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Inky T O D - Oh, The Places You'll Go, Or, Waypoints On The Inky Journey

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#1 Arkanabar

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 01:13

This is not meant to be a definitive list of waystations where you will come to rest in your inky journey.  You may not visit all of these places.  But I've seen people say that each of these is where they are.  

In no way do I presume or mean to suggest that any of these places is better than any other place.  No matter which of these you may be in, or what inks you're crushing on, I regard you with fond affection.  For one thing, I've crushed on inks before myself.  For another, these are all matters of taste.  De gustibus non disputandem.

  •   You mean there's COLORS???!?!?!??

A lot of people think of pens as only having four colors:  black, blue, red, and (maybe) green.  I am pretty sure that there are currently over a thousand different fountain pen inks on the market, and no two are quite exactly alike.  (Okay, except for Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black and Cross Black.)  Some people respond to this discovery by obtaining every ink that catches their interest.  It's driven by a love for novelty, and sometimes also by a bit of acquisitiveness.

  •   Blackest Black EVAR!!

This one is pretty common.  You think your writing ought to be like unto a collapsar or a hole in the page, from which no light shall ever escape.  I've been here myself, and bought a bottle of Noodler's Borealis Black to scratch this itch.  Others blackest blacks that are often mentioned are Aurora, Sailor Nano Black, Levenger Raven Black, Noodler's Black, and Noodler's Heart of Darkness.

  •   Brightest Colors EVAR!!

Amberlea Davis lives here, joyously.  It's marked by a preference for retina-searing colors, high saturation, and inks that POP!  The ink should (metaphorically) leap off the page and slap you for attention!  Private Reserve and Noodler's both have numerous inks to scratch this itch.

  •   My writing shall be preserved for EVAR!!

Many inks fade.  Some fade quickly.  A few fade even if they are not exposed to light.  Some become illegible with only the slightest of splashings.  Nathan Tardif made his original Noodler's Black ink to resist any chemical assault that would not also destroy the paper (and some that would).  He called this level of resistance "bulletproof."  This sort of archival-level durability is found not only in Noodler's bulletproof inks, but also their Warden inks, nano-pigment inks, De Atramentis' Dokument line, and MontBlanc Permanent Blue.  Bear in mind that not all of Noodler's "bulletproof" inks are completely photoresistant.

  •   I'm in love with [color]!

The color varies from person to person.  Maybe you've never thought about using it before, or you even disliked it a bit, but now all the variations on this theme are enchanting, and you want them all.  So you buy a bunch of different inks in a particular color family, such as gray, or burgundy, or blue-leaning purples, or whatever, because for whatever reason, it has become the most fascinating color there is.  

  •   Quest for the perfect [color].

You're not happy with one of your ink colors (blue is a fairly common contender; member Shawndo once bought over 250 different blue ink samples in his quest), and now are seeking just the one ink that is exactly what you want in that color.  You buy samples and mix them incessantly, trying to get just the right balance of color, saturation, and behavior.

  •   Oooooh, shady!

Shading is the result of varying amounts of a relatively unsaturated ink in your writing.  Where there is more ink, the line is darker and more saturated.  Your writing shows some variation in shade.  Some people find themselves unwilling to use or buy any ink that doesn't shade.  The effect is enhanced by a sloped writing surface (causing excess ink to all flow in the same direction) and paper that is relatively slow to absorb the ink, giving it time to puddle.

  •   Oooooh, sheeny!

Inks are usually combinations of several dyes, and they may spread across or through the paper at different rates.  This shows up in slight color variations across your writing; halo effects are common, and it can also show up around puddles, like shading.  This sort of variation is often best viewed at an angle, especially by photographic equipment.  We call this sort of thing sheen.  Again, a less-absorbent paper usually enhances the effect.

  •   Oooooh, subtle!

This is what happens when you are no longer impressed by super bright, super brilliant, super saturated inks, and you want something with a hint of this, a slight undertone of that, or is quite different depending on the pen or paper you're using.  More than once, I've seen people wax eloquent or affectionate over dusky purples, muddy greens, greenish browns, and "stealth" blacks with a hint or undertone of some other color.

  •   I just want it to work!

This is when fussiness becomes the bane of your existence.  You can't abide by inks that feather, inks that dry up, inks that make your pens sputter, inks that gush, or otherwise misbehave.

