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Vintage-Looking Inks or "Slightly Less Saturated Inks That Shade and Are Still Interesting"


CocolsACat
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I've been using fountain pens now for about five years now and feel as though I have gone through quite a few stages in terms of which inks I fancy the most. For a while I really preferred the bold saturated and saturated colors, like Kon-Peki. Then sheening came around. And while I wasn't as much of the fan of the inks the took it to an extreme, I was a fan of inks that caught the light.

 

However, for the past couple of years, I've been moving more and more towards more inks that are slightly less saturated and that shade in interesting ways. I would say this is for two reasons. One, because the work I produce involves pages of writing, colors that aren't as eye-searing are much easier to review pages at a time. Two, I'm being drawn towards inks whose interesting features are more subtle. This is not to say that I am interesting an any ink that is unsaturated, but rather those that require a but of attention to to appreciate how pretty they are.

 

I'm not sure if these are vintage-style inks per-say. While I have read these qualities being attributed to some older inks, I haven't been around long enough to know if what I'm talking about qualifies. Instead, I'll give three examples that I feel speak towards the qualities I have mentioned.

 

Pilot - Blue Black

Raguda - Purple (Warning, hard cleaning ink. Have read people complaining about SITB, but I have not run into this issue.)

Kyo-Iro - Soft Snow of Ohara

Two others that I have been interested in are Noodler's North African Violet and Noodler's Dark Matter, but for personal reasons I have not tried them.

 

I'd be interested if any of you have taken a liking to this style of ink, and if so, which inks you have enjoyed.

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5 hours ago, CocolsACat said:

I'd be interested if any of you have taken a liking to this style of ink, and if so, which inks you have enjoyed.

 

I like most of the Platinum Classic Ink line of iron-gall inks.

 

Many of the lighter Pilot Iroshizuku colours (e.g. Fuyu-syogun, Kiri-same, Ina-ho) shade well, and have surprisingly good water resistance (for light-coloured inks!) besides. If you're after complexity or depth in how an ink shades, I'm sure many of the Sailor Ink Studio line of inks do that well; but, among inks that are more ‘common’ (i.e. cheaper per ml, and not difficult to source), Robert Oster Chicago is quite interesting.

 

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, and 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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Look at Pelikan Edelstein inks for some less saturated, more shade-happy inks.

 

With that said, I use true vintage inks regularly and I don't think it's fair to blanket all of them as "less saturated." I graded the last half of last semester, and will continue through the summer semester, with a Parker 51 filled with Quink Permanent Red. It's from one of the old "Art Deco" style bottles-I don't know exactly when it was made but I doubt newer than the 40s(especially considering that the boxes for these type bottles specifically mention Vacumatics). It's a nice, strong, brick red that is actually strangely elusive in a lot of modern inks.

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You're talking my ink language - except I tend to like mine not slightly, but significantly less saturated. My favorite inks tend to have a soft, relaxed, often grey-leaning, lower-contrast-to-the-page look that doesn't sear your eyes or shout at you but, rather, draws you in, have an organic, integrated look over the whole page, not getting in the way of the written word, while still having an interesting appearance and perfect legibility.

 

As for some brands/makers whose inks tend to be less saturated than most, look at TAG Stationary (some people refer to it as Kyoto TAG; the same brand as the Soft Snow of Ohara you have), Herbin, L'Artisan Pastellier, PenBBS (though they may have more on the saturated side - I'm not sure - there is so much variety and there are plenty less saturated colors to explore), and Robert Oster (again, much variety, but plenty on the less saturated side). Diamine has quite a few too - Vivaldi, Prussian Blue, and Salamander are a handful that come right to mind. There are many more but that's a start.

 

Let us know if you want suggestions for particular colors.

