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Do You Feel Guilty Sending A Letter In Black Ink?

black ink letter penpal

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114 replies to this topic

#1 radellaf

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 02:15

Most of my 40+ pens have interesting colors in them but a Parker Sonnet with a factory italic and a Hua Hong HH-8 have black in them.  The Sonnet is really dark with Quink black at about double saturation (evaporated, filled again with ink without cleaning it out) and the HH-8 has a 20+ year old generic black cartridge I had to add water to.  I'd kinda like to use them, but feel guilty sending a penpal a letter in boring ink.  Kinda feel the same about unsaturated blues like 4001 or Waterman.

 

I used to have a Vac 700 smoke with 80% Noodler's Black in it.  Since that's waterproof, I used it for addressing envelopes.  Not sure how, but it left a film in the barrel I had trouble removing, so that pen's empty and waiting for me to figure which of 50+ (100+ ?) untried colors to put in it.


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#2 Rednaxela

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 02:20

One of the most beautiful looking letters I've seen was written in black...
~ Alexander

#3 haruka337

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 04:02

Never.

Ink, a drug.

― Vladimir Nabokov, Bend Sinister

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#4 Pickwick

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 04:12

It's not necessarily the color ink you write with, it's what you write about that's important. Black ink was at one time the only color available for writing any type of correspondence. My generation never had the unlimited color inks available now. The colors I recall were Black, blue/black, red, { for banking, auditing and used by teachings for marking school work} purple, along with  green which was mainly used in commercial offices..


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#5 estie1948

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 06:04

I've used black ink ever since I was in the third grade. That was so many years ago that the school building no longer exists. It wasn't until I was told about FPN that I realized people actually bought and used other colors of ink. Therefore, I have written unknown numbers of letters in black ink. I understand that blue ink is now in vogue, but I always prefered black ink over blue ink. I'm checking into getting some good blue ink now. 

 

All those letters I wrote in black ink don't bother me and don't seem to have bothered the ones I wrote them to. However, I could be wrong. It has happened before.

 

-David (Estie).


Edited by estie1948, 28 July 2016 - 06:06.

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#6 Chrissy

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 07:09

I have a regular penpal who only uses black ink, and he writes great letters.



#7 brunico

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 07:12

No, but someone who looks at a graphite drawing and thinks it's boring because it's not in colour might not bother to read the letter.



#8 Charles Skinner

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 12:10

I was a "black ink man" for many, many years for EVERYTHING!  After hanging out on FPN for awhile, I decided to "get off into color," and I am really glad it did!  "You light up my life," etc.  C. S. 



#9 TSherbs

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 13:37

I love receiving letters in black. And writing them. I use other colors, too. Guilt?--No. Black puts all the attention on the words.



#10 pararis

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 15:07

Interesting parallels to the artistic discussions around color photography when it essentially replaced black & white so many years ago. Also interesting is the emotional aspects of color inks. One retailer I interviewed mentioned this as a causative factor in the rise of interest in fountain pens.

 

As someone whose formative years knew only black & white photography and black ink (or very limited blue), I can't imagine sending a letter in a colored ink. The placement of my lettering on paper is already too intimate an act to foul it with a distracting color. That said, I've come to prefer very dark blues or blue-blacks that trend black. Diamine's Regency Blue is in my KOP. My Vanishing Point dispenses Diamine Eclipse. I just got a Platinum Kawaguchi and inked it with Sailor Shigure, a blackish blue with a tinge of purple -- as colorful as I'm going to get in public.

 

In private, I love Baystate Blue and have one pen dedicated to it. I play with a Plumix stub using J.Herbin Violette Pensee. A Franklin Christoph 1.5 stub has De Atramentis Elderberries. At least one pen has my own ink creation, Plump Plum. For me there are differences between the public and the private.

 

Would I feel "guilty" sending using black ink in a letter? Would I feel guilty putting on a suit to go to church?



#11 Waski_the_Squirrel

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 15:18

When I get a letter, I'll look at the colors used. But, the part I actually care about and spend time on is the content. Content is why we exchange letters.


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#12 View from the Loft

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 15:48

Nothing wrong with a letter written in black so long as the black is sufficient contrast with the paper for it to be read easily.



#13 radellaf

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 17:30

Interesting, never would have thought someone one feel the opposite, uncomfortable using colors.

Sine these are FP or mail forum pen pals, interest in pens is implied, and I presume interest in ink. I also don't think of it as fully "public", more a one-on-one sharing of a hobby (even if some are more letter writing than pen hobbyists). Heck, I've been putting Spirograph designs on the back of some of the envelopes.

I think a good compromise for me is if I'm going to use black for most of the letter, throw in a couple of colors. If not a whole paragraph, a line here or there, or the sign-off, date, or something.