#  #  #  #

As for myself, I'm in a bit of an odd place, the center of a Venn diagram including I Just Want it to Work, You Mean There's COLORS?, and My Writing Shall Be Preserved For EVAR!!  I call it the Six Essential Inks for Writing.

The Six Essentials began with the idea that some colors are good for writing, and others are not, because they detract from legibility.  For me, the telos of writing is that it is meant to be read.  The ink used should not detract from that.  

I asked myself, which color families should be an essential part of the ink wardrobe?  Which colors are so bright or pale that they inherently difficult to read on the vast majority of paper?  Which colors do I just not want regularly to write with?  I want them to be dark enough for easy reading.  This largely excludes red, turquoise, orange, pink, yellow, and sufficiently pale anything.

Brightest Colors EVAR!! is a requirement for inks used for markup and editing, not inks used to write things others would be expected to read.  If you are writing corrections and suggestions on a printed document, you want those to be impossible to miss, and clearly and instantly recognizable as such.  This is the right and proper use of reds, oranges, bright turquoise blues, sky blues, 00FF00 green, magentas, fuchsias, and pinks.

I was looking, more or less, at the traditional ink color families.  The colors had to be dark enough for good contrast on typical paper colors.  I also wanted each ink to be distinctly a member of its actual color family.  If darker versions of the color are called something else, then those were regarded as a different color family.  For example, when you lighten reds up, they cease to be reds and are instead called pinks.  When you really darken an orange, it usually winds up being a brown.  And so on.

The result was six essential colors:  black, blue-black, purple, blue, green, and brown (there's COLORS?).    I don't worry too much about water damage, but I do want fade resistance (preserved for EVAR!).  And while I don't have to have ink that never feathers or balks, it shouldn't do either very much (I just want it to work!)

Of course, I have to actually like the colors involved in each.  At this time, I don't really like burgundy, and I regard gray as a betrayal of black.  (Just you wait, in a few years, I'll crush on one or both of those colors.)  I have inks that fulfill my needs for several of the Six Essential Colors.

Black:  Noodler's Heart of Darkness.  It is everything-proof, plenty dark enough to read, never fades, and has never given me any trouble.  Odds are very good that it will be the next black I buy.  Of course, I'll have a hard time making myself buy it when I have bottles of MontBlanc-Simplo Black with SuperCleaner SC-21, Parker Permanent Black Quink with Solv-X, Noodler's Borealis Black, and Noodler's Bad Black Moccasin to use up first.  And I may decide that some pens require a more traditional aniline dye only ink (e.g. my Sheaffer Pen for Men II), such as J. Herbin Perle Noire or Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black.

Blue-Black:  This one is narrowed down, but not quite there.  The two contenders are Pilot Blue-Black and Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo.  Tsuki-Yo is probably closer in color to what I think of as blue-black, but Pilot Blue-Black is a true workhorse.  But I may never even bother; I may decide that what I ought to be doing is mixing that bottle of Noodler's VMail Midway Blue that's not quite deep and dark enough for writing and not bright and bold enough for markup with some black or other to see what I get.

Purple:  Purple inks can be surprisingly fugitive.  In my last fade test, no fountain pen ink faded faster than my bottle of Waterman Purple.  Right now, I have a four-way fade-off going between samples of DeAtramentis Aubergine, Diamine Damson (currently the top contender), Noodler's Purple Martin and Noodler's Violet.  We shall see how it goes.  Or I may adulterate that Waterman purple with a little bit of red, a little bit of blue, and a little bit of black.

Blue:  I am using Noodler's Blue.  If I run out (and use up the so-called Waterman Florida Blue and Blackstone Blue Cashmere that I also have), I may choose Blue Eel instead, as my pen for blue ink is a piston filler, and the two look very much alike.

Green:  Diamine Sherwood.  It's a medium-dark green that actually lightens up a bit as it dries.  I am really fond of it, especially since I bought an 80ml bottle without getting a sample first.

Brown:  I recently traded for a sample of Iroshizuku Yama-Guri (and got some Noodler's Walnut in the bargain).  I just might prefer something a little warmer, but if I decide I like the sample, that will be enough to settle on it.  Its fade and water resistance have both been amply demonstrated, it is (like nearly all of Pilot's Iroshizuku inks) highly praised for its good behavior, and hey, I really do want all my inks to just work.

