Friday, February 26, 2010

Review: J. Herbin Bleu Myosotis Fountain Pen Ink

Herbin Myosotis

From the J Herbin website:

"J. Herbin is the oldest name in pen inks in the world. M. Herbin created “The Jewel of Inks” in his shop on the Rue des Fosses Saint-Germain in Paris in 1700."

"Each bottle of 30 ml has an integrated pen rest. They are known as “D bottle pen inks. The “D” refers to the old French unit of measure “la Demi Courtine”.

* 30 beautiful colors!
* Non toxic and pH neutral
* Lightfast
* Water based
* Flows smoothly and is fast drying
* All natural dyes

Herbin Bleu Myosotis

J. Herbin Bleu Myosotis fountain pen ink in a very wet writing Sailor Sapporo. (Which has since been tweaked by Mr. Nagahara of the Sailor Pen Company) Clairefontaine Basics journal with 90g bright white paper. (My camera has a very difficult time with this paper - it often comes out with a bluish cast that I am unable to correct for.)

I found this ink to be the darkest and most saturated of the Herbin blue inks, with some shading. This ink had great flow in this wet writer. It's a nice dark blue - I like it, though it's difficult to describe. Not a bright color blue, somewhat subdued. When swabbed, looks dusty/chalky like the Blue Nuit. A faded blue jean color.

Herbin Bleu Myosotis Mandala

Bleu Myosotis mandala created with an Herbin glass dip pen in an Exacompta sketchbook.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

16 Pages.....

Current Journal in use - a Blank Paperblanks

16 pages... that's how many pages are left in the above journal and it's frustrating the beans out of me.

I am less intimidated staring at a book of blank pages than I am these final few. I don't write in my journal every day, so I get antsy anticipating the start of a new one while I still don't have the words to finish the one I'm currently on. And this one has been taking longer to finish than normal. I usually run through a journal in about 2 months yet I'm almost at the end of my third with this one. Granted its one that's larger than I'm used to, at 7x9"and that's a bit more space to write in in comparison to the typical 6x8" size I prefer.

Larger books take me longer to write across the page and I think it gets a little tiring for me - less sense of accomplishment in finishing a page or two when it would be 3 or 4 in a smaller journal. Come to think of it, I remember struggling to finish a similar sized hardbound Clairefontaine journal about a year ago.

Hardcover books get a little awkward to handle in their last few pages as well. I almost always write on my knee or in my hand and when all of the paper is on the left hand side of the book it becomes clumsy and awkward and I just don't want to use it as much.

The whole thing in my eyes comes down to whatever your choice of journal, you have to love writing in it all the time, from the first page to the last. Though I really like writing and doodling in the blank off-white Paperblanks paper, this will most likely be the last time I use one of their journals in the Ultra size.

Then comes the big decision on which journal to pick next as I've got quite a few different ones on hand. I like trying new books, and I've got one of the new Leuchtturm journals here, and also an Eco-System. Decisions, decisions.....

So which is easier for you? Starting a new journal or finishing one with 16 pages to go?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review: J. Herbin Cacao du Bresil Fountain Pen Ink

Herbin's Cacao Du Bresil

From the J Herbin website:

"J. Herbin is the oldest name in pen inks in the world. M. Herbin created “The Jewel of Inks” in his shop on the Rue des Fosses Saint-Germain in Paris in 1700."

"Each bottle of 30 ml has an integrated pen rest. They are known as “D bottle pen inks. The “D” refers to the old French unit of measure “la Demi Courtine”.

* 30 beautiful colors!
* Non toxic and pH neutral
* Lightfast
* Water based
* Flows smoothly and is fast drying
* All natural dyes

Herbin Cacao du Bresil

J. Herbin Cacao du Bresil fountain pen ink tested in a fine nibbed Sailor 1911 fountain pen. Clairefontaine Basics journal with 90g bright white paper.

While this Sailor pen can sometimes be a dry writer, (especially on this Clairefontaine paper) this ink is very smooth with this pen/paper combination.

I see this color as a dark grayish brown - not overly saturated, but rich with shading. I can imagine that the color/saturation might be more intense in a wider nibbed pen.

Not a color I would typically use, but very nice. It has a classic look about it.

All J. Herbin inks provided by Exaclair for the purpose of review.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Married 8 years ago today, together for a total of 23 years.

Jeff & I long ago...

In this pic, I'm 19 and Jeff is 24 - 1988.

23 Years...

In this pic, I'm 40 and Jeff is 46 - 2009. Time flies.... I've been with him over half my life.

