My tiny ink collection

August 25, 2010 § 2 Comments

For some strange reasons folks tend to believe that someone who collects pens would also have a large collection of inks. So they sometimes would approach me and ask my opinion on different sorts of brands and their colors and most of the time I would have to tell them that I’m really sorry, but I haven’t ever tried one single bottle of that ink.

Since I use my pens mostly for writing, I prefer dark colors that are clearly and easy visible to the eye, mainly colors like blue and black and some dark reds and purples just for the fun of it. When sketching I work with lightfast and waterproof blacks only. So there’s no need for other colors, because they will end up dried and unused.

Well, here is my small ink collection, the ones I currently keep in my desk shelf.

Jansen / De Atramentis "Bordeaux" - ink made of red wine

Okay, I guess it’s obvious why I just had to get that bottle, right ;)?!! When I first heard of ink made of real wine I was very curious to try it. It’s a nice dark red color, once dried it reminds me a little bit of blood colorwise. And it really does have a nice faint smell of red wine.

Herbin "Opera rose" and "Bouquet d'Antan"

And even more reds. “Opera Rose” and “Bouquet d’Antan” by Herbin. Lovely colors, lovely flow, but I don’t use them too often. I hope they will last me a couple of years.

Rohrer & Klingner "Scabiosa" and "Salix"

Rohrer & Klingner iron/gall-nut inks “Scabiosa” and “Salix”. Iron/gall-nut inks are not supposed to be used a long time in a fountain pen, because those inks are known to clog up. As long as you clean your pen after using you should be fine though, at least I never had any problems even after leaving those inks for a few weeks in my pens. “Scabiosa” is an interesting color. It’s a pale purplish rose if you use it in a fountain pen, but it will look like a grayish violet if you use it with a dip pen. “Salix” is a pale blue.

Private Reserve Ink "Black Magic Blue"

Private Reserve “Black Magic Blue” is my favourite blue ink for writing. In my oppinion it’s the very essence of a dark blue. Deep in chroma and dark, without being grayish and with a shade of ultramarine/purple. Love it.

Pelikan 4001 "Royal Blue" and "Brilliant Black"

Pelikan “Royal Blue” and “Brilliant Black”, my old schoolmates. I don’t use them too often anymore. When writing black I nowadays prefer the waterproof inks and when writing blue I prefer darker blues. Also I’ve noticed that those ink erasable blue inks tend to fade with time, be careful when using them and don’t use them for important documents.

Mont Blanc "Blue Black"

Mont Blanc “Blue Black” was one of my first dark blues, however it is far too grayish for my liking. I clearly prefer the Private Reserve dark blues over it. Also I’ve heard some rumours that this particular ink would be a iron/gall-nut ink as well. Anyway, the design of the bottle is neat as it’s helpfull to use up all the ink up to the last drop. Once the ink is finished (or more likely all dried up, because I scarcely use it ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) I’m going to reuse this bottle for my other inks.

Pelikan "Fount India" and Noodler's "Bulletproof Black"

Finally my drawing inks, Pelikan “Fount India” and Noodler’s “Black”. Both of them can be used in pens, the Pelikan “Fount India” has a slightly better flow, yet the ink tends to bleed more into the paper than the Noodler’s “Black” does. So optically you always end up with a line that seems to be bolder when drawing with Fount India. Hence I prefer Noodler’s for the finer details. Both are waterproof, yet I’d advise you to make a first try on a scrap piece of paper.

EDIT: oh yeah, I forgot about color samples, but I’m sure you’d like some ๐Ÿ˜‰

Comparison of different inks

Comparison of different inks, written with a dip pen

One more note, all these samples were written with a dip pen which causes some of the colors to look darker than if they were written with a regular fountain pen. For instance the first color “Bordeaux” looks almost like a dark brown in this sample, when written with a fountain pen it will look more like a dark red though.

Another way to change a Lamy nib

August 23, 2010 § 1 Comment

It has been brought to my attention that there are a few people who do not dare to use the pen cap for changing the nibs, because they are afraid that this method could ruin their nibs. Please rest assured that as long as you don’t exert too much force while pushing the cap onto the nib nothing bad will happen.

