Choosing the right ink for your fountain pen can be daunting, especially when there are so many inks on the market. If you’re a lefty or exploring using flex pens for the first time, it can be especially frustrating as these situations require a much more precise ink choice to avoid complications like smearing or hard starting. People will tell you try “wet” or “dry” inks… but what does that mean? Isn’t all ink wet? They are liquid after all! Fret not, we are here to set it all straight for you.
First off, most fountain pen ink is water based (with a few exceptions of iron gall), but, yes, they are all liquids. There are many different inks on the market and, as long as they are labeled fountain pen ink, they are safe to use in your pens. However, certain fountain pens and ink seem to play together better than others. Finding the perfect pen and ink match is part of the fun.
Secondly, the wetness or dryness of an ink is a matter of personal opinion just as much as it is the perfect symphony of pen, ink, and paper all working together for a beautiful writing experience. An ink that flows graciously and lusciously from a pen nib and results in very smooth, saturated writing would be considered a wet ink. The inks referred to as good shading inks are usually wet writing inks that can saturate the page with color. Whereas, an ink that flows rather conservatively and lightly out of a pen and does not leave a great deal of ink on the page when writing is considered dry. If you’re using a flex pen or have a pen that seems have a hard time writing, you can try filling it up with a wetter ink to help with the flow issues. Left handed writers may naturally gravitate towards a drier writing ink as well, as they will be less likely to smudge it when pushing the pen across the page. But everyone has their own features they look for in a good ink. Here is a brief overview of our favorite wet and dry ink brands overall and a few suggestions you can try to get the full wet and dry ink experience.
When thinking about wet inks, Noodler’s is, by-and-large, most people’s first answer. Nathan Tardif creates his stunning inks with a healthy dose of lubrication and pigment, resulting in a wet, juicy flow. Another brand worth mentioning for its wet inks is Diamine. With a rainbow of great ink shades, Diamine has an ink for everyone.
Here are our top 5 Wet Inks:
Perfectly wet with the right kind of shade, Caran d’Ache Idyllic Blue is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a great new juicy ink to try. Check out Monday Matchup #126 to see this ink in action! Lydia describes it as the perfect “cautious fun” ink, a gorgeous color without being too loud. Find it in a 50ml bottle or 2ml sample.
Noodler’s Eel series inks are the ultimate wet inks. They are lubricated and will have even your driest pens writing well. Cactus Fruit Eel is, in our experience, the most popular of this line and for good reason. The color is out of this world and the flow is unmatched. Sarah made this ink shine in Monday Matchup #33. Find it in a 3oz. bottle or 2ml sample.
Monteverde California Teal is a favorite for many of the Goulet team members. Like the rest of the Monteverde line, California Teal is a lubricated ink and flows wonderfully. It is a reserved color at first glance but packs a fun surprise under the right conditions. Kelsi mentions in her ink review that “the color is great because it’s not an outrageous color, but the sheen and the shading make it stand out.” Available in 90ml bottles, 2ml samples, and a 12 pack of cartridges.
For an ink with great character, it’s almost hard to believe that Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-Budo is such a smooth-flowing, wet ink. This gorgeous magenta ink is well behaved and appealing in color. Many of the product reviews on the Goulet Pens site praise Yama-Budo for being a pinkish hue that even people who aren’t fond of pink love, not to mention being an ink that will never let you down and keeps on flowing. Find it in a 50ml bottle or 2ml sample.
Diamine Autumn Oak is a definite wet shading ink. In our review of this ink, it is noted that this ink will give you good shading no matter what nib size you are using. Although the dry time tends to be longer, you will never have to worry about Diamine Autumn Oak not flowing from your pen. The color is gorgeous too, the perfect rich autumn orange like the changing leaves. It is available in an 80ml bottle, a 30ml bottle, a 2ml sample or an 18 pack of cartridges!
When asked about some good dry ink options, our Customer Care team unanimously responded with the Pelikan 4001 inks. This inks are great for anyone looking for a dry ink that won’t spread greatly when writing and will have a conservative ink flow. It is generally thought that dry inks are not as vibrant as their wetter cousins but these ink choices put that notion to the test. Another fantastic option for dry writing are the Lamy inks. These fun inks with the built-in blotting paper roll on the bottle are smooth writing while still dry flowing.