So that's where I am in my inky journey.  I came here with the hope and intention that it will be my final destination, but just as I could not promise I will never crush on greys or burgundies, I cannot promise that I will never decide that the Six Essentials are too constraining, or too dull, or otherwise unsuitable.

So where are you on your inky journey?



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#2 Pensei

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 01:38

Good essay.



#3 oceanlover4evr

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 02:13

I'm in a nice place between There are colors????, I'm in love with [purple], and as a result quest for the perfect purple. It's just such a great color that I've never written with before fountain pens! (well except for that one bic ballpoint, but ew.)

 

Good analysis though, I'm sure all of us can relate to this.


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#4 T4TEXAS

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 03:16

Thanks for the tour.

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."

- Jack London

 

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#5 Lgsoltek

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 04:48

I'm at the stage of: Oh which ink (among 270) am I going to choose to put in this pen? When's the last time I've used this ink?
I'm also team Amber. The brighter the better!

#6 Noihvo

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 16:19

I think I've recently have fallen in love at first sight with Dark Lilac. She's leading me into all kinds of dangerous places. That's a new step in my inky journey.


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#7 inkstainedruth

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 20:13

I was never at "You mean there are COLORS?"  I have, however, started off right next door at "You mean there are colors besides blue and black?"

As for the other way stations, I've definitely visited "My writing shall be preserved for EVAH!" on numerous occasions -- mostly when I have to pay bills and sign checks (and was quite grumpy the last car-buying experience when I had to actually use a BP for some of the carbonless forms -- I had planned to use Noodler's ink (forget now whether it was Kung Te Cheng or 54th Massachusetts) for EVERYTHING that day....

Have not spent much time in "Blackest Black EVAH!"; in the first place, I'm not much of a fan of black inks to start with.  I've also found that for me "blackest black" (OS Charles Darwin, followed by Noodler's Old Manhattan) tended to get super black by having spread and bleedthrough issues -- in the case of Charles Darwin, that was even with a fine nib.  :-(  

I've spent way, *way*, WAY too much time in "Search for the perfect [color]".  Because I keep going back there.  First it was browns, then greens, then blue-blacks, then reds, then red-violets... and now it's turquoise (a color I never thought I'd use at ALL....  

Flirted around the edges of all three of the "Oooh [shiny/sheeny/shady] stops.  My problem is that I now have a *fourth* "Ooh" -- and that one is somewhere between sheeny and shady, and is the "Ooh!  It does that neat sort of edging that I get with vintage Skrip Peacock that isn't really haloing and isn't regular shading and sort of isn't really sheeny either...."

Not much for "Brightest color EVAH!" -- because for me that would be either Baystate Blue (yeah, it's bright, but it's also a little purple-leaning for me to really love it) followed by Platinum Mix-Free Flame Red (a color so hideous I gave the bottle away).

As for "I'm in love with [color]" I'm finding my tastes changed when I went looking for the "perfect" blue-black (a color I had no use for until I went to try and match what had come out of my first Esterbrook when I went to flush it out.  I still probably have more blue ink than anything else, followed by purple/red violet/blue violet, and then by blue-black.  But I have found pinks I couldn't stomach, and yet somehow found El Lawrence mesmerizing even it *does* look like used motor oil -- so all bets are off....

Interesting topic.  Thanks for starting it.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


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#8 haruka337

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 21:07

"I just want it to work", yo.  And there, at that station, I shall remain. Everything else is secondary or a passing thought.


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#9 evyxmsj

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 21:45

I think I'm a cross between 'brightest colours EVAR!' and 'quest for the perfect colour'. I don't know what colour it is...but I feel like I'll know.

Sargasso Sea was pretty much there for me, but just too much of a pain. (So if anyone knows of seomething very close...)

#10 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 23:19

Arkanabar, I have been through all that and more. However many years before FPN, however many years after, and I'm still trying to figger it all out.

Great post.

#11 DrPenfection

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Posted 08 April 2016 - 23:29

Hmm - I can't say that I have ever been at any other stage other than "I just want it to work". No muss, no fuss. If it doesn't work, I might expend a little effort to try to make it work. Otherwise, it is out the door. I just don't have time for anything else.