Anyway, for those who prefer a method other than using the pen cap or their fingers for pulling off the nib, here is the tape method.

Yet, please let me state beforehand that I do not recommend this method. Some tapes don’t adhere well enough to the nib to get it off, especially if you haven’t cleaned off the ink properly, whereas other tapes are horribly sticky and tend to leave glue residue on your nib. Be careful, if this residue gets into the part of the ink flowing system of your nib it will be ruined.

The right way to use sticky tape would be to cut a piece to this length, like illustrated in the picture below. Most tapes will be wider than that, so you might have to cut the tape in half. Gently clean the nib and make sure there isn’t any ink (or water if you have just cleaned your pen) on the nib before applying the tape. Then pull gently on the tape until the nib slides off.

How to apply tape to a Lamy nib

The right way to apply tape

What not to do:

Don’t apply the tape over the ink flowing part of the nib. That would be the parts I’ve marked red in the following picture:

Stay away with anything sticky where marked red

In the best case the ink therein will spread under the tape causing it not to stick to the nib, yet in the worst case glue residue from the sticky tape might clog up your ink flow. And believe me, it’s very difficult to get glue out of a nib, most likely you will have to get a new one.

Additional information on the Lamy nibs

April 26, 2010 § 3 Comments

Boring title, I know.

Yet I’ve promised a little update to the Lamy nibs and to answer some questions I have been asked repeatedly.

Lamy nibs old - new

Lamy nibs - from old to new

What you can see in this picture are three different kind of nibs. The oldest one is on the left, the newest one on the right.

The one on the left is about ten years old it was a default nib that came with one of my pens. As you can see there is no indication of size on it. It also lacks the Lamy logo. The nibs that came as default some years ago would not have any size indicated on them. (Nowadays they all have.) So if you bought a new Lamy pen back then, you needed to pay attention to the little sticky on the pen which would tell you what size the nib was or ask the seller to give you a pen with your prefered nib size. If you lost that sticker, don’t remember that information anymore or have bought the pen second-hand, there is no way to find out which size it is. You could try to compare it to other nibs if you happen to have some ready, of course, but other than that there’s no way to find the answer to this question I’m afraid .

In the middle you can see a nib that is approximately 5 years old, it still is completely black whereas the newest type of nib (as seen on the right) comes with a silvery shining tip. I’ve placed the tip of the latter on a darker background so that you can spot the difference easier.ย  (Sorry for the glare, I will get me a decent photo equipment soon.)

Sometimes people wonder whether the newer dark nibs are made of a different material, because they have that lighter tip, but I don’t think so. My guess is that the difference is just caused by a new/different way of producing those nibs. However, purely from the esthetic point of view I admit that I also prefer the old nibs that were all black ;).

An older painting continued

March 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

I was already about to throw this painting away, because it was started with the wrong colors, but then I thought why not give it at least a try. If the colors (W&N Artisan) are going to crack, I can still throw it away, if not, maybe it turns out nicely.

If my memory doesn’t fail me I remember having read somewhere in the Artisan spreadsheets that those colors weren’t suitable for glazing techniques. I cannot remember the exact reason why, but my best guess would be because their whites could be made with safflower oil? Well anyway, since I’m a curious person and would like to see myself what will happen I decided to give it a try nevertheless.

This is my underpainting, it has been touch dry for a couple of days and tonight I’m going to start with the first few glazes.

copy after Bouguereau, WIP, oil on canvas

Today was 26th World Wide SketchCrawl Day

February 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

and I wasn’t even aware of it :ยด(.

You can check out what participants from all over the world were sketching here, in the official SketchCrawl forum.

Okay, the next one will be May 15th and I’m totally determined to go sketch crawling that day, too. ^-^

And what exactly is a Sketch Crawl? Mainly a meeting of different persons that gather somewhere and then walk around the place sketching everything they see or everything that inspires them. I guess the main reason of all this is to meet with fellow artists, to practice drawing, share experiences – and most of all to have fun :).