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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tell me what you want in an ink review

I am getting ready to start really cranking out some ink reviews. I've been back and forth about how to actually do them, though. The way my mind works, I tend to want to go waaaay overboard, to the point where I build it into such a project that it becomes too overwhelming and I never end up having the time to do it! So it needs to be simple.

I know that when you see an ink review, the first thing you do is go around and try to find reviews that a bunch of other bloggers have done on the same ink. What I want to know is:

1) What is it that's missing from other ink reviews that you'd like to see?
2) What is it that you really like in other ink reviews that you'd like to see in mine?

Telling me what you want to see is only going to help all of us! Here's the basic layout I was thinking of doing for my reviews:
  • Writing on my favorite, most consistent paper, Clairefontaine Triomphe, just a sampling really, something like an A5 sheet's worth
    • Keep it simple, write the pen, ink, and paper name, maybe my favorite quotes or Bible verses or something like that
  • Have 4 main sections to the review:
    • 'Good'- write what's good about the ink, performance, the bottle, price, etc, in very practical and 'non scientific' terms
    • 'Bad'- write what's bad about it, same fashion as the 'good'
    • 'The Deal'- give my bottom line summary of the ink, with suggestions about it's best use
    • Rating- I give one of 3 ratings:
      • Dump- the ink sucks, and you should dump it out of your pen immediately
      • Drawer- the ink is good, but doesn't have a practical everyday use. You'll want to keep it on hand to pull out from time to time, but not keep it inked up all the time
      • Devour- You'll want to load the ink into a garden hose because you'll love it so much
  • Pictures- there will obviously be good pictures, as well as a good scan of my writing. Pics of the bottle, pen I used, and the paper, etc.
  • Swabs- I'll use the same swabs I have on my swab shop to give comparison colors as well as complementary colors.
That's what I'm basically thinking for the layout for reviews. Eventually, I'd like to do reviews of the 280+ (and growing!) inks I carry, so having them be relatively simple will be key for me. If you've been following me at all lately, you know my time is quite limited. I have the general feeling it would be more beneficial to post 2-4 brief ink reviews a week than 1 crazy comprehensive review a month (or longer!). What do you think?

10 comments:

  1. I like most everything you listed above. After the Good and Bad and Deal segments, I'm not certain that a rating is really needed. Pictures are great and of course the swab. If I had any suggestions it would be to give us sample writings on several different papers, shades of paper and types of papers. To me, that's really an important aspect is to see how the ink reacts on the paper I'm using rather then just the one type of paper above.
    Thanks for all the hard work Brian. It's appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would suggest that all reviews include:

    Amount of show through/bleed through on Moleskine paper.

    Time/difficulty in flushing from a identified pen.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Smear tests, bleed/feathering, multiple q-tip passes to see how the color change/darkens with each layer

    ReplyDelete
  4. The one thing I would like to see is writing with different nib sizes.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Pictures are a must! Drying time, smear tests, flow, lubricity, shading, and water fast test can all be done on your favorite paper. I would prefer that feathering, bleed-through, and show-through be tested on 20 lb. multi-purpose/copier paper. Other than that I would like your general observations after using the ink.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I second the feathering/bleed on normal cheap paper test. While I love to use good quality Clairefontaine, at work this isn't always possible, so I need to know which inks are able to write on standard papers without problems. A fine and broad nib would be great, and other than that your ideas sound good!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'd like to add water tests and a comparison to two-three "standard" ink colors. Inks that most people are likely to know the color of even if they don't use the ink, like waterman blue-black and florida blue. In the same vein, I can't remember who it is on FPN that does it, but they pick the color that gives the best representation of the ink on their monitor in MS Paint and screenshot it. That one's only useful if you've bothered to color correct your monitor though, and you have a video card with a good calibration program.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'd like to add water tests and a comparison to two-three "standard" ink colors. Inks that most people are likely to know the color of even if they don't use the ink, like waterman blue-black and florida blue. In the same vein, I can't remember who it is on FPN that does it, but they pick the color that gives the best representation of the ink on their monitor in MS Paint and screenshot it. That one's only useful if you've bothered to color correct your monitor though, and you have a video card with a good calibration program.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Smear tests, bleed/feathering, multiple q-tip passes to see how the color change/darkens with each layer

    ReplyDelete
  10. I like most everything you listed above. After the Good and Bad and Deal segments, I'm not certain that a rating is really needed. Pictures are great and of course the swab. If I had any suggestions it would be to give us sample writings on several different papers, shades of paper and types of papers. To me, that's really an important aspect is to see how the ink reacts on the paper I'm using rather then just the one type of paper above.
    Thanks for all the hard work Brian. It's appreciated.

    ReplyDelete

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