Ink – a fluid or viscous substance used for writing

Ink – the lifeblood of a pen.  When vintage pens were modern, it was “the black liquor with which men write”, then blue and blue-black.  Today, it’s a completely different ballgame altogether – you can get virtually any colour of the rainbow and with different characteristics – fast-drying, eternal, scented,  and so on.  At the current rate of innovation, I predict it won’t very long before we are able to order our own “custom” ink.

Ink was the theme of yesterday’s pen club meeting.  We have had terrific attendance and participation with the themes and yesterday was no exception.  I for one enjoyed seeing such a large quantity and variety of ink (modern and vintage).  Plenty of discussion about the characteristics and quality of different colours and brands.  I am also sure the other customers in Williams raised their eyebrows and shook their heads as they watched us sniffing ink like it was a fine wine – was this ink still good, smell this Solv-X, doesn’t this FPN Brown smell like paint, etc.  And let’s not forget the assortment of ink bottles – Parker Penman, Levenger, etc.  All in all, another terrific meeting.

As the member of our club who is believed to have the largest collection of ink (especially if it is blue), I was asked a number of different questions about the inks that I prefer, etc… and I suggested the best way to describe my addiction to ink is that it is a cheap thrill – very inexpensive relative to most new pens but the possibilities are endless – you can write with it, sketch with it, mix it and even trade it for another kind.  To me, it is analogous to those who collect Lamy Safaris – very nice pens, wide range of colours and nibs – what more could you ask for?

Finally,  I wanted to mention a number of terrific blogs that feature ink.  I really enjoy reading their comments and marvel at their creativity in presenting the many colours of ink that they are using/demonstrating.  Here is a list of ink- related blogs that have caught my eye – if I have missed one, please let me know.

Ink Quest – brilliant narrative!

Inkophile – amazing imagination and presentation!

Spiritual Evolution of the Bean – The name seems to capture it perfectly!

The Harmless Dilettante – has a digital ink sampler with over 160 reviews!

The Laurel Tree – the latest on Japanese ink and pens!

I posed a question to the author of Inkophile about how they were able to ink so many pens and keep them all clean – .  The author will be happy to know that I ordered my ultra sonic cleaner after I read their response – I have been on the fence about one for some time, the author just pushed me over.

Until next week or sooner!



4 thoughts on “Ink – a fluid or viscous substance used for writing

  1. High praise indeed! Thanks for the link.

    You are dead on with the “cheap thrill” assessment though it is possible to spend $40 for a single bottle shipped from Japan. Discontinued colors and brands can sell at a premium as well.

    Too pricey? For low cost investment Private Reserve and J. Herbin are best bets in the U.S. The former is highly saturated while the latter is less saturated though still colorful. IME JH dries faster but if you like lots of intense color, PR will satisfy most folks.

    The ultrasound is a great tool with lots of uses. Hard to go wrong with that investment. You’ll see. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your reply Inkophile.

      The “high praise” is warranted, you have an outstanding blog.

      And yes, the “cheap” in “cheap thrill” is relative when you consider the cost of a bottle of ink shipped from Japan, an “exclusive” Noodler’s from another part of the world or a discontinued color/ brand.

      I have purchased some of the Pilot Iroshizuku ink from Taizo (engeika on eBay) myself – and I try to buy several bottles at a time or put together a group buy for members of our club to spread the cost of shopping across as many bottles as possible.

      Keep up the great work, we will be reading!


  2. What a charming post. It makes me want to rush out and join a pen club. Thanks for the shout out. Just one more reason to love my neighbors to the north. 😉

    This ink obsession is a hard one to break, but I’ve found the FPN ink vial exchange has helped keep my costs in check. There really are some inks worth trying, but honestly not worth owning. How many orange inks do you really need, for example? I always seem to reach for the same two, over and over again. Having said that, I still would like to own Noodler’s entire line. It’s the ‘completest’ collector in me, I suppose, but it’s been a fun goal to pursue.

    However, those Pilot Iroshizuku would look awfully pretty in my ink closet. Oh the hell with it, I’m obviously hopeless! Maybe I should go back to concentrating on pens? What is that very attractive yellow pen you have pictured?

    1. Kate,

      Thank you for the kind remarks. As you know, we are also very fond of your blog.

      The FPN ink vial exchange is a terrific idea but I am not so sure it is as cost effective when you start mailing across the border (or even within Canada for that matter). Being part of a pen club is the next best thing especially if people have different preferences, therefore more to show, tell and share.

      When all is said and done, it is a fairly harmless obsession (as is the collecting of pens) so long as it does not create financial hardship for a person. If you fill your ink closet up with the growing collection of Pilot Iroshizuku ink, you just might end up in the poor house.

      You asked about the yellow pen – I believe that is the Omas Emotica – a pen with an uber-cool design and an exceptional springy titanium nib.

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