inkswabsinkswabsINKSWABS!!!!

While most dads were watching the US Open or drinking beer while manning the grill, I was doing ink swabs for every ink I have on hand. That’s right, over 170 ink swabs on both white and ivory paper. Technically, it was over 400 swabs. Whew! But I did it for you all, because I want to try to bridge the gap as much as possible from the ink in my hands to what you see with your eyes.

Since inks look differently on white and ivory paper, I decided to do a swab on both colors of paper, to give you an idea of what each ink will look like on your own preference of paper. The paper than I standardized for these swabs is Clairefontaine Pollen 210g cards. Why? Because the pure color of the paper will show true representations of the ink, and the thicker cardstock will be durable enough to withstand an ink swab without puckering, as well as all of the handling I’ll be doing for each of my ink reviews ongoing. This Pollen cardstock is not something I regularly carry, but is something Exaclair regularly imports that I can special order anytime. I bought full size sheets and cut them down to cards about 2″x2.25″.

I have 6 brands of ink in all: J. Herbin, Caran d’Ache, Diamine, Sheaffer, Pelikan, and Private Reserve. Since I like to have the full line, this comes to over 170 different colors across the brands. There are a lot of similar colors across brands, so having the swabs makes it very easy to show a quick and dirty comparison. Some brands have more colors than others, as you can see from the size of their stacks!

I know that Q-tip swabs are not always very accurate to how an ink is going to look in a pen. However, inking up my pen 170 times is going to take a while for me to accomplish! Just check out all of the severed Q-tip heads I went through!!!

So what I decided to do was make a compromise, and use my J. Herbin Glass Dip Pen to write the brand and name of the ink on each swab. This shows what the ink looks like in writing form (much like a wet-writing broad nib would do) next to the swab.

These swabs are not the ultimate end-all-be-all for my ink comparisons, but they will certainly help to give you an idea of colors, especially because some of them REALLY don’t look like what I thought they would by the names alone! Look for a lot of comparisons over the next couple of weeks. Not only will I be focusing a lot on doing different ink reviews, but I’ll be assembling packages of ink samplers based on colors, too! Be sure to check back here frequently!

All inks brands you see here available at The Goulet Pen Company, in full-size bottles and 2ml sample bottles.

2017-10-03T16:15:13+00:00 June 21st, 2010|Uncategorized|14 Comments
  • A job beautifully done! What diligence! Even the Q-tips are a work of art.

    Don't you also find that the colour of the ink cannot be accurately depicted on a photo? I had to take several photos before I was happy with the result – and still didn't compare with the real thing.

  • What a great idea, and a lot of work! Thanks Brian for making it easier for us to select our inks.

  • Yes, it's true that it's darn near impossible to get an accurate color rendition in a picture, but I'll do the best I can. When I do more detailed reviews, I plan to take my pictures with a greyscale card, so you can set your computer monitor to the exact settings that mine are. That's about the best that we can do on the computer! If you're still unsure, that's why I offer the ink samples on GouletPens.com, so you have several options before deciding to purchase a full bottle of ink.

  • Tortoise

    Wow! That's really going all out for your customers! What a cool thing to do!

  • Thanks Tortoise 😉 I really am trying to go all out. I hope to do a swab comparison, something inspired by what I saw on the UK site The Writing Desk: http://www.thewritingdesk.co.uk/showproduct.php?brandlink=&cat=ink&subr= I want to do an interactive swab comparison, I haven't quite figured out exactly what it'll be yet.

  • This is fantastic – what an effort an thought you've put into this – amazing! I'll look forward to see them 😀

  • Seriously, i love this idea! Searching around for classic Caran d'Ache colors for a blog post, I found this. If you don't mind, I will adopt this on an online store. You made my day! 🙂

  • @Stilus, you're welcome to take the idea and do your own swabs, that's fine. I just ask that they please be your own swabs and not the ones I have done for myself. They're a lot of work 😛

  • Hi Brian,

    sure, I wont steel your work! Wondering if companies like Caran d'Ache (we are just a small german reseller) are interrestet in your work?

    Keep up the good work! Best regards from Germany.

  • Hi Brian,

    sure, I wont steel your work! Wondering if companies like Caran d'Ache (we are just a small german reseller) are interrestet in your work?

    Keep up the good work! Best regards from Germany.

  • @Stilus, you're welcome to take the idea and do your own swabs, that's fine. I just ask that they please be your own swabs and not the ones I have done for myself. They're a lot of work 😛

  • Yes, it's true that it's darn near impossible to get an accurate color rendition in a picture, but I'll do the best I can. When I do more detailed reviews, I plan to take my pictures with a greyscale card, so you can set your computer monitor to the exact settings that mine are. That's about the best that we can do on the computer! If you're still unsure, that's why I offer the ink samples on GouletPens.com, so you have several options before deciding to purchase a full bottle of ink.

  • What a great idea, and a lot of work! Thanks Brian for making it easier for us to select our inks.

  • A job beautifully done! What diligence! Even the Q-tips are a work of art.

    Don't you also find that the colour of the ink cannot be accurately depicted on a photo? I had to take several photos before I was happy with the result – and still didn't compare with the real thing.