Ink Review: Robert Oster ink.art Lake of Fire and the Serendipity Hybrid Pen

Everyone at the D.C. Pen Show asked about the upcoming release of Robert Oster Lake of Fire and I had to tell them, “not until San Francisco,” knowing full well I had a whole bottle. The bottle I have is from the new ink.art series which is designed to be improved for art purposes. The ink.art colors come in 100ml bottles and has added UV protection. The only detailed information I could find about the ink.art inks was from Nick Stewart of Fountain Pen Inks and Bleach on FPN.  Bless that Nick and his inky experiments.

With the ink, I also received the new Serendipity Hybrid Pen to try. It was created as a collaboration between Robert Oster and James Finniss of Pensive Pens to create a dip-style fountain pen for ink testing and experimentation. The pen takes standard screw-in size 6 nibs. It shipped with a broad nib but I swapped in a Goulet Pens EF nib to more closely represent the style of writing that I do.

I have a similar style of nib holder that I had made for me by Shawn Newton to hold vintage Esterbrook nibs several years ago that I use for ink sampling and to use my large collection of Esterbrook nibs.  I included it in the photo above to show it for comparison. The Serendipity Hybrid Pen is just slightly shorter and has a slightly recessed area at the grip compared to my Esterbrook holder. Otherwise, they are remarkably similar in size and shape.

As for the Lake of Fire ink, there is a notable red violet sheen over the deep blue. The closest color I could find in the ink archive is Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yu which is a similar color with a similar sheen just a bit lighter overall than Lake of Fire. Other inks that might be close start to lean more blue-black or deep navy.

The writing sample shows both the ink and the nibs used with the Serendipity Hybrid Pen using a broad nib and an EF nib, a paint brush, a Zebra G dip nib, and my Shawn Newton nib holder and an Esterbrook nib holder with a #2442 nib.

I like the idea of the Serendipity Hybrid Pen but I found the grip section a bit awkward. I couldn’t figure out exactly where to put my thumb. I either had to choke up on the grip toward the nib  or move my hand back away from the  grip. I prefer the smooth grip on my Newton holder.

Lake of Fire will be available in the US at the San Francisco Pen Show in both the Signature and ink.art formulas and then through all your favorite retailers.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Robert Oster, James Finniss of Pensive Pens and Bauer Inks of Canada for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I’m wondering if the ink.art inks behave noticeably differently in fountain pens from the regular inks. Have you observed differences?

    1. None that I can tell. It’s been widely distributed to friends as well and no one has mentioned anything in regards to the Lake of Fire ink.art.

  2. Ana,

    I’ve wanted this ink since I first saw it a couple of months ago. But all I can find in the US are the “Signature” inks, and not the ink.art version. I want to use this color in a fountain pen, but the samples so far I’ve seen of the “signature” version look totally different than the ink.art samples (mainly, it looks like the sheen is almost all gone). Do you know if they look different?

    1. The ink.Art and Signature inks sheen the same. It could be the paper that the swatches are on. Tomoe River and the Col-o-ring paper are going to show more sheen than standard office paper or Leuchtturm and the like.

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