Happy Anniversary Sweetie!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Review: Diamine Indigo Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Indigo Ink

Diamine Indigo fountain pen ink tested in a .7 Cursive Italic (Binderized) Pelikan M200 fountain pen. Paperbanks off-white ruled journal.

Like a thinner, lighter version of the Prussian Blue. Looks like a vintage color that would be great for fancy calligraphy. Like what you might find in an antique journal or ledger. (Notice the way I'm inspired by this ink/pen combination to write using all kinds of fancy flourishes.)

Very nice flow, some shading. I'm on the fence with this color. I like it in this pen but usually I prefer more saturated colors.

Diamine inks provided by Diamine for the purpose of review.

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Review: Diamine Blaze Orange Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Blaze Orange Ink

Diamine Blaze Orange fountain pen ink tested in an extra-fine nibbed Lamy Accent fountain pen. Paperbanks off-white ruled journal.

Good flow, not very saturated. Shading is evident. This ink was difficult to see on the off-white paper and I don't really have much use for inks that light in color. (Except for creating art.)

Diamine Orange & Pumpkin are much more vibrant shades of orange.

Diamine inks provided by Diamine for the purpose of review.

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Updated Review: US versus UK paper comparison of Quo Vadis Habana journals

Habana-comparisons

My review of the large American made Quo Vadis Habana journal can be found here and the small version here. (Though for the purposes of this post, we will only be comparing the 90g paper found in the large US Habana to those manufactured outside the US.)

In short, both are great journals with excellent quality Clairefontaine paper. (90g white in the large and white 64g in the small.) Clairefontaine paper is silky smooth, thick and probably one of the most fountain pen (ink) friendly papers around.

I had read a comment somewhere from my friend Sophie, (who lives in Canada) that she has 2 Habana journals with very different paper. One was bought in Canada but made in the UK, and the other was purchased directly from the UK. She voiced a concern that the paper was not exactly what she had expected in the larger journal, and that the small journal had different paper - which she liked much better. Sophie was kind enough to desecrate her journals and send me some pages to compare to the US version. (When we say UK/US made, we mean assembled, as the paper all comes from the French Clairefontaine mills. )

Let me fist say, that there is a world of difference between these three papers.

Of note - no inks feathered on ANY of the three.

Nothing bled through the white paper except some of my permanent markers. It's a thick, smooth paper that is a dream to write on.

The large ivory Habana paper? I don't like that it's ruled to the top of the page. I also don't like how small the ruled lines are. And the paper quality is awful. It's very thin and has a very odd feel to it. It's got a slightly rough surface, or "tooth" that I never, ever, want to write on again. Several of the inks tested bled through it, including the Diamine Imperial Blue, (not shown) the Noodler's Red Black, (ok - my Lamy 2000 is a bit of a wet writer on the downstroke,) the Noodler's Aircorp Blue-Black, the Private Reserve Arabian Rose, and the Noodler's Squeteague.

Now the small Habana paper that's shown, It's smooth - not Clairefontaine smooth, but more like Moleskine smooth. It's thin like the larger Habana paper, (and like Moleskine paper) but NONE of the tested inks bled through it at all.

I actually kind of liked the thin off-white paper found in the small UK Habana and somewhere around here I have one with blank pages. I'm going to have to go and dig it out.

As of 10/02/08 Karen Doherty of Exaclair said, "The French version with ivory paper, (currently 60g in both the large and small,) will be replaced with 85g in each. These will NOT be imported to the US, as Exaclair WILL be importing the Rhodia Webnotebooks instead." (with 90g paper)

I would need to follow up with Karen whether or not that change has taken place.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Review: Diamine Imperial Blue Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Imperial Blue Ink

Diamine Imperial Blue fountain pen ink tested in a fine nibbed Sailor 1911 fountain pen. Paperbanks off-white ruled journal.

This was one of the first blue inks I bought but soon abandoned when it was badly feathering and bleeding in my Moleskine journal. I have since abandoned Moleskine journals for paper that will allow me to use any kind of ink my heart desires. (Rhodia, Clairefontaine & Paperblanks)

Imperial blue is a highly saturated purplish blue. Hard to see any shading. Not as dark as the Majestic Blue. Great flow. I think I might be keeping it this time around.

Interesting... it goes down more purple and dries more blue.

Diamine inks provided by Diamine for the purpose of review.

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Review: Diamine Light Green Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Light Green

Diamine Light Green fountain pen ink tested in a fine nibbed Lamy Safari fountain pen.(The light blue one with the red clip) Paperbanks off-white ruled journal and Bloc Rhodia pad.

