Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Lamy Dark Lilac: Ink Review

Purple ink splatter in Lamy Dark Lilac ink written with a Lamy fountain pen.

Hello, everybody! Madigan here, bringing you an ink review of the insanely beautiful Lamy Dark Lilac ink. I wasn't sure what to expect out of this ink, but as soon as I saw Whitney's Monday Matchup, I couldn't wait to get it in my pen. It is a deep, dark purple with just a hint of sheen. From the second the nib of my Lamy fountain pen hit paper, I fell into deep, dark purple love. This ink exceeded every expectation I had! This is one that I will absolutely be adding to my ink collection because, not only is it a gorgeous color, it's limited edition and won't last long. Read on to find out why I'm so in love with this ink.

Handwritten ink review of Lamy Dark Lilac ink showing a smear test, drip test, and swabs.
Close up of Lamy Dark Lilac ink, written on Tomoe River paper with a fountain pen.

Supplies Used:

Smear Test (Dry Time):
  • Medium- Pretty standard dry time here. Under 30 seconds, so it should be good for notebook writing. If you are a lefty though, this might not be a good ink for you.

Drip Test (Water Resistance):
  • Low- This is not a water resistant ink, so keep it out of the way of sudden storms or spilled beverages. That being said, when water is applied, it goes from deep purple to a pretty pink. It would be great to use in ink washes!

  • Medium-I gave this a medium in saturation because the sheen didn't show up until the second swab. If you are basing it on the purple color alone, I'd give it a high rating.

Ease of Cleaning:
  • Easy- This ink washes quickly and easily out of your pen!

  • Medium-You can definitely see some shading, especially in flex or stub nibs.
  • Medium- Perfect flow. Not to wet, not to dry, the nib glides effortlessly across the page.

Unique Characteristics:
  • Sheen- You read that right! This is a purple ink with some sheen. Like other sheening inks, you'll want to lay out a lot of ink to see that extra glimmer. Tomoé River paper and flex or stub nibs will give you the best chance of seeing it. Watch Brian's video on his Top Sheening inks for more tips.

 Packaging and Aesthetics:
  • 50ml glass bottle with 2ml ink samples also available.  
  • Well designed, pleasingly round bottle with blotting paper in the base
  • Large round opening making it easy to fill your pen. 

Inks similar in color:

If you are a purple ink fan, I highly recommend purchasing Lamy Dark Lilac. I've reviewed several purple inks, and I can safely say I've never seen anything like it! And while it is breath taking in art, it's also dark enough to work in a work or school setting. It would be great for notes, journal writing, or letter writing. Still not sure about it? It's also incredibly affordable! Seriously, this ink wins on every level for me. I usually stick to ink samples, but I'm purchasing a full bottle of this spectacular ink for my collection.

You can find Lamy Dark Lilac ink at Gouletpens.com in a 50ml glass bottle for $10.50, a pack of cartridges for $4.50, or a 2ml ink sample for $1.25.

Will you be getting a bottle of Lamy Dark Lilac? What's your favorite purple ink? Let me know in the comments below!

Write on,

Friday, May 27, 2016

Goulet Q&A Episode 124, Open Forum

Goulet Q&A is now available as an audio podcast! Click here  for the RSS feed to use in your podcast app of choice, or click here for a direct download.

In this episode, I talk about the origin of standard international cartridges, cool ways to catalog your inks, and frankenpens.

This past week:
  • Jenn has been integrating in nicely
  • She helped me get a bunch of stuff straight last week, took that good energy home and Rachel and I went on a tear organizing our home
  • Lots of good kid time
  • I’m at that stage in life where “relaxing” is getting help watching the kids so I can clean the garage and do grocery shopping!
  • Got to see some really cool upcoming Visconti pens, launched the Manhattan Wall Street
  • Launched Namiki maki-e pens, put out a couple of awesome videos and have great pictures
  • Will be spending time with family this weekend for the Memorial Day holiday, looking forward to that

New/Upcoming Products - (2:11)

Pens/Writing - (4:29)