Here are our top 5 dry inks:
Rich in color but light on dry time, Graf von Faber-Castell Garnet Red is the perfect ink for people who want an intriguing ink in a fast-paced world. The rich red color is beautiful and enjoyable to see on paper. This ink is a great choice for lefties as its dry nature will reduce the chance of smearing. You can see it featured in our Birthday Bling: 12 Fountain Pen and Ink Pairings Inspired by Your Birthstone blog! This ink is available in a 75ml bottle, 2ml sample, or a 6 pack of cartridges.
J. Herbin Vert Empire offers a delightful, muted green tone that is easy on the eyes and a drier ink flow that is great on all kinds of paper. The conservative ink flow eliminates any concerns about turning the notebook page before the ink is dry. Our Community Coordinator and resident lefty, Lydia, loves this ink and recommends it for lefties with a love of colorful inks. See more of Sarah’s whimsical bean stalk drawn in this ink in Monday Matchup #43! This ink is available in a 30ml bottle or 2ml sample.
Robert Oster inks offer a great variety of colors, faster dry times than with other brands, and super fun ink names. Black Violet is a reserved choice for any occasion. As the name would suggest, it is a dark hue with a hint of purple, making it office-appropriate with a hint of fun. It is available in a 50ml bottle or 2ml sample.
If you’ve ever bought a LAMY pen, you’ve had the chance to use this reliable blue ink from the included cartridge. A great choice for any occasion, LAMY Blue is a standard blue ink with an impeccable quick drying time. Use it in the office or on the go, whatever the occasion may be, you’ll have a easy time with this ink. You can try it in a 50ml bottle with built-in blotting paper roll or in a 2ml ink sample. It is also available in a 5 pack of cartridges.
What list would be complete without the perfect black? Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black is the perfect dry workhorse ink. It has very little bleedthrough and a speedy dry time that allows for quick note taking. It is a low maintenance ink and plays nicely with a wide variety of pens. It is available in a 2oz bottle, a 2ml sample, and a 6 pack of cartridges.
Some other inks we suggested in a prior edition of this blog include:
There are other factors outside of the ink itself that can affect ink flow. Being mindful of the paper you’re using will help immensely in having a desirable writing experience. Writing on cheap printer or notebook paper can make even the driest inks feather and bleed in the right circumstances. Also, using a flex or stub nib, both of which put down a great deal of ink all at once, requires an ink that can keep up with that ink flow.
What are your preferences: wet or dry? Let us know in the comments below!
The Goulet Pen Company Team
**WINNER: Congrats to Robin T. (Entered on Facebook). Check back next week for another awesome Monday Matchup Giveaway**
Hey fountain pen friends, Sarah here! I am so excited to be the artist for this weeks Monday Matchup because it involves the beautiful discontinued Lamy Safari Dark Lilac fountain pen and ink. The mysterious and moody ink has a gorgeous gold sheen, and as you all probably know by now, I love any chance to use Lamy pens.
The dark ink reminded me of stormy skies and the inspiration of a lighthouse in the middle of a raging sea came to mind. I typically water down ink with brush pens and use a lot of shading, but this week I wanted to go back to the bare bones of sketching and only rely on the pen.
First, I printed out a circle and placed my Rhodia paper over it to use as a tracing template. There’s no way I could draw a perfect circle and I didn’t have circular objects around me to trace. I used a pencil to lightly trace the circle and used that as a base for my drawing. Then I used cross hatching and fine lines to show off the fine nib. The Lamy Dark Lilac ink was beautifully dark, but the purple still showed through with hints of gold sheen. It’s a shame this isn’t available all the time, I’d definitely check out Nemosine Alpha Centauri or De Atramentis Aubergine if you’re looking for a muted purple color.
This Lamy combo would be great for anything! I’m a broken record now, but you can’t go wrong with a Lamy. The matte editions are especially worth checking out, as I love the feeling of the extra gripping texture on the pen. I wouldn’t change a thing about this matchup, except for bringing back the Lamy Dark Lilac ink if I could!
The LAMY Safari Dark Lilac and LAMY Dark Lilac ink are no longer available, so be sure to enter for your chance to win!
You could win this pen and ink! In an effort to make entering Monday Matchup a little easier, we’ve done away with the Rafflecopter widget and will be randomly selecting a winner from a randomly chosen platform each week. The entries methods will still be the same: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a blog comment, but you’ll no longer have to complete your entry through Rafflecopter.
How to enter Monday Matchup Giveaway:
- Match a pen and ink together. They don’t have to match in color, any fountain pen, and ink works.
- You can choose to enter only one way or submit up to 4 different entries if you’d like. Feel free to use the same picture for all 4 entries.
