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Starting Out And Selection Of Inks


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#1 Jimbo1952

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 20:19

I recently posted (in Introductions) that I have returned to again using a fountain pen (enthusiastically).  I am presently using a Montblanc 146 with medium nib.  I am making a list of other pens to acquire and use on a daily basis--but that is for a different thread.

 

I am interested in a selection or variety of ink colors.  My primary focus--naturally--is to find specific colors that appeal to me personally, and in that regard I've already looked at many ink swatches and read numerous reviews.  I want inks that will work with with different types of pens (modern and vintage) and which have a favorable reputation for good all around use and is easy to work with.

 

Of the list of priorities, cost is probably not of prime importance.  That is not to suggest I don't care about being budget minded.  I do.  But I figure these inks--or least many of the colors--will easily last me a year or perhaps several years or more.  So I may feel justified if I choose an ink which may cost a little more than what someone else may think is reasonable.

 

I suspect blues will be my most used color.  In this regard, I've selected different shades of blue.  I've also decided on two different shades of red.  Please don't beat up on me too much if you disagree with my color classifications or the name I assigned to each category.  I'm new at this.

 

Blue (Royal):  Waterman Serenity Blue (my second choice is Pilot Iroshizuku Asa-Gao)

 

Blue (Azure):  Pelikan Edelstein Topaz (my second choice is Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki)

 

Blue-Black:  Akkerman # 8 Diep-Duinwaterblauw  (A difficult shade for me to pin down.  My second choice is probably Montblanc Midnight Blue or perhaps De Atramentis Indigo Blue.)

 

Red (Dark):  Diamine Red Dragon

 

Red (Less Dark):  Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-Gaki

 

Green:  Montblanc Irish Green (my second choice is probably Diamine Sherwood Green)

 

Brown:  Montblanc Toffee Brown

 

There are other colors which I have not decided on.  Purple.  Perhaps Teal or Turquoise.

 

What are your favorites and what you would recommend within these color categories?  Is there a compelling reason why I should not go with one of these selected inks?

 

I look forward to your comments and suggestions about what I've come up with so far.

 

Jimbo

 

(Indianapolis, Indiana)



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#2 inotrym

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 20:57

I have one single advice for every new or returning person to fountain pens: SAMPLES.

I literally have dozens of bottles of ink that I don't care for. A total waste of both money and space. Plus every time I want to buy a new ink, all the ink that I already have makes me feel a little guilty for getting even more.

 

Anyway, back to inks.

 

Out of the inks you mentioned, I have tried and love Topaz and Red Dragon, so I do recommend them.

 

Some other blues you can take a look at are Diamine Asa Blue and Misty Blue, J.Herbin Eclat de Saphir and Bleu Nuit and Pilot's standard blue.

For reds I have a soft spot for Kaweco Ruby Red and J.Herbin Rouge Bourgogne. I think they are kind of purpl-y?

My all time favourite purple is Pelikan Amethyst which unfortunately is discontinued. Second best is Montblanc Lavender and I also like Diamine Tyrian Purple. I also want to suggest Diamine Syrah; I am not sure if this should be in the red or purple category, but I think the color is nice.

 

For greens and oranges I prefer bright shades. I like Diamine Kelly Green and Sunset a lot. Τhey compliment nicely bright blues (such as Topaz) and pink inks (I use Pelikan Turmaline which is also discontinued, but if I think Caran d' Ache Divine pink is also nice)

 

I have a bottle of Waterman brown which is good enough. I don't really care for browns.

 

No black ink, though?



#3 OCArt

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 21:08

We live in the golden age of ink colors and the ink reviews on this site are very informative but often, for me, too attractive.  I've ended up with a *lot* of bottles of ink often with subtle variations of color that are only noticeable when placed side-by-side. Perhaps this is part of the ink journey and fun of the game.

 

I may decide to trim my collection down to only the offerings from Iroshizuku as I love their inks so much.  They offer wonderful colors, good handling and attractive bottles. Just another way to go.



#4 Jimbo1952

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 21:48

I did not include a category for Black for the reason that I've used black ink for a long time with other pens before now making the switch back to fountain pens.  I am excited about other available colors from which I can now choose.  To say that I am bored with black may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. I do have one bottle of black fountain pen ink presently--it is Montblanc.  But I don't require black for much of my handwriting, though I will keep at least one black (probably permanent ink) for any legal documents where it may be required.  That can be the Montblanc which I have now or maybe Pelikan Black.

