March 27, 2013

Monteverde Cartridge Refill for LAMY Fountain Pens Review

(Monteverde Ink Cartridges for LAMY Fountain PensBurgundy)

Monteverde took it upon themselves to broaden the selection of ink cartridge refills available for LAMY fountain pens by creating their own version of a LAMY T10 ink cartridge.

The ink inside these cartridges features Monteverde's Ink Treatment Formula that is described as offering the following benefits:

  • Drastically improves ink-flow quality
  • Extends cap-off time
  • Automatically cleans fountain pen feeders
  • Lubricates and protects the ink feeding system from corrosion and clogging
  • Improves ink drying time on paper

LAMY produces T10 ink cartridges in only seven colors including black, blue washable, blue-black, turquoise, red, violet, and green. Monteverde’s LAMY-compatible ink cartridge lineup includes eleven colors: black, blue, blue-black, turquoise, red, purple, green, brown, burgundy, fluorescent orange and fluorescent yellow.

(LAMY Safari with a calligraphy nib)

Pick up a LAMY Safari with a calligraphy nib and some Monteverde fluorescent orange or yellow ink cartridges and you’ve got yourself a long-lasting highlighter pen. I personally really like Monteverde’s highlighting ink colors because in my opinion they are softer than some of the screaming bright highlighter inks out there.

(Monteverde Fluorescent Yellow Highlighting Ink Sample)

We noticed a very interesting feature of these Monteverde ink cartridges: one end of the cartridge fits into LAMY fountain pens and the other end fits into fountain pens that take standard international ink cartridges. These cartridges are longer than your usual standard international ink cartridge though, so due to their extra length they will not fit inside the barrel some fountain pens that use this type of cartridge.

Here is a photo of my blue Plumink fountain pen (left) and my lime green LAMY Safari fountain pen (right). They both are using the exact same Monteverde cartridge refills (which happen to be almost empty when I took this photo). If you look closely you can see that the exposed ends of these cartridges are different, depending on if the cartridge is installed in a standard international refill pen or a LAMY T10 refill pen. Dual purpose ink refills!

So far I’ve been very happy with this ink and it has been well behaved on the paper and in pens that I have used. Have you used Monteverde ink refills for LAMY fountain pens? If so, what do you think of them? Have you tried using them in fountain pens that use standard international refills?

January 16, 2013

Choosing Your Fountain Pen Ink Color Online

(J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink Vert Pre)

As you’re shopping online for a new bottle of fountain pen ink, likely the ink color samples you see on your computer, tablet or smartphone have a big influence on what you decide to purchase. Can you trust what you see on your computer monitor? Do you ever wonder how the ink samples are made?

When we first started producing samples of fountain pen ink colors for our online store, we used a special color calibrated computer monitor and made careful adjustments with graphics software to make sure the color sample looked as close to real life as possible from our viewpoint. The flaw in this method is that most shoppers do not use color calibrated computer monitors. As a result, the ink color samples look different to each shopper because each shopper uses a different monitor or smartphone to view the samples. Since then, we have intentionally purchased computer monitors that are a variety of different brands so that we can compare and see what our shoppers might be seeing. Even so, it is not possible with current technology to make sure that each one of you sees a completely accurate sample of each ink color when you are shopping online.

Other retailers have made ink samples that don’t even display real ink swatches or handwriting at all. Graphics software is used to pick the color and then a computer font that looks like handwriting is used to create a “handwritten” color sample. This also has disadvantages. When you look at the color variations in the ink samples below, can you see how it would be difficult to decide what part of the sample it would be best to pick the color from? A computer generated color sample does not give you any idea of the shading or opacity of the ink. Plus, it still does not change the fact that each of you are using different computers and smartphones that each display colors slightly differently.

If you are a regular shopper at Writer’s Bloc, you may have noticed that many of our ink color samples look like this:

(Noodler's 54th Massachusetts bottled fountain pen ink sample)

We decided to come up with a standardized way of creating our online fountain pen ink samples so that you might be able to discern some of the ink’s characteristics before you decide to buy. Each sample is handwritten with the actual ink, in the same calligraphy style, using a Brause dipping pen with a Steno nib. The “swish” above the handwriting is made with an inked cotton swab and goes from left to right so that the heaviest ink application is on the left and the lightest on the right. The paper used is always bright white 90g Clairefontaine French-ruled paper. (Note: the ink photos on our website that include the ink bottle or cartridges in the photo are meant to give you a general idea of the ink color and are NOT meant to be the primary color sample for the ink.)

What are some of the advantages of this method? Clairefontaine is known as one of the best papers in the world for writing, and it performs exceptionally well with fountain pens.  This paper is very good at eliminating or reducing writing problems that are common on low-grade paper such as ink feathering and ink bleeding through the paper. By the way, if ink happens to bleed or feather while we are making our samples, we do not retouch the samples or re-write them to try and get rid of the feathering – we just use them the way they are to help you discern the character of the ink. The Clairefontaine paper is a bright white color so it does not detract from the color of the fountain pen ink.

Why use French-ruled paper and not blank paper? The lines on the French-ruled paper help you to see how opaque or how transparent the ink is. Can you see the lines on the paper through the ink sample? For example, Noodler’s Eel Polar Black ink is very opaque:

And J. Herbin’s Vert Pre ink is more transparent:

The Brause Steno nib allows you to see what your writing might look like using a fountain pen with a fine to medium size nib. The Steno nib is a flex nib, so the line width in the samples varies. The cotton swab generated “swish” above the writing helps you to see what kind of shading the ink might have. Noodler’s Ink Habannero has some nice shading to it:

To prepare the color samples for our online store, the ink samples written on Clairefontaine paper are simply scanned, cropped and re-sized. That's it. They are not retouched or enhanced by graphics software in any other way.

Even though we have a standardized system for creating our ink color samples, each of you will see the color a little bit differently depending on your own personal monitor or screen. Each of you will be writing on different kinds and colors of paper, using different nib sizes and you all have different handwriting. This too can affect the way an ink looks as you write with it. Our wish is to give you the most realistic online ink samples possible to help you choose your fountain pen ink!

November 21, 2012

Fountain Pen Basics: What kind of bottled fountain pen ink should I buy?

(J. Herbin fountain pen ink - Bleu Nuit)

You have a fountain pen (or pens) and you are ready to move beyond ink cartridges into the world of bottled fountain pen ink. Buying bottled ink is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than using cartridges, offers a plethora of color options and special ink qualities, and in my opinion is a whole lot more fun. Some fountain pen ink bottles are practical and utilitarian, while others resemble fancy perfume bottles straight off the shelf from Nordstrom.

When purchasing your very first bottle of fountain pen ink which one should you buy? Every writer that uses a fountain pen will have their own favorites and preferences when it comes to ink. The purpose of this post is to give you some general guidelines and suggestions based on my own personal experience with using fountain pens.

