12 Days of Inkmas: Day 11 Pen BBS No. 401 Afternoon Ink

For today’s Inkmas, I finally get to recommend an ink that is still available: (I lied. It’s out of stock. I am THE WORST!) Pen BBS No. 401 Afternoon Ink ($8 for a 15ml bottle). This color was part of a series of daylight and nighttime colors that included the Pen BBS 398 Morning Ink featured earlier in Inkmas.

Afternoon Ink represents afternoon skies as I’ve only ever seen in very hazy places like China. Due to smog and pollution, this is what the sky often looked like when I was in China. Descriptions of smoggy skies aside, Afternoon Ink is one of the most unusual ink colors in my collection.

Writing sample on Rhodia. Ignore the washi tape, we had a little ink accident.

Afternoon Ink is a warm, reddish brown ink but very light. It shades beautifully. Because it is so light, I recommend using it with a wider nib or it could be too light to read.

Today it’s really easy to see that Rhodia paper looks warmer (almost pink) under my lights and the Tomoe River paper looks cooler (more green) — the Tomoe River is more of an off-white and that is a hard color to photograph accurately and get to display correctly on all monitors.

Writing sample on Elia Notebook with 68gsm Tomoe River paper. Ignore the washi tape, we had a little ink accident.

The ink color does darken a bit as it dries which makes it appear deeper than when I was writing with it.

When comparing Afternoon Ink with other inks, I noticed someone in the comments on the Vanness Pen Shop site suggest a similarity between Afternoon Ink and Montblanc Swan Illusion.

I think Swan Illusion is much darker but is also an unusual color. Ferris Wheel Press Cream of Earl is too light (honestly, its too light to be usable) but was the closest I could find in terms of hue and lightness in my collection. Colorverse Jupiter Fly By from the Voyager I limited edition set was the only other ink in a similar range. Many inks were much darker, redder or yellower.

So, yes, Pen BBS No. 401 Afternoon Ink is a unique color worth seeking out if you like these sorts of not-quite one color or another sorts of inks. Pen BBS inks are priced right and behave well so it’s certainly a better option to try to track down a bottle of No. 401 Afternoon Ink then to try to get a bottle of Swan Illusion or the Color Voyager I set.


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