Happy June, fountain pen friends! Sarah here, bringing you this month’s Inksploration feature, De Atramentis Elderberry (also known as Elderberries). It is a delightful berry colored ink with a refreshing fragrance. This is definitely a great ink for quick note taking, journaling, or creating artwork. Want to learn more? Read on!

Drawing Inspiration and Technique

My inspiration came from Micah, one of my fellow Goulet Pens team members. He always has random fun facts for each day, and recently he was enlightening me on the difference between manta rays and stingrays. I liked the visual of the manta rays and stingrays swimming through water because of the smooth movements that they make. These manta rays and stingrays were a lot of fun to draw because of the different textures and reflections on their skin. Playing with the different textures gave me a lot of opportunities to see what this ink was capable of.

I began my drawing with a pencil sketch. I like to sketch out all of my drawings in pencil first because it gives me flexibility to make changes before I put anything down in ink. Once I have my pencil sketch, I dip my water brush pen in a little bit of ink and start blocking in all of my shading. I prefer to start with the shadows first and then work my way to the highlights as the ink runs out of the brush tip. Usually, I like to do the first run through of the shading and then go back once more for the finer details, like the spots on the wings of the stingrays. After I was happy with the shading, I used the TWSBI ECO 1.1mm Stub to draw in the outlines of the rays. Then, with the TWSBI ECO Extra-Fine, I added the smaller, finer details, like the creases and lines. The bubbles were a fun, last-minute addition to add some visual interest to the background.

This ink really surprised me! It flows out of a pen as a deep purple and doesn’t have much shading when used in regular writing. But once water is added, the tones open up to a range of shades from light pink to magenta and purple.

Ink Review


  • Flow- Dry
    • This ink is smooth and steady!
    • Flowed well while I wrote, but I found it to be slightly on the dry side.
    • The dry time is surprisingly fast!
  • Dry Time- 10-15 Seconds
    • It took about 12 seconds to dry without smearing.
    • By the time I was done writing a sentence, most of it was already dry!
  • Water Resistance- Medium
    • Putting water over it makes the color pigments wash away to a pink hue, but it does leave behind a dark line so the writing doesn’t wash away completely.
  • Shading- Low
    • This is a low shading, highly saturated ink.
    • Beautiful, deep, berry purple color with slight pink tones.
  • How did the ink behave on other papers?
    • The ink behaves beautifully on both Tomoe and Leuchtturm paper. During normal notetaking, there’s no feathering or ghosting.
  • Special Features Worth Noting?
    • This is a scented ink and it’s very nice!
    • Subtle and lightly floral
    • The scent wafts up very faintly occasionally while writing
    • mostly noticeable when opening the bottle
    • not noticeable on the page after the ink dries

Overall, I think this ink stood out to me the most for its scented properties, fast dry time, and color richness.

Comparable Inks

If you love the color of De Atramentis Elderberry but would like to try some inks with different properties, Check out:

Thanks for joining me for another round of Inksploration.

Write on,