If it was all about the message, I would be sending a plain text email. I also feel a little slack if I use an office quality envelope and basic 20# paper (less so if it's cut to A5 or half LTR size). But, at least so far, I think everyone is behind black ink so I'll feel better about trying it.
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#14 PaperDarts

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 01:29

Never, a hand-written letter is so rare these days for most people that black ink is the least remarkable thing about it!
"Life would split asunder without letters." Virginia Woolf

#15 radellaf

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 01:59

Black & White:

sSNQPuM.jpg

 

Color:

Kx82Spd.jpg

just the latest swatches and scribbles on the (HP 32# laser) scratch pad.  Just got the R&K Leipziger Schwartz.  Was feeling like I shouldn't use too boring (4001, looking at you) a blue, either.


Edited by radellaf, 29 July 2016 - 02:13.

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#16 abstract49

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 02:20

Why ought I add my two cents here? I like using different inks, both in letters and in my journals. Just fun, and sometimes expressive of my moods.

 

There was a time I wrote in my journals only in black. Not so now. Will it make any difference to anyone who reads them long after my demise (if anyone does)? I don't know.

 

One of my favorite pen pals writes exclusively in a grey ink. The content of her letters is more important than the ink color, and so I don't even think about it when I'm reading her letters. I would wager that if I wrote to her all in black - or blue, she would not even notice it.

 

So, like a number of others above, I don't think there is anything wrong -or boring - with writing in black. When I use black, I want the blackest black I can find, not a "weak" or going to grey sort of black, but bla-a-a-ck, if you know what I mean.



#17 radellaf

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 05:16

The double strength Quink is surprisingly black.  I know Noodler's HoD is supposed to be the ultimate but it doesn't seem so.  According to Jetpens Black Ink Comparison, Aurora and Borealis Black are the other two darkest.  But as much as Quink and Pelikan Blue are lighter than I like, I don't find the blacks to be so.  Herbin is alright, too.   I doubt letting an ink evaporate to half-volume would be popular, but with the pen-maker brand inks, it makes them black hole dark and they still flow just fine.  I am not a fan of shading in any color, and especially black.

 

Grey isn't my thing either, unless it's actually a pencil, and even then I'm into 2B (mech) or 4B (wood).  I wrote one penpal letter with Saliosa (Scabix sounds so rough) that for some reason turned medium to light grey.  The same ink now stays reasonably purple (like the scan) so I guess I had water left in the feed.  Shaking the bottles of Salix and Scabiosa didn't seem to make a difference.   For full darkness, shaking Noodler's black, or any of the other inks with that component (Walnut, Zhivago, Red Black) is essential if they've been standing a few months.  Those settle slowly.  Fast settlers like GotA, 54th Mass, Manuscript Brown, KTC, & #41 Brown I now use a Wahl corded massager on the tightly-capped bottles. A hand shake never seems to get the last bits suspended off the bottom.


Edited by radellaf, 29 July 2016 - 05:19.

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#18 darazs

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 06:45

I just wrote a letter in black. I did think about it two seconds and went on. You see, the pen was the point and although I am not (yet) the one pen one ink type I did not feel that changing the ink was worth it.

Actually I came to the conclusion that (plain?) black was emphasizing the words. The all important thing of a letter to me - what I say.

So black is not boring. It might even mark the occasion of a letter that carries an important message.

I was actually told in nice words that letters in red are not so OK.I do love Oku Yama though and will keep sharing it with others.
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#19 radellaf

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 07:34

I remember reading some thread about red ink here and think it was just about Asian cultures, or just Chinese.  This article "Behind the Myth: The Red Pen" is about Korea.  Bright reds might be hard to read for some, but I used to journal with them and enjoyed it.  One friend didn't like trying to read my LiveJournal posts of scans from it.   Burgundy or dark reds like Sailor Oku Yama or Diamine Oxblood certainly aren't going to be a contrast problem, or give people flashbacks to grade school corrections.  My other "Yama" ink, Yama Budo, is more eye searing than Sheaffer Red or Noodler's Nikita.  But then one penpal loved that I wrote with the just as brilliant R&K Solferino.

 

I am curious about the sentiment that the words are the overwhelmingly most important thing about a letter (to pen people).

 

I'd agree it's the #1 priority, but I certainly care about the paper and ink.  Most of my letters are to people I can easily email or PM.  Unless we're sending letters mostly for the experience of _writing_ them, then the aesthetics of the letter must be important.   I would still appreciate if I got a penpal letter that was a laser printed in Helvetica 12, but it wouldn't be quite as nice.  For one thing, I love seeing a color I don't have.  I just ordered some Noodler's Nightshade because a penpal from this board wrote to me with it.   Even better, perhaps, if it's an un-tried ink that I already have.  Like the Oku Yama bottle right here.


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#20 TSherbs

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Posted 29 July 2016 - 12:49

....I am curious about the sentiment that the words are the overwhelmingly most important thing about a letter (to pen people).

 

Curious in which sense? All we said was that it is "most important." Not "only". I suspect that the same is true for you, too, no? Or would you put colors and paper, etc, above the content? I, too, use more than one color in letters to penpals, but to family I do not. My penpals here want to see some inks and nibs that they may not own. My family and closest friends do not. I write with my pens and inks every day for myself and for my job. I change up the colors and have about 5 pens inked at any one time, and black is always one (or two) of them. But clearly, ​the content is more important than the form. 







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