Some suggestions for your first bottle of fountain pen ink:

1) Make sure the ink is for fountain pens. Do not use any other kind of ink because it can clog or ruin your pen.

2) It is not necessary to buy ink that is the same brand as your fountain pen.

3) Choose a bottle design that does not easily tip over.

4) Bottles with a wide mouth are easier to use for filling your pen.

(Pelikan 4001 fountain pen ink – Brilliant Red)

5)  Buy ink that is washable. It’s easier to remove from your hands, clothes or carpets if you have an accident.

6) It is not necessarily better to buy a "gourmet" ink. The higher price of some inks can just mean they have fancier bottles or are imported from a far away place.

7) Avoid inks with special or unique qualities at first, and wait to try those inks until you are a more experienced fountain pen user.

8) It may be best to steer clear of blue-black ink to begin with. Some inks of this color can react badly when mixed with other ink.

If you are experienced with using fountain pens, what would you recommend to other writers making their first purchase of bottled ink?

(LAMY T52 fountain pen ink – Black)


April 11, 2012

Refill Fountain Pen Ink Cartridges with a Blunt Tip Needle Bottle

If you own a fountain pen that has a cartridge filling system, you can easily refill your empty ink cartridges or ink converter using a blunt tip needle bottle.

  1. Put some ink into the needle bottle – a small funnel can be used to make this easier.
  2. If you are changing ink colors it would be a good idea to clean your fountain pen and rinse out your empty cartridge with water first. A blunt tip needle bottle filled with clean water is a good way to rinse out ink cartridges. You may want to let the cleaned pen and ink cartridge dry overnight before you refill them.
  3. Insert the blunt tip needle through the small opening on the end of the cartridge down towards the bottom of your empty cartridge. This way as you fill the cartridge the air will naturally come out the top and not form too many ink bubbles.
  4. Gently squeeze the needle bottle and fill the cartridge or converter not quite to the top with ink.
  5. Put the refilled ink cartridge into your fountain pen and you’re finished!

I’ve heard that some people use a dab of glue from a hot glue gun to reseal the cartridges so they can take extra ink cartridges with them. If you decide to give this a try, be aware that it’s not foolproof. You may want to carry the ink cartridges in a plastic zip top bag to prevent any accidents.

There are many advantages to using a blunt tip needle bottle to refill your empty fountain pen ink cartridges:

  • Bottled ink is much cheaper to use than ink that comes in cartridges.
  • Since the empty cartridges can be re-used many times before discarding them, there is less plastic waste going into the environment.
  • Ink cartridges usually can hold more ink than a comparable ink converter.
  • The needle tip bottle can hold lots of ink and it doesn’t need to be cleaned after each use like a syringe does.
  • The blunt tip needle is safer to use for refilling than a sharp tip syringe.
  • The plunger on a syringe can be hard to control leading to small ink explosions, but the bottle yields to very gentle pressure.
  • You can fill the needle bottle with your own custom ink color and use it to create your own custom cartridges.
  • You can fill cartridges with ink that isn’t available in cartridges such as Noodler’s and Pilot Iroshizuku.

The little wire in the cap of the blunt tip needle bottle isn’t completely necessary, but it does serve a couple of useful purposes. Since the wire goes into the needle when the bottle is capped it helps to prevent any clogs and it also helps to prevent leaks if the bottle tips over. If the little wire in the cap comes out, you can gently push it back in.

Do you ever refill empty fountain pen ink cartridges? What method do you use? Do you have any tips that you’d like to pass along?


December 07, 2011

Does Fast-Drying Fountain Pen Ink Feather?

I’m a lefty, and unless I use just the right fountain pen, ink and paper combinations I have trouble with smearing ink all over the paper with my hand. I’ve been thinking of getting some fast-drying fountain pen ink to see if this will allow me to expand my regularly used paper selection. Online reviews of this type of ink sometimes mention that whatever changes are made to the formula of this ink to make it dry more quickly also cause more problems with feathering. Since Noodler’s Bernanke Black and Bernanke Blue just arrived in our shop I thought I’d do a very quick test of this ink on several types of paper to see the results. For this test I used both a J. Herbin glass pen which laid down a ton of ink with the Bernanke inks (the bold and broad writing) and a Platinum Preppy fountain pen with a fine nib. Here are some scans of the results:

Clairefontaine French Ruled Paper - the gold standard. Under a magnifying glass I could see an eensy bit of feathering using a Platinum Preppy fine nib fountain pen, but unmagnified it looks fine. Not shown in this scan, the plentiful ink flowing from the glass pen did cause feathering.

Rhodia grid paper. The abundant flow of ink from the glass pen feathered some, but the Preppy pen writing looked just as good as on the Clairefontaine French ruled paper.

Compendium Live Inspired “Her Words” paper. Same results as the Rhodia paper – the broad line with lots of ink has a bit of feathering, the writing from the fine nib looks good.

Exacompta Basics Forum Journal with blank paper. Bernanke inks behave quite well on this paper, even the broad line from the glass pen had only a little feathering (there is some bleed through, but that is typical of this paper – perhaps this reduces the feathering?).

Leuchtturm1917 blank paper. Some feathering with both the broad and fine tip pens.

Myndology Luna Note paper. More feathering with the broad tip glass pen, less feathering with the fine nib.

Office Max generic top-stapled notepad paper. I imagined that this paper would perform the worst, but it’s actually not too bad. The broad tip glass pen feathered some, but the fine nib is pretty good.

Rhodia Webnotebook lined paper. Under magnification I could see a tiny bit of feathering with the black, but without magnification it looks great! I have not been able to use the Rhodia Webnotebook with a fountain pen because ink usually takes too long to dry on this paper and I smear it. In this test I tried smearing the ink immediately after I wrote with it – probably within one second or less – and the results were pretty good. Bernanke fast-drying ink definitely reduces the smear factor!

My conclusion so far is that fast-drying fountain pen ink does seem to feather more than regular ink, however, I will probably do very well using Noodler’s Bernanke ink with a fine nib fountain pen. It also made me wonder – do the Noodler’s Bernanke inks would work well in dry-writing pens? Does anyone know?

Do you use fast-drying fountain pen ink? What results have you had with feathering? Do you have any favorite fast-drying ink, paper and pen combinations you’d like to share?


November 09, 2011

Platinum Mix Free Fountain Pen Ink Mixing Kit

Platinum Mix Free Fountain Pen Ink Mixing Kit is the ideal solution for mixing inks safely and easily to create a multitude of colors with a minimal number of ink bottles. This series of ink created by Platinum removes all fear of unexpected, messy pen-clogging reactions that can occasionally result from  mixing different types of fountain pen ink together. These inks are specially formulated to be mixed together and to encourage personal expression through your own custom ink colors.