Best always,

Deborah (aka DrPenfection)


#12 Ergative

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Posted 09 April 2016 - 01:26

What a wonderful post! I recognized myself at almost every stage. I think the only stage I haven't encountered yet is Quest for the Perfect Color and Brightest Colors EVAR! There are so many bright colors I encounter while scratching the other itches that Brightest Colors EVAR is always satisfied by something I've got going, and Question for the Perfect Color requires me to have some Platonic Ideal in my head before I go a-searching, and I just don't know what I'm looking for. I'm reactive (Oooh--pretty) rather than proactive.

 

Here is what I have found as I hit your other landmarks on the inky journey.

 

You Mean There's COLORS? The first bottles of ink I ever bought included Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Green and Noodler's Saguaro Wine. I don't actually use the Brilliant Green too much (too bright, not water-resistant enough), but I always have some SW in a little vial in my bag in case a pen runs dry.

 

Blackest Black EVAR!! This was actually my second stage, right after COLORS! above. I never bought any blacks other than my first bottle of Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black, but for a while I was a little dissatisfied with it, and looked longingly at reviews of Noodler's Black and J Herbin Perle Noire, and wished I could justify having two bottles of the same color. Eventually the urge passed, however. I do sometimes think about getting myself a bottle of everyday black, but the other stages are more interesting, and I rarely feel the need for black these days.

 

My writing shall be preserved for EVAR!! I got here after I discovered that Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Green has no water resistance to speak of. I occasionally think about buying an interesting bulletproof ink, but I never got beyond the stage of grabbing a full vial (~6ml) of some Noodler's 57th Mass out of a bottle I gave to someone else as a gift.

 

I'm in love with [color]! This is where I like to sit most days. Right now I'm really enjoying Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo -- enough that I actually bought a bottle after draining my sample dry -- and Syo-ro, but I'm also quite fond of Diamine Red Dragon and Bilberry, and Private Reserve Sherwood Green, as well as Montblanc Toffee Brown. I have bottles of each of these.

 

Oooooh, sheeny! This is where I was just a few months ago. I read all the sheeny threads, bought my Tomoe River journal, discovered that sheening is a thing, and then decided that the delicate red tint to Ku-Jaku wasn't enough. I needed MORE! Emerald of Chivor, Private Reserve DC Electric Blue! They definitely lived up to the hype, but then . . .

 

Oooooh, shady! I actually got here from "I'm in love with [color]". In addition to my love of sheening, I thought that R&K Alt Goldgrun looked like a really neat color, and then when I loaded it up I discovered that delicate colors with delicate shading was quite beautiful (and a lot less smeary) than saturated, sheeny inks. This is now probably going to lead into

 

Oooooh, subtle! But I'm not quite there yet. I guess you could call Tsuki-yo and Syo-ro subtle, but their subtlety is not why I like them. I just like the color. And also their behavior.

 

I just want it to work! I'm appreciating this right now. I've just inherited a few fountain pens from my late grandparents, and I don't want to damage them with a fussy saturated staining ink, so I'm really appreciating my Montblank Toffee Brown and my Tsuki-yo, because they are well-behaved and clean off easily. Actually, before I got them I also used my Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black for these purposes. But now that I have Toffee Brown and Tsuki-yo in bottles I think the Pelikan is going back in my drawer, because it only satisfies this category, while the TB and TY also satisfy Oooh, subtle! and I'm in love with [color].



#13 Uncial

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 09:10

I've only ever really chased particular colours. Thankfully the searches ended when I found an awesome murky green in Tanna Japonensis, great Turquoises in Ama-iro and Wadamisaki Blue, perfect orange in Lake Hamana and amazing reds in Red Dragon and Oxblood. But, and there is always a but, I am struggling to find a perfect brown tinted sepia. I thought I had found it in Whaleman's but its behaviour isn't quite what I'd hoped for, but it is the closest thing yet to perfect in this colour range - possibly the only ink that will hit my expectations and desires. Meanwhile I have enough sepia's and brown's to beat the band and I really need to stop chasing it. I know when I do muster the self control to stop that there is a little niggle about finding the perfect blue and the perfect blue/black (or off centre blue) waiting for to come and taunt me into buying more. 

 

There is one aspect of my own inky journey which isn't listed and that is the realisation that what you see on a computer screen isn't necessarily what you get in a bottle or coming out of your pen. No amount of colour and graphic tweaking is going to change that because swabs can be so misleading, glass and dip pens can provide an entirely different colour experience as can wet and dry nibs. At best, what we see online is an approximation and we can only but hope that we end up with something interesting and satisfying. I do wish though that I had discovered this fact long, long ago and that I had been more thorough in looking at loads more reviews of the same ink rather than basing it off just one or two. That would have saved me a lot of dollar and a lot of disappointment. 



