love: Boxing Day Edition

Fabulous video of a hand-writing automaton boy built over 240 years ago (via Letter Writers Alliance)

Paper & Notebooks:

SrirachaW

Pen Pal Interview with Josh Scruggs (via Jet Pens Blog and 26symbols)

Pens and Ink:

Origami Santa

Misc:

12 Days of Inkmas: De Atramentis Pigeon Blue

De Atramentis Pigeon Blue review

On the last day of Inkmas, my true pen was inked with De Atramentis Pigeon Blue! Not as romantic as a partridge in a pear tree but its my favorite ink (at the moment) so I thought it was worthy of being the last ink of the first annual Inkmas.

De Atramentis Pigeon Blue writing sample

Initially, I ordered a sample of  this ink because I loved the name. I used the sample up immediately and decided I needed a whole bottle but Goulet was sold out. A friend sent me another sample to hold me over until they restocked. The bottle I purchased is already half-used. That’s a true testament to how much I like this ink.

It’s not a true blue but rather a slightly grey turquoise blue. I’d almost call it a teal. There’s enough black in the ink to keep it from being garish but its still a beautiful color.  In general, de Atramentis inks are super easy-flow, and Pigeon Blue is no exception. It makes the inks good options for fine nib pens and also quick drying which means I don’t track wet ink all over my paper.

De Atramentis Pigeon Blue swab

The swab shows the range of color variation that makes for great shading in wider nib pens. Pigeon Blue is not waterproof or even water resistant all that much but it will hold up to the occasional slosh of coffee and pat drying.

De Atramentis Pigeon Blue ink comparisons

 

I tried to find a comparable color in my collection but nothing I could find was all that similar. Diamine Aqua Lagoon 80ml ($12.50) was close but its a much more vivid, jewel-tone  blue-green. Sheaffer Skrip Turquoise 50ml ($9)  in much bluer overall and Diamine Soft Mint 80ml ($12.50) is much more of a green ink with blue undertones.

De Atramentis Pigeon Blue is available in 35ml bottles for $12.50.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Inkmas as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing all these wonderful ink colors with you. Happy holidays to everyone and please send your comments and recommendations for other inks I should try.


The samples above were written with my Lamy Studio brushed stainless steel with 1.1mm nib in the Quo Vadis Habana bright white, blank notebook. Dry times will vary depending on paper stock. Comparison samples were written using a steel dip nib with a bit of flex which causes some of the more liquidy inks, like De Atramentis, to run a bit. They are included for color comparison. Best efforts were made to achieve color accuracy but the limitations of camera, lighting and individual monitor calibrations may alter the final look. For best results, order a sample of the ink color you like best and try it before you invest in a whole bottle.

12 Days of Inkmas: Diamine Graphite

Diamine Graphite ink review

Today is one of those gray, winter days so I thought maybe I’d choose an ink that reflected the gray days for the eleventh day of Inkmas. Its called Diamine Graphite. I expected it to be a neutral grey-black. What I got instead was a very unusual grey-green. My first thought was that it reminded me of the wash water for Noodler’s Zhivago possibly.

Diamine Graphite writing sample

Diamine Graphite has a ton of shading in a wide nib fountain pen but looks much darker when used with a crow quill dip nib. Even with the B nib on my Kaweco Art Sport, the ink was dry quickly which is a very nice trait considering the mess I made at the top of the page because the brush lettering wasn’t quite dry. Ah, the trouble with lefties!

Overall, I find a lot of interest in Graphite. Its not altogether grey but its not green either. It shades like crazy in my fountain pen but dips to a deep dark grey. Just like a gray winter day, there are still wonders and interest to be found.

Diamine Graphite Comparisons

I did compare Diamine Graphite to Noodler’s Zhivago 3oz/88ml ($12.50) and, at its full concentration, Zhivago is much more of a black than a grey but it was worth a shot. De Atramentis Silver Grey 35ml ($12.50) is close in overall color tone but Silver Grey is much more of a blue-grey than Graphite. I really couldn’t find a good ink match in my collection to Graphite so its definitely a unique ink.

Diamine Graphite is available in a 80ml bottle for $12.75.


The samples above were written with a Kaweco Art Sport with a B nib (review coming soon!) in the Quo Vadis Habana bright white, blank notebook. Dry times will vary depending on paper stock. Comparison samples were written using a steel dip nib with a bit of flex which causes some of the more liquidy inks, like De Atramentis, to run a bit. They are included for color comparison. Best efforts were made to achieve color accuracy but the limitations of camera, lighting and individual monitor calibrations may alter the final look. For best results, order a sample of the ink color you like best and try it before you invest in a whole bottle.

Shout out to Karen P. for sending me a sample of Diamine Graphite as well as the Diamine Salamander and De Atramentis Cement Gray. Much appreciated!

12 Days of Inkmas: Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris

Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris review

Today is the tenth day of the first ever Inkmas and today’s offering is Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris. I have a little experience with French but not much with German so my first instinct was to think Verdigris would be a green-grey, vert gris. Totally wrong! It’s actually a blue-black. Yep. Jet Pens does not include swabs or samples with the R&K inks so I went on name alone when I selected it. Not that I mind a good blue-black (see the Inkmas Private Reserve Ebony Blue ink review for details), because I quite like them. But I was surprised that the name is 100% misleading.

Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris writing sample

I tested the ink with a very special pen I just received (more about that later this week) which sports a wider nib than I usually use so dry times were a tiny bit longer but not too bad. Its a deeply pigmented color so I did not see a lot of shading in the writing which gives a consistent look to the writing.

Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris swab

Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris is not a waterproof ink but it can withstand a bit of water without completely vanishing. In the swab, the Verdigris has a blue undertone with a tiny hint of violet but its very subtle.

Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris Ink Comparisons

I think this will be the last time I use the J. Herbin glass pen for my ink comparisons as its scratchy and inconsistent, ranging from super dry to bloopy with no warning.  Of the inks in my collection, The Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts and the Private Reserve Ebony Blue are the closest in color to the Verdigris though the 54th Massachusetts has a bit of a brownish undertone when dry and the Ebony Blue is a bit more turquoise with that unusual hint of burgundy when you get it in just the right light.

Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris is available in a 50ml for $12.


The samples above were written with a prototype Karas Kustoms INK fountain pen with a M nib (review coming soon!) in the Quo Vadis Habana bright white, blank notebook. Dry times will vary depending on paper stock. Comparison samples were written using a J. Herbin glass pen which causes some of the more liquidy inks, like De Atramentis, to run a bit. They are included for color comparison. Best efforts were made to achieve color accuracy but the limitations of camera, lighting and individual monitor calibrations may alter the final look. For best results, order a sample of the ink color you like best and try it before you invest in a whole bottle.

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

12 Days of Inkmas: Diamine Red Dragon

Diamine Red Dragon review

Today’s Inkmas offering is Diamine Red Dragon. It’s a dramatic red-brown. I say red-brown because it is not at all pinkish though there is a cast of a deep burgundy. It’s a good holiday red for sure but its also a solidly-spirited red ink, good for use all year long. Diamine inks have impressed me with how well they stand up on paper. Generally, Diamine inks seem less inclined to bleed than other inks though they may have a longer dry time. I notice this phenomena when using dip nibs particularly.

Diamine Red Dragon writing sample

Once again, I forgot to do a water test but its not a water resistant or water proof ink so if that’s a concern, skip this ink.

Diamine Red Dragon swab

You can see the range of hue in the swab above. Red Dragon can appear dark reddish brown down to a clear, bright red in the shaded areas. There’s some nice shading, if you like that kind of thing.

Diamine Red Dragon comparison

When compared with other inks in my collection, De Atramentis Oriental Red 35ml ($12.50) was probably the closest in color. R&K Morinda 50ml ($12) has more of an orange cast, Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-Budo 50ml ($28) is much more of a purple and the others were all more of a burgundy/brown. (The bloops are a result of trying to use fountain pen inks with dip pens. Its not always a successful venture.)

Diamine Red Dragon is available in 80ml bottles for $12.50, quite a value.


The samples above were written with a Kaweco Art Sport with a B nib (review coming soon!) in theQuo Vadis Habana bright white, blank notebook. Dry times will vary depending on paper stock. Comparison samples were written using a J. Herbin glass pen which causes some of the more liquidy inks, like De Atramentis, to run a bit. They are included for color comparison. Best efforts were made to achieve color accuracy but the limitations of camera, lighting and individual monitor calibrations may alter the final look. For best results, order a sample of the ink color you like best and try it before you invest in a whole bottle.

DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

12 Days of Inkmas: Pilot Blue

IMG_0003

On this, the ninth day of Inkmas, I give you a tried-and-true classic, Pilot Blue. This is not the fancy-pants Iroshizuku version but the back-to-basics, loyal-like-a-labrador Pilot Blue.

It comes in a gorgeous, classic bottle with a pedestal base that will look nice on your desk and last for ages. The bottle has an ingenious little plastic tube in the middle. When the ink level in the bottle starts to drop, just cap the bottle, flip it over and then right it and open it. The plastic tube will be filled with ink and you can easily fill your pen.

IMG_0002

Pilot Blue has a bit of a strong smell in the bottle but once its loaded in my pen, I don’t notice it. There’s lots of shading details in my writing sample from a crystal sky blue to a deep indigo. The dry time was pretty reasonable. I was using a wider nib than I normally do and didn’t have any smudging issues. It stood up pretty well to water. While it is not waterproof, there is a bit of water resistance which is nice.

IMG_0004

When compared with other blues in my arsenal, Diamine Washable Blue 80ml ($12.75) was the closest in color. De Atramentis U. S. Constitution 35ml ($12.50) (besides being extremely bloopy in my dip pen) is a bit more of a smoky blue. Private Reserve American Blue 50ml ($8.80) is more of a royal blue and leans much darker when applied in heavy strokes.

Pilot Blue comes in a 70ml bottle for $16.50. If you’re looking for the best value for the volume, Pilot Blue might not be the favored option but the easy-to-use bottle adds a benefit some of the other inks don’t offer.


The samples above were written with a vintage Esterbrook outfitted with a #2442 falcon stub in the Quo Vadis Habana bright white, blank notebook. Dry times will vary depending on paper stock. Comparison samples were written using a steel dip nib with a bit of flex which causes some of the more liquidy inks, like De Atramentis, to run a bit. They are included for color comparison. Best efforts were made to achieve color accuracy but the limitations of camera, lighting and individual monitor calibrations may alter the final look. For best results, order a sample of the ink color you like best and try it before you invest in a whole bottle.

1 2 3 5