Monday, July 12, 2010

Review: Sailor Nano Black Fountain Pen Ink

Sailor Nano Black Fountain Pen Ink

Sailor Nano Black fountain pen ink is water resistant, and as far as fountain pen inks go, not too many will survive the onslaught of a 32oz fountain drink.

I'll be the first to admit that I do not understand the chemistry behind a water resistant ink, but I do know that they do not contain shellac. Shellac based inks such as India Ink cannot be used in a fountain pen because if the shellac based ink is allowed to dry inside the pen, it can permanently damage the pen.

Washing over Sailor Nano Black Ink

I am often asked about whether or not a particular water resistant or water proof ink can be used with watercolor washes and unfortunately, it's a question that leaves me stumped because here's the thing... (IMHO) There is a delicate balance that has to happen between the pen, the ink and the paper for it to be able to resist a wash. (Humidity and drying time may also play a factor.)

Washing over Sailor Nano Black Ink

What I think has (often) happened to me, is that when I try and wash over an ink like this, all of the ink particles have not been absorbed into the paper (even though the ink is dry) and when you wash over it, it smears - though the ink, (in this case the Nano) stays quite vivid on the paper even after placing the paper under running water.

Perhaps if I used a finer nib and a highly absorbent paper I would avoid the smearing when trying to wash over it, but quite honestly, I've kind of given up trying to make this work. Now I usually work from the opposite side- painting first, then working over the image with ink.

Mandala : Dream Big

When I choose a black ink, I want it to be as black as possible. No shading please. I want it to look as though I was working with a permanent marker. Herbin's Perle Noire and Diamine's Onyx Black are in that range but they aren't water resistant. I've also had some difficulties with the Perle Noire bleeding through papers that it shouldn't. So though the Sailor Nano Black was quite expensive ($24 at Art Brown) I still wanted to give it a try.

It is quite black. In fact, I'm not sure you could get "none more black." BUT when viewed at an angle, there is a sheen to it which had me kind of confused the first time I used it. (I have noticed a similar sheen when using my black Pitt and Micron Pens.) Once I realized what amazing flow it had, I looked past the sheen and loaded it into 5 different pens. (Technically 4, because my 1911 is dry.)

I may have mentioned that I love the flow of the Sailor Jentle inks but that they all seems to have a very, very strong chemical odor. I am pleased to say while the Nano is not odorless, it does not smell anywhere near as strong as the Jentle inks.

Sailor Carbon Nano Ink

But now for the semi-bad news.... (Note - these last 3 images were not color corrected in any way - I needed to leave them as is so you could see the transfer.)

Sailor Carbon Nano Ink

What you are seeing is ink transfer from the mandala drawn above - drawn with a very wet vintage Parker pen with a semi-flex nib in a blank Rhodia Webbie. While I know the Rhodia/Clairefontaine paper sometimes takes a little longer to dry because of it's resistance to ink, the drawing had to have been dry when I closed the book or it would have smudged all over my hand as I was creating it.

Sailor Carbon Nano Ink

In fact, after noticing the transfer, I did a quick smudge test in the Webbie. The Nano dries pretty quickly on this paper. I initially thought it may have just been the incredibly wet writing Parker pen that was leaving an excess of ink behind to transfer but as I examined my writing from other pens, I was wrong. This seems to be happening regardless of what pen I'm using. I think what happens is that after you flip the page and start writing on the other side, the pressure from the pen creates the transfer. What's odd is that fountain pens only require light pressure to get them to write, and this is a thick 90g paper.

I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place with this ink. I love it's flow and lack of shading, but it's a little bothersome that it creates this transfer. Though it's not bad enough to prevent you from being able to read what you have written, it certainly is an annoyance. I will likely finish the bottle, but will probably not buy it again.

*** Edited to add 08/09/10 This ink is creating that annoying transfer in multiple journals (papers) from various inks. I am done with it. Not Recommended.


Steve said...

Switch to Platinum Carbon Black--it is TOTALLY waterproof --no grey tinge to my water washes even with the thickest wettest nibs on all papers--except I have not tried Clairfontain. Very black. it is a high maintenance ink like the Sailor Nano--do not leave in an unused pen and flush often--I flush on the 1st and 15th of every month all my pens with PCB in them--works great.

Biffybeans said...

I've heard that about the Platinum but am not holding my breath. :o) But I'll give it a go sooner or later.

Bummble said...

Thank you, this is a *very* useful review for me!

I'm looking for a waterproof black, to use in my new, beloved Midori Traveler's Notebook.

Noodler's Bulletproof Black shows some transfer; the paper is really great, and I think it just absorbs a little less of the Noodler's than other papers.

The KiwaGuro was one of the alternatives I'm considering, but from your review I understand it would be even worse!

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