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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Glass Nibbed Pens

J. Herbin’s hand blown glass pens are beautiful and elegant works of art as well as treasured writing instruments. Although they are new to Writer’s Bloc, glass nibbed pens have been in use for many, many years.

There is a lot to like about glass nibbed pens. The dipping pens are easy to clean so they are great for trying out new inks or for when you are experimenting and mixing your own custom ink colors.  When the nib becomes slightly blunt, super-fine sandpaper can be used to renew the surface of the nib.  Hand-made glass pens are often beautiful works of art, with no two pens being exactly alike.  And, the nib reminds me of a soft-serve ice cream cone. Who doesn’t like ice cream?

Blogger Leigh Reyes has a glass nibbed Spors fountain pen that she uses to create beautiful works of art. She mentions that these pens were popular during war time because most metal was used for the war effort. If you want to watch her in action, YouTube features a video of her creating art with “a glass nib and the wanton use of ink.”

Natalie Perkins has a review of a glass dipping pen hand-made in Australia at definatalie.com. Her drawing is lovely! She reminds us that these pens are also good for the environment.

A guide to old fountain pens by Olle Hjort has a feature article about HARO, the pens with a tip of glass that were first manufactured in Germany in 1926. An advertisement from 1944 points out that glass nibs wear more evenly than metal fountain pen nibs because they can be held however the writer likes. These nibs were also cheap and could easily be changed.

If you’re adventurous and want to try making your own glass pens, Arrow Springs provides some instructions on their website.

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J. Herbin Gris Nuage & Exacompta Basics Sketchbook

One of my favorite ink, paper and pen combinations is J. Herbin Gris Nuage ink, Exacompta Basics silver-edged sketchbook and the Pelikano Junior or any medium to broad nib size fountain pen.

Even though J. Herbin Gris Nuage is not a silver ink, the silver pages of the sketch book make me think of silver as I write and they complement the ink color nicely. The soft grey ink has beautiful shading and reminds me of writing or sketching with a pencil. From my point of view, it does not look like a watered down black ink, it looks like it is supposed to be a grey color. This ink has a decent drying time so I don’t have too many problems with smudging.

Since this ink is not a dark or intense color, I like using it best in a fountain pen with a medium to broad nib size, such as my Pelikan Pelikano Junior with the left-handed nib. The LAMY Joy calligraphy pen or any LAMY fountain pen with a medium or wider size nib would also work well with Gris Nuage ink.

And, of course, the Exacompta Basics sketchbook or journal contains some of my favorite paper. This off-white, 100g, acid-free laid paper is a dream to sketch or write on!

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J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink Mixing

J Herbin 4 basic ink mixing colors

After we wrote about mixing a few basic Noodler’s Ink colors to create a rainbow of other colors, one of our helpful readers mentioned that the same thing can be done with J. Herbin Fountain Pen Ink.

The equivalent of Noodler’s Navajoe Turquoise, Shah’s Rose, Yellow and Black (CMYK) in the J. Herbin line of inks would be:

Cyan = Bleu Pervenche
Magenta = Rose Cyclamen
Yellow = Bouton D’or
Black = Perle Noire

Thanks, Will, for pointing this out! Here at Writer’s Bloc we decided it would be a good idea to have all of these J. Herbin La Perle des Encres Fountain Pen Ink colors available so we ordered Bouton D’or and Bleu Pervenche to add to our bottled ink collection. Now we’re equipped for those of you who would like to give ink mixing a try with J. Herbin’s popular and enduring fountain pen inks.

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