#14 Buzz_130

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 12:44

This topic is an outstanding addition to FPN and Inky Thoughts. In one (long) post, readers can enjoy a well-written, thoughtful essay on the passion for ink. What I enjoyed the most is the description and the flow that indicates this is a journey. And we may even circle back to a few places to visit them again.

When I began fountain pens, I was amazed that I could find so many different shades of blue. I was already in love with that color, and I discovered the fountain pen world could produce so many different variations of one color.

My driving concern for my personal writing has long been permanence. My ego would like to think some historian (or hopefully my kids!) will one day look back on my recorded thoughts in time and discover my thoughts are worth reading. Even if that does not hold up to be true, I don't want to think for a moment that the time I spend with pen, paper, and ink was lost due to a chemical imbalance. Count me in the permanence camp.

As my collection of pens from the 40s and 50s grows and matures, I'm always watching reviews for inks that are simple and low maintenance. I want my inks to work, and I don't want them to damage these pieces of history.

I've visited some of these other stops and enjoy a good sheen, shade, or even suspended golden particle or two. I admire the searing colors that can grace a page. And I have more than my fair share of bottle of ink on my shelves to prove it.

But the journey is not complete, and I enjoy the companionship of so many on FPN along the way.

Buzz

#15 stacybean

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 17:17

Thanks for this very wonderful post.
I am wandering away from blue just now and rediscovering colors.
Clearly I have yet to experience several critical developmental phases of ink connoisseurship as sheen , permanence and subtlety are not currently of interest ( yet?)
I'm terrified of using permanent inks because of the amount of water soluble ink I managed to spill, leak and otherwise "distribute"
Indeed , a new frontier.

#16 Arkanabar

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 19:39

As I said in the OP, not everyone will visit all of these places and none of them are mandatory.  Every person is always different, so de gustibus non disputandum.



#17 chromantic

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 13:47

"I just want it to work", yo.  And there, at that station, I shall remain. Everything else is secondary or a passing thought.

I'm with haruka on this, except for me this directed more towards pens than ink. I mean, ink is ink - I've never had an ink not 'work'. I may not like the color I bought but that's on me, not the ink. And, of course, it may work better in some pens than other but then I blame the pen for that, not the ink.

 

(I'll respond to the others stations later. :) )


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#18 Scrivener1

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 22:41

I cannot so far relate to a fascination with sheening or the brightest colors, though I do like my (one) black to be dark and permanent.  I also have no need to experience every segment of the color wheel.  I do enjoy shading and also enjoy subtle colors.  Currently I am very interested in permanence, perhaps because of a couple ambitious projects soon to get underway.  If an ink isn't at least waterproof and preferably fade proof, I don't want it unless it is truly exceptional in some other way.

 

I relate to the desire to get the perfect shade of a particular color, specifically brown in my case (Noodler's "Walnut" is my go-to and I'm satisfied with that).  As able I would like to also find my "perfect" shade of blue and perhaps also dusky purple and green.  I have R & K's "Salix" and "Scabiosa" coming to test for blue and purple, but for green I am not sure.  I like the look of "Sequoia" but want it to be permanent.

 

I try to limit myself to inks I will actually use up, so even though I write a lot of letters, that restricts my purchases.  Hence I read a *lot* of reviews before purchasing and greatly appreciate all you helpful folks.

 

Great article!



#19 ac12

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 05:39

I have been to many of your places without thinking of them as such. This is an interesting thread.

There is another one that I'm not sure where it would go. I call it indecision, or going back to what I had before.
For decades I used BLACK ink, then I switched to BLUE. Probably out of rebellion from decades of black.
Now after going through a frustrating search for a NICE blue that worked, I'm inking up pens with BLACK ink...again.
Kind of going back in a circle, like I've never left black, just went on a vacation to blue, and returned.

So for your places:

You mean there's COLORS???!?!?!??
I was even worse, I only used BLACK ink. So I went from one ink to many inks. Right now in my inked pens I have the following different inks: 3 blacks, 3 blues, 5 greens, 2 reds. So 13 different inks/colors. Add to that whatever other ink(s) I decide I want to try. And I have a LOT more inks that have rotated out, or waiting to rotate in. I have been 'trying' to control the number of inked pens, as some will dry out from lack of use, and it is a hassle to get some of them flowing again.

