Ink 100: Part 5 The Final Reveal

This is the final part of my Ink 100 series. If this is the first time you’ve seen these posts, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 to get caught up on this journey.

Since I started this project, my goal was to keep at least one or two bottles of ink across the ROYGBIV spectrum. For the sake of organziation,  I am going to reveal my final “ink keepers” in that same order. What I didn’t consider was some of the more unusual inks like the multi-chromes and shimmer inks. I have separated out the multi-chrome inks but I left the shimmers within their color category.

The biggest surprise in the process of this project was how sentimental I would become over certain inks. Some were purchased at specific events or when I was with a friend. Maybe a bottle was my first swap or remind me of a specific pen? I am glad I went through this process. I was able to make my ink collection feel a bit more manageable and it is easier for me to see what I have. Will I add new ink to my collection at some point? Probably. Will I pare down what I own a bit more? That might also be a possibility. Either way, I am happy to be able to sort through my collection more efficiently.

Now, on to what made the cut!


For the red category, I groups red-purples and pinks so its a much bigger category than I anticipated. I went into this project thinking I’m not really a red ink person so I’d keep one or two specific bottles. Instead, I ended up with 28 inks in this category.

Colorverse #31 Electron, Bungubox Lycoris Red and Sailor Jentle Irori can look orange or red depending on the paper and nib width.

There are two shimmers in the red group (No Fixed Address by Robert Oster and Pen BBS #140 Bloom Ink) and a couple super sheenrs: J. Herbin Rouge Hematite and Sailor Jentle Grenade, .

If you bet me 100 bottles of ink at the beginning of this project that I’d have more than 10 red/pink/red-purple inks, I would have taken that bet. You win! I had so many more. HA!

Orange/ Yellow/ Ochre/ Brown:

When I first planned this project, I forgot about browns and ochre colors so I am lumping orange and yellow together and it encompasses the brown, sepia, ochre colors as well. I ended up with 11 colors in this category. This included one shimmer ink (Pen BBS #111) and one pigment ink (Platinum Sepia Pigment Ink) and way more brown inks than I would have imagined I would need. Who knew I wouldn’t be able to part with brown ink? Not me.


Shockingly, I ended up with only 10 green inks and one is a shimmer ink. There are three inks which are very similar (Sailor Waka Uguisa, Pen BBS #342 Match Green Tea,  and Pen BBS #Tolstoy) so I need to probably ink these up and figure out which one or two will stay but they are all the closest to my dream green. I didn’t dave any kelly greens or bright green which, while I love them in general, I never use in a pen. The other greens I saved are unique and provide a nice range of hues.

Aqua/ Teal/ Blue/ Indigo:

I knew this would be my biggest group and it totals at 25 inks. This includes bluish greens, greenish blues, aquas, turquoise and tumbling into deeper blues.

As I got to the end of the sorting, I hit decision fatigue. Some of these inks are quite similar in color like Bora Bora Waters by Robert Oster and Inspired Blue by Waterman but they serve different purposes within my collection and therefore both are staying. Waterman inks are great for vintage pens and the Bora Bora Waters has slightly more sheen and safe for modern pens.

In my blue category, I have three shimmer inks: Pen BBS #338 Guardians of Good Fortune, J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor, and Van Dieman’s Parrot Fish.


I ended up with nine violet/blue-violet inks. I love Monteverde Birthday Cake so much I was surprised that I kept any other violets but I found some violets in my collection that are similar but different from Birthday Cake. So, yeah! I have more inks to try and experiment with and I’m excited about that. Only one of the inks in this category is a shimmer: Colorverse #89 Mystic Mountain.


This category is my grey and black inks.

I figured I’d only have one black ink (Platinum Carbon Black) but I forgot about Kyo-no-oto #1 Nurebairo which is a dry but sheeny black and I also kept the Colorverse Office Series Permanent Black and the Colorverse Pigment Black, Selectron. So, three out of four blacks are waterproof or water-resistant. I want to do more painting and multi-media work, so I’m keeping the additional blacks to see if they are a good alternative to Carbon Black.

