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Light Fastness Scans


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15 replies to this topic

#1 fiberdrunk

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 18:50

This test was begun 4/25/10. Some of the inks were added later in December '10 and May '11 (those are noted in the list below). Both were written on graph paper (the lines faded on the sunny sample).

This is the sample that was kept in the dark indoors (click on the link to see it larger):

Posted Image


This is the sample that was kept in a sunny window (click on the link to see it larger):

Posted Image

Inks tested:

Magic Color Delta Violet (acrylic ink)
Magic Color Warm Red
Magic Color Earth Brown
Magic Color Grecian Olive
Magic Color Sepia Brown
Magic Color Rust

Rotring ArtistColor Orange (vintage acrylic)
Rotring ArtistColor Yellow Gold
Rotring ArtistColor Yellow
Rotring ArtistColor Blue Violet
Rotring ArtistColor Turquoise
Rotring ArtistColor Purple
Rotring ArtistColor Blue
Rotring ArtistColor Brown
Rotring ArtistColor Green
Rotring ArtistColor Red
Rotring ArtistColor Neutral Black

Calli Jet Black India
Calli Scarlet
Calli Blue
Calli Burgundy
Calli Brown
Calli Green

J. Herbin Violette
J. Herbin Orange
J. Herbin Cafe
J. Herbin Rouge
J. Herbin Bleue
J. Herbin Rose

Noodler's Blue Ghost
Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses (added May '11)
Noodler's Bay State Blue (added May '11)
Noodler's Tsvetayeva (added May '11)
Noodler's Rachmaninov (added May '11)
Noodler's Tchaikovsky (added May '11)
Noodler's Lermontov (added May '11)
Noodler's #41 Brown (added May '11)
Noodler's Socrates (added May '11)
Noodler's Galileo Manuscript Brown (added May '11)
Noodler's Esenin (added May '11)
Noodler's Bad Green Gator (added May '11)
Noodler's Kunt Te-Chung Royal Purple
Noodler's Heart of Darkness

Waterman Havana
Reform Black
Osmiroid Green (vintage)
Levenger Raven Black
Higgins Fountain Pen India
Parker Quink (ink cartridge)
Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Brown
Winsor & Newton Sepia
Namiki Blue
Sheaffer King's Gold
Platingnum Calligrapher's Black
R & K Scabiosa (added May '11)
Chesterfield Archival Vault (added Dec. '10)
Montblanc Blue-Black (added Dec. '10)

In case you're wondering where Blue Ghost was written, it was written under the J. Herbin Cafe!

Conclusion: the inks that did best with little or no fading were the acrylic inks (Magic Color and Rotring ArtistColor, both of which are acid-free) and the following Noodler's bulletproof inks: Kung Te-Chung, Heart of Darkness, Bad Green Gator and Socrates. Other honorable mentions were Winsor & Newton Sepia, Levenger Raven Black & Higgins Fountain Pen India. So if your quest is absolute permanence, I think you can have full confidence in these inks.

Edited by fiberdrunk, 25 October 2011 - 19:44.

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

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#2 kronos77

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 17:14

Ouch! I haven't thought much about lightfastness until recently. Those are some scary scans you posted.

It seems that even those sold as lightfast don't really hold up.

#3 fiberdrunk

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 17:43

Ouch! I haven't thought much about lightfastness until recently. Those are some scary scans you posted.

It seems that even those sold as lightfast don't really hold up.


So true! I remember a calligraphy catalog saying that the J. Herbin inks it sold were lightfast, and those were the first to fade into oblivion! So yes, always do your own testing.
Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

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#4 Ada

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 04:13

Very interesting -- thanks for posting this, Fiberdrunk!
I've been on a quest to see if I could commit all Seven Deadly Sins in a single day. Finally, it dawned on me I shouldn't try for the One Day Wonder Prize for all seven in one day. It's simply out of any question as you can't commit decent sloth while busily ticking the other six off your crowded "to do" list. -- ViolinWriter

#5 zuku

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 07:45

fiberdrunk this is an extraordinary test, full of useful information. I recognize your discipline. I know it is not easy to do this type of tests where many samples are included ( I do watercolor and made a chart of lightfastness and it was a lot of work, time and attention involved).
One is amazed by some results, like BSB, totally gone! And Waterman Sepia did incredibly fine!
Was there water involved on the testing? Parker Quink and others seem washed.
I am very happy seeing Socrates standing out among the survivors. It is really hard to make such a color as lightfast as this test shows. Reds, pinks ("Mader Rose" comes to mind) are known for their lack of lightfastness.
Does Magic Color Grecian Olive is ok for fountain pens?
Very useful chart, thank you.