The kit includes 60ml bottles of nine different colors of ink: Sunny Yellow, Leaf Green, Earth Brown, Flame Red, Cyclamen Pink, Silky Purple, Aurora Blue, Aqua Blue and Smoke Black. It also includes a handy mixing kit containing one 50ml bottle of dilution liquid, one empty 50ml bottle for saving your custom ink and two 3ml dropper syringes.

There are simple instructions included on how to begin to create your custom ink colors.

This kit also comes with a color chart showing how a mixture of equal parts of two different colors of ink can create a new color. (I believe there are 36 different colors displayed here in addition to the 9 basic colors, but I could be wrong.) Adding the dilution liquid can lighten the color. Of course, you’re not limited to a 1:1 ratio while mixing – feel free to experiment with whatever ratio you want!

If an entire kit with 9 bottles and ink mixing accessories is too much to buy all at once, or if you’d like to try out just one color first, you can buy the individual bottles and the mixing accessories separately. You can also mix all sorts of custom ink colors by getting the four very basic ink colors of cyan, magenta, yellow and black - or as translated into Platinum Ink colors: Aqua Blue, Cyclamen Pink, Sunny Yellow and Smoke Black.

What interesting colors have you created with Platinum’s Mix Free Fountain Pen Ink Mixing Kit? Please share your colors and mixing ratios here!


September 07, 2011

Terre de Feu Brown Ink Mixing Part 2

My previous experiment mixing J. Herbin Terre de Feu brown fountain pen ink was done with 5 parts Terre de Feu and 1 part another ink. Part 2 of my mixing experiment was created with 1 part Terre de Feu and 1 part another ink, definitely producing more varied and interesting results. I may not want to write with all of these colors but I think they would look great as part of a painting, sketch or other artwork.

One part J. Herbin Terre de Feu plus one part Noodler’s Black equals a very dark brown-black.

Terre de Feu and Noodler’s Shah’s Rose make a delicious looking raspberry wine color. Something that would go well with this weekend’s BBQ.

A burnt caramel color with lots of shading is produced with Terre de Feu and Noodler’s Yellow. I would put it in the ochre category.

Noodler’s Navajo Turquoise and Terre de Feu creates an inky grey-blue color that reminds me of something I would see in nature – a whale, a bird, a night sky.

J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage plus Terre de Feu makes a dark mossy pond-slime green. I can visualize this color in a pine forest, murky pond or on a rock on the beach.

Terre de Feu mixed with J. Herbin Violette Pensee produces a dark grape-y purple color. I might call it a dark purple-burgundy.

Lastly, Terre de Feu and J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary ink together make brick red.

Do you have any favorite ink mixing recipes you’d like to share?


August 24, 2011

Shades of Chocolate: Terre de Feu Ink Mixing

I’ve been wanting to mix brown ink to create different shades of chocolate and finally found some time to give it a try. I chose J. Herbin Terre De Feu because it seemed like a good medium brown color to get started with, but J. Herbin Lie de Thé or Café des Îles probably would have been good choices too-colors for future ink mixing for sure. This ink has a red tone it, so the name Terre de Feu or Land of Fire seems very fitting. For this experiment I used a ratio of five parts J. Herbin’s Terre De Feu ink and one part of another ink.

Terre de Feu plus Noodler’s Black ink produced a nice dark chocolate brown color with reddish undertones.

Terre de Feu and Noodler’s Shah’s Rose created a dark maroon color that I’d put in the “red wine” category as opposed to the chocolate category.

Adding Noodler’s Yellow to Terre de Feu made the best milk chocolate color in this bunch.

Noodler’s Navajo Turquoise and Terre de Feu made a brown-black that at first glance just looks black to me. It’s amazing how adding one part turquoise blue ink can create such a dark color. If I’m in the mood to write in brown-black ink in the future I’ll have to keep this one in mind.

Terre de Feu and J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage (green) also created a nice chocolate brown that has a bit more of a yellow undertone in it than the Terre de Feu plus black.

J. Herbin Violette Pensée and Terre de Feu mixed together made a dark maroon color that I would also categorize as “red wine”.

Terre de Feu and J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary ink (red) produced what I would call a burnt umber or red-brown color.

Interestingly, the character of Terre de Feu ink was such that it did not want to stay in the grooves of my glass pen and made the writing samples a bit difficult except for the combination with the 1670 Anniversary ink. No harmful explosions occurred as a result of mixing these particular colors of Noodler’s and J. Herbin fountain pen inks. Stay tuned for part two of this experiment using different ratios of ink colors.

What is your favorite brown fountain pen ink?


July 20, 2011

Noodler’s Baystate Blue Ink Alternatives

Many fountain pen users LOVE Noodler’s Baystate Blue ink for the unmatched intensity of its vibrant cobalt-blue color. Others find that this ink is just too high maintenance for their taste especially when it is not paired with just the right fountain pen. Would you like to find another kind of ink with the same intense blue color? Sorry, we haven’t found one yet that can quite compare to the beautiful intense blue of Baystate! Despite this we will attempt to provide a few suggestions as to some alternative blue inks to try.

Scanning ink samples into the computer and viewing them on any one of millions of monitors/mobile devices can’t possibly display ink colors with 100% accuracy, inks look different on different kinds of paper, and when it comes to color each person has their own opinion. The colors in these scans have not been retouched and the samples were all written on Clairefontaine French ruled paper. We will attempt to briefly describe how each ink differs from Baystate Blue as well as display the samples side by side so that you can compare.

Noodler’s Ink Baystate Blue:  The gold standard. Highly intense cobalt blue color.

J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir: This shade of blue is very similar to the shade of Baystate Blue and it has the same kind of “purple-ish” undertone, but it is definitely not as intense or bright as Baystate. It is a cool shade of royal blue. Of all the blue inks mentioned here, when you are looking at handwriting, it looks the closest (in our opinion) to Baystate Blue .

Noodler’s Ink Blue:  Not as bright as Baystate and it looks more turquoise when placed next to Baystate. This is a warmer shade of blue.

Noodler’s Eel Blue:  Looks almost exactly the same as Noodler’s Blue.

Noodler’s Ink Ottoman Azure:  Not as bright as Baystate and it looks more turquoise when placed to Baystate. This is a warmer shade of blue and is similar to Noodler’s Blue.

Noodler’s Ink La Couleur Royale:  Darker than Baystate, with somewhat more of a purple tint to it.

Aurora Blue: More muted and subdued than Baystate and the color of Aurora Blue is grayer when you see it in person.

We are sure there are other intense blue inks out there that we haven’t mentioned in this blog post that you can tell us about. What are your favorite Baystate Blue Ink alternatives?


June 22, 2011

Noodler’s Regular Black Ink

Noodler’s Ink has created a huge selection of affordable fountain pen ink in a wide variety of colors and with a variety of different characteristics. Their ink is made in the USA and is well-known for its quirky bottle labels depicting catfish, dragons, a Russian ruler, a famous scientist, white whales and more. I made my first purchase of Noodler’s Ink based entirely on its color – it was Nightshade which is a very dark purplish-brown color. If you’re thinking of trying out some Noodler’s Ink for the first time you may wonder where should you start?

