Top 12 Fountain Pen Inks of 2015

IMG_4984It’s been one hell of a ride since June this year. 159 inks have tested to-date and the results have been fascinating. Okay, a majority of inks all behaved in a similar way but the ones that deviated from the norm really did steal the show. Add to this the launch of the shimmer inks from Diamine and the amazing Emerald de Chivor from J.Herbin, and there you have it –  an incredible six months! Aside from the actual project has been the interaction and support of interested parties from all over the world. It’s wonderfully reassuring and encouraging to know that there are other people equally as fascinated with the spirit of fountain pen inks as myself and I have a good feeling that for all ink geeks, 2016 is going to be another vintage year!

So here goes, in no particular order:

12 – Diamine Blue Black – Doesn’t rush to blend with water which suggests that’s it’s a slightly thicker fluid BUT what gorgeous blue colours appear at the breakdown? From black to blue to cyan and fluorescent turquoise! Turns a beautiful neon gold colour when subjected to bleach. A lovely rich dark blue ink when used for writing. What a colour!

11 – De Atramentis Olive Green –  A flat olive ink that bleeds easily when added to water with fluorescent yellows visible within and more cadmium yellows at the outer edges of the wash areas. Took a while to react with the bleach eventually turning a neon white gold. A deep rich olive when used for writing.

10 – Waterman Havanna Brown –  A thick dark brown ink that bleeds easily when added to water with reddish browns leaching into the wash areas and a bright cyan blue feathering at the very edges. Reacts easily with the bleach turning a gorgeous neon gold. A deep rich brown when used for writing.

9 – Diamine Teal – Bleeds easily when added to water with a strange mottled pattern evident at the breakdown of the wash suggesting a little more colour sediment in solution. Responds dramatically when subjected to bleach turning gold. As a writing ink flows well, drys fast and looks good.

8 – Rohrer and Klingner Salix –  Stunning. This ink contains iron gall. A thick dark blue/grey ink that bleeds in a peculiar way when added to water. Take a look. Reacts with bleach turning gold. A deep rich blue/grey when used for writing. Really liked this. Exciting.

7 – Diamine Amber – Wow! Wow! Wow! What a fantastic colour! Bleeds easily when added to water and turns from a deep cadmium yellow/orange to a lemon yellow. When subjected to bleach it turns a fabulous neon white gold colour. As a writing ink it flows well, drys fast and looks fantastic. The range, depth and brilliance of this colour is exceptional!

6 – Pilot Iroshizuku Momiji – A dark luscious red ink that doesn’t bleed easily when added to water but does reduce into purple pinks at the breakdown. Turns a dull gold colour when subjected to bleach and even black in some areas! A rich red colour when used for writing.

5 – Noodlers Lexington Gray – A deep grey colour that blends easily in solution. A feint translucent blue with plenty of dark grey sediment floating on top of it. No reaction when subjected to a strong concentration of bleach. A deep grey colour when used as a writing ink. Because it’s a bullet ink, and has a resistance water and bleach, the way it behaves is fascinating. The sediment colour repels water resulting in this effect. A great ink to paint watercolours with!

4 – Parker Quink Black – The most versatile ink ever. Breaks down with water to give gorgeous greys and blues with a gold edging. Reacts with bleach like neon and writes well too. My best mate – I couldn’t live without it!

3 – Sailor Yam-Dori – the whole range is a delight to use, they work with bleach and blend with water easily. They are delicate and sensitive and look wonderful when used for handwriting. What got me about Yam-Dori was the interesting way it reacted with bleach and the consistency of that  beach shoreline blue / green.

2 – De Atramentis Ebony –  Stunning. A thick dark rich ink that bleeds easily when added to water and behaves like a watercolour paint with bright reds and browns visible in the wash areas. As it dries, a thick feathered band of bright appears at the edges. Reacts immediately with bleach. A deep rich red/brown when used for writing.

1 – J.Herbin Emeraude de Chivor – It’s only when you view the work at an approximate 45 degree angle, that the magic colours reveal themselves. Fluorescent pinks and of course the gold. The wash onto a 200lb Bockingford paper is just as dramatic. The ink blends easily with the water and turns a brilliant turquoise at the breakdown with the gold and pinky reds visible in the darker areas. It is beautiful, absolutely beautiful.

Many thanks to Ross at Pure Pens and to Madigan at Goulet Pens. All the top 12 are available from their online shops.
For good examples of fountain pen ink art I thoroughly recommend you visit s.Jane Mills and Pira Urosevic and thank you both for your support.
Do keep a look out for Maybelline Tan’s feature about this project on her blog which she’s posting on 26th December 2015!