Posts filed under Ink Reviews

Fountain Pen Ink Cartridges: What Are Your Favorites?

Fountain Pen Ink Cartridges

I’m not one to shy away from yet another experiment, and this time around it is fountain pen ink cartridges. Specifically, short international fountain pen ink cartridges. As you know, I’m a fan of small, or pocket-sized, fountain pens, and using an ink cartridge in them is more often than not the best solution.

Either I haven’t been paying enough attention, or the ink cartridge market has exploded over the past several years. Maybe in response to the popularity of smaller fountain pens? Whatever the reason, I approve, and I’m going to be testing a bunch out.

With that in mind, do you have a go-to fountain pen ink cartridge? I’ve stuck to the basics over the years, but the options are wide and varied these days, and I want to explore. I’m off to a good start as you can see above, but tell me your favorites in the comments below, or hit me up on Twitter.

Posted on April 17, 2019 and filed under Fountain Pens, Ink Reviews.

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice Ink Review

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice Ink Review

My most used ink color list looks something like this:

  1. Blue Black
  2. Orange
  3. Bright Blue
  4. Purple
  5. Bright Green

Blue Black ink goes in any every day writing pen and nib combination. Stock Fine Japanese nibs for example. The same goes for Orange, although it will find its way into finer nibs more often than Blue Black. Bright Blues, on the other hand, tend to find their way into the extreme ends of the nib spectrum. XXF, UEF, and PO on the fine side, and big stubs on the broad side. I almost never use them in the middle range of nib sizes.

Why is that? Bright Blues offer the perfect amount of character and readability for the nibs I use them in. Blue Black inks are arguably more readable on the micro side of the ledger, but will lose their character when the line is that fine. Conversely, they are a bit boring on the wide end. There are inky exceptions, of course, but in general terms I find this to be the case.

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice Ink

Orange inks look cool in micro nib sizes, but they are more difficult to read. Wide nibs tend to show off their brightness, but they often lack the big shading and sheening characteristics that other colors have.

Bright Blues, like Robert Oster Blue Water Ice, are my favorite in nibs that aren’t covered by Blue Black and Orange. For this review, I used my Pelikan M805 Demonstrator with a Medium nib modified to a stub by Dan Smith. As wide as stock Pelikan nibs already are, this made the line somewhere around a 1.0 mm stub, which shows off the characteristics of Blue Water Ice wonderfully.

This is a moderately shading and light sheening ink. There is good color variation within the line, and the edges show off a bit of red sheen that stands out the more characters there are on the page. In pictures and swabs I thought it would be similar to Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki and Sailor Sky High, but in use it is lighter and greener, despite what my premier photography skills show in these images.

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

Because of that lightness, it is the perfect stub nib Bright Blue ink. It would be difficult for me to choose Blue Water Ice over Kon-Peki, for example, in something like my Pilot Custom Heritage 912 with PO nib. It would work just fine, but it wouldn’t be the best experience for me.

And that’s what fountain pen inks are for me: An experience. Finding that perfect match of ink color, nib, pen, and paper is something all of us fountain pen fans strive towards. That’s why we obsess over the little things, such as one ink being perfect for a fine nib, but not necessarily a medium nib. That’s why when we find that combination we go to it over and over again. And that’s what I find so fun about this crazy little hobby of ours.

(I'm fairly certain I bought this ink from Vanness Pens at a pen show in 2018 but I honestly can't recall the specifics. Maybe I got it for free.)


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Robert Oster Blue Water Ice Writing
Posted on April 1, 2019 and filed under Robert Oster, Ink Reviews.

Five J. Herbin Inks: An Overview

Five J. Herbin Inks

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

This week I’m doing an overview of five J. Herbin inks. I won’t review each ink in as much detail as I usually do, but I wanted to introduce each ink with a few comments about color, saturation, and wetness.

These five inks come in adorable 10ml bottles (though you can purchase larger 30ml bottles). The 10ml bottles aren’t very practical, however. Since they are so small, the opening won’t accommodate bigger nibs, such as the MB 149. Still, they are a nice size for travel or for an office stash of ink.

The colors range from a very light coral to a deep purple blue.

List of Inks.jpg

The first ink is Vert de Gris.

This, in my opinion, is the most unique color of the five inks. “Vert de Gris” means “Green-Gray” and this color has both deep turquoise and gray hues. It is gorgeous in fine and broad nibs, and it exhibits good shading but no sheen.

Vert de Gris Card.jpg
Vert de Gris Writing.jpg

The second ink is Bleu de Profondeurs, which means “deep blue.” This ink is a purple blue. It’s nicely saturated and looks good in both fine and broad nibs. In broad nibs it offers a little bit of shading, but no sheen.

Bleu de Profonduers Card.jpg
Bleu de Profonduers Writing.jpg

The third ink is Rouge Grenat, which is a lush garnet red.

The ink works well in both fine and broad nibs, and is highly saturated. Although it doesn’t have any observable sheen, it does exhibit a little bit of shading in broad nibs.

Rouge Grenat Card.jpg
Rouge Grenat Writing.jpg

The fourth ink is Corail des Tropiques.

Of the five inks, this one is my least favorite, mainly because it’s watery and too light for use in finer nibs. It might work well as a wash. In broad nibs it has enough saturation to be usable and even has a tiny bit of shading. In my testing it exhibited no sheen.

Corail Card.jpg
Corail Writing.jpg

Last is Bleu Calanque or “Blue Cove.”

This is a bright turquoise color that is saturated enough to work well in fine nibs. It also exhibits a bit of shading in broad nibs.

Bleu Calanque Card.jpg
Bleu Calanque Writing.jpg

I like all of these J. Herbin inks--in fact, they surprised me. They are far more saturated than I expected. I’ve found J. Herbin inks can be too light and very dry (I’m thinking of you, Rouille d’Ancre). These five inks flow quite well, though Corail des Tropiques was too watery for my taste.

The 10ml bottles are a good size for sampling an ink. Unlike typical 4 or 5ml ink samples, you have enough ink for several fills so you can decide if you want to buy a regular sized bottle. You can purchase J. Herbin 10ml inks from Vanness Pens for $6.00 a piece (30ml bottles are $12.95).

(Vanness Pens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Posted on March 8, 2019 and filed under J. Herbin, Ink Reviews.