My Ink 100: Part 3 – Swatch-a-thon

I have moved on to the “swatch the unswatched” phase of my Ink 100 Project. Check out my previous posts including, Part 1: Admitting I have a Problem and Part 2: Color Inventory is Hard.

I needed to swatch 37 bottles of ink in order to move forward in my Ink 100 project. It was a whole afternoon project to just get all the inks swatched in order to move forward with this ridiculous project.  As I was swatching, I realized I have WAY TOO many blue-greens, turquoise and teal inks. I also buy a lot of grey and dirty purple colors.

How do I pick which one stay and which ones go?

I swatched seven different greys and blacks. I person, the Colorverse Under the Shade and Dominant Industry Downpour look almost identical. Sailor Ice Gray shipped with my Sailor First Snow fountain pen and is very light. Each of these groups will get compared with the inks I’ve already chosen and then pared down.

I sampled the Manyo and multichromatic Sailor inks … the ones in the grey boxes. Do those have an official group name? I had a bad case of FOMO  when the Sailor multichromatic inks came out so I bought them all. Now I realize that was a rash decision. I need to stop buying ALL the inks and think about which ones I’ll actually use. I prefer fine nib pens so, as much as I get enticed by light, bright colors, they often do not work well in my pens. They end up being too light to be readable. These multichrome colors are so pretty to look at but I’m not sure if I’d ever actually use them in a pen. These might be good candidates for one of those inky journals Jesi reviewed.

Above are the few purples in the “need to be swatched” pile. Delightfully, they were all notably different from one another. Next step will be to determine how different they are from the inks I’ve already put in the “to keep” pile.

The above two images are the shameful number of swatches of even more blue and green inks. I need to be stopped!

The last grouping was the orange and green inks. Despite loving green more than any other color, I have a hard time finding the perfect pea green ink. Folks always recommend then to me but I am still on the hunt.

Of the 37 inks I swatched, about half of them will be leaving. Kicked off the proverbial ink island.

My box of “keepers” has been added to but I’m not done yet. I still have another two drawers to review. Then I need to review the selections I have made and see if there’s any additional inks I can let go of.

I already have 77 inks in my Col-o-ring and I’m sure to exceed my goal of 100 inks — and probably by quite a bit– I will have to do a final culling to reach my goal. Ink brands still left to review: Pen BBS, Kaweco, Pelikan, Ferris Wheel, and a lot more. Stay tuned for Part 4 where I end up in a puddle on the floor.

I think Marie Kondo would have classified my ink collection as personal items to be culled last and not like clothes which she feels should be the first thing to be weeded. Where do inks fall on your hierarchy of tidying?


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10 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I hate to point this out, but… the way a swatch looks doesn’t say enough about how it looks when you’re writing with it in a fountain pen. Two swatches that look identical can look very different when put on paper with a fountain pen. Even dip pens don’t tell you, really, what it looks like in a fountain pen. And for me, this is crucial. It’s ALLLLLL about how it looks in regular writing.

    Fortunately, for me anyway, I keep an Tomoe River ink journal where I write a paragraph every time I’m using an ink in a fountain pen for the first time. That would be my guide for final selections more than swatches.

    Having said that – I, too, need to cull my collection. I have too many I don’t use because I don’t care for them. Too many basic reds, a few that are just too light to be legible, some that have no shading qualities when I have others that are close in color that do. When am I going to learn to always buy samples first?

    1. I fully understand how inks look different in a swatch but some of this experiment is just touching each bottle and remembering “have I used this”. I may do a second pass after I’ve narrowed everything down to actually test the inks in pens and see if I was correct in my choices.

  2. I feel for your struggle since I just indexed all my yarn (!!), but I’d love to spend an afternoon just paging through all your swatch books.

  3. I feel your pain and applaud your color choices. So many of them I have or want but will not let my early nut any more inks. And yeah, some of those inks are wasted on a fine nib.
    Decisions, decisions…… Good luck!

  4. Wow, great job already! Look at you making all sorts of progress. This might be the hobby dragon in me, but this process honestly sounds kind of fun to me! Looking forward to your next post about this journey haha

  5. Regarding pea green ink, do you have a Pantone, RGB,or something to match against? Perhaps have someone make it for you?

    1. Probably pms368c but it’s quite light so pms369c might look like 368c in a fine nib. If you want the nerdy answer to that question. It’s the color of my header bar and logo.

      1. I did some research and let me begin by saying that I don’t own these inks. It just seemed like why not take a few minutes and see what happens. The swatch for Ferris Wheel Press Sweet Honeydew swatch matches. Writing does not.
        Robert Oster Vine Leaf swatch and writing match.

  6. your ink project motivated me to actually inventory all my inks and i sort of stunned myself by having 77 full bottles. had you asked me before my inventory i would never ever have guessed more than 50, yikes!

    my goals are to do a cull of inks and pens before the SF Pen Show because i am certain i will be adding a wagon load of new goodies there! so less a culling and more a making room project! LOL

    i’m really enjoying watching your project and am excited to see your final choices that make the cut.

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