- Here’s how to enter:
The contest is open Monday, June 11, 2018, at 12 pm EDT until Tuesday, June 12, 2018, at 12 pm EDT. One winner will be randomly selected and announced tomorrow once the contest closes. The winner must live in a country that Goulet Pens currently ships to. Click here to see the Official Contest Rules.
In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about our new GouletPens.com, oblique nibs, and what he’s reading lately.
- New GouletPens.com!
- Conklin pens with Omniflex nibs coming soon
- Stipula Passaportos coming soon
- Lots of other things we’ll start talking about again, once we’re stable on the new site!
1) @cr4ckthesky- Twitter (4:32)
- With difficulty!
- It’ll barely fit in the vial, hold it at a slant, and go for it
- it’s a huge pain, quite honestly, it’s really just not a pen made for filling in sample vials like this
- even if you fill it higher, there’s so much displacement it doesn’t fill great
- If you’re really determined, you can remove the nib unit and syringe it in there (at your own risk)
- otherwise, filling as best you can, or dipping it might be your best bet
2) pen2paperplans- Instagram (11:20)
- ink syringes I usually wipe dry after I use them, but not always
- I haven’t ever noticed any issue with my ink syringes
- they’re easy enough to take apart and clean
- bulb syringes are a little more work, but honestly it’s not something I’ve ever noticed as a problem for myself, not to say it couldn’t be
- if you suspect you have anything going on in there, put some bleach and dish soap in water (NOT ammonia) and suck it up in to the bulb syringe, leave overnight
- bleach kills mold, that’ll get it all straight
3) umair_- Instagram (14:03)
Does oblique medium of Lamy 2000 get any stub-like line variation? What would be point of oblique if there were absolutely none because if the tip is round with zero variation it doesn’t matter whether pen is held like this: \ or this: | (which is what the obliques allow, right?)
- obliques aren’t for everyone, that’s for sure
- they do offer a slight bit of line variation, but it’s subtle, especially in the medium size
- it becomes slightly more pronounced the broader you go, and the crisper it’s ground
- Lamy’s obliques are not crisp at all, they’re very rounded
- I don’t find a very noticeable difference in line width with the OM, slightly with OB and OBB
- there’s a reason companies aren’t offering these grinds stock on pens, because it’s very niche and the few people out there that know they prefer oblique nibs will get them custom made
4) Barbara G- Facebook (20:24)
Are flex nibs and soft nibs the same thing? If not what’s the difference?
- they can be, or not 🙂
- there’s no definitive point for when something goes from soft to flex, it’s very subjective
- soft usually means “springy” but doesn’t necessarily have line variation
- Pilot Falcon is kind of an exception here
- flex you can usually assume line variation is the goal
- Drew and I are covering this a bit in our upcoming flex video
5) Melissa H- Facebook (23:51)
My Pineider La Grande Belleza in EF has a ‘sweet spot’. If I am writing and the nib turns even the slightest bit, no ink. Is there a way to fix this, or do I live with it? I’m thinking it’s b/c of the flex in the nib (I have one other gold nib in EF, but it’s a VP which is, like, impossible to turn in my hand while I’m writing).
- that’s definitely a sweet spot
- I’m interested to hear if this is common with Pineider, as this is a new brand with a whole new nib, we’re still learning how they work for most people
- I tested the EF and didn’t find it to have a particularly small sweet spot, but that could have just been the pen I used
- if you got it from us, we’re more than happy to double check it, especially while we’re still learning the nuances of how these nibs write
6) jonathanhansson89- Instagram (29:09)
Is there Any way to do tine alignment without a loupe?
- yes, it’s just harder!
- eagle eyes might be able to see, but it’s hard
- any type of magnification can help
- you can eyeball it and go by feel, but that’s going to be tough unless you have a lot of experience (or luck)
- bottom line, a loupe helps a ton
7) @_not_a_real_dr- Twitter (32:24)
The range of FP inks is vast, so how about a tool that suggests the closest colour match to a set of RGB values? Would love to be able to write in a colour that’s as close as possible to that of my university (or Brian’s shirt, for that matter).
- that’d be cool!
- yeah, we’ll definitely look into stuff like this with our new site
- we had to take one step backwards before taking two steps forward with the new site
- we have developers lined up to help with this as soon as we’re stable on the new site
- new Swap Shop enhancements are a summer project for us
- RGB or Hex code isn’t a definite, but we’re going to explore it as a possibility
- any other ideas? we’re all ears
8) @HenryStein81- Twitter (34:41)
Is there any way you can tell if a specific ink will work with your fountain pen? I know inks will vary in dryness/wetness but how can I tell which type my nib or pen will handle best without having to trying out hundreds of inks? Thanks and keep up the great work!