I love grey inks so I should have guessed I would end up with eight different greys ranging from purply-grey, blue-grey and a neutral grey from Dominant Industry called Downpour. The last ink in this category in Colorverse Vortex Motion which is such a wonka-doodle sheening dark ink that is almost black but lean purply with a green sheen. Its also a bit sentimental to me.


These seven inks are those color shifting colors and can look different on different papers or is a different color when wet than when it dries. I separated these out since they are hard to fold into the standard ROYGBIV rainbow. I saved seven inks in this group and they are mostly greens, blues and purples because that’s how I roll.

Final Thoughts:

The final count? 97 bottles of ink. I can’t believe I actually did it. And honestly, I don’t feel like I am at a loss for choice. I still have FOUR different blacks!

I was fairly ruthless in saving only the colors I truly loved rather than making decisions based on having “all the Sailor inks” or some other brand. If I were to break the inks down by brand, I kept about 23 bottle of Colorverse, 17 bottles of Sailor and 13 or so bottles of Robert Oster. Every other brand I kept less than 10 bottles. In some instances, I now have just one or two bottles from some brands and, other brands, I didn’t keep any of their inks.

My final selections are not a reflection on any brands. My decisions are entirely based on my personal preferences for color. In some cases, a color I particularly liked but had more than one bottle meant the decision came down to flow and usability for my particular pen preferences. I prefer fine nibs and drier inks so I based my decisions around those needs. Hence, more Sailor inks survived in my collection for their easy flow in fine nibs. With Colorverse, its a very dry ink but I keep a stash of White Lightning handy for just such moments.

Are any of the inks I kept on your favorite list? Are there any inks that you are surprised I kept?

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9 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Wow! What a journey! Congratulations and thanks for the inspiration. I think that at some point this year, I’ll have to start a similar process.

  2. So many surprises (for you)! Brava for culling this much… that would be like me trying to cull my colored pencils!

  3. I would never have thought to put the red-purples with the red inks. I may have to go look at how my Col-o-ring cards are arranged and adjust. And I think you have many more actual reds than I do – or at least more than I intend to keep after paring down. Seems red reds don’t appeal to me, but dark, shady, murky reds make me happy. Anyway, you certainly did a nice job!

    1. Kit, I agree 100%. I have way too many reds! I guess I like reds, purples and pinks more than I thought I did. lol! Good luck in your own destash.

  4. Oh, and also – my teals and browns would need categories of their own. There was a time years ago when I thought I’d never want a brown ink… silly me. Once I discovered warm shady browns I was all over that color.

  5. Wow. I can’t believe you even took on such a task, much less finished it so admirably! I think you ended up with an excellent variety of colors. I have to confess my ink collection consists largely of teals, blue-greens, greens, and various shades of pink, mauve, purple, and red. I don’t even own one black ink. OK; I do own some browns, but they are browns with red and/or yellow in them. My collection reflects my favorite colors; I don’t feel I owe allegiance to any other colors. -lol- I am inspired by your results and will probably try to get rid of a few inks myself. I know I have several (many?) that I haven’t used in a long, long time. Thanks for sharing your arduous journey with us!

  6. Happy to see Diamine Early Grey there. It is a grey that is dark enough for everyday writing, rather a nice change.

    Interesting to not see a blue for everyday writing. I think of blue or blue-black as the classic ink for fountain pens. I often use Monteverde Horizon Blue or 3 Oysters Cobalt for that. Though I’ve currently got Diamine Majestic Blue (red sheen) loaded up in a Kaweco BB.

    I should cull, I have multiple red-sheening blue inks.

    Then there is Robert Oster Dragon’s Night, a purple-leaning dark blue…

    1. Amazingly, those true blues are just not ink colors I ever reach for so I got rid of the few I had. They are beautiful but I just don’t use them.

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