Goulet Ink Review Format

With over 350 inks at my disposal, I plan to do a lot of ink reviews! Here is a sample review of Lamy Turquoise with an explanation of each of the components of my format:

1) Ink Name– name of the ink being reviewed, size of the bottle it comes in
2) Pen and nib size being used for the review, this will change for each review
3) Paper being used, this will stay constant
4) Smear Test– this is meant to help me determine the dry time of the ink. Of course this varies greatly on the pen, paper, and amount of pressure that I use when writing. This isn’t my favorite test, because it can vary so much, so I’ll use it interpretively to determine my own conclusion about the dry time
5) Drip Test– this test is to determine the water resistance of the ink on paper. It simulates dripping a couple of drops of water, tea, coffee, or whatever on your writing
6) Swab Test– this is to show the degree of saturation and shading of the ink. I do 3 swabs, the first one starting at the 1 and going across the page. The second starts at the 2 and goes across the page, over the previous swab. The 3rd swab is the same as the second, starting at the number 3. You can use these swabs to get an idea of how saturated the ink is, by seeing the difference in the three swabs
7) Dry Time– I estimate the dry time with this pen/paper combo, and come up with a loose interpretation based on my experience as a whole with that ink
8) Saturation– this is the degree of intensity of the color, the more saturated the more vibrant and opaque the color will appear on the paepr. The more saturated the ink, usually the longer it takes to dry and the more effort it takes to clean
9) Water resistance– the drip test about sums this one up, but I wanted to write it out anyway
10) Ease of Cleaning– it’s important to know how easy the ink is to clean out of the pen, so I thought I’d share my experience here
11) Shading– I rate the intensity of the variation in color based on my writing
12) Flow– usually called dry or wet, this refers to the delivery of the ink from the pen’s reservoir to the paper. Dry flow causes lighter color and a thinner line, wet flow causes darker ink and a broader line on the page

I’ve tried time and time again to start up ink reviews and I’ve always built them up into such a daunting project that I am not able to continue them. I’m really hoping that this new limited format will be concise and useful, while also being less of a burden on me to produce. Let me know what you think!

2017-10-12T15:16:49+00:00 July 22nd, 2011|Ink Reviews|15 Comments
  • Thanks, Brian. This will work and I'm excited to read/watch your upcoming ink reviews.

  • I'm glad you like it! I'm happy to take ink review requests, too. I will mainly be doing reviews by whatever ink appeals to me at the moment, but if there are any inks that you are curious about and can't find reviews elsewhere, I'm happy to check them out.

  • Liz_I

    Perfect! Not too long, not too short. Concise, practical and VISUAL. I hope you do whatever ink interests you at the moment. I'm looking forward to getting familiar with inks beyond my own narrow selection and being inspired to try new ones.

  • Sven Opitz

    As I said before, I like the format, especially the swab test and the ease of cleaning.
    Saturation and shading: To me they are not the same thing at all, I have some highly saturated inks that have no shading at all. However shading depends very much on the nib used. For example PR Shoreline Gold, if I write with it with my Pelikan m1000 B nib, I get all colours from almost yellow to a reddish brown, if I use my 1911 music cross nib I have almost no shading, it stays at the reddish brown, because the nib is too wet for shading to occur. So that is a trap to be aware of.
    I have to say, I prefer a high shading ink, because in my opinion it gives more character to the writing.
    I love PR DC Supershow Blue for that reason, even my colleagues noticed the shading immediately and liked it.

    Any ways, what I wanted to say, I am really looking forward to the reviews, as you can't have too many good inks, especially if they are not blue or black.

  • Thank you! There were many variations to this that I toyed with before settling on this format, I am really growing to love it. I can get important info across quickly, and you can easily scan it and see what you need without committing a lot of yourself to it. That was precisely my goal, and I'm eager to get to play with a lot of different inks and show you what I find!

