Octopus Fluids write & Draw Pigment Inks review

If you are seriously into fountain pen ink art then you really do need to read this. Octopus Fluids have very kindly sent me a few bottles from their brand new range of fountain pen friendly Write & Draw pigment inks to have a play with. And what I have witnessed is astounding.

Screenshot 2022-10-19 at 14.12.01Write & Draw Inks

Octopus Fluids already produce a wide range of dye based writing inks for themselves and for a handful of well known German writing brands too. But these Write & Draw Inks are different. Very different. The key thing here is that these 38 water-based writing and drawing inks are pigmented, waterproof and smudge-proof. The inks meet the requirements of a document-fast ink (DIN ISO 12757-2 & DIN ISO 14145-2) which means they are lightfast and won’t fade. This is a very important aspect for all fountain pen ink artists, as dye-based fountain pen inks are fugitive. Also of note – the ink ingredients are 100% vegan!

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Monotone Images

The first thing I did was read the instructions. ‘Thinning with water is also possible, but is only recommended to a small extent and only for colouring (use with a brush). Diluting with water will impair the writing properties and water resistance.’ I ignored that because I needed to know how far they can be pushed (see above) and I think you’ll agree, they behave well – deconstructing nicely to create dramatic skies and foregrounds. And once dry, they are indeed as claimed – waterproof, smudge proof and bleach proof. I briefly tried to mix some colours together but didn’t have great success so I will need to have another go at this.

But you can use these as individual colours and build up a composition as you would with illustration and calligraphy inks which is what they were designed for. And I will have a go at this too.

So, are these fountain pen friendly? Yes they are and I do have a Noodler’s Creaper pen that’s been fully charged for over 3 weeks and it’s still working although I do have to wet the nib every time before use. Octopus do advise that when filling a fountain pen, a few things should also be observed:
• Shake the jar well before use and use an (adjustable/rotatable) ink converter.
• Use for 2 to 3 hours without loss of intensity
• Clean the fountain pen immediately after use
I would strongly recommend following this advice and don’t leave pigmented ink in any of your treasured fountain pens – under any circumstances.

So, how vivid are the colours? Pigmented inks are generally duller than dye based inks but Octopus advise that the colour can be intensified by applying several coats after drying. But from my own experience, pigment inks will never have the visual impact of dyes – in terms of both vividness and chromatic behaviour.

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Screenshot 2022-10-19 at 15.52.54Pigment and dye based inks combined with bleach highlights

So what’s the big deal for me? Well, I have always dreamed of using dye and pigment fountain pen inks in harmony with one another and for obvious reasons. I love the nuance of dye based inks for backgrounds and fills but they can be difficult for line work. I have tried using water and agent proof pigment inks previously but have always had trouble with smudging when overlaying dye based inks, ruining countless artworks in the process. But not anymore! See above and below! I have used Write & Draw Blue Chameleon for the line work and once dried, overlaid a wash of Sailor Ink Studio 950 with all its gorgeous chromatography and then flicked on some bleach for a nice starlight / snow effect! It’s quick to do, vivid and clean.

And below, Cherry has used the same base ink as above and then used my mix inks for the overlays and fills. The pigment ink is absolutely waterproof and bleach resistant with NO smudging! And you can still use bleach for highlighting and erasing the dye based inks without upsetting the line work.

Screenshot 2022-10-19 at 14.33.31Image courtesy of Cherry Stewart @prune_and_fork

So what does this all mean? With a dependable and versatile range of 38 pigment inks for base or overlay line work combined with all the amazing visual properties of hundreds of standard, shimmer and sheening dye based inks, the future possibilities for fountain pen ink art are now even greater! I’m astounded! You have to give this a go!

If you want more information about these inks, visit the Octopus Fluids website. Click here.
If you want to get hold of some, Anja has them at Papier und  Stift. Click here.

All tests on Bockingford 140lb HP watercolour paper..

OF NOTE: I am running an online fountain pen ink workshop on Wednesday 26th October from 6-7pm as part of the Cult Pens creative workshops initiative. If you’d like to attend, please click the following link and register: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_m1GGt-KwRNquTZPoWcskNA

ALSO OF NOTE: Anja at Papier und Stift has very kindly sent me vials for the complete Dominant Industry range which I will be showcasing along with samples of Fountain Wheel Press, Wearingeul, Diplomat, Taccia Jeans, Pennonia Lab and Teranishi throughout November, December and January. And yes, I have my Diamine Inkvent Calendar to share too! Also coming up real soon will be an overview of this year’s Inktober (my efforts are currently being posted daily on Instagram and Facebook).

AND HEY! If you’re interested to know more about how to use fountain pen inks in more creative ways – whether it’s simply to observe their chromatic behaviours, or, to recreate one of my swatch cards, or, to learn how to use them in watercolour painting, illustration and calligraphy, why not check out my online course ?

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