 

I agree with the comment that the problem we face is that we end up with a lot of different bottles of ink with very subtle color differences which might only be noticeable when placed side by side.  I am apparently guilty of that by suggesting I may purchase different shades of blue as well as two different shades of red.  I've convinced myself that these shades of blues (or reds) are sufficiently different such that I will know the difference.  But I may not see any difference unless they are side by side.

 

I am also mindful that my tastes are likely to change--regularly and frequently.

 

The main thing is that I want a core selection of basic colors--from dependable inks that will be easy to work with in both modern and vintage pens--and which will include at least one "good" blue and one "good" red.  And green and purple and brown, etc.

 

Your responses so far is most helpful.  Thank you.



#5 ErrantSmudge

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 21:58

It sounds like you already have a good start on your ink collection - I'd get samples of the inks you listed and try those out before moving on.  I've found that if you buy too many inks in one go, that you don't have a chance to appreciate each one as much as you should.

 

Also, I recommend you check out the Inky TOD (topic-of-the-day) posts that are all linked from the first pinned article in this forum.  There are plenty of pictures and scans of inks, organized by color family, for you to get ideas.    They were really helpful and inspiring for me when I jumped back into fountain pens a year or two ago.

 

Also, if you find an ink you like, check the Reviews forum to see if people have reviewed the ink to get an idea how it behaves.



#6 LizEF

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 22:26

...

Blue (Royal):  Waterman Serenity Blue (my second choice is Pilot Iroshizuku Asa-Gao)

...

Blue-Black:  Akkerman # 8 Diep-Duinwaterblauw  (A difficult shade for me to pin down.  My second choice is probably Montblanc Midnight Blue or perhaps De Atramentis Indigo Blue.)

...

Green:  Montblanc Irish Green (my second choice is probably Diamine Sherwood Green)

...

What are your favorites and what you would recommend within these color categories?  Is there a compelling reason why I should not go with one of these selected inks?

 

I only have wide experience and opinions on three of the colors.  For regular old blue, Asa Gao is quite nice.  I personally dislike Waterman Serenity Blue - it seemed washed out to me.  If I were picking between the two, I'd go with Asa Gao every time.  Visconti Blue is another very bright blue.  Robert Oster School Blue is not as bright, but is more interesting, I think.

 

Oh, for Azure, my only experience is KWZ Azure #5 - very nice color.

 

Blue-Black: I really like Akkerman #09 Laan van Nieuw Oost Indigo (it's my one always-inked ink).  I also like Robert Oster Blue Night.  De Atramentis Indigo Blue is nice, but not really a blue-black in my opinion.

 

Green: On the bright / colorful side, I really like Caran d'Ache Delicate Green and Robert Oster Green Lime (they're very close to the same color).  On the murky / murkier side:

  • Organics Studio Walt Whitman Leaves of Green
  • Diamine Classic Green
  • Kobe #15 Maiko Green
  • Kobe #28 Lilly of the Valley Green
  • Robert Oster Lemon Grass
  • Sailor Tokiwa-Matsu

Hope that helps!



#7 Runnin_Ute

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 23:39

I recently posted (in Introductions) that I have returned to again using a fountain pen (enthusiastically).  I am presently using a Montblanc 146 with medium nib.  I am making a list of other pens to acquire and use on a daily basis--but that is for a different thread.
 
I am interested in a selection or variety of ink colors.  My primary focus--naturally--is to find specific colors that appeal to me personally, and in that regard I've already looked at many ink swatches and read numerous reviews.  I want inks that will work with with different types of pens (modern and vintage) and which have a favorable reputation for good all around use and is easy to work with.
 
Of the list of priorities, cost is probably not of prime importance.  That is not to suggest I don't care about being budget minded.  I do.  But I figure these inks--or least many of the colors--will easily last me a year or perhaps several years or more.  So I may feel justified if I choose an ink which may cost a little more than what someone else may think is reasonable.
 
I suspect blues will be my most used color.  In this regard, I've selected different shades of blue.  I've also decided on two different shades of red.  Please don't beat up on me too much if you disagree with my color classifications or the name I assigned to each category.  I'm new at this.
 
Blue (Royal):  Waterman Serenity Blue (my second choice is Pilot Iroshizuku Asa-Gao)

**I have Serenity Blue and like it. It is very well behaved. I don't have any of the Iroshizuku inks. Some other favorite blues are Blackstone Barrier Reef Blue and Sydney Harbour Blue.
 
Blue (Azure):  Pelikan Edelstein Topaz (my second choice is Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki)

Kon-Peki (if I recall correctly)is very turquoise leaning.
 