- specifically? It’s tough
- you can generalize, like if you know you like a certain color IRL you might like it in an ink
- there aren’t a lot of reliable scientific, repeatable technical specs on any fountain pens inks, so unfortunately it’s largely up to experimentation
- finding reviews of the ink help, going off others’ experiences
- the more specific property you’re looking for, the more you’ll have to search
- my team is here to help, online and live chat, email, phone
- we’ll do everything we can to help, but there are so many variables, it’s hard to know for sure until you experience it
- it’s like trying on clothes, painting a room, tasting food or wine, you can get close but nothing is like trying it for yourself
9) Eugenia M- Facebook (38:13)
I like to change ink often. is it ok to fill the pen only halfway or should you fill it all the way up and just release what you don’t want when it’s time to change inks?
- you do whatever the heck you want 😉 full filling is not in any way required, or even beneficial other than the ink will last longer
- heck, you can just dip it if you want to (though that might vary the flow a little bit, be a little heavier at first dip)
- you do you, I do half fillings all the time!
10) Kanak K- Facebook (39:42)
I suppose this would be a huge undertaking in all areas of your business but would you consider taking preorders? I live in such a time zone that when you release new pens I am fast asleep. Only to wake and receive the email notification but the pen or ink has already sold out.
- this SUCKS, and is one of the reasons I wish we could do preorders, because we end up favoring the US market and those in other countries (especially Australia & Asia) lose out on timed releases
- as it is right now, the hottest of new releases (that sell out in minutes/hours) preorders wouldn’t help unless we found a way to curb demand (loyalty club, VIP, charge a premium)
- if we took preorders right now, we don’t have a way to guarantee stock, so we’d likely oversell preorders even
- basically, unless we can guarantee stock, we can’t even think about it
- as we grow and do more exclusives, we could consider that
- the fountain pen industry as a whole is short-stocked, that’s our single biggest challenge we face as we grow
- part of our site move was so that we could have more options for creative things like product launches
- we could consider lotteries, or some other high-demand management
- what have you see other (non-pen) companies do to manage high demand products during launch?
11) @Just_Pat_111- Twitter (45:45)
Hello Brian! Leaders are readers – in addition to Pens & the business questions, I would appreciate to get some suggestions / references in (business-) books, too, as it seems you also read alot. Greatings from Germany! You are great at GPC – thx alot!
- I’ve read a bunch, and talked about some of my classics in Q&A before(Q&A 98, Q&A 113)
- Classics that have stood my test of time
- Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey
- Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk
- Start with Why by Simon Sinek
- The Advantage by Pat Lencioni
- Good to Great by Jim Collins
- Getting Things Done by David Allen
- Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey
- The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley
- The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni
- The Power of Vulnerability by Dr. Brené Brown
- QBQ! by John G. Miller
- Newer ones I’ve benefitted from in 2018:
- Essentialism by Greg MeKeown, read several times but always good to refresh
- The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack
- The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Pat Lencioni
- High Performance Habits by Brendan Burchard
- Traction by Gino Wickman
- Small Giants by Bo Burlingham
12) @DanielDiBatt- Twitter (50:37)
Can you explain why you don’t carry certain pen manufacturers? Are some companies very difficult to deal with or they place too many constraints on the wholesaler?
- it varies, there could be any number of reasons
- many manufacturers are international, and distribution is complicated, more than you’d think sometimes
- language barriers, limited capacity, lack of desire to expand, too many conditions, economics don’t work out, etc
- There are so many variables at play, especially for us to carry things like we do, and things have to line up in certain ways to make sense
- there’s a bit of a disconnect with new products you see online and ability to distribute globally
- a single-person operation can make a pen in their garage and we start getting asked about it, but they might only make 20 pens a year, but it could be all over the internet which creates FOMO and fuels the fire
- there are some brands I love that just don’t have capacity for us, or have a business strategy around selling direct and there’s nothing at all wrong with that (Conid, Franklin-Christoph, Kanilea, Akkerman)
- others wants brick and mortar presence (Montblanc, Hippo Noto)
- others are small and just don’t have capacity to produce what we need (pretty much all independent pen makers, Herbert, even Edison to a degree)
- maintaining good vendor relations and working out smooth logistics behind-the-scenes is a HUGE part of providing a steady and stable supply of pen products, and we spend way more time than you might think doing that so you don’t have to think about it or be affected by it
QOTW: What’s the next pen brand you’d want us to start carrying? (01:03:14)
Writing Prompt: Write about the nicest thing anyone ever did for you. (01:03:27)
Nothing but the best for this week’s Thursday Things ensemble. We’ve gathered our tried and true best sellers from the Goulet Pens site and arranged them for your shopping and viewing pleasure. Thursday Things: Best Sellers is a cultivated collection of quality, dependable products. If you’re in the market for a new pen, ink, or notebook, these products are for you! Be sure to head on over to our NEW site to check these items out!
