Monday, October 24, 2011

Ahoy Mateys! In Which Dr. Inkenstein Swabs the Deck With Autumn Color

Are you one of those fountain pen aficionados who changes ink color according to the season?

When fall is in the air, away go the bright pinks, turquoises, spring greens, and out come the October/November colors.

Far from being in-depth reviews, these samples are just quick impressions, in the hopes that one or more of these inks might catch your eye. Most of the testing was done with a glass dip pen and the swatches were applied with cotton swabs.
Many of these inks are available from dealers like isellpens and Goulet pens.

We've got some autumnal browns up first:

Ahoy, maties!  Behold J Herbin Rouille D'Ancre. This not-really-brown, not-really-pink color does not have a huge following, but it's the kind of ink oddity I really like. The name means Rusty Anchor, and yes, that is a great name for a dockside bar. Like most JH inks, this is watercolory and shades well, showing its qualities best when used in any pen with a wet B nib. There is just enough pink in the formula so the color will work in a fountain pen with a pink barrel. (Dr. Inkenstein is a little particular that way.)
On to Terre de Feu, which looks ruby in the bottle but brown on paper. But as browns go, it has great shading, and there's always just the slightest, corner-of-your-eye hint of burgundy. This ink and my red-swirl Parker Frontier pen are an inseparable combo.
Lie de The has more olive undertones, and in an actual nib (not a swab) comes across as a medium-dark brown that leans yellow.

More browns:

Sheaffer Brown shows a bit of red, and like just about all Sheaffer inks, it's well-behaved. As the sample notes, it has an almost caramel shade to it.
Speaking of food, when I want a dark neutral brown that reminds me of cocoa, Noodler's 41 Brown usually gets the nod. I dilute it up to 50% with water for an ink that starts right away even in my dry writers (Stypen Creeks).
Waterman Havana brown is new to me. It looks deep mahogany-red in the swab, and seems to shade well. If it's anything like other Waterman inks, it should be a good mixer with those of its own kind.

A few burgundy-esque inks:

New to me here: Noodler's Black Swan In English Roses. This seems like a nice brick-burgundy, and though I'm disappointed not to see any halo effect, it worked well in a Waterman Carene (M), where its red components harmonized with the tomato color of the pen's barrel.
Black Swan In Australian Roses, also new, on the other hand, looks purple in the sampler tube, but swabs out a pleasantly antique-ish dusty burgundy. But ditto on the halo effect. Wasn't there. TT__TT
J Herbin Rouge Caroubier---the name means 'Locust.' I'm thinking they were referring to the tree, not the bug, since the label shows a leaf, but it's not the locust leaf I'm familiar with. It's ruby-orange in the bottle, swabbing out coral-pink. Another ink that would probably show best in a broad-nibbed pen.

Finally, on to some cooler colors.

Pilot Iroshizuku (color-drop) Fuyu Syogan is new to my collection. 'Old Man Winter' swabs out a blue-steel color, and appears to shade beautifully. It will add to my small collection of grays, and maybe one of these days I can afford a full bottle. -_-
Noodler's Blue Nose Bear, also new to me, is supposed to be another 'halo' color, and in this case, it's true! (some might see the halo as bleeding/feathering), but I love this evergreen-blue color so much I can't wait to put it in an actual pen. The scan really doesn't do this elusive and strange color justice. It would probably fare well in a fine- nibbed pen to let the feathering magic do its work, such as any Hero 329 or 616.
JHerbin Gris Nuage was my first gray, and it's a true gray, delicate and neutral, like a cloud as its name suggests. Maybe it's a bit too delicate and watercolor-ish for some, but it suits Dr. Inkenstein just fine.

Up next:  maybe some socks, maybe some more fountain pen tests, maybe another fanfic. 


  1. I see a bear! I love the colors. :P

  2. Awesome comparo! I love your doodles, very playful.

    I was going to buy #41 Brown but ended up with Polar Brown. I think the two are very similar.

    Also, I just reviewed J Herbin Gris Nuage a few days ago so that's a nice coincidence. I don't want to nitpick but in your scan Gris Nuage comes out a bit bluish but in fact it is quite neutral.