Script nib for writing screenplays. • Fine nib for my best writing. • Extra fine for my *very* best writing. • Medium for requesting a séance. • Bold for adventure stories. • Manifold for many various types of writing. • Coarse for indignant letters. • Oblique for making a point in a roundabout way. • Italic when I'm inclined. • Stub for when I intend to leave a manuscript unfinis

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I got into subtle looking inks by accident, as I sought the right pen for each one.

 

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First row: Vert Empire, Le 4 EF; Hisoku, M205 F; Melon Tea 60 EF.

Second row: Rikyucha, Ambition EF; Hunter Green, 140 F; Chiku Rin, 41 F.

Third row: Ina Ho, Penmanship EF.

 

Hunter Green might not seem very subtle, until you compare it to its extremely dark usual self. Of all these, Hisoku is the only one that is normally very subtle, although a very wet large nib can make it look darker.

 

(Per se).

 

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

 

B. Russell

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I'm not sure I understand the commonality you are thinking of. Softer colors with complexity?

 

I myself like complex colors and prefer good shading. Are you looking for less obvious shaders?

 

Vinta has some great complex colors that tend to be less saturated. Lots of fans of armada for example. I think you would be interested in Lucia as well.

 

For a deliberately vintage feel, organics studio Oscar's copper is a muted orange/brown with great shading and a bit of green sheen. Looks fantastic in a vintage flex nib.

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Pelikan 4001 line of inks. My favorite is Blue Black. 

Brad

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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Birmingham's Fox Squirrel is a nice shading ink that gives me a 'vintage' feel when writing.

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If memory serves member @namrehsnoom, who has written many wondeful reviews here, favours "softer" inks.  You can find those reviews listed here:

https://inkxplorations.wordpress.com/ink-review-index/

 

I'd suggest starting with the above mentioned  L’Artisan Pastellier Callifolio and then the also mentioned TAG Kyoto – kyo-no-oto inks

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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As suggested before, the Stationery TAG Kyo-Iro/No-Oto inks are one route to go.

 

I also found that their brown (Stone Road of Gion) as well as Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz have a nice vintage-y look. 

 

Diamine Indigo might be another suggestion, as it looks quite muted, also Prussian Blue or, switching to greens, Diamine Salamander.

 

Blue-Blacks in general tend to have a classic or even aged look, my favs are Sailor Sou-Boku, KWZ Blue-Black, Lamy Blue-Black.

 

If you prefer more colours, then have a look at Robert Oster's Mud Set (the two rows on the right):

large.303914686_2022-04-09RobertOsterSam

 

I hesitate to recommend Rohrer & Klingner Isatis tinctoria, as this LE is unobtainium, but since you seem to have found Kyo-Iro Soft Snow of Ohara, you have its ink twin already.

 

Bonus/honourable mention: Robert Oster Motor Oil. 

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50 minutes ago, Karmachanic said:

I'd suggest starting with the above mentioned  L’Artisan Pastellier Callifolio and then the also mentioned TAG Kyoto – kyo-no-oto inks

+1 for these recommendations, and I’d add that many of Birmingham Pens inks  (like the Fox Squirrel mentioned above by Mayo) run to the paler side with shading, and quite a few have fair water resistance (unadvertised) as well, and their color range is broad.

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On 6/12/2022 at 10:44 AM, A Smug Dill said:

 

I like most of the Platinum Classic Ink line of iron-gall inks ... Robert Oster Chicago is quite interesting.

 

Robert Oster Chicago looks fascinating as does the Platinum Citrus Black. The Sailor Ink Studio line is just so overwhelming that I haven't taken the time to look through it, but I appreciate this suggestion too.

 

On 6/12/2022 at 11:42 AM, bunnspecial said:

With that said, I use true vintage inks regularly and I don't think it's fair to blanket all of them as "less saturated."

Thank you for this. I tried to be careful not to state outright that vintage inks tended to be less saturated. It's good to hear that this is not always the case.

 

On 6/12/2022 at 2:18 PM, senzen said:

First row: Vert Empire, Le 4 EF; Hisoku, M205 F; Melon Tea 60 EF.

