Noodler’s Blue Nose Bear Ink Review

Link to YouTube for more viewing options.

Nathan Tardif is at it again, creating his third ink in the Black Swan series. He has his own video on the ink here, it’s a worthy watch! Though Blue Nose Bear doesn’t have a Black Swan in its name (thank goodness, it’s confusing enough just with Australian Roses and English Roses!), it certainly has the characteristics that make in a Black Swan. This ink is a teal blue color, with a halo of sky blue. Nathan designed this ink to have an increased amount of halo compared to the other inks, and he has most certainly achieved it.

The ship on the bottle is the Bluenose schooner, which is on the Canadian dime (and some stamps) and was the fastest racing ship in the world in its hayday. You can read more about here. Winnipeg the bear, pictured on both sides of the bottle, was the bear that Winnie the Pooh was created after as well as the mascot for a Canadian Cavalry Regiment. The bear was owned by Lt. Harry Colebourn and it became the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh because A.A. Milne’s son (Christopher Robin) loved visiting the bear in the Zoo in London.

I decided to use a flex pen for this review, it just seemed appropriate. Forget all about dry time with a flex pen though, you’re going to have to just set it aside and come back after a good 10 minutes or more to have everything dry. Flex pens put down a lot of ink, and it just takes time to dry. I was most impressed with the ease of cleaning for this ink, that’s not something I expected.

Another interesting thing I found was that the color washed away in the Drip Test, but a gray/black line remained after the drips were gone. I suspect this means this ink is partially bulletproof (or at least waterproof), much like the two Black Swans. If you’re wondering why the Drip Test grid looks so funky, it’s because I was trying a little flexing on the lines to create a pattern of sorts. It kinda didn’t work out like I hoped 😛

Since a flex pen is such an uncommon pen in the writing world, I decided to compare it to some Lamy nibs to see how the ink looked different.

The inks is definitely darker in the flex pen, and the shading is quite muted in ‘normal’ nibs. You can really see the hardcore halo effect in the word ‘out’ too, I made sure to try to exaggerate it. In normal use, the ink has a very nice blue-green color. It doesn’t have a lot of comparable colors, but here are a few I found:

Iroshizuku Syo-ro is the only ink that really comes close to the same color, and even that’s not exact. Blue Nose Bear is a color all it’s own, certainly with properties unlike any other ink!

I’m eager to see this ink get into everyone’s hands. It’s such an interesting ink, unlike any other I’ve tried before. I suspect it will end up finding its place more in the drawing/art work than the writing/business world, but who knows? With such an unconventional ink it’s hard to say where it will be most useful. I’m eager to find out!

2017-10-11T14:38:41+00:00 July 27th, 2011|Ink Reviews|27 Comments
  • I always love of those thins which loved by yourself and this is what i feel is the passion of Arthur 

  • Penemuel

    What a fascinating colour! It's a shame the shading doesn't really come out with the "normal" nibs.

  • Interesting, but wasn't the "Black Swan Blue" I was hoping for. Still, always glad to see the innovation – even if someone else may find more joy than I do.

    Curious – your Safari EF looks way wider than any Safari Extra Fine that I've had – with the variance in Lamy Nibs have you tried with another nib? Maybe I'm thinking the paper is bigger than it is…

  • Karen S.

    I may have to get this one because of a) the teal tones  and b) the Canadian theme. 😉

    The bear on the sides of the bottle is Winnipeg,  the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh:

  • I might have to get one as well.  Being a "bluenoser" myself, I think it would be cool to have a bottle of ink with the Blue Nose II on the label.

  • Jesse

    Even though this is a "blue" in the black swan series, I don't think this is Nathan's Blue Swan. In Nathan's Write Time interview, he described his test with an incredible "blue fire" Black Swan (not quoting here). Obviously, that version didn't come out today due to cost but that doesn't stop me from hoping Nathan will eventually find a way to make a "Blue Fire Swan".

    With that said, this color's very interesting. It's a bit subdued like English Roses, but how many (almost?) waterproof teal's are out there? I'll definitely be trying this ink.

  • Sven Opitz

    I love how the flex nib brings out the green in the colour and how different it looks with normal nibs. It will be in my next order.
    It is not as blue as I expected a Blue Swan to be, but this makes the ink more interesting to me.