Blue-Black:  Akkerman # 8 Diep-Duinwaterblauw  (A difficult shade for me to pin down.  My second choice is probably Montblanc Midnight Blue or perhaps De Atramentis Indigo Blue.)

Pelikan 4001 Blue Black, Diamine Blue Black
 
Red (Dark):  Diamine Red Dragon
 
Red (Less Dark):  Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-Gaki

My favorite red - a true red- Diamine Classic Red. I have some favorite dark reds too. Diamine Merlot, Blackstone Uluru Red among others.

 
Green:  Montblanc Irish Green (my second choice is probably Diamine Sherwood Green)

Diamine Sherwood Green is a favorite as is Blackstone Daintree Green and my vintage Sheaffer Skrip Emerald Green
 
Brown:  Montblanc Toffee Brown

Diamine Saddle Brown

Diamine Blue Steel is a good turquoise family ink.


 
There are other colors which I have not decided on.  Purple.  Perhaps Teal or Turquoise.
 
What are your favorites and what you would recommend within these color categories?  Is there a compelling reason why I should not go with one of these selected inks?
 
I look forward to your comments and suggestions about what I've come up with so far.
 
Jimbo
 
(Indianapolis, Indiana)


Brad
 
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#8 BigCHrome

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 02:49

Monteverde Horizon Blue is a really nice darker blue. For a dark red, I havent tried it yet, but Diamine Oxblood looks really interesting.

#9 ca49reber

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 03:18

While they are still available, MB Shakespeare Velvet Red & Pelikan Edelstein Smokey Quartz.



#10 jmccarty3

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 13:04

While they are still available, MB Shakespeare Velvet Red & Pelikan Edelstein Smokey Quartz.

 

+1

 

I don't see Waterman Serenity Blue as being "washed out," as another poster put it. If I could only have two blues for my whole collection of pens, I'd probably choose Serenity and Monteverde Horizon Blue. Another nice blue is Iroshizuku Tsuyu-kusa, which is intermediate between Asa-gao and Kon-peki.


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#11 SallyLyn

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 14:39

I’ll put another plug in for a few/all Waterman inks.
They are “SAFE”, well mannered, free flowing and are fun to mix a bit. I have the set of 8. Get the blue not the Turquoise (they change the names) and the purple and I really like the brown. If you have a vintage pen these are the inks to use until you decide you are willing to take a chance on another brand. If you have a pen causing problems a fill of Waterman ink will show you if the problem is the previous ink you are using it the pen. If Waterman won’t work, flows too slow or gushes the pen has an issue. I often use a fill of Waterman to help restart a pen w/ink I let sit too long. I’ll give a quick flush, put some Waterman in a sample tube and fill the fussy pen. Waterman seem similar to a WD-40 solution, just cleans and gets flowing again.
As far as mixing I do that in a sample tube again. The blue and purple 50:50 makes a fun “Blurple. Check out old mixes in the mix Forum. Mixing Waterman inks will continue to product safe, free flowing ink.

#12 inkstainedruth

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 18:14

There's a lot more to ink than just the color.  There's also how it behaves.  A lot of people have said that Asa-gao is their go-to blue, but I found it to be drippy.  And Serenity Blue has, IIRC, zero water resistance.  Although I do have Mysterious Blue in one of my Parker Vacumatics and the pen hasn't been flushed out in nearly 2-1/2 years -- just refilled when it runs low or dry....

And I can tell you that Fuyu-gaki isn't anywhere remotely near "red" -- it's ORANGE.  It was better behaved than some of the other Iroshihzuku inks (like Asa-gao), but it's still bright freaking orange.... If you WANT orange ink, that's one thing.  If you think it's "not quite red" you're in for a shock.  

Yeah, like other people have said.  Samples are the way to go.  Really happy that I got a sample of Fuyu-gaki, before springing for a full bottle (that stuff ain't cheap in the US...).  OTOH, I have a backup bottle of Yama-guri, and am seriously considering springing for a backup bottle of Yama-budo....  :rolleyes: 

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#13 crahptacular

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Posted 05 January 2018 - 04:43

As others have said, reviews can only show you so much--what the color looks using someone else's pen, paper, camera, scanner, etc., all processed and then recreated on your own differently-calibrated monitor, so that the image you see is never going to be a completely faithful representation of the original. So sampling is definitely the fun and practical way to go.

 

...but as to your original question, based on your current list, I'm going to try to guess at your preferences and say you might want to check out KWZ Gummiberry for purple and Robert Oster Tranquility for teal. In my mind these fit with your other selections, but I could of course be totally wrong!



