I love all types of pens

I love fountain pens and all types of pens and pencils, each had a place in my writing instrument universe.

Fountain pens are for writing in my journal, when I want to share my deepest thoughts and want to handwrite at length, the fountain pen is the thing. I like to use different pens as my hand gets tired easily, differences in barrel width, nib drag on paper and ease or difficulty in creating the line on paper all factor into my decisions on which pen to use.

For many years I’ve been working on improving my handwriting and have practiced calligraphy to facilitate this effort. Now there are so many more resources on the web, it’s a joy to explore. Gaining access to flexible nibs with their super expressive line widths such as the Montblanc 244 or the the Namiki Falcon Metal soft fine nib are fabulous. I’ve discovered the varied line widths found in the oblique nibs in the Pelikan M800, M400 and vintage 140. I’ll do write up on the Montblanc, Namiki Falcon and Pelikan in the future.

A partial list of the pens in the photos: Pilot M90, Tornado Retro pencil for Sudoku, brown Platinum, Platinum PG-200 (the short fountain pen with the pink barrel), Pilot with Arabeque designs on the cap and barrel, two Platinum Sterling Silver with 18kt white gold nibs, four more PG-200s (I use different colors in each pen and match the barrel color, Pilot PG-200 type in White with Pansy flowers on the cap, another Platinum with stripes and vines, leaves and flower designs in a band on the cap, this one has an 18 kt gold nib, Namiki Vanishing Point, Cross roller ball, Waterman Carene, Cross ball point, Pilot H1076, Sheaffer Targa, Waterman cartridge fill and multi-lead pencil for highlighting.

Why so many types you might ask? Each one is useful for a different purpose, I use the pencils for sketches or if I really need to write with an instrument that has no drag on the paper and need to write fast. The downside of pencils is their line is impermanent and doesn’t copy well. However, if I’m doing a pen and ink drawing, often I’ll use a pencil for the preliminary sketch.

You can probably see the photos of part of my collection that I use and own, “gasp” rollerball, pencil and ball point writing instruments. Sometimes you need a pen that can write on soft paper, like Moleskins or copy paper, ball points are great. When I write a check, I use a ball point pen as I have duplicate checks and need to press a little harder. Happily, check writing is nearly becoming a thing of the past. Rollerballs are great because they often have a wider, more expressive line. The durability of the written word with the ball point pens are rarely matched by roller balls, gel pens or fountain pens. Sometimes, I’ll discover my calligraphy practice sheet has wet paw prints from my buddy, Chaz.

Part of my collection

Part of my collection

Close-up of the collection

Close-up of the collection

More of the collection

More of the collection

A good day for the blues

blue ink comparison

blue ink comparison

I’m often somewhat blue and so have an affinity for blue inks.  I also like blue gems, clothes, blue skys and just plain blueness.  Oh, you were wanting me to get to the ink review.

I have loads of blue inks and many of them are my go to inks during my work day.  Hey, do you really want to explain why you’re using Catus Fruit Eel during a meetng at work?  No, it’s better just to day in the blue zone, is much easier to stay in the shadows.

My first example on this page is Waterman Blue in the Waterman Cartridge.  Now don’t turn your nose up at fountain pen cartridges.   Some ink versions only show up in the cartridges.  This one is a fine true blue that is middle of the road but an excellent reliable performer.  When I want a pen that will work on the first try with no skipping, I choose my Waterman Carene with a fine point 18 kit nib .  With the Waterman blue cartridge, there is nothing more reliable and well, sedate.

I have a really nice vintage 1960 or so, Parker 21 loaded with Private Reserve DC Electric Blue.  This ink has a secret, it shines with a ruddy sheen on the page expecially on a non-asorbent paper like this Rhodia La Gamme, 80 gram, High Grade Vellum Paper.  The ink color is a dark saturated blue.  Very nice performer in pens, is a little on the wet side.

Eclat de Saphir has long been one of my favorite blue inks.  I thought I love another J. Herbin ink better, Blue Myosotis.  No this ink is darker, a hint more purple and is way more saturated..  As it is a J. Herbin ink it’s nicer in my pens, rinses out well and is such a good all-round dark blue ink that I use it in many pens at a time.  Here I have it in my Platinum Sterling Silver pen with an 18 kit nib that is slightly flexy.

The next ink is the Isoshizuku Ku-jaku (Peacock).  I fell in love with this greenish blue as soon as I tried a sample.  I’ve loaded it into several pens and in the Montblanc 224, 14 kt nib, the color is not showing any shading.  However with my Pilot Elite it shades, and shades as you can see on the page.

Next up is my Namiki Vanishing Point (blue and silver) with J. Herbin Bleu Pervence.  It’s a bright light blue that transports you to field of periwinkle blue flowers.  J. Herbin inks are easy to rinse out of pens, are neither wet nor too dry.  What’s not to love?