  • You're right, shading and saturation are different, I was just having a hard time coming up with how to explain the difference between the two! Shading does depend greatly on the pen, which is why I will do a lot of interpretation with the review based on the pen I use.

  • HJ

    I like this, you can see the colour and the behaviour of the ink quickly. That said, how accurate is the colour scan? I ask because the scan of the Rhodia dot paper you used for this ink review looks a little pink/purple on my screen, especially compared to the white background of your blog.

  • Freddy77mac

    These ink reviews look perfect.  They are concise, easy to understand, and yet offer a lot of information.  Also, another reason for using different pens each time is that all of us don't have the same pens.  If you always used the same pen and nib and I didn't have that particular set-up then that might get just as boring for me as it would for you.  However, if one of the pens you use happens to be one I have or want to get then the ink review becomes even more valuable.  As you pointed out in the video, it won't be scientifically accurate but I think that, ultimately, the reviews will have more meaning for most of us.  I am looking forward to these reviews. 🙂

  • The color of the ink is my priority. I individually adjust the color of each review after scanning it in. This may throw the paper color off a little bit, but the ink color will be as accurate as I can get it. I'm not really focusing on the adjusted color of the paper, but the ink.

  • Zachurek

    Excellent template for an ink review. There will always be variations for the individual customer as in more or less hand pressure. There are also environmental variations such as altitude and climate. I live ate about 4400 ft elevation in a high plateau desert. Drying time and flow will likely varry for me.
    But this is excellent work and will go along way to help me when purchasing inks, most notably the drip test as water resistance is important to me. IMHO using the same pen will give better comparative results. Something such as a Low-mid level Lamy or other pen that is easily obtainable. I know how my Lamy compares to my other pens. If you choose a kaweco It will not break the bank to have a "standard" to gunge by.
    Whatever you decide, please carry on!

  • Sven Opitz

    I agree, the using the same pen would give better comparative results. However even that doesn't work. Sometimes you need a broad or an extra fine nib, to show some feature of the ink, and even if you got the same pen, you could find out, that your pen is dryer or a gusher, which can kill all shading you saw in the review.

    Also it would be boring to see the exact same lines in all reviews…

  • Yes, there are a lot of factors involved. Elevation, relative humidity, individual writing pressure….there are so many factors that it's nearly impossible to have an all-encompassing review, which is why I'm avoiding going that direction. Whenever you see my review, you should take into account all of the factors involved.

    I know that using the same pen over and over would in theory be better for comparing one in to another, but there are still factors that change slightly from review to review. If I'm trying to make my reviews as consistent as possible, that gets pretty darn boring for me and everyone else. So I'm taking a different route. If I can keep my own interest in doing these reviews, then I'll be more likely to continue doing them. The way I see it, it's either reviews like I have here, or none at all (at least from me).

    All that said, I actually feel really good about my reviews, and I'll continue cranking them out for everyone's enjoyment.

  • Exactly, Sven! Ink Nouveau is here to entertain as well as inform, and I want to keep things interesting (for everyone, including myself!).

  • The only other thing that I could think of that would make these reviews a tiny bit better, is a description of the colour itself… that could depend on how poetic/artistic you are… but I've found that no matter how well calibrated monitors and scanners and cameras are, you can never get a really good idea of the colour.
    Here's the sort of thing I mean – I put some J.Herbin Rouge Opera into my Lamy Joy today, and I also used it for some Gothic calligraphy with my dip pen.
    Rouge Opera is really well named, because it reminds me of the red velvet curtains and seats you get in really nice theatres. It's a soft, luxurious red. It leans more towards the blue than orange, but it's definitely not purple. For me it conjures up images of a red rose, or a pair of luscious lips with red lipstick – a soft, velvety, lustable red. 😀

    (Or I could just be crazy, lol)

  • That's a good suggestion Renae! I'll try to be a little more eloquent in my color descriptions, but I have to warn you, I'm a fairly to-the-point kind of guy, so I will likely not be able to work in words like luscious and lustable with a straight face!