Bullet-Proof Black is an extremely popular Noodler’s Ink that is used daily by many writers. It is a conservative color that is appropriate for the office, and its characteristics make it very versatile and useful for many situations. It is formulated to be what Noodler’s calls “bullet-proof”, which means it has qualities that make it impervious to water, bleach and light. When it is mixed with other inks it looses these qualities, so it is best used straight from the bottle.

Once this ink is permitted to dry upon cellulose paper it is pretty much waterproof. People here in Portland, Oregon like it because if you live here you can’t escape the rain. Even if you don’t live here, when you address an envelope to your friend in Portland, Oregon it had better be written in Noodler’s bullet-proof ink or it may never make it! Some artists use this ink along with watercolor paints. Depending on how long the ink has been allowed to dry, a slight bit of black may migrate into the watercolors. While this is not desirable to some artists, others really like the effect it creates.

Noodler’s Bullet-Proof Black is a saturated dark black color that is formulated to be resistant to feathering even on low-quality paper. It is pH neutral and safe for just about any fountain pen. If you try this ink and really like it, you can also buy it in large 4.5oz bottles. Do you use Noodler’s Bullet-Proof Black ink?


May 11, 2011

Does Fountain Pen Ink Fade With Time?

Most fountain pen ink is dye-based rather than pigment-based, so the answer is yes, it does fade with the passing of time. The speed and degree of fading depend on a number of factors including the type of ink, type of paper, environmental conditions and exposure to light. I've noticed some fountain pen ink in various stages of fading in my old journals.

Iron-gall inks eventually fade to a brown color due to the iron that is in the ink. Other inks just fade to a paler shade of their original color or another unexpected hue. I found that the pen friends at Fountain Pen Network have done many of their own experiments to test what happens to various inks when exposed to UV light. It’s worth doing a search there if you’re wondering about the light resistance of a specific ink. If you are looking for a fade-resistant fountain pen ink there are several inks out there that may work for you.

Platinum Pens has years of experience with fountain pens and ink and they have developed pigment-based inks for use with fountain pens that are water-resistant, fade-resistant and heat-resistant. Platinum Carbon Black ink is especially prized by artists and others looking for ink that is very water and light resistant. Platinum pigment ink is available in just a few colors: black, sepia, blue and rose red. Some fountain pen users are nervous that using ink containing ultra-fine pigment powder may clog their pens. If this describes you, you might want to try this ink in an inexpensive pen first and follow the pen maintenance tips included in with this ink – these tips are originally written in Japanese but are mentioned in English on our website.

Noodler’s Ink makes several types of ink that have what they describe as “bullet-proof” qualities including resistance to fading when exposed to light. I am unclear as to whether or not any of these inks include any sort of pigments in their formulas, but can tell you Noodler’s ink is included among the favorite inks of many writers. Their UV light-resistant inks include such inks as regular Noodler’s bullet-proof black, Noodler’s Eternal inks, Noodler’s Polar inks and any of the inks in the Warden’s series such as Bad Black Moccasin and Bad Belted Kingfisher..

Do you use fade-resistant ink in your fountain pen? What type of permanent fountain pen ink is your favorite? Have you done any UV light tests with ink that you’d like to share?

April 27, 2011

Violette Pensée Ink Mixing Part 2

My first attempt at purple ink mixing was a recipe of 5 parts J. Herbin Violette Pensée and 1 part another ink. The results were pretty much all different shades of purple, so I wondered what results I would get increasing the amount of other ink. This new experiment is a recipe of equal parts J. Herbin Violette Pensée and another color of ink. Results were more varied this time.

I wasn’t surprised to see that equal parts Violette Pensée and J. Herbin Perle Noir (black) made black with purple undertones.

Violette Pensée and J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen (magenta) together made a purple that is brighter, lighter, warmer and pinker than Violette Pensée on its own. This scan makes it look a lot bluer than it actually is. I used to have a shirt exactly this color in high school.

A rather pleasing royal blue color results from the combination of J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche (cyan) and Violette Pensée.

Kind of a murky golden brown is produced by Violette Pensée and J. Herbin Bouton D’Or (yellow).

Violette Pensée and J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage (green) together make an interesting gray-green shade. The scan mostly fails to show the green tint to this mix.

J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary ink (red) with Violette Pensée makes a dark red-brown or red-black color.

A dark maroon-brown results from Violette Pensée and Edelstein Mandarin (orange) ink.

If I was going to choose one of these to mix and fill my pen with it would have to be the Lierre Sauvage combination because of its unusual shade. I like it even though it’s darker and more conservative than the colors of ink I often use. I think I would also enjoy the red-black color of the 1670 Anniversary ink mixed with the purple or the maroon produced by the Edelstein Mandarin.

What is your favorite ink mixing recipe?

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March 30, 2011

Shades of Purple Ink

I like purple ink. It’s a nice alternative to blue that’s a bit more interesting, but it can still be used in (most) office environments. Without having to buy 100 different shades of purple ink, I wondered what conservative purple shades of fountain pen ink I could come up with by doing a little bit of ink mixing. Some Daniel Waples hang drum music was just right to create a purple ink mixing mood.

I started with five parts J. Herbin Violette Pensée purple ink and added to it one part of another color of ink. Sadly, I find that purple is a very difficult color to display accurately whether you are using a scanner, digital camera or computer monitor. The above scan has not been retouched and it definitely looks more blue than the actual color samples. I’ll attempt to describe some of the results.

Violette Pensée with J. Herbin Perle Noire (black) produced a dark, purple-black color as expected.

The addition of J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen ink (magenta) seemed to intensify the Violette Pensée and created a very pleasing “royal purple” color. There’s a little bit of shading but since it is so dark it’s rather hard to see it.

J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche (cyan) turned the violet ink into more of a blue-toned ink, and made a dark purplish blue shade.

Not what I was expecting with the addition of a yellow ink, J. Herbin Bouton d’Or actually made the Violette Pensée into a darker color. It’s kind of like a very dark grape juice color.

I wasn’t sure what color J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage (green) would create when added to violet. It turned out to be a dark purple-grey shade of ink.

Violette Pensée and J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary ink (red) combined made me want pour a glass of old vine Zinfandel red wine! This shade reminds me of a rich red wine full of plum and berry flavors. There is a hint of shading with this mixture.

Finally, Edelstein Mandarin ink (orange) warmed up the blue-ish tone of the Violette Pensée and also darkened it to produce a dark purple that is a warm shade. Once again, kind of like a dark grape juice color.

My favorites? I think my first choice would be the mix with Rose Cyclamen so I could write in a royal purple color of ink. Second choice is the shade created by adding the 1670 Anniversary ink.

What is your favorite purple ink? Do you have any purple ink colors that you create yourself? What is your recipe?

