You’ll definitely get a chuckle with the intro of this video, for my top 7 shady….err….shading inks. What is shading? It’s a common (and often desired) aspect of fountain pen ink where there is pooling in certain parts of a letter when writing, so that the color and saturation of the ink appears different within a single letter or word. Shading inks are something commonly sought out by fountain pen enthusiasts because it’s a characteristic that can’t be achieved with ballpoint or rollerball pens.

I’m often asked which shading inks are my favorite, and to be quite honest, it’s really difficult to narrow down even to a top 7 list. I could just as easily have made it a top 40. I chose to focus on trying to get a somewhat varied color range, especially as I’ve found that certain color shades tend to be better shaders than others. Oranges and turquoises tend to all have incredible shading, whereas reds and blacks seldom have any.

One distinction to make here is that I omitted inks with “sheen”, as that’s not really what I’d consider shading by how I’ve defined it here. You’ll likely see some incredible inks I’ve left out here that you would have wanted to see, it’s very likely it’s a sheening ink instead of a shader.


Without further ado, here are my top 7 shading inks (in no particular order):

Noodler’s Apache Sunset (4:18)
$12.50 for a 3oz bottle

Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses (5:24)
$12.50 for a 3oz bottle

Diamine Marine (6:34)
$14.95 for an 80ml bottle

Noodler’s Navajo Turquoise (7:27)
$12.50 for a 3oz bottle

Noodler’s Golden Brown (8:03)
$12.50 for a 3oz bottle

De Atramentis Mint Turquoise (9:03)
$12.95 for a 35ml bottle

Noodler’s Lexington Gray (9:37)
$12.50 for a 3oz bottle, or $18 for a 4.5oz bottle

Photo of 8 shading inks with examples of they shade


I hope you enjoyed the video and my selections. I’d love to hear your favorite shading inks in the comments below.

Write On,
Brian Goulet