Saturday, March 12, 2011

New Inks to Play With, WooHoo!

I had 13 ink samples come in a couple of days ago:
Noodler's Nightshade
Noodler's Sequoia
Noodler's Walnut
Noodler's Navy
Noodler's Pecan
Noodler's Whaleman's Sepia
Noodler's Kung Te-Cheng
Noodler's Baystate Blue
Private Reserve Velvet Black
Private Reserve Avocado
Private Reserve Chocolat
Diamine Red Dragon
J. Herbin Rouge Hematite

I played with the samples on a sheet of an 11x14" Raffine sketchbook, since this paper is well sized to allow the ink to move with water. I was especially interested in seeing which ones would wash with a waterbrush, and for how long they'd retain that characteristic, and which ones stayed put.

The ones that washed the best and longest have small stars next to the name on the test sheet. I kept returning to the samples and going over parts of the writing with a waterbrush. The Noodler's Kung Te-Cheng is definitely Bulletproof. All of the others washed more than that one, with several contenders for ink and wash work.

The bottom row of inks is from the March Ink Drop from Goulet Pens. For those not familiar with the Ink Drop, you pay $10 a month, and each month five ink samples show up in your mailbox! You also get a 10% discount on full bottles of that month's inks, in case you fall in love with one of the samples. Other member discounts are also offered.

In addition to knowing how much the different inks wash, I am interested in finding out which ones are lightfast. I cut pieces of Strathmore 500 Plate Bristol for this. I know the ink sinks in a lot more on this; maybe it would have been better to do it on a different surface, but I'll see how this goes. Perhaps I will size the paper myself for the next batch.

A heavy line of the ink was drawn with a Q tip, going back and forth four times. Then I washed with a waterbrush to draw down some of the ink into a wash line below. I wrote the ink names in on each side with a bamboo dip pen, and the strips were cut in half. The left halves will go into a south facing window. The right halves will be stashed in a wooden box so they will not be exposed to light. I'll keep comparing them over time, and will add each month's Ink Drop samples to the test. I'll report back as I check on the samples being tested.

I've selected Noodler's Nightshade and Private Reserve Velvet Black to experiment with first for artwork, and have loaded up a couple of fountain pens from the samples. You can expect to see some of the results from those soon.


  1. I went on a course with a nice lady from USA. She told me I had to stop noodling. Now I know where it came from. Thanks

  2. Thanks for the shoutout, and I appreciate the link! I love seeing how you use fountain pen inks for watercolor. Admittedly, I pretty much keep the inks in my pens, though I do think it's awesome to see them being used for more artistic purposes. I hope to see more of what you're able to do with the ink.

  3. I just happened upon your blog when I was looking for lastfast Red inks. You have done an amazing job on this testing! I believe that Dr. Martins Red India is lightfast. I am not in love with Dr. Martins color palette so am wondering if you know of any other lightfast Red inks?


  4. WOW! Thank you for all that work and for sharing it! Book marked!