Hi, fountain pen friends! Sarah here, bringing you my latest Monday Matchup. This week, I paired a Noodler’s Ahab Cardinal Darkness flex pen with Diamine Oxblood ink. I’m a huge fan of burgundy ink and had heard great things about Diamine Oxblood but had never used it. The Noodler’s Ahab Cardinal Darkness pen looked liked it matched the ink perfectly, and since I’d heard that Oxblood provided a lot of shading, I thought a flex pen would show the ink off to its full advantage.
Similarly, the inspiration for this piece was inspired by the color of the ink. I didn’t want to get too macabre (with names like Oxblood and Cardinal Darkness, it would be easy to do!), but I also wanted to accurately reflect the shade of ink. I chose to draw a Bleeding Heart plant because while it has a creepy name, it is a really stunning plant full of interesting shapes. I broke out my Tomoé River pad and got to work!
To start, I grabbed a pencil and sketched the outline of the plant. I wrote out my quotes in pencil as well, making certain words bigger for emphasis. I took the pen and drew over the outline of the sketch and wrote over the words. Taking a brush pen filled with water, I went over the drawing to spread the ink out a bit and soften the look. I let the piece rest overnight. When I came back to it the next day, I used the pen to give the leaves and branches more structure. Unfortunately, while drawing my hand swept over the writing I’d done the day before and smeared it! I was totally shocked. I’d purposely given it a long time to dry in order to avoid this sort of problem, but even 24 hours was not enough. I very carefully completed my drawing, making sure not to rest my hand on the page. I decided not to erase the pencil marks because I was afraid it would completely destroy the work.
I’m a big fan of flex pens, and this Ahab was no exception. The fountain pen and ink matched perfectly and looked really nice together. However, I think because of all the hype, I expected to like the ink more. It was a bit dull when compared to other burgundy inks out there.
If I were to do this work again, I’d make a different ink choice. Because Tomoé River is so ink resistant and this ink is pretty wet, I smeared the ink even after letting it dry for 24 hours. I think that more absorbent paper like Rhodia or Clairefontaine would have solved this problem.
This fountain pen and ink would work well in a number of situations. Particularly for journal writing or in art where one might want some line variation and shading. The ink alone (in another pen, probably) would be good for work, since it is understated but pleasant.
You can find the Noodler’s Ahab Cardinal Darkness at Gouletpens.com for $23. Diamine Oxblood is available in a 80ml glass bottle for $14.95, a 30ml plastic bottle for $7.50, a pack of cartridges for $8.50, or a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.
Have you ever tried an ink because of a lot of hype and been disappointed? Or vice versa, have you found an ink that blew you away but doesn’t get a lot of love? Leave a comment and let me know!