Featured products from left to right:
- Noodler’s Apache Sunset (3oz bottle)– $12.50
- Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki (50ml bottle)– $19.99
- Goulet Notecards (10 pack)– $3
- J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor (50ml bottle)– $28
- Goulet Notebook with 52gsm Tomoe River Paper, A5, Dot Grid– $9
- Lamy Safari Fountain Pen- Charcoal– $29.60
- Pilot Metropolitan RetroPop Fountain Pen- Orange– $18.50
- Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen- Makrolon– $167.20- $199
- Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen- Blue– $160
- Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen- Blue– $3.96- $4.98
- Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium (3oz bottle)– $12.50
- Diamine Oxblood (80ml bottle)– $14.95
How many of these best selling products have you tried?
The Goulet Pen Company Team
We’re so excited to share that our new GouletPens.com website is live! This has been a major project for us over the last several months, and we’re excited to be able to enhance your shopping experience. If you’ve ever had an account with us, you should be receiving an email in the next 24 hours asking you to create a new password. Make sure you go ahead and do that because we’ll give you an awesome incentive if you do so. 🙂
We worked with our friend and Master Penman, Jake Weidmann, to design our new logo. Huge thanks to Jake for his amazing and thoughtful work on this project!
If you want all the details on what’s changing with our new site and how it impacts you, check out Rachel Goulet’s announcement blog to learn more. Another thing you may notice when shopping on our new site is some of our shipping prices. We’re now offering flat rate international shipping! This means that you can continue to add items to your order without affecting your shipping price. You’ll still have your choice between methods to select the best option for you, and your shipping charges will be displayed before you have to check out on our site. Below are the new price ranges per region, and just as a heads up, they could change in the future.
- Shipping to Asia – Flat rate ranges from $19-$45
- Shipping to Australia – Flat rate ranges from $19-$48
- Shipping to Canada – Flat rate ranges from $12-$36
- Shipping to Latin America – Flat rate ranges from $19-$50
- Shipping to Europe – Flat rate ranges from $18-$48
- Shipping to Middle East/Africa – Flat rate ranges from $18-48
We’ve kept our US flat rate shipping prices the same based on shipping destination. Our USPS Domestic First-Class mail option is now a flat rate too, available for $4.75 as long as your order is within the weight limit for first class shipping.
You will see that our FedEx US prices are now flat rate as well. Those range from $14-$31 depending on the method you choose and your shipping desintation. We still offer free shipping to any APO shipping address as our way of thanking our military service members.
Once your package is shipped, we know you’ll want to follow your order as it makes its way to you! We’ll email you a link to your own tracking page so you can watch your order’s progress to your doorstep.
We know there will be some things we’ll have to work through with this new website launch, so thank you ahead of time for your patience! You can always check out our FAQ section for more information. And we’re ready to help you in any way we can, so don’t hesitate to reach out on LiveChat/our social media channels or send us an email at email@example.com.
The Goulet Pen Company Team
Goulet Pens has a fun new quiz for you to try. Can you guess these pens peeking out of the pen cases? Take a look at the pictures below and see if you can discern the fountain pen favorites in each case.
Which burgundy beauty is peeking out of this tan Aston Leather pen slip?
It's the Platinum Balance in Wine Red!
Can you name the versatile and tough pen on the far right of this Girologio case?
It's the Karas Kustoms Ink in Grey Aluminum!
How about this pretty in pink pen in the Nock Co. Brasstown?
It's the Pilot Kakuno in Pink/White!
Which iconic Italian pens are in this Visconti DreamTouch case?
Visconti! Shown are the Homo Sapiens and Rembrandt models.
Which pen brand is looking out from this Nock Co. Lookout case?
How many of these did you guess correctly? Let us know in the comments below and tell us what kinds of quizzes you’d like to see next.
The Goulet Pen Company Team