Fountain Pen Ink Art: Noodler’s Bernanke Blue

DSC00656If you’ve ever sketched with fountain pen ink perhaps you’ve had the same experience I’ve had – you’re almost done with your creation and then you accidentally smear an area of the sketch that’s not quite dry yet. Doh! I’ve been wanting to try Noodler’s Bernanke Blue fountain pen ink for drawing to see if this fast-drying ink would improve my odds of avoiding any smearing. My first experiment was a success! During the entire sketching process not a line was smeared anywhere in the drawing.

Noodler’s Bernanke inks are formulated with left-handed writers in mind. This ink is smear resistant even when writing over the words (or a drawing) with your hand. In addition to Blue, Noodler’s Bernanke Ink is also available in Black. It is not water resistant, so if you want ink that stays put when you paint watercolors over it, this would not be it. For general sketching purposes it worked great!

I used a Platinum Plaisir fountain pen with a fine nib and a Clairefontaine Graf-it Sketch Book with 90g paper to make this drawing of my canine friend Murray. By the look on his face I think he’s trying to say “What does a pup have to do to get some sleep around here?”

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Don’t Let Your Fountain Pen Become a Freezing Fatality This Winter!

Snowy City

Do you live in a town with a cold climate? Have you ever left your fountain pen in a parked car or other frigid place and come back hours later to discover ink exploding out of your spare ink cartridges or a crack in the barrel of your fountain pen? These annoying mishaps are caused by the fountain pen ink expanding as it freezes. I grew up in a city with very cold winters and would give up entirely on using any sort of pen when I was outdoors on the coldest of days. Even ballpoint pens would freeze and refuse to write. My winter writing arsenal consisted of pencils only.

Noodler’s Ink has addressed these frozen ink issues by creating freeze-resistant Polar Inks. Noodler’s Polar Inks are not meant to carry you through a severe winter in Antarctica, but they will resist forming a solid mass of ice within a glass ink bottle during most cold weather conditions. If some icy slush forms in the bottle, the ink will still be fine when it warms to room temperature. Noodler’s assures us that these inks “are made to resist the damaging expansion that water based products can be subject to when exposed to freezing temperatures and harsh winter weather.” Your fountain pen will be much safer when exposed to the cold temperatures of winter when it is filled with Polar Ink.

Currently, Noodler’s Polar Fountain Pen Ink is available in these colors:

Are you prepared to winter? Why not prepare your fountain pen by filling it with Noodler’s Polar Ink.

Noodler's Ink - Polar Black
Noodler’s Ink – Polar Black
Noodler's Ink - Polar Blue
Noodler’s Ink – Polar Blue
Noodler's Ink - Polar Green
Noodler’s Ink – Polar Green
Noodler's Ink - Polar Brown
Noodler’s Ink – Polar Brown
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Which Gray Fountain Pen Ink Looks the Most Like a Pencil?

If you’d rather write with a fountain pen, but want your writing to look like it was done with a pencil, which gray fountain pen ink should you choose? Pencil lead varies in width and softness/hardness making your writing appear darker or lighter in color. Also the kind of paper you’re writing on and how hard you press down on the pencil can influence the appearance of the line that is produced. Fountain pen ink is similar – the results vary depending on the width of the fountain pen nib and the paper you are writing on.

Writing done with a variety of pencils
Writing done with a variety of pencils

The color of writing produced by pencil in our test turned out to be a warm shade of gray. Two fountain pen inks that are also warm shades of gray are Pilot Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink Kiri-same Autumn Shower/Scotch Mist and Noodler’s Ink Lexington Gray. Lexington Gray is a dark shade of warm gray and Scotch Mist is a medium shade.

Pilot Iroshizuku Scotch Mist Ink
Pilot Iroshizuku Scotch Mist Ink
Noodler's Ink Lexington Gray
Noodler’s Ink Lexington Gray

Three other gray inks that are cool shades of gray are: J. Herbin Gris NuageOMAS Gray Fountain Pen Ink and Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun Old Man Winter/Rigor of Winter. When placed right next to writing done in pencil these inks have more of a “silvery” appearance (they are not actually metallic) because graphite pencil lead produces a warmer color of writing. On their own, away from any actual pencil, these inks still do have a pencil-y appearance.

J. Herbin Gris Nuage Fountain Pen Ink
J. Herbin Gris Nuage Fountain Pen Ink
Omas Grey Fountain Pen Ink
Omas Grey Fountain Pen Ink
Pilot Iroshizuku Rigor of Winter Ink
Pilot Iroshizuku Rigor of Winter Ink

We’ve scanned some samples of writing done on Clairefontaine French ruled paper in both pencil and ink for you to compare. What do you think? Are there any of your favorite inks you’d like to add to this list?

Pencil & Ink Writing Comparison
Pencil & Ink Writing Comparison
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Best Writing Instruments to Use With Moleskine Paper

Moleskine is an Italian company known all over the world for their Parisian-style black notebooks and other products related to writing and travel. The paper most commonly used in these notebooks is acid-free and it is ivory in color. How does their regular notebook paper hold up to a variety of writing instruments? Check out our simple writing test below:

Moleskine Paper Writing Test - front
Moleskine Paper Writing Test – front

From my own personal experience, I found the paper to be pleasantly smooth to write with, and in my experiment ink did not feather very much on the paper. I really liked how this paper made the color of my ink pop. Most writing instruments including pencils wrote perfectly fine on this paper. What about fountain pens? Well, the results were not as good. Most of the fountain pen ink bled through to the other side of the page which made using both sides of the page not very practical. There was one exception – Noodler’s Black fountain pen ink. Paired with my fine nib Pilot Prera fountain pen Noodler’s Black fountain pen the ink did not feather or bleed through to the other side of the page.

Moleskine Paper Writing Test - back
Moleskine Paper Writing Test – back

This is a scan the back side of the page we used for this test. The top half of the page shows the fountain pen ink bleeding through the paper. The bottom half of the page shows that other writing instruments (minus the Sharpie) do not have the same problem.

Our conclusion? If you’re using Moleskine notebooks, stick to writing with a ballpoint, rollerball, gel pen or pencil which is what the vast majority of you already use. Fountain pen users proceed with caution. You might want to give Noodler’s Black fountain pen ink a try.

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14 Inks To Match Your Blue-Green LAMY AL-Star Fountain Pen

LAMY Al-Star Blue-Green & Matching Fountain Pen Inks
LAMY Al-Star Blue-Green & Matching Fountain Pen Inks

Looking for a blue-green shade of fountain pen ink to match your brand new Blue-Green LAMY AL-Star? We’ve got 14 suggestions for you! These colors range from bright to muted and from light to dark. Some shades of ink are more blue and other shades are more green. We chose a variety of inks to accommodate the variety of tastes fountain pen users might have. Of course, a photo on the internet isn’t going to give you an exact representation of the actual color. It’s helpful to look at the colors side by side to give you an idea of how they compare. Our list shown in the photo includes:

Left column, top to bottom:

Right column, top to bottom:

If you’re not the matchy-matchy type and want a contrasting color of ink that looks great with the Blue-Green LAMY AL-Star our first choice would be blue-black or navy blue, especially Noodler’s Air-Corp Blue-Black fountain pen ink. Black, gray and even dark brown inks are a good match too. What color of fountain pen ink do you like to use with your Blue-Green AL-Star?

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