Right away, this ink is much easier to see on the off-white paper than on the white. Shading more drastic on white which makes it harder to see.

Light Green not as bright as Kelly Green but is darker than the Jade Green. I don't know if I want to write with it so much as paint with it.

Great flow. A very earthy plant color.

My first Batik Mandala. Bombay White India Ink & Diamine Light Green Ink

Batik style mandala created by painting mandala with Bombay White India Ink and then washing over top with the Light Green ink

Diamine inks provided by Diamine for the purpose of review.

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Review: J. Herbin Bleu Azur Fountain Pen Ink

Herbin Bleu Azur

From the J Herbin website:

"J. Herbin is the oldest name in pen inks in the world. M. Herbin created “The Jewel of Inks” in his shop on the Rue des Fosses Saint-Germain in Paris in 1700."

"Each bottle of 30 ml has an integrated pen rest. They are known as “D bottle pen inks. The “D” refers to the old French unit of measure “la Demi Courtine”.

* 30 beautiful colors!
* Non toxic and pH neutral
* Lightfast
* Water based
* Flows smoothly and is fast drying
* All natural dyes

Herbin Bleu Azur

This was a very bad ink/paper combination. The Bleu Azur is a very light colored ink and its flow was extremely dry in an extra fine nibbed Lamy Safari fountain pen. Clairefontaine Basics journal with 90g bright white paper can sometimes be a bit unforgiving with dry inks, and such was this case with the Bleu Azur. It looked nice when I used it with the glass dip pen, so perhaps it might be better suited for wide nibbed wet writers. (A pen that typically writes very wet.)

Herbin Bleu Azur Mandala

Bleu Azur Mandala created with an Herbin glass dip pen in an Exacompta sketchbook.



All J. Herbin inks provided by Exaclair for the purpose of review.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Review: J. Herbin Rose Tendresse Fountain Pen Ink

Herbin Rose Tendresse

From the J Herbin website:

"J. Herbin is the oldest name in pen inks in the world. M. Herbin created “The Jewel of Inks” in his shop on the Rue des Fosses Saint-Germain in Paris in 1700."

"Each bottle of 30 ml has an integrated pen rest. They are known as “D bottle pen inks. The “D” refers to the old French unit of measure “la Demi Courtine”.

* 30 beautiful colors!
* Non toxic and pH neutral
* Lightfast
* Water based
* Flows smoothly and is fast drying
* All natural dyes

Herbin Rose Tendresse

J. Herbin Rose Tendresse fountain pen ink tested in an extra-fine nibbed Lamy Studio fountain pen. Clairefontaine Basics journal with bright white 90g paper.

Rose Tendresse appears to be Rose Cyclamen's kid sister. Medium saturation with some shading. A slightly dry flow in this pen but not bad.

I prefer the highly saturated Rose Cyclamen but this ink does have a certain delicate appeal.

Herbin Rose Tendresse Mandala

Rose Tendresse Mandala created with an Herbin glass dip pen in an Exacompta sketchbook.

Herbin inks run $8.00 per 30ml bottle at The Ink Flow

All J. Herbin inks provided by Exaclair for the purpose of review.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Review: Diamine Washable Blue Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Washable Blue

Diamine Washable Blue fountain pen ink. Tested in a fine nibbed Pelikan M200 fountain pen. Paperblanks off-white ruled journal.

I have officially run out of things to say about blue ink. This, like many of the others, is a medium blue that looks like blueberry. A medium to dark blue, moderately saturated ink with great flow.

Does not look like Lamy Blue, Sailor Blue, any of the Herbin blues, nor any of the other Diamine blues.

I like the China Blue better than this one. China Blue seems to be a bit darker and more serious looking.

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bean Tip #2: If Your Fountain Pen Writes too Wide, too Wet, too Thin, too Dry...

Sailor 1911 Fountain Pen

I often hear from people about how a particular fountain pen isn't performing the way they would like. Here are several things to consider before ditching that pen:

If it's a new pen and it's writing thin, did you flush the pen before inking it for the first time? I'm one of those people that inks a pen without flushing and I've definitely noticed a "break-in" period in this situation. My Pelikan M200 is the perfect example. It was a super dry, thin writer until I worked through a number of pages with it.

If you are using an ink converter in your pen and it's writing dry,
try twisting the converter a wee bit until you see ink appear at the feed. This is known as "priming." I notice that this often happens as the ink starts to run low in the pen.

