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My Year In Ink - 2019

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My Year in Ink - 2019

I've used quite a few inks this year, but the ones I reviewed were also the ones that got more extensive usage in multiple pens. I enjoyed writing with all of them, but some I preferred more than others. In this end-of-year comparison I will show off my inks of 2019, and select my top 3 in multiple categories. Enjoy.. and maybe you'll even find an ink you weren't aware off, but that ticks the right boxes and yearns to be added to your collection ;-)

Category 1 : most beautiful writing ink

Inks are first and foremost meant to be used for writing in fountain pens. Here I select the top 3 inks that I loved most for personal journaling. This proved to be more difficult than I thought, because I enjoyed quite a number of the inks that ended up in my pens. Below I present swabs & writing samples (in B-nib) of all 22 inks.


And the winners are:

  1. Mont Blanc Rudyard Kipling Jungle Green
  2. Papier Plume Mardi Gras Indians Purple
  3. Mont Blanc Velvet Red

The Rudyard Kipling ink kept growing on me. I liked it on first use, sure, but went back over and over again to this ink when filling up pens. And the more I used it, the more I liked it. Definitely a winner. A pity that this is an LE ink - once the bottle is empty, it'll be gone forever. Mardi Gras Indians Purple is a really nice deep dark-purple that is one of Papier Plumes' best (almost on par with Bayou Nightfall, which I like even more). Great ink for journaling.Third place proved to be a difficult choice: Mont Blanc Petrol Blue and J.Hebin Vert Empire were also strong contenders. After some soul-searching, I decided to go with Velvet Red. Overall the Mont Blanc inks I used this year proved to be great writing inks - 3 out of 5 if you count the runners-up to the top three.

Worst of the bunch: Robert Oster Green Olive. Totally not meant to be a writing ink, not even in juicy pens. It simply is too light to be useful.

Category 2 : lovely dissection

Inks are built from dyes, and can differ greatly in complexity. When doing a chromatography, you get two results: you get to see how easily the dyes dissolve in water, plus you get an idea of the component dyes that are used for constructing the ink. Useful information, but these chromas are also beautiful objects of art on their own. Here I select the top 3 inks with the most lovely chroma.


And the winners are:

  1. Papier Plume Mardi Gras Indians Purple
  2. Robert Oster 1980 Dusky Pink
  3. Mont Blanc Jungle Green

Worst of the bunch: Callifolio Bleu Azur. Seems to be a single-dye ink - not much to look at in the chroma.

Category 3 : artsy experiment

With every ink review, I try to do an "inkxperiment" where I have some fun with the ink while making a more or less abstract drawing. Some of these worked well, others less so. But all of them were fun to do, and allowed me to stretch my drawing skills. Here I select the top 3 inks with the most successful inkxperiment (in my personal opinion). Inks are obviously for writing, but are also excellent material for watercolour style drawing. I've found that these inkxperiments show quite well what can be achieved with the inks in a more artistic setting.


And the winners are:

  1. Lamy Petrol
  2. Robert Oster Green Olive
  3. Callifolio Bordeaux

Lamy Petrol is a really dark teal, and worked wonderfully well for stick-figure drawing on rough watercolour paper. I really liked the outcome of this inkxperiment. Green Olive is useless as a writing ink, but yellow inks are often great for drawing - as seen in this inkxperiment. You get a broad spectrum from light-yellow to dark yellow-orange with full saturation. Really nice, and a fun inkxperiment. Callifolio Bordeaux resulted in a landscape drawing that worked quite well. The ink colour itself is not my thing though.

Worst of the bunch: Mont Blanc Velvet Red. This is a wonderful writing ink, but I found it a difficult ink to draw with.

I've enjoyed myself immensely doing these ink reviews. And there are still lots of inks on my shelf to continue doing ink reviews in 2020. I continue to be surprised by the broad variety of inks that are available for us to enjoy. Great job and a big thank you to all ink makers across the globe! Let's keep our fingers crossed, and hope that 2020 will bring us some other great new inks to play around with.

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Thanks for taking the time for this, it beautifully demonstrates different ways to enjoy ink.

Happy 2020 !!

Pens: Conid Kingsize Bulkfiller (2)
Inks: Diamine Raw Sienna - Diamine Burnt Sienna - GvFC India Red - KWZ Dark Brown - Iroshizuku Yama-Guri

MB Homage to Hadrian

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Beautiful, thoughtful, and informative. Thank you for this, and for all the other reviews with which you've enchanted us throughout the year.


I do appreciate your point about yellow inks. This year I bought only two inks, R & K Aubergine and Sailor Kobe Taisanji Yellow. The yellow I thought I might use in my Pelikan 140 (fine or extra fine, nib not marked) during summer, when the hills in California are golden with dry grasses, but the line was too pale to be legible, so sometime in October I put it into a Lamy Safari medium. It was still too pale to be legible, so I haven't used it much until recently, when after two months in the pen, it has concentrated enough to produce a line I can comfortably read.

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And thanks, namrehsnoom, for all your wonderful reviews!

Edited by Sailor Kenshin

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~ namrehsnoom:


What a refreshingly vibrant post to conclude 2019!

Thank you for posting it, and thank you for your outstanding ink reviews.

I've especially benefitted from your comments about each L’Artisan Pastellier Callifolio inks.

Happy Writing and Sketching in 2020!

Tom K.

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~ namrehsnoom:


After returning to re-read your post, I was surprised to find that seven of the inks you illustrated at the top are on my writing desk.

I think of my inks as being few in number, yet we share several in common.

Both Montblanc William Shakespeare Velvet Red and Montblanc Kipling Jungle write so well for me that I have multiple bottles of each.

Again, warmest thanks for your insightful, creative ink posts.

Tom K.

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I enjoyed your whole post. I really like your ink drawings a lot. I almost guessed all 3 you chose as winners.


I like reading your ink reviews, and seeing the drawing in each.

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Outstanding! Thank you for taking the time to do this. Your excellent year end review is making me consider which were my favorite inks and why.

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today




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