1. shabbyann_knits- Instagram - (4:32)
So I was gifted a Mont Blanc fountain pen le Grande 4810 I believe, so I have fallen in love with fountain pens, what is a girl to do?? I ordered the pilot metros from you in fine and I am OK with those and also 2 Lamys one in fine and one in medium, still none of these even come close to the feel of my mont blanc, looking for some pens at a more affordable price, I am an accountant and need lots of pens and different colors in my life all at the same time !! #help #fpissues
  • I think what you have is probably a 146 or 149, they say 4810 on the nib
  • These are nice pens, definitely priced at a premium, in the $700-900 range
  • Your Metro and Lamy pens are on the affordable end, $15-30
  • Going with a lower-priced gold-nibbed pen will be a happy medium

2) Lrothermund- Instagram - (9:47)
What are your favorite frankenpen combos (one brand pen with different brand nib)? Aside from Noodler's/Goulet nib and Jinhao/Goulet nib combos. Is there a good way to set a plastic feed from one brand to a different brand nib? Can you heat like the Noodler's ebonite ones for a good fit?
  • Swapping nibs and feeds is far less universal than you might think
  • Typically, feeds aren’t very interchangeable
  • The one exception is certain #6 nibs like Edison, Jinhao, Monteverde, Conklin, Goulet, and certain #5 nibs
  • The real reason I took this question: You CAN heat set a plastic feed! It’s just a little harder to do
  • Different types of plastic are harder than others, so it’s easier to mess up
  • If you overheat it, it can melt or permanently distort and ruin it, so beware

3) andreas.cammin- Instagram - (23:57)
Who invented the standard international cartridges? I've known them as Pelikan cartridges for 40 years, but did they actually invent them?
  • GREAT resource for cartridge history, Richard Binder’s website: Filling System Histories: Cartridge Pens
  • Cartridges date back to the 1920’s, very experimental
  • Didn’t really catch on until Waterman and Parker latched on to the idea, Waterman really nailed down the process but they were smaller and had less of a presence, Parker seemed to make it a staple in the mid-1960’s in the US
  • There wasn’t one international standard that everyone agreed on, companies were all vying for creating their own cartridges
  • Pelikan was definitely in the mix in those early days
  • There doesn’t appear to be an official ISO listing for ink cartridges, so the term may be more of a marketing term than a true international standard

4) vegan_piper- Instagram - (30:39)
When it comes to pen prices, where would you draw the line between noticeably better quality for the money and a pen hobbyist's passion? In other words: where does reason end and the pen nut begin? #gouletqa
  • This will be relative, and you’re asking someone who’s really fallen deep down the rabbit hole so my answer will be different than most people!
  • Most people view pens as just ink sticks, and you shouldn’t pay anything for them (or only if you’re absolutely forced to) because they’re ubiquitous
  • Some people say $15 for a Metropolitan is completely insane, why would you ever pay that much???
  • Other people think a $500 Visconti pen is a bargain (for what you get)
  • It’s all relative, and I could make a case to say that anyone into fountain pens today is in it for the pen hobbyist’s passion
  • Really though, spending more than $40 seems to be a demarcation, or owning 5 or more pens (whichever comes first)
  • But you run into gift scenarios where someone gives a pen for its name (like MB) and it’s expensive but not a hobbyist thing
  • The rule of thumb, if you have to justify it somehow to yourself or someone else, it’s a hobby! And you should embrace it

5) LorenzoXesquire- YouTube - (36:15)
I'm trying to find options on faceted or fluted pens at less than $100. My favorite pen has been discontinued. I feel that a faceted or fluted body helps maintain orientation especially with stub nibs. Love to hear your suggestions and thoughts on the matter. Perhaps Karas customs with flutes may be an idea. Thanks.
  • Lamy Safari/Vista/Al-Star has sort of a faceted grip
  • Kaweco Sport is hexagonal, that’s a facet
  • Pilot Plumix, sort of
  • That’s about all I can think of, not a ton of options
  • These are all injection-molded plastic
  • The trouble with something like Karas Kustoms or another machined or hand-turned pen is that faceting takes a lot of time and won’t often be under $100

Ink - (39:45)