Blackest Black EVAR!!
This was me in college, and being frustrated that Quink black did not look black, but instead a dark gray.
Only after getting into FP as a hobby and reading reviews did I realize that Quink was NOT a BLACK ink.
Now my blacks are Waterman and Pelikan. With a bottle of Aurora waiting to try.

Brightest Colors EVAR!!
I pass on this one. Bright inks HURT my eyes to read. I have my fill of this grading homework in college written in pink ink...ARGH. I always had a head ache after reading those papers.

My writing shall be preserved for EVAR!!
I pass on this one. I have no problem writing with water soluble ink. And not been in the situation where I needed to use a "permanent" ink.

I'm in love with [color]!
This is me and green. Green is my new personal ink color. And many different shades of greens, for different effects and purposes.

Quest for the perfect [color].
I've gone thru the 'search for the perfect color' with blue and green.
While I am not sure that I've found it, I'm happy with what I've settled on. But I'm still looking.
blue = PR DCSS blue, Noodler's Liberty's Elysium
green = Diamine Sherwood Green, Noodler's Gruene Cactus, Noodler's Forest Green

Oooooh, shady!
Oooooh, sheeny!
I pass on these. While interesting, they do not press my button.

I just want it to work!
YES. When I pick up a pen to write, I want to be able to write, not have to fuss with the pen to get it to write. And I want it to write reasonably well. Sometimes this requires adjusting the nib to flow that specific ink reasonably well.
- Some inks just do not play well (Noodler's Emerald City Green, WETTEST ink I ever ran into, would feather and bleed through everything).
- Others are tempermental and may not work in some pens or need more maintenance. The two tempermental inks that I have and use are Diamine Sherwood Green (would clog some pens very quickly, so I don't put SG in those pens, easy fix) and Noodler's Liberty's Elysium (seems to leave something behind such that I have to periodically floss the nib to get the ink to flow well. And LE is a WET ink, with the problems of a very wet ink; excess flow, feathering, and bleed through, so adjusting the nib is critical to controlling this ink.) I only put up with LE because I like the color.

Another place:
Safe or perceived safe
For my several vintage pens, I only use inks that feedback has given me a comfort in using them in my vintage pens.
For questionable inks, I put them in a few modern CC pens that are easy to clean/flush, and relatively inexpensive. If the ink reacts badly with the pen, I don't want to loose a $$$ pen.
The problem here is that some brands have such a huge line of inks of different types, that the behavior of the ink to the pen is not consistent through the entire line of inks. This make sorting out the safe from problematic and not safe inks difficult.

San Francisco Pen Show - August 23-25, 2019 - Redwood City, California

www.SFPenShow.com


#20 Flaxmoore

Flaxmoore

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 15:15

This is not meant to be a definitive list of waystations where you will come to rest in your inky journey.  You may not visit all of these places.  But I've seen people say that each of these is where they are.  

In no way do I presume or mean to suggest that any of these places is better than any other place.  No matter which of these you may be in, or what inks you're crushing on, I regard you with fond affection.  For one thing, I've crushed on inks before myself.  For another, these are all matters of taste.  De gustibus non disputandem.

  •   You mean there's COLORS???!?!?!??

A lot of people think of pens as only having four colors:  black, blue, red, and (maybe) green.  I am pretty sure that there are currently over a thousand different fountain pen inks on the market, and no two are quite exactly alike.  (Okay, except for Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black and Cross Black.)  Some people respond to this discovery by obtaining every ink that catches their interest.  It's driven by a love for novelty, and sometimes also by a bit of acquisitiveness.

  •   Blackest Black EVAR!!

This one is pretty common.  You think your writing ought to be like unto a collapsar or a hole in the page, from which no light shall ever escape.  I've been here myself, and bought a bottle of Noodler's Borealis Black to scratch this itch.  Others blackest blacks that are often mentioned are Aurora, Sailor Nano Black, Levenger Raven Black, Noodler's Black, and Noodler's Heart of Darkness.

  •   Brightest Colors EVAR!!

Amberlea Davis lives here, joyously.  It's marked by a preference for retina-searing colors, high saturation, and inks that POP!  The ink should (metaphorically) leap off the page and slap you for attention!  Private Reserve and Noodler's both have numerous inks to scratch this itch.

