Last Ink Drops of 2015

For a variety of reasons, I got behind in trying out my new Ink Drop inks. Totally my fault, and has absolutely nothing to do with my being the sole survivor of a pre-apocalyptic suburban paradise lost in the wasteland of post-nuclear Massachusetts. Nothing.

First, November:

2015.11 Ink Drop Limerick

These were some lovely inks all around. I don’t have a lot to say about each one individually because, frankly, they all work. The Kiri-Same is a nice one to have, as a good grey ink is tough to come by sometimes (unless you dilute sumi, which is a perfectly fine, if a bit trial-and-error, option), and while the Autumn Oak is a great vibrant orange for calligraphy – up there with Noodler’s Apache Sunset and Iroshizuku’s Yu-Yake – it’s probably not one I would load up a pen with. Just as a personal preference, seeing as how my words don’t feel very orange to me. Yours might, so go for it.

The limerick, by the way, came from Ranjit Bolt’s book, A Lion Was Learning to Ski, all a bunch of amusing limericks.

Now, December’s a little different….

2015.12 Ink Drop

First, you may notice that I didn’t do a limerick. That’s because, even with Ranjit Bolt’s help, I just couldn’t find any that I really wanted to write out. So I went to another resource, my growing collection of abecedaries. This one is the group of fictional companies. I alphabetized them, numbered them, went to and used whatever came out.

Now I can see what Goulet Pens is up to this month, via those clever dogs at De Atramentis – Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh, with some red and green to round out the five. Nicely done, although at least two of these inks gave me some trouble when I first did this.

The first time I tried this, the Gold came out really heavy, so the second try required a bit of a lighter hand with the dipping. Once that was taken care of, though, it came out looking quite nice. The Brilliant Red is more pink than red, really, so I probably won’t use a lot of it. Outside of my sarcastic Valentine’s calligraphy, I don’t have much use for pink.

The biggest troublemaker here, of course, is the Frankincense. All that feathering on what is pretty smooth paper. Kind of absurd, but it might not be too bad a problem if you’re using a fountain pen – especially a finer-nibbed one. If I want to use this again, I’ll have to be a bit more careful about loading on the ink. The other De Atramentis ink, Myrrh, seemed to work just fine, and the Vibrant Green is great.

So there’s two months in one. Lucky you!

Ink Drop for October 2015

It’s time again (a little late, actually) to look at a new set of inks thanks to Goulet Pens and their Ink Drop service. This month’s selection was dark and spooky, as would be expected, so let’s take a look!

Ink Drop Limerick 17

A couple of things to note at first – the Fraktur variant is one that we’re practicing over on Reddit. It’s a bit different from the one I usually do, but it came out looking quite nice. If you’re interested, the miniscules are here, and the majuscules over here so you can try for yourself.

You’ll also note that this set of inks is very friendly for everyday use. You probably won’t get any funny looks for using these to write notes at work or mark exams or whatever you put them in your fountain pen for. So if that’s one of the metrics by which you look for inks, there you go.

Noodler’s Nightshade is a red-black ink, to the point where I’d say it’s more sepia than anything else. It shades a bit with a broad edge, but in an ordinary pen it should work just fine.

Noodler’s Heart of Darkness really does deserve the name. It’s black. It’s Joseph Conrad sailing through the untamed wilds of Africa on top of the flagship of the Haggunenon star fleet black. Really not much more I can say about it other than if you’re looking for a black ink, this one’s got you covered.

De Atreamentis Fog Grey is – much in the spirit of how Sahara Grey back in August is really green – not really all that grey. It’s blue. Sure, it’s a slate blue and a lovely one at that, but if you’re hoping to write pale, fog-like letters that seem to emerge from the mist to rest above the page, well… It’s blue.

Private Reserve, I must say, does some fine blue inks, and this one is one of them, even though it’s on the purple end of the blue spectrum. Their blues – and this is no exception – have a vivid quality to them that I like.

Finally, Waterman’s Mysterious Blue is quite nice. I’m not sure it really qualifies as “mysterious,” as there’s very little mystery about what it is. I don’t know the process for naming inks, though. Maybe the Chief Ink Namer at Waterman was binge-reading Sherlock Holmes stories when the Chief Ink Mixer dropped a bottle of the stuff on her desk and said, “Name this! Now!”

Stranger things have happened.

Anyway, to sum up – a nice selection this month, suitable for all your writing needs, whatever they may be. And as a final point, I’d like to point out that this is an original limerick, as the internet has been disappointingly bad at producing limericks of quality. Thank Grodd for rhyming dictionaries…

Ink Drop for September 2015

Time again for the good old Ink Drop, thanks to our friends at Goulet Pens. This month’s theme was “Cavern Expedition”, giving us the colors of darkness and gemstones. Let’s take a look.

Ink Drop Limerick 16

This one is a tribute to the absurdity of English spelling. As any ESL teacher can tell you, explaining the logic behind English spelling is the work of a lifetime.

