Three years ago, I took stock of my ever-expanding ink collection. It feels like it’s time to tackle that process again. Here is the full list of ink bottles that I own, most of which are pictured above:
Blaze Orange Damson Imperial Purple Indigo Jet Black Meadow Midnight Monaco Red Oxblood Red Dragon Registrar’s Ink Sepia Everflo
Blue Black Orchid J.
There are many good things to say bout the Goulet Pen Company, but one of them is the degree of care they take in packaging items for shipment. Most bottles of ink are individually wrapped to insure against leakage, then are wrapped in several layers of bubble wrap to prevent them from getting banged around, and then again in plastic wrap to protect them against the elements. As you might expect, I’ve never had any item arrive in a damaged state, despite packages being left in the rain, left in the snow, and left in the rain/snow combination whimsically referred to as a “wintery mix.
When someone gets bitten with the fountain pen bug, they often become overwhelmed by all of the available choices, and then quickly ask a number of questions: What is the difference between a cartridge, a converter, a piston, and a vacuum fill? What’s the difference between a steel and gold nib? Who makes the best ink? What kind of paper do I need? What’s more, where do I get all of this stuff?
De Atramentis Aubergine is a wonderful, juicy purple that is more red than Diamine Imperial Purple, but less so than Iroshizuku Yama Budo. It’s one of those inks that possess a name that’s far more evocative than anything I could come up with. They weren’t kidding when they named it Aubergine. The color fits nicely into the purple family – filling a gap in my ink collection that I didn’t even know existed.
Rohrer and Klingner make wonderful inks – I’ve enjoyed Morinda, a vibrant, juicy candy-red, and Verdigris, a dark, weathered blue-green. I also really liked Scabiosa, a dusky purple, and one of the only non-blue-black iron gall inks that I’ve ever seen. Salix is R&K’s other iron gall ink, and it, too, defies the traditional iron-gall color scheme, though not as significantly as Scabiosa.
Salix goes down on paper a bright oceanic blue and then darkens as it dries.
…or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Noodler’s Black was the very first bottle of fountain pen ink that I purchased. I’d heard people rave about the ink – how smooth it made any pen write, how solid a line it produced, how little it feathered on nearly any surface. When I set out to use it though, I was unimpressed. I reviewed it unenthusiastically, citing its long dry time and lack of character as reasons I didn’t plan to use it frequently.
We writers often struggle with the concept that our words might not survive us. Thousands of artists have produced countless poems and plays and prose over the years, of which but a few remain in the popular consciousness. What will remain of our words when we pass beyond the veil? A poem? A story? Will a collection of ink reviews define my literary existence for future generations? Complicating our ennui is the medium that we choose.
Over the past two years or so, I’ve acquired a lot of ink. The collection above represents my inkventory as of January 2012, not including a rack full of samples. So, I thought I’d catalog my collection just for fun. Below are the bottles of ink that I own, linked to the reviews that I’ve done for each.
Diamine Damson is the color a ninja fruit would wear when trying to sneak into an orchard under the cover of darkness. Named for fruit it resembles, Damson is a dark, dusky plum that turns nearly black when used in a wet-writing pen. In a dry-writing pen, it produces a washed-out gray-purple line. It’s a moderately saturated ink - neither as rich as other Diamine inks, like Imperial Purple, or as light as J.
I’ve received a few requests for recommendations recently, and thought I’d share them with everyone here on Seize the Dave.
First, Nestor asks (via email):
Would you kindly suggest some inks that will not harm my nib or pen, and that will not smear on Moleskines?
Hi Nestor! I’d be happy to. First, I presume that by “not smear” you mean “fully waterproof.” There are a great many inks that are smudgeproof, but few that are truly waterproof.