Other articles you might like:
Ink Mixing Color Chart
Four Basic Ink Mixing Colors

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March 16, 2011

Using J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink as Highlighter Ink

Have you ever thought of using regular, non-fluorescent fountain pen ink as highlighter ink? More than once I’ve heard people wonder why ink companies bother creating fountain pen inks in light colors because when used for writing they can sometimes be hard to read. Besides being good for fans of bright colors, for artwork and for ink mixing, these colors are often valuable for use as highlighting inks!

I started out using J. Herbin Bouton d’Or regular yellow fountain pen ink for highlighters since it seemed the most obvious choice from my ink arsenal. I had such good results that I added Noodler’s Yellow to my calligraphy highlighter pens with similar good results. Recently I’ve been using J. Herbin’s Bleu Azur fountain pen ink in my Pelikan Script 2.0mm calligraphy pen and find that it’s the perfect shade of blue for highlighting.

We selected what we felt are the six lightest regular J. Herbin fountain pen ink colors and made some samples for you to take a look at. J. Herbin Bouton d’Or, Bleu Azur and Rose Tendresse are pretty typical “highlighter” colors (minus any fluorescence). Compared to your usual highlighter green, Vert Pré has more of a yellow tone to it and is a fresh, spring green. Diabolo Menthe is a pretty, light turquoise green that’s a fun alternative to regular highlighter blue. Bouquet d’Antan is to pink what denim blue is to blue, it’s kind of a faded, worn pink color that’s more subtle and easy on the eyes than blazingly fluorescent highlighter pinks. (We wish the combination of scanners and computer monitors would depict colors more accurately.)

These are our choices among J. Herbin’s wide variety of inks for use as highlighter colors. What do you think of these ink colors for highlighting? What are your favorite highlighting ink colors?


(This sample was made using a laser printer, cheap copier paper, a LAMY pen with a 1.9mm calligraphy nib, and a Pelikan Script with a 2.0mm nib. The ink descriptions come from the J. Herbin website. Sorry, I cannot seem to draw a straight line even if my life depended on it!)

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November 24, 2010

Ink Mixing With J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink

J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink is a limited edition red ink created to honor the 340th anniversary of the J. Herbin ink brand. Since it is only available for a short time, I thought I’d better start my experiments with this ink right away!

For this ink mixing experiment I used 5 parts of some common J. Herbin ink colors with only 1 part J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink. Here are some the the results:

Bleu Pervenche plus 1670 Anniversary ink creates a dark purple-grey color. It looks rather like a purple-black when writing with it.

Rose Cyclamen with 1670 Anniversary ink makes a color that I would call “fruit punch”. It makes me want to reach for a tall glass filled with ice and something delicious!

Bouton D’or and 1670 Anniversary ink created an amazing scarlet or vermilion color that I really love. It is a bright orange-red color even when you are writing with it.

Perle Noire with a touch of 1670 Anniversary ink makes a conservative espresso brown, or a black-brown color.

The next mix that I did is a little more complicated. I used green ink mixed from 5 parts Bouton D’or and 1 part Bleu Pervenche. This green turns out to be quite similar to J. Herbin’s Vert Pré. When you use 5 parts of this green and one part 1670 Anniversary you get a rich milk chocolate color with some very nice shading!

Finally, Violette Pensée and 1670 Anniversary ink makes a plum color that really reminds me of Cabernet Sauvignon wine. If you are a fan of red wine I think you’re really going to love this ink color! Hmmm…. I seem to be sensing a food theme for the ink color descriptions today. I think it’s almost dinner time as I write this post.

My favorites of this experiment are the scarlet, milk chocolate and wine colors. How about you? Do you think you might try mixing any of these or other colors yourself while the 1670 Anniversary ink is still available?

June 30, 2010

Shades of Red – Ink Mixing With J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink

I’m really not quite sure what I expected with this ink mixing experiment, but then that’s what experiments are for, aren’t they? The 1670 Anniversary red ink is one of J. Herbin’s most saturated ink colors, so adding just a touch of another ink color made almost no difference in some mixes, but other mixes offered a more dramatic change. I’m not sure how much you’ll notice in this scan, but anyway here it goes. I used 5 parts 1670 Anniversary red ink and one part of another color of J. Herbin ink.

1670 Anniversary ink mixed with Bleu Pervenche made a red-black looking ink with a purplish undertone.

I didn’t notice much of a change to the 1670 Anniversary color when I added Rose Cyclamen to it, however, I can see a tinge of magenta when there is shading.

Bouton D’or also did not change the color of the 1670 Anniversary ink much. If anything, it may have warmed up the color an eensy bit.

1670 Anniversary plus Perle Noire creates a conservative black-red color with noticeable red in the shading.

1670 Anniversary with bright green (created from 5 parts Bouton’Dor and 1 part Bleu Pervenche – similar to Vert Pré) makes dark red.

Adding Violette Pensée to 1670 Anniversary ink also creates dark red, but this dark red is more of a maroon color. This was my favorite new color from the experiment.

What are your favorite red fountain pen ink colors?

June 02, 2010

What is the Pelikan Super Pirat Ink Eradicator?

Pelikan makes a great tool for fountain pen users called the Super Pirat ink eradicator. This is not an erasable pen, rather, it is a correction pen. The Super Pirat ink eradicator pen is designed with students in mind since it can be used to correct mistakes when you are writing with a fountain pen filled with washable or erasable blue ink. Let me demonstrate…

I’m writing with my LAMY Safari filled with a LAMY blue ink cartridge and I make a mistake!

The white end of the Pelikan Super Pirat ink eradicator neutralizes the blue color of the fountain pen ink and makes it seem invisible. This neutralizing effect continues long after the Super Pirat pen dries on the page so you cannot use blue fountain pen ink to make your correction.

Conveniently, the Super Pirat’s other end has a blue ink pen that is unaffected by the ink neutralizer so it can be used to write in your correction. The Super Pirat’s blue pen is not meant to be used for taking notes, it is only to be used for making corrections.

There are several kinds of readily available, erasable blue fountain pen inks including: LAMY Blue, Pelikan Royal Blue, Aurora Blue, J. Herbin Bleu Myosotis and many many more. Pelikan even makes ink eradicators for pink and purple Pelikan inks, but we have never seen these in the USA. What kind of erasable blue ink do you use?

May 26, 2010

J. Herbin Gris Nuage Ink Mixing Test

I had some fun the other night experimenting with mixing J. Herbin Gris Nuage grey ink with other colors of J. Herbin fountain pen inks. For this test I used the ratio of five parts Gris Nuage and one part the other color of ink. I used a Clairefontaine Basics notebook for the paper, which held up quite well despite being heavily doused with ink.

Gris Nuage plus 1670 Anniversary Rouge Hematite ink turned out to be a toned-down version of red, not as bright as the 1670 ink on its own. Not a dramatic change, but who would want to change this great red color anyway?

