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Fitting ink/color for a condolences card?



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The mother of one of my good friends is sadly reaching the end of her life, and I’m preparing to write a card for my friend to express my condolences.

 

I would love to hear input on what might be considered an appropriate ink for this kind of card (it’ll be mostly, if not entirely, my writing without images on the card). Ideally, the color would recognize the gravity of the situation while also being comforting and tender. 
 

Also, I would certainly welcome suggestions on a blank card/envelope that is fountain pen friendly, as well.

 

Thank you!

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silverlifter

Sailor Sei-boku: dark enough to be sombre and serious, but with enough colour to convey a warmth of feeling and empathy. It is also permanent, so will withstand tears.

Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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A Smug Dill
12 minutes ago, silverlifter said:

Sailor Sei-boku: dark enough to be sombre and serious,

 

That kind of dark bluish teal is the colour of the interior of funeral halls in (at least southern) Chinese culture; so it's definitely sombre.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Any black will do.

Good choices are Pilot, J Herbin (Perle Noire), Pelikan, Waterman, Sailor, Parker....

 

Great dark blues are J Herbin Bleu des Profondeurs and Diamine Oxford Blue.

 

Nice colours are also Pilot Blue Black, Sailor Blue and J Herbin Bleu Nuit (these three are almost all the same colour).

 

Sailor Sei-Boku is a pigment ink, I think Sou-Boku is a better choice. With pigment inks in any case don't ever let them dry in your pen, so be careful about that.

 

It depends where you are, good brands offering blank paper cards (single or double) are French G Lalo and German Rössler.

 

Edit: You also get matching envelopes with the two brands I mentioned, in some cases as set and in some bought seperately.

 

Original Crown Mill (Belgian) also has nice sets.

 

Smythson (UK) has nice stationery, but they are outrageously priced.

 

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sgphototn

When I've received written condolence notes over many years the ones I kept and most appreciated were very simple.  The Hallmark type where a printed 'message' was displayed then an added signature wasn't among them. Buying Hallmark cards is easy and a toss-off. 

 

It was a handwritten note of honest feelings, whether one line or twenty, that touched me with genuine empathy of time taken rather than money spent.

 

Just write a simple note, use black or dark-blue ink. That will be truly appreciated.

 

 

"Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife." Groucho Marx
 

 

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If the condolence is being written to a close friend, I think you have a bit more latitude than with a more casual friend, and dark purples or purple-blacks and dark greens/green-blacks would work as well.

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@sombrueilI'm sorry to hear that. :(

 

May I ask, what colour do you find this to be? I bought some and it pretty much just looks black with a fairly wet nib on Clairefontaine. I haven't tried it in other pens yet. Thanks.

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A Smug Dill

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Blimey, dunno how you managed to find that so fast! Mine does not look very much like Yamadori did in the same pen.

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sombrueil

My Twilight is one shade darker than Yamadori, but clearly a black teal, not black.

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I have read (on this site and elsewhere, but I haven’t confirmed if it is true) that, in Japanese tradition, grey ink is used for condolence letters/cards. Apparently it represents standard black ink diluted by tears.

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2 hours ago, goodpens said:

I have read (on this site and elsewhere, but I haven’t confirmed if it is true) that, in Japanese tradition, grey ink is used for condolence letters/cards. Apparently it represents standard black ink diluted by tears.

Indeed, someone shared that in a thread on ink etiquette I once started:

 

>>

In Japan, gray is often used in funeral- related purposes.

 

Even in this day and age, all the funeral-related stuff are printed in gray, and it is possible to buy a special "fude" writing brush with gray ink already in it. Those who are attending a funeral has to bring a "funeral gift" money in a special envelope, and the front and back of the envelope are supposed to be written with a gray ink, using a brush... (The whole thing is super-culturally-loaded to explain fully, but hope you got the idea.)

 

Back in the days, people had to grind solid "sumi" ink to make it liquid, and it takes forever to make it nice and dark black. The message of using the gray ink is to convey that the sender is so consumed by grief that they have no strength even to come up with black ink. Others also have to respond by implying that they, too, are overcame by grief.

 

So- yea, Iroshizuku Fuyu-Shogun can be considered a funeral color.... I do have gray ink, but I never use those when writing to a Japanese pen pal. Most people, especially those who are in younger generation don't care, but just in case....

<<

 

 

 

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I'm thinking any black or dark blue. It fits with the use of black for bad news and mourning  in the West, though not necessarily for ink. Can't help with the card, since most seem to be glossy these days. Most envelopes seem to take ink well, since they're not glossy.

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sgphototn

Whatever you choose remember it's a condolence card, not the place to call attention to anything other than the sentiment.

"Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife." Groucho Marx
 

 

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