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Hooked On Mixing. Starter Ideas

Bill Wood

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We know how it starts. You're looking for a blue with wee bit of purple, or orange with a bit more yellow, then suddenly ones hooked on the shades of teal.


I've seen about a hundred color wheels on pinterest, and dazzled at the home made recipes that people with a lot of patience have made.


So here I am. And not sure where to start. I've consulted some of the best mixers on FPN, but would like to know how you started.


The Platinum mix free appeals to me. As does the many recipes from Diamine. I think I've thrown away more than I've bought. There's several other CMYK kits around. A good one from Blackstone that boasts Tru pure colors. I have a little rack, and lots of tubes, eye droppers etc.


Fire away. I promise to save every reply. Does one start with a goal color, or is it 'oh gosh. Look what I made?'



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I began doing this with the goal of darker versions of blue black, green and violet. I wanted colors of ink very dark and easy to read back. They had to not ruin or clog a pen. I have come to add twenty percent to thirty percend of a maker's black to the blue black, green, purple or violet. As in adding Pelikan 4001 black to Pelikan 4001 violet or to Pelikan 4001 green. These inks are dry, and I just want them darker. I have made other mixes, but I am pretty satisfied with this. I might use more black going forward. This is probably pretty tame stuff.


I do not care for light colored inks. Too hard to read at age 69.

"Don't hurry, don't worry. It's better to be late at the Golden Gate than to arrive in Hell on time."
--Sign in a bar and grill, Ormond Beach, Florida, 1960.



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I'm going to give you the anti-answer to your question:


I don't mix inks. There are so many on the market now. To me each ink has the right amount of blue, purple, yellow, red, green, etc that it has. If I like the color, and the flow and handling is excellent, then it's the right color as it is.


I fill the pen(s) with ink, I write with them. Done.


I have plenty of bookbinding, translation, editing, and regular business projects to keep me busy for centuries. I won't be around long enough to accomplish them all, but that's life.

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I also started, like Pajaro, with wanting inks, mostly blues, a little darker, and reading up tried adding not only black, but purple or red.

But the other motivation also kicked in at some point: I think this is what would result, let's see if it works. For instance adding green to red, and vice versa. I got some interesting mixes from that, that I still use occasionally. Then came the craze of trying to match an exact color, first Parker Penman Sapphire, then others. One reason for that is that most inks are a bit hard to get even by mail, here in the -for some- nonexistent country of Curaçao. And if not difficult to get (as in we don't ship there, your country is not on our list, etc) it tends to be expensive.

But mostly, I think, it's the challenge of combining colors to new ones and seeing if you can approach some color from the mind's eye to an actual ink in a bottle and out of a pen, on paper.

a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks


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Personally, I vacillate between mixing and not mixing.


To the extent that sometimes I just fill a pen from a sample without cleaning, I'll always be a mixer.


The Platinum and Blackstone kits are great to start with and those are my suggestions.


OH, and document your efforts and show pictures.

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).

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Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 366 Inks in 2016

Check out inks sorted by color: Blue Purple Brown Red Green Dark Green Orange Black Pinks Yellows Blue-Blacks Grey/Gray UVInks Turquoise/Teal MURKY

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  • 1 year later...

I'm picking this up again as mixing is a thing I have been doing for many years.

I'm not a maniac though, and I don't follow a rigorous scientific method (no time for that).

I mostly aim at different colours, but of course the ink characteristics do matter, in general what matters most for me is good flow, whether it's with finer or broader nibs, I do not like very dry inks.

One ink I know well since it's been in use in my pens for 50 years is Pelikan Royal blue.

I know it's strengths and weaknesses.

I like how it flows, it's not extremely lubricated, but runs well in most cases and dries fast. It does tend to fade. But it can shade, and if slightly evaporated can turn quite dark.

One advantage of mixing Royal blue with darker colours is in fact that this tends to reduce the fading effect.

I assume many have tried mixing it with black, as it's one of the first things that comes to mind.

Here is one attempt with Visconti Black (I don't have Pelikan 4001 black at the moment.)

Visconti black is a rather wet ink, which does show some feathering on copy paper. It also has a faint purple hue.

The quantity used however is small. My aim is to get a blue black that retains more blue than Pelikan blue black.

Here is a quick and dirty test.

I tried a few different formulations

10 parts Royal Blue + 1 part Visconti black

10 parts Royal Blue + 2 part Visconti black

10 parts Royal Blue + 3 part Visconti black

I stopped at the 3rd formula since I like the result, possibly 10 to 4 could still also look good.

I used separate graduated syringes for the two bottles, and in my mix parts were 1 ml (so 10 ml blue + 1 ml black, etc.). I used a smaller sample vial for the resulting mix, and loaded the pen converter with a syringe.

Here is what I got (note this is a photo - handheld macro... - , so not exceedingly accurate in terms of colour - and focusing... - but does give an idea)



The resulting colour is certainly darker than Royal blue but not as dart as Pelikan blue-black. Also the ink fading is tamed (tried this before) and the slight feathering of Visconti is also not evident.

Looks somewhat similar to RK Salix, but way less dry! Also seems to shade nicely.

Here a closer look at the colour range at different concentration mixes.



Very easy to try, and most other tame blacks should work as well.

Edited by sansenri
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That looks like a seriously nice blue black. A serious improvement on the pure royal blue, to my mind. Enjoy!

a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks


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That looks very nice. I don’t really appreciate royal blue, probably from so many Bic years. Ble blacks are great though

To hold a pen is to be at war. - Voltaire
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It's really worth a try if you have Royal blue bottles piling up. I have several that came with Pelikan pen purchases...

I've been writing with this mixture all day today at the office and it's really a different looking ink, while behaviour strikes me as very good, nice flow, smooth under the nib, even slightly less dry than Royal blue. I've been taking notes in a day long meeting, so frequent pauses with capping and uncapping. Never any hesitation. The pen used is a Visconti Van Gogh (starry night) with a rather stiff but smooth steel nib.


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My mix has been 3 parts Visconti blue and 1 part Visconti black.

To hold a pen is to be at war. - Voltaire
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