Second row: Rikyucha, Ambition EF; Hunter Green, 140 F; Chiku Rin, 41 F.

Third row: Ina Ho, Penmanship EF.

 

From this one, small image, Hisoku and Melon Tea really stand out to me.

 

On 6/12/2022 at 3:33 PM, dragondazd said:

Vinta has some great complex colors that tend to be less saturated. Lots of fans of armada for example. I think you would be interested in Lucia as well.

 

For a deliberately vintage feel, organics studio Oscar's copper is a muted orange/brown with great shading and a bit of green sheen. Looks fantastic in a vintage flex nib.

I had not heard of Vinta. In some of the photos I'm seeing, where it has a gray-blue-green color, Armada looks fascinating. I am interested in colors that shade well, and tend to be less saturated, but aren't purposefully trying to look like they've been on the page for 50 years. Also, rusted reds tend not to be my thing, but I'd be willing to try a sample of it.

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23 hours ago, Runnin_Ute said:

Pelikan 4001 line of inks. My favorite is Blue Black. 

Thank you!

 

22 hours ago, Mayo said:

Birmingham's Fox Squirrel is a nice shading ink that gives me a 'vintage' feel when writing.

What beautiful bottles. Google is only pulling up one writing sample for this, which unfortunately is not to my taste. I will have to wait to for some other people to post some writing samples. The swab on their website is gorgeous.

 

17 hours ago, Karmachanic said:

If memory serves member @namrehsnoom, who has written many wondeful reviews here, favours "softer" inks.  You can find those reviews listed here:

https://inkxplorations.wordpress.com/ink-review-index/

 

I'd suggest starting with the above mentioned  L’Artisan Pastellier Callifolio and then the also mentioned TAG Kyoto – kyo-no-oto inks

Going through this website is going to take me longer than this reply to get through. Thank you so much.

 

17 hours ago, JulieParadise said:

As suggested before, the Stationery TAG Kyo-Iro/No-Oto inks are one route to go.

 

I also found that their brown (Stone Road of Gion) as well as Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz have a nice vintage-y look.

The shade of Stone Road of Gion didn't grab me, but part of the problem with hunting for inks is that colors in person are never quite what they appear like on screen, even in the best of times. With you suggestion, I will see if I can get a sample of this. Smoky Quartz looks interesting.

 

Thank you to all of you! You have come through with so many great suggestions, and particularly brands, that I hadn't heard of. Tomorrow, I'm going to spend some time digging through the L’Artisan Pastellier Callifolio, TAG beyond Kyo-Iro, and Birmingham lines (thanks, Carrau). I'll come back and post which samples I decided on.

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On 6/12/2022 at 8:33 AM, dragondazd said:

I'm not sure I understand the commonality you are thinking of. Softer colors with complexity?

 

I myself like complex colors and prefer good shading. Are you looking for less obvious shaders?

 

Vinta has some great complex colors that tend to be less saturated. Lots of fans of armada for example. I think you would be interested in Lucia as well.

 

For a deliberately vintage feel, organics studio Oscar's copper is a muted orange/brown with great shading and a bit of green sheen. Looks fantastic in a vintage flex nib.

I love Vinta Lucia.

It's not quite as complex as manyo haha but it is much more useable when writing!

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You might want to try vintage Sheaffer and Parker inks.  If you stick with colors that aren't rare (so no Quink Green, or Sheaffer Skrip Persian Rose, Peacock Blue, or Melon Red), they're usually quite cheap on eBay, etc. 

 

When buying bottles of Peacock Blue (my very favorite turquoise), sellers keep throwing in bottles of Skrip Blue or Black, so I now have quite a lot.

 

 

-- Joel -- "I collect expensive and time-consuming hobbies."

 

INK (noun): A villainous compound of tannogallate of iron, gum-arabic and water,

chiefly used to facilitate the infection of idiocy and promote intellectual crime.

(from The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce)

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