  •   My writing shall be preserved for EVAR!!

Many inks fade.  Some fade quickly.  A few fade even if they are not exposed to light.  Some become illegible with only the slightest of splashings.  Nathan Tardif made his original Noodler's Black ink to resist any chemical assault that would not also destroy the paper (and some that would).  He called this level of resistance "bulletproof."  This sort of archival-level durability is found not only in Noodler's bulletproof inks, but also their Warden inks, nano-pigment inks, De Atramentis' Dokument line, and MontBlanc Permanent Blue.  Bear in mind that not all of Noodler's "bulletproof" inks are completely photoresistant.

  •   I'm in love with [color]!

The color varies from person to person.  Maybe you've never thought about using it before, or you even disliked it a bit, but now all the variations on this theme are enchanting, and you want them all.  So you buy a bunch of different inks in a particular color family, such as gray, or burgundy, or blue-leaning purples, or whatever, because for whatever reason, it has become the most fascinating color there is.  

  •   Quest for the perfect [color].

You're not happy with one of your ink colors (blue is a fairly common contender; member Shawndo once bought over 250 different blue ink samples in his quest), and now are seeking just the one ink that is exactly what you want in that color.  You buy samples and mix them incessantly, trying to get just the right balance of color, saturation, and behavior.

  •   Oooooh, shady!

Shading is the result of varying amounts of a relatively unsaturated ink in your writing.  Where there is more ink, the line is darker and more saturated.  Your writing shows some variation in shade.  Some people find themselves unwilling to use or buy any ink that doesn't shade.  The effect is enhanced by a sloped writing surface (causing excess ink to all flow in the same direction) and paper that is relatively slow to absorb the ink, giving it time to puddle.

  •   Oooooh, sheeny!

Inks are usually combinations of several dyes, and they may spread across or through the paper at different rates.  This shows up in slight color variations across your writing; halo effects are common, and it can also show up around puddles, like shading.  This sort of variation is often best viewed at an angle, especially by photographic equipment.  We call this sort of thing sheen.  Again, a less-absorbent paper usually enhances the effect.

  •   Oooooh, subtle!

This is what happens when you are no longer impressed by super bright, super brilliant, super saturated inks, and you want something with a hint of this, a slight undertone of that, or is quite different depending on the pen or paper you're using.  More than once, I've seen people wax eloquent or affectionate over dusky purples, muddy greens, greenish browns, and "stealth" blacks with a hint or undertone of some other color.

  •   I just want it to work!

This is when fussiness becomes the bane of your existence.  You can't abide by inks that feather, inks that dry up, inks that make your pens sputter, inks that gush, or otherwise misbehave.

 

 

 

I spent some time and a lot of samples in the Colors phase (still looking for a good purple), but have generally skipped the Blackest Black phase. I don't care for black. I use it when I have to- I always have a pen loaded with it for things mandating black, but it's simple Quink black at the moment. Brightest Colors EVAR was tempting for a bit- I had a long run of patient notes written in BSB, and have a number of journal entries in Habanero. I don't use BSB that often any more- for some reason BSB under fluorescent lighting gives me a headache. Habanero is always around, though.

 

I've two inks in the Bulletproof category- 54M and Black Eel. I also have the original archival inks, iron galls, in Registrar's and Salix. Love them both, just can't use them in my Pilots- they're too dry.

 

In love with a color? Blue-black. Have been since I started this inky wandering. Finished a bottle of 54M, most of a bottle of Tsuki-yo, and a few ounces into my 350ml mega-bottle of Pilot BB.

 

Shading is what led me to love Tsuki-yo, and why I need a bottle of De Atramentis Blue Steel at some point.

 

Never been able to see much in terms of sheen. 

 

Subtlety is Salix, Tsuki-yo and 54M. Hints of gray, dark green, other little flashes of color here and there.

 

Just wanting it to work? If I had to, I could trim to only a few colors and do fairly well. Sheaffer Blue, Quink Black, Sheaffer Red, Diamine Sherwood, Pilot BB/54M/Tsuki-yo. That's one of each main color I use (blue/black/red/green/blue-black) and all have done very well. I lean slightly to the 54M to have one bulletproof, but the Pilot BB is solid enough on waterproofness and is a little less finicky. Tsuki-yo doesn't know what water resistance is, sadly.


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I'm so tough I vacation in Detroit.







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