6) K.M. Alleena of One More Chapter- YouTube - (39:47)
We spoke about ink collections and ink samples these last couple of weeks -- now -- what are some fun ways to catalogue a collection of inks/ink samples? I know SBRE Brown has a couple of notebooks filled with swatches and reviews and Gouletpens.com has the swab shop and so on -- and one can always google an ink, as I do -- but what are some of the coolest ways you've seen folks keep reviews or swatches on hand for reference? How do you figure out which ink you want to use based on your past reviews?
  • I honestly go a lot by memory, I don’t have some masterful catalog of inks
  • I had intended to start an ink journal 5 years ago, gave up on it
  • I’ve seen ink journals, those are great because they give you everything at close reference
  • Ink swabs or swatches/cards are great
  • Some of the more creative folks with journal, sketch, or do some kind of artwork with them and keep them archived (think Liz Steel)
  • I’ve seen some really creative stuff with ink sample storage, like using swabs on top of the vials for quick reference

7) csf_photo- Instagram - (49:56)
After seeing such an impressive ink collection on the last Q&A I couldn't help but wonder how could one possibly get through all that ink in a lifetime before the ink dries up in the bottle? Does ink have a shelf life? I have a mere 4 bottles of ink and haven't made a dent into any of them after months! If ink begins to dry either in the pen or bottle can it be salvaged?
  • There is no possible way I will use all this ink in my lifetime, no way
  • I must have 80 bottles of ink, that’s a lot
  • Properly stored it should last decades, though eventually it may start to evaporate especially if it’s in a plastic bottle
  • If it begins to dry it can usually be salvaged by reconstituting it with distilled water, just use caution not to overdo it

Paper - (52:56)

8) Larry Thibodeaux- YouTube - (52:57)
I’m finding that my pens are skipping the more I get down to the bottom of my Webnotebook (summarized). In your experience, do you find that the thicker Rhodia paper in the webbie is more likely to be finicky across most pens / nibs? What notebook would you recommend as a replacement? I have filled 3 webbie's completely thus far and am about to fill my 4th one, so this would be an opportune time to switch notebooks if you think that the webbie is just not 'compatible' with my pen / ink / writing style.
  • This is generally pretty slick paper, and it’s an issue for some people more than others
  • It’s a combination of the oil in your hands, the coating of the paper, and the ink and pen itself.
  • There could be a variety of factors here that I could speculate on, what I can say though is that slick paper like this is generally less forgiving with ink flow if there are any issues with the pen/ink
  • I think the paper may be testing the limits of your particular pen/ink, and maybe your particular writing style
  • I hear of some issues with Rhodia or Clairefontaine, but it’s not universal, so it has to be a “perfect storm” kind of combination
  • Switching notebooks often helps, I recommend Leuchtturm as a go-to, Quo Vadis Habana is close to Rhodia, of maybe Apica Premium (regular Apica is less slick, even)

Personal - (57:34)

9) kong urous- YouTube - (57:36)
What kind of water bottle does Brian keep with him?
  • I use a Thermos HS4040CHT6
  • 18-ounce cold water thermos
  • The only reason I took this questions is because I love this bottle and have been using it exclusively for about 4 years now (replacing the body once and cap twice)
  • I love ice cold water and it does great for that
  • For coffee, I love the Contigo (in Goulet Blue, of course!)
  • Found both at Target, as well as a zillion other places I’m sure
  • No affiliation whatsoever, just a happy customer

Business - (1:00:36)

10) losterbaan- Instagram - (1:00:28)
In the world of comic books, there is Free Comic Book Day, where you can walk into most any comic book store and pick from a selection of titles for free. The idea is to get more people into the hobby by making it very easy to try it without worrying about "wasting" money on something they may not like. If there was analogous Day in the fountain pen world, what products (pens, inks, papers, other accessories) would you put in the selection? What do you think would hook someone's interest with a first try? (assume you have a fairly generous anonymous benefactor who will finance this whole endeavour)
  • This is an interesting concept and something I’ve never been asked
  • Comics are a little different because you can do all you need to do with a single comic (ie: read it)
  • Fountain pens are a little different, because you need several things to really get going, mainly a pen and ink (paper is easy enough to find anywhere)
  • A free pen with a cartridge preinstalled would be about that equivalent, like a Platinum Preppy or even a Pilot Varsity (this is actually my preference)
  • Sort of an equivalent concept of this is at most fountain pen shows, there will be an ink testing table of some sort, so assuming you have a pen (which you can acquire rather easily) and dip-test a lot of different inks
  • If i was in the brick-and-mortar store business I’d probably think on this a little harder, this just isn’t something I run into quite as much online
  • Ink samples would also be something to throw into the mix