Consider your ink. Now that I've had the opportunity to try about a hundred different bottles of ink, I've noticed that some flow more freely than others and that some even have a lubricating quality about them. Sailor Jentle inks (though a bit on the smelly side) are very lubricating and seem to make most any pen write smoother. If you don't want to spend a fortune buying bottles of ink that you may not like, I suggest trying Pear Tree Pens Ink Sampling System.

Consider your paper. Some paper is more absorbent than others, period. The more absorbent the paper, the greater the chance it will pull more ink from your nib and make it appear to be writing wider than normal. Clairefontaine 90g paper products seem to be the least prone to this "spreading." It might not be a bad investment to try a small tablet of Clairefontaine to use as a baseline for testing pens and inks.

Send it to a nibmeister. Yes, there are people that specialize in getting your fountain pen nibs to flow to your liking. Richard Binder is probably one of the best known, but there are many others out there.

Some pen companies nibs just ARE thinner/wider than others.
Consider before purchasing - Japanese pen nibs are typically thinner than those of Western manufacturers. Lamy nibs are known to run a little wide.

Try the Fountain Pen Network. If all else fails, try posting on the FPN with questions, or if you've really just had enough, offer the pen for sale or trade in their Marketplace.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Review: Diamine Imperial Purple Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Imperial Purple

I actually had already owned a bottle of this ink before Diamine sent me another one to test.

Diamine Imperial Purple Ink

Diamine Imperial Purple fountain pen ink tested in a extra fine nibbed Lamy Safari fountain pen. Paperblanks off-white ruled journal.

More of a reddish purple than the Violet, though not as reddish as Roher & Klinger's Solferino.

Sediment

This is one of those Diamine inks you will want to make sure you shake/agitate before filling your pen. Not sure about shaking inks? Read my article on "Shaking Inks" -I also recommend reading the comments following that post.

It's one of my favorite purple inks but it can be a bit troublesome to flush. Minor staining on the inside of my Lamy converters which eventually washed away over time.

I hadn't used it in a while and I was happy to see it again. It's got great flow and is very saturated. Shading is there but a bit hard to see. Definitely a keeper!

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Review: Diamine Yellow Fountain Pen Ink

Black & White Mandala over Yellow Diamine Ink

This is maybe the 3rd or 4th yellow fountain pen ink I've tested. Each time I filled a pen with the ink, it was always too light for regular use and I couldn't quite figure out what to do with it. As fountain pen inks are water based, you can't use them to highlight over other inks or they will run together.

This time I tried using it with a glass dip pen which made for a bolder application on the off-white Paperblanks journal paper.

This yellow is very vibrant and saturated but I still can't figure out what to do with it pen-wise.

That's when I got the idea to paint with it. I applied it to the page of my Clairefontaine sketch pad with an inexpensive sponge brush. Depending on the paper used, it dries quickly and the paper dries flat with little to no buckling or bleed through. I say that it depends on the paper because applying inks in this manner worked quite well on some papers and not so well on others. It always ended up usable to some degree, but some of the papers would curl while they were wet and would transfer wet ink to the pages behind it. On paper like this Clairefontaine, if you touch the surface, you can't even tell that there has been ink applied - it feels smooth & flat. On some of the "other" papers, (the ones that curled) the paper would feel kind of brittle once the ink was dry and there would be some warping.

I would actually ink up pages in several different sketch pads/journals at a time so I could work with them at a later time.

In case you are wondering, it takes less ink than you might think to cover a 5x8" page like this.

Diamine Yellow

BuyDiamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Review: Diamine Raw Sienna Fountain Pen Ink

Diamine Raw Sienna

Diamine Raw Sienna fountain pen ink tested in a medium nibbed Lamy Safari fountain pen. (The charcoal one.) Paperbanks off-white ruled journal.

Fair warning: This Medium nibbed Safari makes EVERYTHING flow well- but like most Diamine inks, this would probably have good flow in most any pen.

A nicely saturated darker brown, though not as dark as the Chocolate Brown. Warmer than the Saddle Brown.

Diamine has recently changed my mind about brown inks, though I do tend to prefer the reddish brown shades than the cooler browns.

This ink is almost identical to J. Herbin's Lie de The.

Diamine inks provided by Diamine for the purpose of review.

Buy Diamine Inks in the UK at The Writing Desk or directly from Diamine and in the US from The Pear Tree Pen Company Ink is sold in 80ml glass bottles, 30 ml plastic bottles, and selected colors are available in cartridge form.
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