Matching Ink Colour to Pen Colour

My family was fortunate to have enjoyed a three week tour of Europe this summer.  While in Italy, they were kind enough to buy me a Montegrappa Classica fountain pen (as a gift for me staying home with our dog, Ginger, and watering my wife’s flowers).  I have included a picture of the pen below, which comes from Airline International, as I have not been able to take my own pictures as of yet.  The depth and variation of the colour of this pen is really something to behold – it reminds me of the different shades of blue that one can see while flying over the Atlantic Ocean/Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean Sea when headed to one of the islands in the Caribbean.

Unfortunately, I have become infected with a mild form of a syndrome, that I have come to learn affects a large portion of the fountain pen user community – matching the ink colour to the pen colour.  I was not even aware of the existence of such a disorder until I came into contact with a compulsive matcher; in fact, the thought of matching had never even occurred to me.

Until recently, whenever I picked out a pen to write with, I filled it with whatever ink appealed to me at that moment, whether based on a recent purchase, my mood at the time or simply (dare I say) at random. The pen colour never entered into the decision.  Apparently there a fountain pen users who are compulsive about matching – their ink selection must always coordinated with whatever pen that they are going to use (query what happens to them when they cannot find such a match??).  Some users (like me) have a milder form of this affliction – the pen colour is more of a guideline to use, when an identical match cannot be found, they choose a colour that is complementary or contrasting.

That long story leads me to my current dilemma – I have this wonderful new blue pen to fill, but with what ink?  I have a very large collection of blue ink and I have narrowed down the candidates to those that are included in the scan below.  But I can’t make a decision, I need your advice on which ink to use.  I don’t guarantee that I will use the advice of the majority who respond (hey, this is not a democracy but I am a benevolent dictator).  In order to remove any potential bias that the names of the inks might create, I have simply numbered the choices.  When the selection period is over, I will post the names of these inks for your reference.

By the way, in the course of creating these ink swatches and scan, a couple of them did stick out as being somewhat closer than the others; however, I have not been able to reach a decision.  I know I can’t go wrong whatever I choose but I just want to have a bit of fun with this.

Lastly, the paper used for these ink swatches is an 80 lb. premium blend that was removed from a Behance Dot Grid Book that I purchased from Russell at papeterie nota bene*.  This paper has a wonderful texture to it; however, what makes this paper so neat is the light geometric dot matrix.  The dots can be used in whatever ways you can think of (I use them for writing in a straight line), and they disappear after you write over them.  I would trade all my Rhodia, Clairefontaine and even Whitelines for these Dot Grid Books!

3 thoughts on “Matching Ink Colour to Pen Colour

  1. #6, definitely #6! I am sorry, Mike, but you can’t be just a little matchy, here. The slightly wrong ink in a pen is worse than a contrasting ink or even a random ink!

    #6 looks to me to have just the right bit of aqua colour to highlight the pen. The other darker blues are too blue (no aqua or green highlights, which the pen appears to have) and the other ones are too lioght to be useful. There. Aren’t you sorry you asked?

    Kathryn the Extremely Picky

  2. I can well appreciate the attraction of matching pen and ink color. I’m afflicted by the same condition. I mainly use blue ink in my pens and of that I’m sure I have at least a dozen hues, probably more. (I keep promising myself that I’ll use up those I like less than others so I can reduce my cache, but that seems to be a pipe dream.) The few blue pens I own do have blue ink in them, and the ink is somewhat matched to the pen color. But most of my pens are other colors. My tastes have often run to sands, oranges and greens. And then there’s the Visconti Divina in black and silver. These too get blue ink for the most part, with only the occasional pen drawing black ink. The latter mainly get used for writing on index cards for the research I’m doing.

    Now to the point of your question. If I owned that pen (and I do have a Montegrappa Symphony in what looks like the same or similar “Navy Blue”), I would choose #6 or perhaps #7, though some of the lighter blues in your selection would match the lighter flecks in the pen’s finish.

    I’ll look forward to seeing which ink you choose, as well as the names of the inks in your samples.

  3. I appreciate these comments very much and I will discuss them in greater detail when I announce my choice and the actual names of the inks.

    For reference purposes, afaik Montegrappa considers this pen to be turquoise; however, this did not affect the selection of these eight (at least at a conscious level). In fact, none of these inks have turquoise in their name!

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