My top 12 Fountain Pen Inks of 2017 and Project Review

Another good year with plenty of inks swatch tested, art created and workshop delivered. The highlights being my trip to the Sakura Fountain Pen Gallery in Diest, Belgium, where I hooked up with Janine Tholen-Florijn and Catherine Van Hove to deliver my first international ink and bleach workshop, click here to read about that, and then participating in Inktober 2017 where I created 31 artworks (one a day), using only fountain pen inks and bleach, click here and here to read about that.

But for me, the most relevant outcome has been the creation of my workshop document, showcasing the creative diversity that fountain inks and bleach can offer and the validation that key individuals and organisations have given this project. I will be sending these out in the new year with the aim of offering ink and bleach workshops to schools and colleges as well as hosting workshops at my studio. Click here to read the document.

2018 is already shaping up to be a busy year: Vijay at is supplying me full range ink samples of: Franklin Christoph, L’Artisan Pastellier Callifolio, Lavender, Mont Blanc, Organics, Seitz Kreuznach and Watcher for swatch testing. Through United Inkdom, I will be reviewing the Kaweco Steel Sport and at some point I need to find time to launch my four colour ink range (see workshop document).

Which leaves me to say a huge thank you to all of you who have shown your support through, follows, likes and comments. What started out as something fairly ‘left field’ has now grown into something quite exciting with genuine creative possibilities.

And now, here they are, the 12 inks that caught my attention in 2017:

Noodler’s Aristocracy – A strange (no surprise there) dark purple brown colour that turns neon pink when subjected to bleach. Classic Noodler’s weirdness with great creative potential. Click for more.

Private Reserve Grey Flannel – A deep dark grey colour that bleeds out a gorgeous bright cyan when blended with water and turns a bright neon white gold when subjected to bleach. Another ink with great possibilities. Click for more.

Krishna Pencil – A deep purple/brown/crimson ink from India. Blends with water to reveal gentle washes of red, crimson and a thin greyish green. It’s just so visually smooth and subtle. Works well with bleach. All in all – a great find. Click for more.

Diamine Shimmer Ink Arctic Blue – One of a great release of 10 new Shimmers Inks from Diamine. In my opinion their best so far. To see how these behave – click here.

Robert Oster Bronze – A gorgeous brown ochre that bleeds greens when blended with water and a great neon gold with bleach. Used this as a background colour in the Day 14 Inktober 2017 challenge. Is also a great ink to use for line work if black is too harsh. Click here.

J Herbin Amethyste de l’Oural – A silky smooth, rich purple with silver glitter. Stunning reaction to bleach. Click here for some great abstract art.

J Herbin Caroube de Chypre – Although I tested this in 2016 I didn’t explore it fully until later in 2017 when I blended it with other Herbin metallic inks. See what happened here.

Robert Oster Fire and Ice – Robert has been trailblazing the ink scene for the last 2 years and this year he upped his game on the sheen front. This particular ink is just… visually stunning. Click here

Diamine Amazing Amethyst – A beautiful dramatic purple from Diamine which is superb for illustration. Click here.

Robert Oster Graphite – I flagged this up at the testing stage. This is what it can do. Click here.

Platinum Cassis Black and Platinum Citrus Black – I was recently invited to join United Inkdom.  It’s great to be hooked up with fellow enthusiasts. It’s through them that I received some of the new Platinum Black samples. For sheer visual weirdness, splendour and inventiveness, these have to be my number one inks for 2017! Click here to appreciate why.

All swatches created on Bockingford 200lb watercolour paper with a Cotman 24 watercolour brush and  a Noodler’s Nib Creeper.

If you like what I’m up to, you can also follow me on social media:
Instagram: @quinkandbleach
Twitter: @nickistew
Facebook: Fountain Pen Inks & Bleach

AND, just for the record – I do this for myself, I receive no remuneration what-so-ever and I tell it exactly how I see it.