J. Herbin Gris Nuage Ink Mixing Test

I had some fun the other night experimenting with mixing J. Herbin Gris Nuage grey ink with other colors of J. Herbin fountain pen inks. For this test I used the ratio of five parts Gris Nuage and one part the other color of ink. I used a Clairefontaine Basics notebook for the paper, which held up quite well despite being heavily doused with ink.

Gris Nuage plus 1670 Anniversary Rouge Hematite ink turned out to be a toned-down version of red, not as bright as the 1670 ink on its own. Not a dramatic change, but who would want to change this great red color anyway?

When Bleu Pervenche was added to Gris Nuage the result was a turquoise-grey color. Nice shading in this combination.

The big surprise was Bouton D’or turned Gris Nuage into a great army green color with lots of shading. This was my favorite result and I filled up my Pelikano Junior with this color immediately!

Gris Nuage plus Violette Pensee resulted in a dark purple-grey color as expected.

My second favorite result was the Gris Nuage and Rose Cyclamen combination. This turned out to be a satisfying purple color with pink undertones.

Anyone else have a favorite ink mixing combination using J. Herbin Gris Nuage ink?

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A Spring Cleaning Find

As I was doing some spring cleaning and purging some of my old tax records I happened to find a 1998 Exacompta Space weekly pocket planner. I have no idea where this came from since at the time I didn’t think much about fountain pens and had no idea what Exacompta or Clairefontaine was. I think this must have been a gift from the generous employer with good taste I had at the time.

I used the Exacompta Space planner (equivalent to today’s Space 17 planner) to keep track of my tax deductible mileage since it was the perfect size to tuck in the pocket on my car door. It is interesting to note that some of the other vinyl/plastic planners I had used around the same time for the same purpose have become brittle and are cracked and falling apart. But not the Space planner. Its black cover looks like new (minus a couple of mystery stains) and is still soft and flexible! It’s nice to know that these covers are durable enough to be used year after year when you buy the refills. It is a good value and is easier on the environment than cheap plastic covered planners that don’t last.

I tested the Space planner’s paper with my fountain pens to see if the paper quality had changed, and found that it took fountain pen ink very well with only a little bleed through and no feathering. Since this paper is a light weight 55g the ink does show through on the other side of the page, but this paper also makes this planner very compact. This paper would best be used with any kind of pen with an extra fine nib. The same delightfully smooth ivory colored paper appears to be used in Exacompta pocket planners today.

It’s nice to know that Exacompta and Quo Vadis planners were, and still are, very good quality and stand up to the test of time!

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J. Herbin Violette Pensee Ink

At the risk of revealing my age, J. Herbin Violette Pensee fountain pen ink brings back pleasant memories of elementary school. I can still remember as a wee child getting assignments & homework in the form of handouts printed on an old hand-cranked mimeograph machine. It was best to get these handouts straight off the press since they would still be warm and had the fabulous smell of freshly mimeographed sheets. It’s hard to describe this pleasant smell, but I still remember it very clearly. Can anyone else remember this smell? (It has probably left me slightly brain damaged, but that’s a topic for some other day 😉 Another thing I liked about mimeographed assignments was the most common color used for the printing – a nice purple color. I found a sample of what this purple color looked like in the article Remembering the Ditto and Mimeograph by Harmon Jolley. It is difficult to accurately display purple colors in digital photos and on computer monitors, but in real life J. Herbin Violette Pensee ink is very similar in color to purple mimeograph “ink”.

I find Violette Pensee to be a very practical, yet very fun ink. It’s conservative enough (in my opinion) to be used everyday in a professional office environment, it’s blue-toned enough that even my husband doesn’t mind it, and it is dark enough to be used in fine nibbed fountain pens. It looks great on both white and ivory colored paper. The color brings back fond memories for me and it is unmistakably purple, not black, not blue, but purple which is a very creative color.

Like other J. Herbin ink I’ve used, this is a well-behaved ink that performs well on pretty much any decent paper, without feathering or bleed-through. It’s not waterproof. It has a decent drying time which is important for a lefty like me. Violette Pensee is available in both universal fountain pen ink cartridges and bottles. What’s your favorite purple fountain pen ink?

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Noodler’s Baystate Inks

Noodler’s Baystate Fountain Pen Inks are highly saturated and are known for their extremely intense colors. Their inspiration comes from vintage American inks from the 1940’s and earlier. It’s hard to find another blue fountain pen ink that even comes close to the vibrancy and intensity of the color of Noodler’s Baystate Blue! (Does something like that even exist these days?) Concord Grape is an intense dark purple color and Cape Cod Cranberry is a very vibrant pink color.

Baystate inks are more saturated than other Noodler’s Inks and are also a different pH. Most Noodler’s Inks are pH neutral, and the vintage inks they are modeled after are acidic, but Noodler’s Baystate inks are slightly alkaline and should only be mixed with other colors with the Baystate label.

Caution should be used when using the Baystate inks in vintage fountain pens or pens that have light or brightly colored barrels. Due to the amount of color saturation, they can possibly stain the materials the pen is made of and can even stain metal nibs! It’s best to stick to dark colored modern pens if you want to enjoy the vibrancy of these ink colors. Actually, if you are worried about staining anything you might not want to use these brightly colored inks.

The Baystate colors vary in their properties. Baystate Blue is waterproof when dry, Concord Grape is only partially waterproof and Cape Cod Cranberry is not waterproof. Of course, mixing these colors will affect the properties of each.

It seems that this is a rather controversial type of ink and fountain pen users either hate it or they love the Baystate inks. Personally, I think the Baystate Blue is such a fabulously vibrant blue color that it is worth finding just the right fountain pen to use it in. What do you think of Noodler’s Baystate inks?

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