Edited by zuku, 30 October 2011 - 07:47.

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#6 fiberdrunk

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 03:50

fiberdrunk this is an extraordinary test, full of useful information. I recognize your discipline. I know it is not easy to do this type of tests where many samples are included ( I do watercolor and made a chart of lightfastness and it was a lot of work, time and attention involved).
One is amazed by some results, like BSB, totally gone! And Waterman Sepia did incredibly fine!
Was there water involved on the testing? Parker Quink and others seem washed.
I am very happy seeing Socrates standing out among the survivors. It is really hard to make such a color as lightfast as this test shows. Reds, pinks ("Mader Rose" comes to mind) are known for their lack of lightfastness.
Does Magic Color Grecian Olive is ok for fountain pens?
Very useful chart, thank you.


Thank you! The sun sample did get accidentally wet a couple times, even though it was in a sleeve protector. I had taped it to the underside of a clear glass deck table so it'd be exposed to light, and somehow the water even seeped there a time or two when it rained.

As for the acrylics' safety in fountain pens (like the Magic Color), they do claim their transparent inks to be safe and non-clogging with fountain pens (the opaque ones are not safe, however). I really only recommend them in a Rotring ArtPen or other fountain pen where the nib feed can come completely apart for cleaning. And I don't ever recommend letting the ink dry in the pen for long periods. Keep the pen/ink combo happy by using it daily and flush as needed. I have used the listed acrylic inks safely for over 20 years without damage to a single ArtPen. It is by far the most permanent and non-smudging (even when wet) ink that I have ever found. I also recommend using "designated" ink converters for acrylic inks because this ink does tend to stain them.
The good news is, Dick Blick just started carrying Magic Color in the U.S.!

eta: see this link on FPN for how the Rotring ArtPen can be completely taken apart. Even the metal nib comes right off the plastic feed. The Rotring ArtPen was originally designed to be used with their Rotring ArtistColor acrylic inks (which are no longer made).

Edited by fiberdrunk, 31 October 2011 - 03:57.

Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

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#7 saintsimon

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 09:28

I'm surprised about Scabiosa's performance. In another lightfastness test on FPN I remember it faded much more.

Edited by saintsimon, 31 October 2011 - 09:28.


#8 saketb

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 09:53

Never thought about light-fastness with fountain pen inks. Well, its a great new chapter been opened.

Thanks a lot for the review.
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#9 fiberdrunk

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 22:32

I'm surprised about Scabiosa's performance. In another lightfastness test on FPN I remember it faded much more.


I was, too. The color has only been up for 5 months, though.
Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

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#10 tang

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 22:15

Hello all, I'm looking for a ink that will fade almost completely gone in the fastest amount of time in the sun.

In your research which ink do you recommend with these properties? And about how long does it take for the ink to completely fade?

Thanks!!

#11 inkstainedruth

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 23:58

Very comprehensive.
Okay, i think you've sold me on Noodler's Kung Te Cheng (I had been waffling over it, partly because of the color, but I really think i like it here). Of course I'm probably gonna have to buy a dedicated pen for it now..... :headsmack:
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#12 fiberdrunk

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 05:08

Very comprehensive.
Okay, i think you've sold me on Noodler's Kung Te Cheng (I had been waffling over it, partly because of the color, but I really think i like it here). Of course I'm probably gonna have to buy a dedicated pen for it now..... :headsmack:
Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


If you buy the 4.5 oz bottle, it comes with a Platinum Preppy eyedropper pen. I like it a lot.
Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik

#13 amberleadavis

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:38

OOH, thank you! I love these kinds of tests.

I agree about TKC - that stuff is amazing.

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#14 CDKeth

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 21:59

I'm surprised about Scabiosa's performance. In another lightfastness test on FPN I remember it faded much more.


Part of that could be that this test was under a glass table top. Even plain glass is a fairly effective UV filter.

#15 huyked

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 23:53

A terrific resource you're providing here. Thank you!

#16 fiberdrunk

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 03:00

You're welcome!
Find my homemade ink recipes on my Flickr page here.

"I don't wait for inspiration; inspiration waits for me." --Akiane Kramarik