Review: Noodler's Antietam ink

This review is by Kalina Wilson, who can also be found at

Antietam (pronounced something like an-TEE-dum) is not one of the more frequently appreciated colors of Noodler's ink, but I'm a big fan.  This ink is generally described as looking "antique" or like dried blood. It caught my eye while searching for a rich, red-tinted brown, and it fits the bill very, very well.  

This particular color of Noodler's isn't widely available but right now it does appear to be stocked by both Writer's Bloc and Goulet Pens

Antietam sample DSCI0003_0427


Because the color has such strong shading, it changes a lot depending on what you're using it with - your paper and especially your pen make a huge difference.  In general, the thicker it is laid on and the less absorbent your paper, the more the ink moves towards an extremely rich deep red.  A lighter layer can look like rich orange or thin tomato, depending on the paper and pen.  Some paper pushes it towards brown.

Antietam-layeredHere's the ink looking like thin tomato, loaded into the cartridge of a Kuretake Hair Brush pen and applied to cream-toned Aquabee watercolor paper. While I don't love the tomato shade, the layering options it allows for are quite fun.


Sketchcrawl-ahc1 Here it is looking like a rich, antique brown, loaded in a Lamy Safari and laid down in a Moleskine Sketchbook.  These are salvaged architectural pieces sketched last December during a Portland Urban Sketchers expedition to the Architectural Heritage Center.


Cascade This was on vintage accounting paper, applied in combination with a Kuretake Fudegokochi gray pen and lots of water (Antietam is a water soluble ink).

These two animal sketches are from the same Moleskine notebook, but the giraffe page had a coat of red acrylic on the opposite side which may have affected the ink absorption... which affected the ink color. I think that's why the giraffe looks a deeper red, while the sloth is a little bit orange.

The Noodler's flexible nib pen (review forthcoming) was a great match for the Antietam ink - check out the gorgeous shading on the sloth's fur. It's a little like what you get from a bamboo dip pen.


Noodlersflex-antietam-giraffe Antietam-flexnib2

Antietam ink has a huge amount of character and a lot to say - all these sketches show different tones, but all the ink came out of the same bottle.  I recommend this ink most highly for use in line drawings using a pen that allows line variation, in which case it adds a lot of energy and shading without the need to add watercolors.  

If you do want to use it in combination with other colors, it will take some caution as the Antietam is strong and can clash with your regular palette, and of course be careful adding water since it is not waterproof - but there's a lot of room for adventure here, and the gorgeousness of the color will make you want to find new ways to use it.

Posted on March 16, 2011 and filed under Geminica, Ink Review, Noodler's Ink.