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Ink Evolution - What You Started With, Where You Are Now


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< TL/DR version >

The grass is always greener, they say. We start with a color we think we'll like but often become dissatisfied and try something new. And so it goes. I've gone through 10 dark greens so far, looking for "the best".


> Vert Empire

> Diamine Evergreen

> Tokiwa-matsu


> Miruai


Harmonious Green

> Diamine Dark Forest


> Kobe van Gogh Dark Green


KWZ #3

> Kobe van Gogh Dark Green

GvFC Moss Green


Edited by chromantic

It's hard work to tell which is Old Harry when everybody's got boots on.

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The most extensive experience of mine has been with blue inks.


I started with GvFC Cobalt Blue but used to be picky and disliked it was not fully waterproof and also looked a bit purple. So moved to Asa Gao (somewhat UV resistant and a tiny bit water resistant) and Pilot Blue Black (very water resistant, not UV resistant), then Diamine Sapphire (not UV resistant at all) and Asa Blue (also not resistant), Visconti Blue and quite a few others before I realized that GvFC Cobalt Blue is actually a perfect blue for me.


I did not understand that if I want a low maintenance ink I have to compromise on water resistance and if I want any water resistance and UV resistance at all I usually have to accept a bit of purple (except pigment inks which I prefer to avoid). With GvFC Cobalt Blue I am getting a fully UV proof ink with a decent water resistance while being easy to clean, it is also quite dry but flows very well if that makes sense and since I mainly use Pelikan pens this is exactly what i need.


Now when I am paying extra I want extra behaviour (UV and water resistance + low maintenace + perfect flow), not the colour only. This is the reason why I avoid Edelstein inks despite Tanzanite is appealing, despite it seems to be a great ink I do not want to pay extra for a fader. Honestly if I wanted only the colour I would mix a couple of Diamines and get exactly what I want. In terms of colours you Diemines are simply great and very cheap. However Diamine blue inks are not UV resistant and the same goes for water resistance more or less.

Quite a few GvFC inks worth the money. Maybe they are not as vibrant as some Iro or Diamine but you are getting a real business friendly performance.



Beside this I really like GvFC Midnight Blue. And also Iro Kon-peki, which is of course a different story.



GvFC Cobalt Blue

> Iroshizuku Asa Gao

> Pilot Blue Black


> Diamine Sapphire and Asa

> Visconti Blue, Waterman Blue


> Iroshizuku Asa Gao


> GvFC Cobalt Blue

So... uroboros :)

Edited by aurore
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Oh boy, I've gone through a lot of inks...


I went through a huge teal/turquoise stage, fine tuning, getting samples, getting bottles, etc. The list would be too long to go through, but I've tried at least 20 different teal and turquoise inks in my search. In the end I actually decided that I don't like writing with teal ink! Came as a shock, as it's my favorite color otherwise--just not for ink.


As a general aside on my ink evolution (TLDR: bright and saturated -> saturated and sheen-happy -> muted and diluted versions of hues),


My taste has evolved over time from "I'm just going to buy a few budget inks and be happy--I'm NOT going to get too crazy about it, and my couple of Jinhao pens suit me just fine"

to "hey, how did I get so many inks and pens",

to "I have a lot of inks but only want to use a few specific ones, and the rest stay unused, which bothers me",

to "I think I know what I like, so I'm going to get rid of all of my unused inks and only get that specific type I think I like"


[Not my very first ever, as I'd had some in the past, before I was actually "into" fountain pen inks] first ink was Waterman "Absolute Brown". No longer have but still appreciate it.


Then I got Montblanc Midnight Blue (IG) and Noodler's Aircorp Blue Black (no longer have).


Then I discovered that I can buy samples on-line, and so the collection began...


First I was really into saturated vibrant colors and a lot of sheen and shading, but eventually I decided that I really like those for bullet notes and such, but I really don't want to write with those colors in a journal. Nowadays I'm very much into more faded colors with a lot of shading and some outlining effect, an example favorite being Papier Plume Pecan. I'm heavily influenced by old manuscripts (so browned Iron Gall or old Sepia, Walnut, etc.) and old letters that I've seen in multiple museums across Europe, and I decided that's the aesthetic I wish to maintain. It's also much easier on the eyes when reading older notes vs my notes written in vibrant saturated inks.


My current keepers and favorites are Lamy "Petrol", Papier Plume "Pecan", Birmingham Pen Co. "Boiler Steam Blue Black", Birmingham Pen Co. "Fern Moss", and Iroshizuku "Fuyu-Syogun".

My favorite saturated inks with sheen that are keepers are Colorverse "Dark Energy", Sailor "Tokiwa Matsu" and Sailor "Rikyu-Cha", and Organics Studio "Walden Pond Blue".


I also like my paper to be off-white cream (like Tomoe River white) for those more faded, muted inks and crisp white (like Rhodia dot pad with gray dots) for saturated inks.


PenBBS #178 Rose Quartz is soon going to join my collection of faded looking inks with outlining effect, and I'm putting together an order of samples of various browns (mostly Iron Gall-based) to continue my adventures with old manuscript imitation. Basically my Teal Phase is about to turn into a Brown Phase...

Edited by Intensity

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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I think the two biggest changes in my ink habits were (1) when I realized that colors I like in other contexts aren't necessarily my favorite colors for inks (and conversely, colors I usually wouldn't like could be great as inks), and (2) when I realized I got a lot of enjoyment out of the experience of trying new inks even when I didn't love the ink in particular. My shopping criterion went from "This looks like an ink I'd love" to "Hmm, that looks interesting... I wonder..."


I think the only specific color range that I changed my opinions on dramatically is the dirty/murky green-browns. I used to wonder why anyone would want to use a color that looked like swamp muck, but it turns out I actually find swamp muck quite attractive.

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In my case it's been a question of (a) forming expectations based on what I see online, taking into account the limitations of the medium (no two displays are the same, some colours can be fiendishly difficult to photograph or scan), sometimes erroneously; and ( b ) finding a pen that brings out the best of those inks. It finally dawned on me that wetness is not always desirable, the cellophane hack is now letting me see the best in Vert Empire and Verdigris, while Tsuyu Kusa did require a wetter pen (Pro Gear made wetter). I am now happy with most of my inks, Souten finally looks interesting but doesn't hold a candle to Tsuyu Kusa, Kon Peki is still missing in action, hopefully remedied with an m205 that's on the way. Violette pensée was my one "what was I thinking" moment, and I ended up giving away Myosotis. Oh and my two latest inks are almost identical: Inti, Ambre de Baltique, easily fixed with a drier and a wetter pen.

Edited by pseudo88

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."


B. Russell

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