When Bleu Pervenche was added to Gris Nuage the result was a turquoise-grey color. Nice shading in this combination.

The big surprise was Bouton D’or turned Gris Nuage into a great army green color with lots of shading. This was my favorite result and I filled up my Pelikano Junior with this color immediately!

Gris Nuage plus Violette Pensee resulted in a dark purple-grey color as expected.

My second favorite result was the Gris Nuage and Rose Cyclamen combination. This turned out to be a satisfying purple color with pink undertones.

Anyone else have a favorite ink mixing combination using J. Herbin Gris Nuage ink?

May 12, 2010

J. Herbin Violette Pensee Ink

At the risk of revealing my age, J. Herbin Violette Pensee fountain pen ink brings back pleasant memories of elementary school. I can still remember as a wee child getting assignments & homework in the form of handouts printed on an old hand-cranked mimeograph machine. It was best to get these handouts straight off the press since they would still be warm and had the fabulous smell of freshly mimeographed sheets. It’s hard to describe this pleasant smell, but I still remember it very clearly. Can anyone else remember this smell? (It has probably left me slightly brain damaged, but that’s a topic for some other day ;-) Another thing I liked about mimeographed assignments was the most common color used for the printing – a nice purple color. I found a sample of what this purple color looked like in the article Remembering the Ditto and Mimeograph by Harmon Jolley. It is difficult to accurately display purple colors in digital photos and on computer monitors, but in real life J. Herbin Violette Pensee ink is very similar in color to purple mimeograph “ink”.

I find Violette Pensee to be a very practical, yet very fun ink. It’s conservative enough (in my opinion) to be used everyday in a professional office environment, it’s blue-toned enough that even my husband doesn’t mind it, and it is dark enough to be used in fine nibbed fountain pens. It looks great on both white and ivory colored paper. The color brings back fond memories for me and it is unmistakably purple, not black, not blue, but purple which is a very creative color.

Like other J. Herbin ink I’ve used, this is a well-behaved ink that performs well on pretty much any decent paper, without feathering or bleed-through. It’s not waterproof. It has a decent drying time which is important for a lefty like me. Violette Pensee is available in both universal fountain pen ink cartridges and bottles. What’s your favorite purple fountain pen ink?

May 05, 2010

Noodler's Baystate Inks

Noodler’s Baystate Fountain Pen Inks are highly saturated and are known for their extremely intense colors. Their inspiration comes from vintage American inks from the 1940’s and earlier. It’s hard to find another blue fountain pen ink that even comes close to the vibrancy and intensity of the color of Noodler’s Baystate Blue! (Does something like that even exist these days?) Concord Grape is an intense dark purple color and Cape Cod Cranberry is a very vibrant pink color.

Baystate inks are more saturated than other Noodler’s Inks and are also a different pH. Most Noodler’s Inks are pH neutral, and the vintage inks they are modeled after are acidic, but Noodler’s Baystate inks are slightly alkaline and should only be mixed with other colors with the Baystate label.

Caution should be used when using the Baystate inks in vintage fountain pens or pens that have light or brightly colored barrels. Due to the amount of color saturation, they can possibly stain the materials the pen is made of and can even stain metal nibs! It’s best to stick to dark colored modern pens if you want to enjoy the vibrancy of these ink colors. Actually, if you are worried about staining anything you might not want to use these brightly colored inks.

The Baystate colors vary in their properties. Baystate Blue is waterproof when dry, Concord Grape is only partially waterproof and Cape Cod Cranberry is not waterproof. Of course, mixing these colors will affect the properties of each.

It seems that this is a rather controversial type of ink and fountain pen users either hate it or they love the Baystate inks. Personally, I think the Baystate Blue is such a fabulously vibrant blue color that it is worth finding just the right fountain pen to use it in. What do you think of Noodler’s Baystate inks?

April 21, 2010

Equation for the Perfect Writing Tools

If you are particular about what you write with like me, you may agree that the following equation, when put together just right, adds up to a great writing experience:

Pen (A) + Ink (B) + Paper (C) = The Perfect Writing Experience (YAY)!

There is no right or wrong answer to this equation since the answer will depend on the preferences and tastes of the writer.

I’m still in the process of experimenting with pens, inks and papers to see what works for me. Being a Lefty adds some additional challenges since I’m always trying to avoid a big mess of smeared ink. Much to my dismay, I’ve discovered that I am not able to use Clairefontaine’s fabulously smooth 90g white paper for everyday writing with a fountain pen. Almost all fountain pen ink dries too slowly on this paper for my style of left-handed writing and I make a huge mess. *Sniff* However, I can use this paper successfully with a fine nib Platinum Preppy fountain pen using Platinum ink cartridges, Pentel Energel or Slicci gel pens, or some other non-fountain pens and pencils. I’m in the process of testing other types of Clairefontaine paper such as the Graf it sketch pads to see if I can use it regularly with fountain pens. It seems that I need a paper that is slightly absorbent and not too coated, that still resists ink feathering and bleed-through. Right now I am loving J. Herbin Ink since it seems to have a pretty decent drying time. As regards to the pen I use, well, is it possible to have too many pens? I tend to write with whatever I’m in the mood for that particular day.

This is where I need to hear from you. Please leave a comment and tell me what your perfect writing tools are. I’d love to get some valuable tips from other writers!

February 24, 2010

J. Herbin Gris Nuage & Exacompta Basics Sketchbook

One of my favorite ink, paper and pen combinations is J. Herbin Gris Nuage ink, Exacompta Basics silver-edged sketchbook and the Pelikano Junior or any medium to broad nib size fountain pen.

Even though J. Herbin Gris Nuage is not a silver ink, the silver pages of the sketch book make me think of silver as I write and they complement the ink color nicely. The soft grey ink has beautiful shading and reminds me of writing or sketching with a pencil. From my point of view, it does not look like a watered down black ink, it looks like it is supposed to be a grey color. This ink has a decent drying time so I don't have too many problems with smudging.

Since this ink is not a dark or intense color, I like using it best in a fountain pen with a medium to broad nib size, such as my Pelikan Pelikano Junior with the left-handed nib. The LAMY Joy calligraphy pen or any LAMY fountain pen with a medium or wider size nib would also work well with Gris Nuage ink.

And, of course, the Exacompta Basics sketchbook or journal contains some of my favorite paper. This off-white, 100g, acid-free laid paper is a dream to sketch or write on!

December 16, 2009

Lime Green Fountain Pen Ink Recipe

One of my favorite custom-mixed fountain pen ink colors is lime green. It's a happy, energizing color that makes me think of the first buds of spring. I like using 5 parts Noodler's Yellow Ink with 1 part Noodler's Navajo Turquoise to create the lime green fountain pen ink shown in this picture. It's a nice bright green, yet it is dark enough to use on a regular basis in my fountain pens. This sketch is made in an Exacompta silver edged sketchbook which contains some of my favorite paper for use with a fountain pen. I used my Pelikan Pelikano fountain pen with a left-handed nib as well as a fountain pen from Japan with a very fine nib. For my extra fine point fountain pens I like to use a tiny little bit extra Navajo Turquoise in the mix.

