My top 12 inks and project review 2022

By way of introduction, this is an annual summary of my fountain pen ink art project – reimagining fountain pen inks for creative purposes other than for just handwriting – which began in 2015 with no real goals or time parameters, just an investigation, experimenting and having fun.


2022 has been a very busy year and not just in terms of ink investigation. My everyday workload in the graphic design sector has increased significantly which has naturally impacted on the amount of time spent playing with ink and blogging.

So, as well as continuing with the creative swatch carding, which this year has included investigating inks from (click the links for more info): Wearingeul, Kobe, Scribo, Herbin and Ferris Wheel Press plus exclusives for Stephan Lucht, Cult Pens, Papier und Stift, Pen Gallery and Art from the Heart I have also had the luck to be able to try both the Kakimori and the Octopus pigment fountain pen inks.

For me, the big discovery of 2022 has been the Octopus pigment fountain pen inks in conjunction with the Kakimori dip pen nib, both of these are already having an impact on the project and for the first time could well be pushing the project in a direction which will undoubtably embrace illustration more in 2023.


In June this year I was proud to be involved with my first collaboration with poet Andy Taylor. He allowed me to create fountain pen ink art illustrations for his first collection of poetry titled Taylor. Phil Davies at Diamine very kindly sent me some of the first test Chameleon inks to use, some of which have recently appeared in the Inkvent 2022 edition. A limited print run of 100 signed copies was the final outcome with Andrew making personal appearances at several well known poetry festivals to promote the books.

In July I managed to curate my first ever fountain pen ink art show as part of the Medway Open Studios and Arts Festival which was a very worthwhile experience. And in October I completed this year’s Inktober challenge, which was great fun, making up insects to the challenge prompts and using a diverse range of sheening and shimmer inks to illustrate with.

And to finish off the year, the Diamine Reddit project asked me to swatch test the fifteen ink samples for their forth coming Sailors Warning and Celadon Cat fountain pen inks. Have you voted for your favourites? Click here NOW. And finally, of course, was the swatch carding for the Diamine Inkvent Calendar 2022 which is always great fun. Click here for more.

Traffic to my Blog, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube platforms continues to grow as does my admiration for a growing number of exciting fountain pen ink enthusiasts who regularly push the boundaries in swatch carding, illustration and lettering. Here are just a few of the many Instagram handles that I like: @claire.scribbleswithpens, @mps0123456789, @inkquack, @diamineinklovers, @agathe_yette, @bornacisar, @inkytoro, @writeontheleft, @doug_jackson_artwork, @andrew.lensky, @inkpotandpen, @ink_and_stuff, @tintan.ium, @nibsandflourishes, @inkymole, @aijing_ink_trail, @di.metcalf, @oliveleafcalli, @benoitfuret, @barghest.illustration, @prune_and_fork

The number of students experiencing the online course, Fountain Pen Ink Art – The Basics, is also increasing – 453 to date – with a new online course to be launched in 2023. This new course is for both students who have already grasped the skills in the basics course and artists of a good skills standard. To be honest, if you haven’t done the basics course, this next course may be tricky. Just saying. The course will offer tutorials and top tips of how to maximise and apply your fountain pen ink art skills to more complex work including: conceptual thinking, layout and composition, CMYK mixing and application, maximising complex shimmer and sheening inks, using pigment and dye based inks together, plein air ink art, best brushes, nibs and paper to use plus a couple of tutorials on how to create visually stunning abstract calligraphy utilising some basic digital editing skills. More detailed info about this to follow.

And so now to the bit you’re after, my top 12 inks for 2022. And this year, no matter how you look at it, has been what can only be described as the year of the shimmer, sheen shimmer and duo tone shimmer! Fingers crossed that Caledon Cat starts a shift towards more shading inks in 2023.


Falling Upwards (Diamine exclusive for Art in the Heart) – a fabulous deep crimson with a stupendous metallic sheen. Works brillianty in conjunction with its partner Fluster Cluck. Click for more.

Harvest Moon (Dominant Industry exclusive for Cult Pens) – A gorgeous grey ochre with great chromo and a gold shimmer. Click for more.

Stars in Autumn (Wearingeul) – One of many stunning inks from this ‘new kid on the block’. Great colour, great chromo and a huge silver shimmer. There is also a definite white neon reaction with bleach. Click for more.

Olive Swirl (Diamine) – One of the new Chameleon Inkvent inks this olive has great chromo and a duotone green shimmer. There is also a dull gold reaction with bleach. Click for more.

Nankinmachi Fortune Red (Kobe) – A fabulous bright vermilion that bleeds out red, orange, pink and yellow when dropped onto a wetted paper surface. A neon gold reaction to bleach. Click for more.

Nonokiki Lavender (Kobe) – A rich purple that bleeds out purples and cyan when dropped onto a wetted paper surface. A neon blue reaction with bleach. Click for more.

Lyme Regis Grey (Robert Oster exclusive for Cult Pens) – A lovely warm grey that bleeds out greys, pinks and turquoise when swatched onto watercolour paper. There is white neon reaction with bleach and there’s also a bountiful rose gold shimmer. Click for more.

Queen and Castle (Ferris Wheel Press) – A rich olive coloured ink with zesty yellow chromo. And a rose gold shimmer. Click for more.

Kolner Bruckengrun (Diamine exclusive for Ortoff) – Based on the green paint used for the bridges in Koln this a pastel green with great chromo and a silver shimmer. Click here.

Jekyll to Hyde (Wearingeul) – Part of a novelty ink box, this is a seriously deep red ink with a killer metallic green sheen. You must check out the story. Click for more.

Deck the Halls (Diamine) – Another Chameleon ink from this year’s Inkvent Calendar. A deep deep burgundy with a rose gold and pink duotone shimmer! Click for more.

Spiced Apple (Diamine) – My favourite of the many fabulous inks from this year’s Inkvent Calendar. A rich vermilion chestnut brown with a duotone gold shimmer and a metallic green sheen plus a huge reaction with bleach. Inkcredible! Click for more.

Of interest: 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: Wearingeul, Diplomat, Taccia Jeans, Pennonia Lab and Teranishi over the coming months.

A huge thanks to all of you who support what I’m up to and who can see both the inspirational, educational and mindful benefits that fountain pen ink art can offer. Repurposing products for alternative uses offers huge potential for our future. It just needs people with imagination and courage, who aren’t afraid of making mistakes. People like you!

Here’s to 2023! Bring it on!


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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