  • Amy

    Oh, it looks like my studio's signature color, but darker, I might have to get it, and I love the Black Swan series too!!!

  • Freddy77mac

    I do like the color and think it would look great used to address an envelope and write a casual letter to friend.  I might have to test out this one.

  • Well, it does still shade, it's just not as intense as the flex pen shows. No ink really shades like it does in a flex pen though!

  • Yeah, I was hoping for a darker blue, but apparently Nathan said that's not really possible to do with the same characteristics.

    My EF is a 'normal' EF, it's just that this ink writes pretty wet so it writes a thicker line.

  • Thanks for pointing that out! I updated my post to reflect that 🙂

  • Maybe that could be on the next bottle!

  • Sara Light-Waller

    Thanks for the great review Brian. It looks like a really fun ink to try. As a pen and ink artist I can imagine creating some really cool images with this ink in the flex pen. It should give a drawing with varying line widths a really interesting overall look. Save a bottle for me! 😉

  • Sven Opitz

    I have to say, I thought the Halo looked ugly, but now I have decided it is nice. Of course it is ugly in the word "out" above, but if you look at normal writing, for example the "C" of Creeper in the 2nd line of the review, you can see how it helps to improve the shading effect, a little bit of anti-aliasing around the edges…

  • Neal

    This ink appears to resemble Noodler's Dostoevsky in color and lightness.  Would you say so?  

  • MrsGouletPens

    Hmmm.. haven't tried Dostoevsky for myself yet. We'll have to compare the two when our new Russian/UK inks arrive in a few weeks 😉

  • I agree with you that it's not quite what I think most were expecting for a new 'Black Swan'. Still though, it's an ink that I think pushes the envelope of conventional fountain pen ink, which is what Nathan seems to enjoy 🙂

  • This is an ink that I think will look very different with different nibs, and in different pen types like flex nibs and brush pens. In that respect, it's very much like the Black Swans.

  • I was caught off guard by the halo at first, but it's grown on me now that I understand it's an intentional effect. Of course, I went VERY extreme in the word 'out', actually flexing deeply and slowly (twice) in that word to draw out a very obvious halo. I think that it an more artistic hand than mine, this ink could have some really interesting effects.

  • It's a really pleasant color, and that's so cool that it is close to your studio's color 🙂

  • Hold the phone! Where did you get that pen case?? Holy wow that's groovy.  I "need" a Noodler's flex nib now, *waahhhhh*.

    Great review. I would love to have some of this ink, but wow how pointless is it unless you have a flex nib? What an amazing ink! I also watched Nathan's vid. where he put the pages under blacklight….W*O*W.

    Thanks for the video, because I was almost sold on the ink until I saw it in the Lamy. (blech)

  • My case is an Aston Leather 20-pen case. We used to stock the full Aston line but we stopped….we're likely going to bring the 20-pen case back though, because I've been using it myself for a while and I freaking love it!

    The ink is designed for the flex pen, it says so right on the bottle. It's still a pleasant color in a non-flex nib, but you need a flex to really bring out the craziness of the ink. After I saw Nathan's video, I used a flex nib with Blue Nose Bear on off-white paper and looked at it under a blacklight….holy cow, it's freaking mind-blowing! The dark ink doesn't react much to the UV, but the blue halo does, so when you have it heavily haloed under a blacklight it almost has a 3D effect to it, it's like nothing I've ever seen before. I am going to try to take some pictures or videos of my own writing/drawing with this effect because it's just that cool.

  • It should work well for that, especially because it seems to be at least water resistant.

  • I'm thinking artists like yourself are going to enjoy this ink the most. Especially if you're into the UV-reactive aspect of the ink, you can get some really crazy effects!

  • Yay about the Aston case! That is so handy, and keeps your pens from clacking together…:O(

    I know for flex nib, but the color is so…weird and different, I thought it would be fun to write with. Not in my Lamy tho I think. Maybe a broad nib…

    Very, very unique ink!! Have to go out and buy a black light bulb..haven't had one since college, haha.

    Thanks again for the video and linking Nathan's vid too :O)

  • The case is great, I'm a fan. The color of the BNB is unique, I had a hard time finding anything really close to it. And it's characteristics are so unique I almost don't know how to best use it (but I'm figuring it out)!