A similar lime green ink color can be made using the same proportions of ink and J. Herbin Bouton D'or and J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche. If you prefer using cartridges or you don't like ink mixing, J. Herbin Vert Pré is a light lime green color available in both standard universal cartridges and bottles. I find that Vert Pré ink looks best when used with a medium or broad nib.

December 09, 2009

Blackest Black Fountain Pen Inks

We know that many of our readers love to use the deepest, darkest, most intense black fountain pen ink that you can find. Writer's Bloc decided to do a simple comparison of some popular black inks and then pass the results on to you.

In this test we used a Clairefontaine drawing pad, a Brause calligraphy pen and a Q-tip.

Here are some characteristics of each ink:

Aurora Black - A true black color, good flow, not waterproof.
Pelikan Brilliant Black - Kind of a grey-black, not waterproof.
Noodler's Black - A warm black color, "bulletproof", has a "creamy" feel against the paper.
Noodler's Borealis Black - Water resistant, very penetrating.
Noodler's Heart of Darkness - "Bulletproof", dries with a tiny bit of shine.
LAMY Black - A cool black with blue undertones, not waterproof.

In our opinion, the top three blackest black fountain pen inks are the Aurora, Noodler's Borealis Black and Noodler's Heart of Darkness. Alan's favorite is the Borealis Black. What's your favorite intensely dark black ink? (Click on the picture below to enlarge it.)

September 15, 2009

J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink Mixing

J Herbin 4 basic ink mixing colors

After we wrote about mixing a few basic Noodler's Ink colors to create a rainbow of other colors, one of our helpful readers mentioned that the same thing can be done with J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink.

The equivalent of Noodler's Navajoe Turquoise, Shah's Rose, Yellow and Black (CMYK) in the J. Herbin line of inks would be:

Cyan = Bleu Pervenche
Magenta = Rose Cyclamen
Yellow = Bouton D'or
Black = Perle Noire

Thanks, Will, for pointing this out! Here at Writer's Bloc we decided it would be a good idea to have all of these J. Herbin La Perle des Encres Fountain Pen Ink colors available so we ordered Bouton D'or and Bleu Pervenche to add to our bottled ink collection. Now we're equipped for those of you who would like to give ink mixing a try with J. Herbin's popular and enduring fountain pen inks.

June 16, 2009

Why Try an Ink Starter Kit?


The Noodler's Ink Starter Kit found at Writer's Bloc is designed with new fountain pen users in mind. If you've never tried mixing fountain pen inks to create your own custom colors this kit is a good way to give it a try. Instead of spending the money to buy four full size bottles of ink to try mixing colors, you get the convenience of four half-ounce samples which is enough to fill your converter many times with many colors. Sometimes people try ink mixing and feel that it is just too messy, too difficult or too inconvenient, so they decide they would rather just buy the ink color they want already made. If this is the conclusion you come to, it's no problem because Noodler's Ink provides a wide array of colors to choose from.

Once you've tried out a few different ink colors and decide that this is something you might become addicted to, you can expand your ink collection according to your color preferences. I have discovered that I like bright green and orange inks, so I use a lot of the color yellow. The bright green ink recipe that I'm currently using is 5 parts yellow and only 1 part Navajoe Turquoise, so the half-ounce of turquoise ink that the kit contains will go a long way. After using the ink starter kit I've decided that yellow is the next full size bottle of ink I will buy.  If you prefer shades of blue, then Navajoe Turquoise would be a logical choice for a full size ink bottle purchase since this will be the color you will likely use the most.

If you've never used Noodler's Ink the Starter Kit is a nice introduction to this popular brand of American made ink that comes in many different varieties. Most of their ink is pH neutral and safe for all fountain pens. Other Noodler's inks are styled after vintage fountain pen inks and some are even made to resist freezing in cold climates. If you're looking for "bullet-proof" ink that is impervious to water, bleach and light they have that too. Why not give Noodler's a try if you haven't tried it already!

June 09, 2009

Is it really cheaper to use bottled ink?


We found a very interesting comparison regarding the cost of using bottled ink vs. the cost of using ink cartridges tucked inside a Noodler's Ink box and wanted to share this helpful information with you.

According to research done by Noodler's a 4.5 oz bottle of their ink has the amount of ink equal to $72.94 worth of the least costly retail ink cartridges in the world. When you consider that in June 2009 Writer's Bloc sells Noodler's 4.5 oz bottles for between $17.50 and $19.00, this is around a $55.44 savings over using even the cheapest cartridges! In addition, Noodler's Ink has a reputation for being good quality, is safe for all fountain pens and comes in a wide range of colors, which is something you might not get using those cheap cartridges.

Quotes obtained by Noodler's Ink in January 2009 reveal that the ink in cartridges from some European, Japanese and North American companies sells for $148.00 per 4.5 oz and even well over $315.00 per 4.5 oz of ink. That is some outrageously expensive ink!

Using bottled ink when you can just makes sense - it is easier on the environment and it is by far a much better deal than ink cartridges!


May 26, 2009

Orange Deer


Here's another sketch from my fountain pen drawing project. This color of orange ink is a very simple recipe created by using 2 parts Noodler's Yellow and 1 part Noodler's Shah's Rose. The ink flow made drawing easy using a Preppy Fountain Pen and a Clairefontaine Drawing Pad.

When I went to Neskowin, Oregon last August, I woke up to find this deer outside my bedroom window. She was just sitting in the yard chewing away with a fawn nearby. Definitely one of the highlights of a relaxing weekend at the rugged and beautiful Oregon coast.

April 07, 2009

Ink Mixing Color Chart

From Ink Mixing (click on the picture to enlarge it)

For those of you new to color theory, figuring out how much of which colors to mix together to create the custom fountain pen ink color you want can be daunting! We figure most of you fellow fountain pen users already are creative people, but if you feel you need a bit of help with ink mixing, we've created a basic color chart as a guide.

This chart displays the recipe, or ratios of which ink colors to use to create other custom ink colors. For example, mixing one part magenta (Noodler's Shah's Rose) and one part yellow makes orange.

You might think that one part magenta and one part cyan would make purple, but instead it makes a violet-blue. To create purple ink you need only one part cyan (Noodler's Navajoe Turquoise) and five parts magenta (Noodler's Shah's Rose).

In general, it is best to start with the lightest color of ink and slowly mix in the darker colors until you get the results that you want. For example, a small amount of Noodler's The Whiteness of the Whale ink can be transformed into pink or light blue with just a few drops of Shah's Rose or Navajoe Turquoise.