QOTW: What system do you use to catalog all of the inks you use? - (01:05:36)

Thanks so much for joining me this week! You can catch up on any old Q&A videos you missed here.

Write On,
Brian Goulet

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thursday Things: Tea Time

A tea party themed flat lay arrangement of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink in an array of pink, purple, and floral hues.

Grab your favorite mug and drink in this week's Thursday Things: Tea Time. This whimsical assortment of pens and ink was influenced by the seemingly natural pairing of writing with fountain pens while enjoying a cup of tea. With cheerful hues inspired by two lovely tea cups, this collection showcases the pastel colors so befitting of a garden tea time.

Featured products from left to right:
Original Crown Mill Correspondence Set – Fuchsia- $27.90
Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses (3oz bottled ink)- $12.50
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen – Dark Lilac- $29.60
Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen – Purple- $37.60
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen - Pink- $29.60
Leuchtturm Medium A5 Notebook - Navy- $19.50
Visconti Van Gogh Fountain Pen – Irises- $231.20
Platinum Balance Fountain Pen – Blue- $43.20
J. Herbin Lie de Thé (30ml bottled ink)- $11

Shop all these lovely products in one place with our Thursday Things: Tea Time shopping guide!

A tea party themed flat lay arrangement of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink in an array of pink, purple, and floral hues.
Visconti Van Gogh Fountain Pen – Irises
A tea party themed flat lay arrangement of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink in an array of pink, purple, and floral hues.
Lamy Al-Star Fountain Pen in Purple
A tea party themed flat lay arrangement of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink in an array of pink, purple, and floral hues.
Platinum Balance Fountain Pen in Blue
A tea party themed flat lay arrangement of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink in an array of pink, purple, and floral hues.
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen in Dark Lilac
A tea party themed flat lay arrangement of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink in an array of pink, purple, and floral hues.
Lamy Safari Fountain Pen in Pink
A tea party themed flat lay arrangement of fountain pens, notebooks, and ink in an array of pink, purple, and floral hues.

Do you find a cup of coffee or tea to be a welcome addition to your writing routine? 

Write on,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Namiki Maki-e Fountain Pen Overview

The Goulet Pen Company is pleased to be expanding our line of fountain pens to include Namiki maki-e pens. The ancient Japanese tradition of maki-e is an art form that combines meticulous attention to detail with deep symbolism and mythology. The training for maki-e artists is so rigorous that a novice works for decades before making a pen without the supervision of a master craftsman. To give you all the details of these incredible works of art, Brian sat down with John Lane, the General Manager of Pilot Fine Writing, to learn the ins and outs of Namiki maki-e fountain pens.

Close-up of the Namiki Emperor Murasaki-Shikibu fountain pen.
At its essence, maki-e is the Japansese method of applying layers of urushi lacquer to a surface. This lacquer is both incredibly durable and smooth to the touch. To create the designs, gold, silver, and various other precious dusts are applied to the lacquer using a variety of proprietary techniques. This tradition spans back centuries and while the precise date is unknown, it is thought that the art form has been practiced since the 7th century in Japan.

While maki-e has a long history, it is by no means a stagnant art form. In 1925, the very beginning of what was to become the Pilot Pen company patented the Lacquer Naito method. The combination of maki-e technique with gold-nibbed fountain pens was what spawned the Japanese pen empire. Today, nearly 20 specialists work at Pilot's Hiratsuka plant devoting their time solely to creating Namiki maki-e fountain pens.