Pelikan Edelstein Jade is a very nice green with a bit of blue to it. It should do all the things you need a good green ink to do, whatever those things might be. And it actually seems close to the color of jade, so who knew?

Topaz, also by P-E, is a very nice, bright blue in the ranks of Iroshizuku’s Ama-iro and Waterman’s Inspired Blue. Ask your parents, kids. Anyway, much like Jade up there, it’ll do a fine job at being blue and doing what you need blue to do.

Diamine’s Amazing Amethyst is, well, purple. And I’ve never really been in the market for a purple ink, but if you want one that doesn’t jump off the page with its purplosity and say “Lookit me! I’m purple ink!” the way some purple inks do, then this is what you want.

Diamine’s Onyx Black is impressively black, really. which is what I would want from an ink with that name. In large quantities, though, it has a distinctly purple undertone to it. Probably not something you would notice if you were just writing with it, but when it spreads out it certainly makes itself shown.

Finally, we have Faber-Castell’s Garnet Red, a good red that, much like the Amethyst above, doesn’t go out of its way to jump off the page.  It’s red, but you know not red red. Just red enough. It is secure and confident in its redness. It’s a humble and demure example of true redditude.

So there it is, the September 2015 inks. Enjoy ’em!

Ink Drop Limerick for August 2015

Once again, it is time for the Ink Drop – thanks to the fine people at Goulet Pens. Let’s see what this month has to offer!

Ink Drop Limerick 15


First of all, Edward Gorey was awesome, no doubt about it. Going to have to see if he did more when Halloween comes around.

The Faber-Castell Stone Grey is quite lovely. It’s got a wee bit of pink to it in large quantities, but on a small scale, it’s a solid dark grey. The second ink is an outright lie – It’s called Sahara Grey, but there’s no way in any kind of world that this ink is grey. It’s green – in fact it’s really close to J. Herbin’s Vert Olive, just with a little less yellow. The name aside, it’s a good pale green, and in a broad-nib pen it would probably work just fine.

Faber-Castell’s Moss Green is green. Mossy enough, I suppose. It’s got a little bit of blue to it, but it’s green through and through.

Little more needs to be said about Apache Sunset – it’s a fan favorite for a lot of fountain pen holders and calligraphers who deign to use fountain pen ink. It shades from a pale orange to a deep red, and always looks good. I have a nearly-full bottle of the stuff. Can’t go wrong with Apache Sunset, I always say…

And the Burnt Sienna is a good reddish-orange, as the name implies. And what probably doesn’t show in the scan, but I can see it in person, is that there’s a greenish sheen to the edges of the heavier letters – the “h” in “he’s” stands out best from where I’m sitting.

So, some good inks this month, and I think I can find uses for all five. As for the limericks, if you know any good ones for future Ink Drops, let me know in the comments – but keep them clean!

Ink Drop Limerick for July 2015

It’s that time again, to play with new inks! Thanks, as usual to the fine people at Goulet Pens for such an entertaining and slightly addictive service.

This month’s limerick is timely, as there’s currently a typhoon running roughshod over western Japan. The winds seem to have died down, but it’s still raining to beat the devil.

Ink Drop Limerick 14


So, let’s see – the Roher & Klinger Helianthus is a nice light orange that seems like it should be a lot lighter than it is. I don’t know how it would work in a pen, but for calligraphy it seems to be okay. Unluckily enough, I spilled a large amount of the ink sample on my desk. Such is life.

The next three – Noodler’s Habanero, Diamine Blaze Orange, and Noodler’s Cayenne all match up nicely. The Habanero seems to shade well, which I always like in an ink, while the other two seem to be pretty stable light and dark oranges. Go nuts with those.

Noodler’s Hellfire is a very pink pink, which stands out pretty conspicuously in this mix, but if you need a pink, this may well be the pinkest pink I’ve got in my collection at the moment. While I don’t usually write in pink, it’s nice to know I could if I wanted to.

As an interesting aside, this is not the first time I’ve done this limerick. Last time a big one blew through here in August of ’14 I did the same one, in rather primitive italics:

Ink Drop Limerick 03


Oof. Let this be a lesson to you all – consistent, diligent practice will get you far.

Ink Drop Limerick for June 2015

Honestly, I’m surprised I haven’t put this up here yet. Talk about a guaranteed blog topic…

A little backstory: Over at Goulet Pens, they have a service called the Ink Drop. Once a month for $15 ($10 if you’re in the US), they’ll ship you five samples of inks chosen from their vast, inky collection. They’re usually themed in some way, but it’s a little something to look forward to every month if you’re a fountain pen writer or a calligrapher, or someone who plays with inks in his or her own way.

Of course, you want to test them out when you get them, but how? Well, I thought that doing calligraphy with them would be a good way to do it, and with five colors every month, the most obvious vehicle for my testing would be a limerick.

Thus, the Ink Drop Limerick was born. You can see previous months’ on my DeviantArt page, but let’s go over this month’s inks together, shall we?

Ink Drop Limerick 13


Continue reading