My most used ink color list looks something like this:
- Blue Black
- Bright Blue
- 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.
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.
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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