Here is an overview of some of the techniques you'll see on Namiki pens:

Hira (Flat Maki-e)
The Namiki Nippon Art series uses the Hira technique, shown here in the Crane and Turtle model.
Dating back to the 12th century, this technique is the simplest. A wet layer of lacquer is applied the the pen surface. While still wet, the colored powder is applied. Another layer of lacquer is applied to keep the design in place. The surface is then polished with a lacquer soaked piece of cotton until smooth and flat. These pens are typically more affordable because their elements are simpler and often done in a guild with each artist working on individual components before handing it off to one another. This is a way that younger artists are able to gain experience while working with more experienced ones.

Togidashi (Burnished Maki-e)
This Yukari "Pigeon and Persimmon" design features the Togidashi-Hira maki-e technique.
This is the oldest form of maki-e, dating back to the 7th century.  Metallic or colored powders are applied to the lacquered surface. Once they have dried, another layer of lacquer is applied and then polished. More layers and continued polishing ensues, until the pattern is finished and the pen is smooth to the touch. Pens with this technique will be in the mid-high price range, as they take several months to complete and contain some more advanced elements. They are often created by a single artist from start-to-finish, but sometimes may be created by a collaboration from a group of artists, called kokkokai in Japanese, much like a guild.

Togidashi-Taka (Burnished Raised Maki-e) 
This Namiki Yukari Royale "Chrysanthemum Dew" features the more complex Togidashi-Taka technique, as well as inlaid abalone shells. 
This technique is the most difficult and demanding type of Maki-e and only done by the great master artists. Lacquer is drawn onto the pens and built up layer-upon-layer, creating a textured design. Up to 40 layers of lacquer are required for some of the higher raised elements. Metallic or colored powders are then added. The writer receives a pleasant tactile sensation while holding the pen. Not only is the design beautiful to look at, it is enjoyable to feel. Pens with this technique will be some of the larger and more expensive Namiki pens you'll find due to their complexity, the amount of time involved, and their limited availability. They are often created by a single artist from start-to-finish.

The Chinkin method gives a three-dimensional feeling. Shown here in the Namiki Chinkin Cat design.
The Chinkin method differs from the others because it involves chiseling a design into a pre-laquered surface. Gold or silver powder is then applied and inlayed into the cutouts. Layers of lacquer are then applied to create a smooth surface. Each pen created using this method looks almost 3-dimensional, with the subtle chiseled line work and layers of gold or silver powder creating an impressive and dynamic picture.

Depending on the method, the process to create a maki-e pen can take anywhere from several weeks to seven months to complete. The process of lacquering, drying, and polishing is done in steps, with each step requiring diligent application and attention by a highly trained artist. Some pens can have anywhere from 15 to 50 layers of lacquer.

The Lineup

We will be carrying several models here at Goulet Pens, which use one or a combination of the techniques listed above.

Namiki Nippon Art
There are four designs of the Namiki Nippon Art maki-e fountain pen.
The most affordable of the maki-e fountain pens, the Nippon Art series uses the Hira technique to create the stunning and detailed designs. There are four different designs: the Chinese Phoenix, the Crane and Turtle, the Dragon with Cumulus, and the Golden Pheasant. The nibs are made of 14kt gold in fine or medium, and the pen comes with a Con-70 converter.

Namiki Yukari
Six of the designs in the Namiki Yukari line.
The Namiki Yukari pens are some of the most comfortable for everyday writing. Similar in size to a Pilot Custom 74, they are great writers that also have a wide variety of captivating designs. You'll see a variety of different maki-e techniques used across the Yukari line, including hira, togidashi, taka, and raden. Because the pens are slightly thinner than some of the others and will only use a couple of maki-e elements on a particular pen design, they are relatively affordable compared to others. They have 18kt gold nibs available in fine, medium, and broad, and the pen comes with a Con-70 converter.