Caran d’Ache Carribean is the prettiest blue  green that brings to mind the beautiful blue greens of tropical seas.  I was able to witness the astonishing color of the tropical ocean in Hawaii last summer and this ink is of that color family.  Why aren’t I in Hawaii right now?  I have no real answer to that question.  I am yearning for a warm sunny day on the islands.  Oh, back to the review,  the pen, I found a vintage Pilot that has the most flexible 14 ktnib for a tiny little pen and nib, in silver and tourquoise blue.

At a local office supply store, not the big box kind, a local Olympia store that’s been in business for over twenty years, I found a cache of great inks and pens.  They stock Parker Quink ink and so to support them and to enrich my ink supply I bought blue and black inks.  I loaded my Montblanc white Noblesse with the blue ink.  It performed well in the pen, a middle of the road blue ink with no green tones.  I’d like it if this nib had a little more flex and so might take it to a nib meister for some tuning.  A nice medium blue ink with a very good fountain pen.

I was watching Steven Brown of Fountain Pen Geeks review a blue ink.  He moaned, or said, though I think it was a little moany, isn’t there a blue ink that shades?  Steven, I found an ink that shades beautifully.  It’s the one of our oldest brands of inks, Sheaffer, and a surprising modest color, blue black.  It shades in the most amazing way in my Pelikan Souveran M800 with a 1.1 mm Greg Minuskin nib.  I was so happy to discover that this ink shades.  Honestly, I somehow ended up with two bottle of this ink and was not impressed with the color.  It’s a little subdued, I like bright inks, but now it has this special property and has wormed its way into my heart.  The Pelikan Souveran is amazing too.

Private Reserve Black Magic Blue caught my attention as I like a bright blue and wanted one with a really dark tone.  This ink manages to do both with lots of style.  I have it here in my new to me Waterman Carenes Meridian stub 1.1 18 kt nib.  It doesn’t shade at all because it’s too dark and saturated.   However, it just jumps off the page with it’s blueness and richness.  I love the 1.1 stub pens because that thick and thin line is so pretty.  If you have an ink that shades, the stub will bring it out.  I also think a pen with a high performing nib and pretty ink will make your penmanship more beautiful, look what they’ve done for mine.

On to one of the most controversial inks in my collection, Noodler’s Baystate Blue.  If you want an ink that will knock your socks off with blueness, this is the one for you.  Be careful though, it’s a bit on the acidic side.  I advise not putting it in vintage pens.  I have it in my Pilot M90, a modern pen with a modern ink sac and it’s made of stainless steel, one tough pen.  Even so, I’ll likely rinse it out after a few days.  Better safe than sorry.   Look at the samples of this color on this page an other users.  It’s an amazing vibrant blue ink.   Here’s Nathan Tardiff talking about his ink Baystate Blue http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOws7QsdQMM

Ink comparisons, Let’s go pink!

I’be been trying lots of colors in my fountain pens, going through the color wheel in inks. 

In the pinks I’m starting J. Herbin Larmes de Cassis (Tears of the Black Currant), which is actually a dark burgundy.  This ink is one of my go to inks.  It behaves well in fountain pens, doesn’t dry in the pen too quickly.  Rinses out well and is a yummy color.

Next to it is De Atramentis Strawberry, this color is a nice medium red with a hint, a breath of orange.  Just enough to remind you of the blush of red that rests on the surface of those lovely summer berries.

 J. Herbin Rouge Bourgogne is a bright pink that shades well and like al the J. Herbin ink behaves well in fountain pens.  I liked it so well I used it twice in this sample.

I was introduced to Larmes  Noodler’s Rachmaninoff.   This ink is heavy on preciptants so I rinsed it out of my Platinum PG-200 soon after I wrote this sample.  It was clogging my pen.

De Atramentis Dianthus in my Sheaffer Demonstrator with an M8 nib is such a nice bright deep pink.  I been using this ink from tiny ink sample vials and I think I’ll have to buy a whole bottle.  It behaves well in pens, flows smoothly and I just love this color.

Once I rinsed out and dried the pen that had Rachmaninoff, I loaded Noodler’s Hellfire.  This ink is so light on paper, I think it is meant to be used as a highlighter ink.  It is a little dry in the pen so I’ll rinse it out soon. 

Private Reserve Arabian Rose in my Namiki Vanishing Point Medium Nib.  When I wrote this sample, I was surprised to see the nib flex just a little so it showed me that this ink does shade.  I’m remembering this once I improve my pen collection with more pens that have flexible nibs!

Noodler’s Saguaro Wine, if you love a rich pink that has plenty of saturation and shades toward blue, ooo baby this ink is the one for you!  It does shade a tiny bit.  This ink behaves well in pens, rinses out well and lays down well on the paper.

Noodler’s Catus Fruit Eel flows well.  It is an eel  ink after all, Noodler’s formulated these inks to increase their flow ability.  It’s a little brighter that Saguaro Wine and is such a great color.  This ink is a favorite of mine. 

Iroshizuku Yam-budo (Crimson Glory Vine) is less bright that Saguaro Wine or Catus Fruit Eel.  It has just a hint of duskyness that I like.  All the Iroshizuku inks be outstanding performers in pens, beautiful colors and behave well in my fountain pens.scan0001