#14 chromantic

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Posted 05 January 2018 - 07:07

For a really dark red, there's KWZ Maroon.

 

Cross Violet is a beautiful medium dark purple.

 

Skrip Turquoise is a lovely, bright blue, a very happy color.


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#15 displacermoose

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 20:14

My favorite red is Sailor Oku-yama. I'm only just getting into blues and blue-blacks after avoiding them due to boredom, but Tanzenite is turning out to be surprisingly lovely. I also recommend samples. Inks look very different in situ than they do on a screen and samples allow you to ensure that you don't get bottles that you don't like.

Yet another Sarah.


#16 Torrilin

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 20:41

Samples. Or since I think Montblanc cartridges are standard international, cartridges. Most ink brands sell 4-6 cartridge packets, and that’s enough to give you a very clear idea of if you like a given ink. You can easily doublecheck cartridge type at a Montblanc vendor. Also a small ink syringe will not go amiss. Very useful for pen cleaning as well as refilling cartridges.

Some brands only use proprietary cartridges. So you can’t test their cartridges in your existing pen. But between cartridges and ink samples, you can try plenty of inks before you buy a bottle.

#17 pseudo88

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 22:17

As an inveterate ink seeker I would suggest samples if at all possible, and then establishing whether you are getting the most of each ink from the potential pen; you are looking for a specific saturation, which depends on nib size and flow, as well as the paper. Only after my umpteenth attempt did I get the most out of the ink that got me started, Tsuyu Kusa: it had always looked kind of pale but with some potential, until I managed to get a Sailor writing more wet, and now it looks as glorious as I thought it should.

 

Of the inks you mention:

 

Asa Gao is really nice and glides on a medium Platinum Cool (never managed to get another Cool to behave, so its not a pen I can recommend). Tsuyu Kusa is less purple.

 

Kon Peki looks nice with an extra fine Faber Castell Ambition, but it would probably look even better with a thicker nib, even just an F. Other alternatives for greenish blues are Souten ( a lot more blue), Équinoxe 6 (similar but still distinct) and Ama Iro (lighter). All these can vary wildly depending on the nib, wetenes and how much the pen evaporates.

 

I have something similar for red, Rouge Hematite, it's stunning but gunks everything up, so I only use it on a pen I can easily clean (Lamy Vista).

 

Fuyu Gaki is spectacular but a mixture of orange and red, a pinkish orange.

 

We probably have different preferences for green, the perfect one for me is Vert Empire, but I also enjoy verde Muschiato (more yellowish) and Chiku Rin (lighter).

 

For browns I have le grand classique Lie de Thé and Yama Guri, neither of which look as reddish as Toffee Brown.

 

Good luck!


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B. Russell

#18 white_lotus

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 00:49

The first lesson I had to learn was that just because other like, or even love, it doesn't mean it's an ink for me. So best to find inks that you enjoy, especially color-wise. And rather than full bottles, try samples. They're relatively inexpensive, and you get a number of fills from each vial. imho, you can't even rely on images you see at vendor sites there's so much variability.

 

So get some samples of inks you think you might like and give them a go. See how they work in you pen(s) on your paper. You might go "Wow, this is really great" and want a bottle. Or it's "Meh." and you're happy you don't have a bottle of that ink.

 

I give this advice because in the beginning I bought inks that many people love, and I discovered I didn't like that color range. So they sit unused. If one is going to end up collecting ink, be decisive and buy inks you actually want instead of having an accidental collection of inks someone else likes.

 

Enjoy!



#19 bluebellrose

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 02:15

Samples. Or since I think Montblanc cartridges are standard international, cartridges. Most ink brands sell 4-6 cartridge packets, and thats enough to give you a very clear idea of if you like a given ink. You can easily doublecheck cartridge type at a Montblanc vendor. Also a small ink syringe will not go amiss. Very useful for pen cleaning as well as refilling cartridges.

Some brands only use proprietary cartridges. So you cant test their cartridges in your existing pen. But between cartridges and ink samples, you can try plenty of inks before you buy a bottle.

Goulet Pens for samples

#20 Bobje

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 03:00

OCArt is right — it’s easy to acquire duplicates of ink that are almost impossible to distinguish between. Several respected pen restorers just use Sheaffer, or Waterman, Pilot, or Sailor. The range of inks just within those reasonably priced brands is considerable, and they’re safe for whatever pen you want, vintage or modern, even among the most conservative collectors. Among modern brands, Monteverde’s latest line is very impressive for both performance and color.

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