Namiki Yukari Royale
The Namiki Yukari Royale features more complex designs and techniques.
The Namiki Yukari Royale fountain pens are slightly larger in size over the Yukari series, and higher in price due to their complexity. They feature more of the Togidashi-Taka techniques, and are usually made by a single artist. There are also several plain urushi versions of the Yukari Royale that are significantly lower in price that are absent of maki-e, in both red and black (not pictured here). Each pen is equipped with an oversized 18kt gold nib in fine, medium, or broad, and comes with a Con-70 converter. They are screw cap and push-to-post, and are the heaviest of the Namiki maki-e pens.

Namiki Emperor
The Namiki Emperor in Murasaki-Shikibu boasts a large nib.
The Namiki Emperor is the largest of the Namiki Maki-e pens. The full magnitude of this pen is difficult to grasp until you see it compared to other pens. It is an impressive 6.85 inches (174.1mm) long when closed and has a diameter of .68 inches (17.2mm). The nib is 18kt gold and a No. 50 size, one of the largest production nibs offered by a modern fountain pen company. The Emperors will be among the most expensive maki-e pens offered by Namiki, because of their massive size and the complexity of the designs. Despite its large size, the pen is actually extremely well balanced and is lighter than you would expect because it's made of solid ebonite instead of a metal base. It fills by eyedropper, and holds quite a bit of ink.

Namiki Chinkin
The Namiki Chinkin series is available in six designs that span both Yukari and Yukari Royale sizes. 
The Namiki Chinkin series uses the complex chiseling techniques to create a carving in the lacquer. The incredible details make each golden design stand out against the black background. They are available in Cat, Cherry Blossom, Crane, Pine Tree, Rooster, and Silver Grass designs. Their size is similar to the Yukari or the Yukari Royale, depending on the design. Each pen has an 18kt gold nib and comes with a Con-70 converter.

Namiki Raden Vanishing Point
A closeup of the Namiki Vanishing Point in Raden Galaxy.
We've carried the Namiki Raden Vanishing Point fountain pens for some time now. They're co-branded under Pilot and use some of the techniques you'll see in the other Namiki maki-e pens. The sparkle on these radens comes from abalone shells, applied to the body and then covered in lacquer. Since no two abalone are exactly alike, each pen has very subtle differences, making each pen unique. There is a fairly sizable difference in pricing between the Raden Galaxy and the Water Surface or Stripe, purely because of the time involved in hand-applying the abalone shell. The Raden Galaxy is hands-down the best value you'll find in a raden pen, and in an incredibly popular pen style of the Vanishing Point. 

The Namiki Collection offered by Goulet Pens.
The prices for the each pen varies by model and design, depending on the complexity of the design and techniques involved. The Raden Vanishing Point pens start at $304 while the Namiki Emperor starts at $5,600 (and they have had other limited edition pens in the past going up to $18,000). As much as they're beautiful works of art, they're also well tuned and ready to write. We've been told by Namiki that it actually gives their artists great pleasure to know that the collectors buying these pens are enjoying writing with them as well as looking at them.

These pens are not mass-produced, and are very limited in number and they require an incredible amount of time, often four months for each pen. Typically, the artists will create a couple of different designs each year, and they will be available for 2-3 years before they sell out worldwide.

You can now find these stunning Namiki Maki-e fountain pens at Gouletpens.com. We hope you enjoy viewing our photography on our website, and watching our video on these beautiful pens.

Write On,
The Goulet Pen Company Team

Monday, May 23, 2016

Diamine Oxblood with a Noodler's Ahab Cardinal Darkness: Monday Matchup #96

Bleeding heart flower illustration drawn with a Noodler's Ahab fountain pen and burgundy Diamine Oxblood ink.

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.

Bleeding heart flower illustration drawn with a Noodler's Ahab fountain pen and burgundy Diamine Oxblood ink.
Bleeding heart flower illustration drawn with a Noodler's Ahab fountain pen and burgundy Diamine Oxblood ink.
Bleeding heart flower illustration drawn with a Noodler's Ahab fountain pen and burgundy Diamine Oxblood ink.
Bleeding heart flower illustration drawn with a Noodler's Ahab fountain pen and burgundy Diamine Oxblood ink.
Bleeding heart flower illustration drawn with a Noodler's Ahab fountain pen and burgundy Diamine Oxblood ink.

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!

Write on,

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