Our color chart abbreviates the color names as follows:

C = Cyan, or Noodler's Navajoe Turquoise
M = Magenta, or Noodler's Shah's Rose
Y = Yellow, Noodler's Yellow
K = Black, Noodler's Black

The 2nd horizontal row of this chart that creates colors with Noodler's The Whiteness of the Whale uses 5 parts white and one part of the original color in the top row.

The 3rd horizontal row of colors made with black uses 5 parts of the original color in the first row and one part black.

This chart only has a few examples of colors that can be created from four basic colors of Noodler's Ink. We encourage you readers to share your favorite ink mixing results!

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March 31, 2009

Four Basic Ink Mixing Colors

Most of you with color ink jet printers have noticed that the printer's ink cartridges come in cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) which are the basic ink colors used in printing. Using these colors your printer can produce a beautiful photograph with shades of all different colors.

By mixing these same colors of fountain pen ink, many different shades of ink can also be created. For people like me, who love to use a different color of ink every time they refill their fountain pen, it is great to have these basic colors on hand to make custom ink colors. Ink mixing is also a good way to create special colors that you may not be able to buy off the shelf.

The equivalent of cyan, magenta, yellow and black in the Noodler's Ink collection are Navajo Turquoise, Shah's Rose, Yellow and Black. If you like light and bright colors of ink like pink, light lime green or light blue, you might want to add Noodler's The Whiteness of the Whale ink to your collection. This ink is specially made for ink mixing and making these types of colors.

Using all Noodler's inks for your ink mixing is an easy way to safely mix ink and minimize the chance of any gunky reactions. We recommend making a test batch of ink before adding it to your fountain pen, and an ink mixing kit or small dropper bottles are convenient ways to do this.

If you're new to fountain pen ink mixing and want to give it a try, Writer's Bloc has put together a nice starter kit for creating custom ink colors. This kit includes approximately 1/2 oz each of four basic Noodler's Ink colors - Navajo Turquoise, Shah's Rose, Yellow and Black. In the future, we'll be posting an ink mixing color chart to help you get started on your adventure. Happy ink mixing and please send some of your ink mixing recipes our way!

March 10, 2009

Ink Mixing Recipe - Ocean Jade


This is the first ink recipe that we are blogging about, and it certainly won't be the last! This color is a Writer's Bloc original recipe by Alan and it is very easy to create. Just mix one part Noodler's Navajo Turquoise and one part Noodler's St. Patty's Eire to create a pleasing blue-green color that we call "Ocean Jade". We found that this fountain pen ink color looks either more blue or more green depending on the paper you use. Now if only we owned the matching Porsche Boxter....

February 17, 2009

Drawing with Noodler's Nightshade Fountain Pen Ink

I've been wanting to try drawing with a very dark brown fountain pen ink and decided to choose Noodler's Ink Nightshade as my first experiment. In the barrel of my eyedropper fill Preppy Fountain Pen this ink actually looks like a very dark purple, but on the white paper in my Clairefontaine Drawing Pad it looks more like a brown-black. I found that I had to slow down my sketching a bit with the fine nib of the Preppy Pen and the flow rate of the Nightshade, but overall I am quite satisfied with the results. What do you think? What are your favorite fountain pen inks to use for sketching?

From Drawing with Fountain Pen Ink

January 20, 2009

Fountain Pen Ink Mixing - Combinations to Avoid

Noodler's Baystate

It is impossible to predict what will happen with every combination when you mix fountain pen ink to create custom colors. Once Alan mixed Noodler's Year of the Golden Pig and Noodler's Georgia Peach to try and get a golden-yellow highlighting ink and it created a gel! This result certainly would have messed up the ink flow in any pen! To save you from some unexpected results, there are a few  fountain pen ink mixing combinations that you may want to avoid.

When mixing blue-black fountain pen inks it is good to be cautious since some blue-black inks, especially older formulas, contain iron which makes the ink acidic and corrosive to fountain pens. Mixing some blue-black inks can also cause clogging.

Mixing inks can change or neutralize any special properties that they may have. For example, Noodler's "bulletproof" inks (waterfast, fade resistant) when mixed with conventional inks loose their special "bulletproof" properties. Noodler's Polar Blue or Polar Black inks may lose some of their freeze-resistance when mixed with regular inks, however, we do not live in a cold enough location to test this out. Does anyone have experience with this?

The formula of Noodler's Baystate Inks is styled after vintage inks and has a different pH than all other Noodler's Inks. This ink was not made to be mixed with any other ink except for other Baystate colors! In addition, the Baystate inks each have slightly different properties. Baystate Blue is waterproof, but Baystate Concord Grape is only partially water-resistant and Baystate Cape Cod Cranberry is not waterproof at all. These inks are a favorite of some writers because they have a very high color intensity and look dramatic on certain paper grades, so it is nice to know what their limitations are.

Do you have any fountain pen ink mixing nightmares or warnings that you wish to share with us?


January 06, 2009

Introduction to Mixing Fountain Pen Ink

Using an Ink Mixing Kit

One of the most enjoyable things about using a fountain pen is being able to mix your own custom ink colors! If you are a new fountain pen user, or haven't tried this for yourself yet, we would like to share some things we've learned about ink mixing.

One myth is that you must match the brand of fountain pen you are using to the brand of ink that you purchase. This may have been true with some vintage fountain pens and vintage inks, but with modern fountain pens feel free to experiment with any modern ink specially formulated for use in fountain pens. If you want to be cautious, you may try using your less expensive pens to begin your experiments. Although we haven't had this problem, we have heard that intensely colored inks may stain a fountain pen.

Another myth about ink mixing is that you must only mix inks if they are the same brand. However, we have found that many different brands of ink will work just fine when mixed together. For example, many Noodler's Inks, LAMY, Pelikan and J. Herbin Inks can be mixed together to create new colors without any problems. There are always exceptions though, so when trying a new ink combination we would recommend making a small amount first and waiting a little while to see if there are any reactions. Using an ink mixing kit is helpful since these are designed for making small test batches of ink and the clear vials help you to see if any globs or precipitate form after mixing inks together.

If a batch of ink gums up your fountain pen, or you want to start out fresh with your new ink color, you can wash the pen and the converter out thoroughly with room temperature water. Have fun experimenting to see what inks work best for you!

In a future post we will mention some ink combinations that you might want to avoid. In the meantime, we would love it if you would share your favorite fountain pen ink recipe with us!

December 23, 2008

When Should You Refill Your Eyedropper Pen?


Here's a handy tip from Noodler's Ink about when to refill your eyedropper pens:

Eyedropper pens "should be refilled when 2/3rds empty as more than 2/3 air in the chamber can cause expansion/excess flow from the heat of your hand."

We also found it helpful when refilling our eyedropper pens to leave the ink level in the barrel about 1/4" lower than where the end of the main part of the pen will be when it is screwed together. This will help you to avoid some of the mess when refilling.