My top 12 inks 2018

Another year into the project and another multitude of fountain pen inks swatch tested. As per usual, I have selected 12 inks that particularly grabbed my attention so if you haven’t tried some of them, or any of them, these certainly won’t disappoint. I have included a few words for each ink with links to areas within the site which have more info and lots of pictures. So, in no particular order of preference:

Mabie Todd Starling Purple – great colour with superb tonal range and chromatic behaviours. Good reaction with bleach too, turning neon white gold with a hint of ice blue. For the swatch test results click here. Would also recommend Diamine Lilac Night and Robert Oster Deep Purple .

Diamine Earl Grey – fabulous chromatography! This is what I’d describe as a purple/rust based grey which blends with other inks very easily (Click). Also has a bright reaction with bleach turning ice blue and then bright neon gold. When blended with water – greys, purples, turquoises and a hints of red can be seen coming out of solution. For the swatch test results click here. I can also recommend Nick Stewart Twilight Black.

KWZ Ink Grey Lux – another lovely deep warm grey with a superb tonal range and chromatic behaviour revealing light warm greys and turquoise. Good reaction with bleach too, turning neon gold with a hint of ice blue. I used this for Inktober 2018 (Click). For the swatch test results and other KWZ inks click here.

Nick Stewart Randall Blue Black – This is the first ink created by myself and manufactured by Diamine. Described as ‘chameleon like’ this ink has an impressive tonal range and appears differently depending on which paper you choose to use. Reacting with bleach, it also has interesting chromatic behaviours and sheen! For the full appraisal by the Clumsy Penman click here. For my swatch test click here. The ink is named after the modern day adventurer Randall Reeves who is currently circumnavigating Antarctica (click here for live info). I used this for Inktober 2018 (Click).

Pelikan Edelstein Olivine – I picked this up at the Pelikan Hub pen meet at the Hilton Hotel in London. A deep dark green with a fabulous tonal range and chromatography bleeding out grey greens and turquoise at the outer edges it has a neon white gold reaction with bleach. I used this for Inktober 2018 (Click).

Robert Oster Crocodile Green – As some of you may know, I am a massive fan of this ink brand. This particular colour is from his latest range of inks, Get.Set.GO. A great tonal range and stunning chromatography the ink has a neon gold reaction to bleach. For the swatch tests of this and the rest of the range click here.

Cult Pens Diamine Robert – This year, in particular, has been the battle of the sheens – ie. who can produce the ultimate sheen! I have swatch tested most of the big hitters, a majority of which have blue inks (click here) but, in my opinion, the outright extreme sheen is this ink – and if you want proof click here.

Diamine Shimmer Peacock Flare – For the last four years, Diamine have been releasing their Shimmer Inks. These are not everyone’s cup of tea I know but I have to say, for modern calligraphy, these are great fun and of this year’s batch this particular colour is stunning. As well as having a good tonal range this colour a great blender with the other colours in the range. Click here for the review.

Organics Studio Nitrogen – I don’t know much about Organics Studio but have chosen Nitrogen because of all the blue sheening inks, this is, in my opinion, the prettiest colour. I also like the uniform way in which the ink breaks down when blended with water. For a little more info click here.

Krishna Ink Pooram and Cinnamon – This year has the seen the rise of Krishna Inks. This is a distinct brand based in India. Strong on sheening many of the inks have fascinating chromatic behaviours. Click here for the review. I used Cinnamon for Inktober 2018 (Click).

Nick Stewart Dune Yellow – As part of my 4 colour mixing range this colour took a long time to get right but the effort was worth it. As a standalone ink and as a mixing/blending ink it’s been the best yellow I have swatch tested this year. For more info click here. If you want to win a set of these inks I am running a competition for my newsletter subscribers –  you can click here to enter but also ensure that you’re signed up to actually win the goodies.

So there you have it! And of the 12 inks, most have been released this year which suggests that fountain pen inks are enjoying something of a revival. I also note that more artists, partaking in Inktober, together with sketchers and journalling enthusiasts are starting to dabble with fountain pen inks as a creative medium.

My workshops this year have generated a degree of interest and I will be running more in 2019 click here for details. I will also be posting tutorials online, so if that’s of interest, click here to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

A huge thanks to all of you who also believe in fountain pen inks as a creative medium. 2019 could be the breakthrough year – bring it on!

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