Ink Tests Part 1: Fountain Pen Inks

Last week, I tested out some of our ink range with paintbrush, fountain pen and calligraphy nibs.

The inks I tried out, shown in Figure 1, were:

Figure 1: Photo of fountain and calligraphy inks tested and equipment used.

My brush was straight out of the packet and a bit stiff, as you can tell from the writing, but what a gorgeous colour is Herbin’s Bleu Calanque! I loaded my fountain pen with it – and left it there. I’m writing in Bleu Calanque now because I love it so much. It’s dark enough to show up well, and I have a bit of a thing for teal.

Figure 2: Using a brush and fountain pen to write with Herbin Bleu Calanque.

The brush had been rinsed by the time I used it with the Pilot blue and Iroshizuku cherry blossom inks, so it was softer and worked a bit better (Figure 3). The Pilot blue ink is what I usually use in my fountain pen and have refilled with it many times – the bottle still looks full! It’s a nice blue and seems to work well.

Figure 3: The results of writing with the paintbrush with all three writing inks.

The Iroshizuku ink made really nice pink words with the brush. I tried it with the Brause Rose nib even though it may be a little runnier than ideal, not being calligraphy ink, and liked the reddish-pink result. When I put some in my fountain pen, it seemed quite light (Figure 4), but it may not be a feature of the ink…

I rinsed the black ink out first so as not to contaminate it and maybe had water mixing with it. Also, it may just be more suitable for a fountain pen with a wider nib. My fountain pen is apparently a fairly boring kind of nib that is good for beginner fountain pen users and makes quite fine lines.

Figure 4: More writing with the Iroshizuku cherry blossom in my fountain pen (Pilot MR3).

Figure 5: Writing with refilled fountain pen in cherry blossom.

I actually think I’ll experiment with artistic ways of using fountain pen ink, after seeing how the gorgeous pink colour of the Iroshizuku hana-ikada comes out with brush and dip pen! I’m wondering if ink like this in lighter colours might work really well with a wider nib, such as those in this Brause nib set, or a glass pen, too! I wonder how it would look when used in this refillable Herbin rollerball pen?

UPDATE February 2023: I refilled my fountain pen again with the cherry blossom (hana-ikada) ink without rinsing, and the result is shown in Figure 5. The more I write with it after a rest of a few days, though, I think I do have some black ink contamination but I quite like the effect! Definitely worth looking at using the dip pens or having more than one fountain pen if you want to use a mix of darker and lighter inks though…

As for the calligraphy ink…I tested that with my Brause Rose nib and music nib…and wow, I could tell it’s specially designed for use with calligraphy nibs. That’s not surprising of course, but…I will do a detailed blog post about this soon. I’d like to practice with it to do it justice, seeing I’m such a novice calligrapher!

Let us know which of our calligraphy and fine writing products you would like us to test and review, or any questions you have about any of these products!

Also, if you’ve used any of them, we’d love to hear your experiences/opinions!

Anna Moore has written 32 articles

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