Posts Tagged ‘Noodler’s Black Ink’

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Markings Journals Meet Fountain Pen Ink

04/22/2014

Three C.R. Gibson Markings journals have been on a shelf waiting review for more than a year. To be sure they are attractive which could be the reason they never got properly filled. My used journals are destined for the recycle bin and Markings are just too nice for that fate. But since you guys like paper so much, putting them to the test made a good project for this month.

The first is a Markings sketchbook (MASA-2) with a Monet Waterlily Pond cover. It contains 130 pages lightly ruled on one side and blank on the reverse. The paper is 6.8″ x 8.9″ and held together with large double rings. Line spacing is 7.5 mm and pale blue so it doesn’t interfere with writing. The paper is soft white and has no tooth but does have a somewhat velvety texture. It’s a comfortable surface for fountain pen nibs and good with other writing instruments as well.

Ink did not show through or bleed through so double-sided use is assured. This is a very nice notebook I will enjoy filling.

The two bound Markings journals are the same style though sporting different covers, one leather (MJ5A-1) and the other embossed metallic (MJ5A-3). Each has 240 pages, a storage pocket, elastic band closure, ribbon marker and lays remarkably flat. Both journals look great and are well made for the price though the 6 mm line spacing might prove too narrow for wide nibs.

The paper color is slightly more yellow than Moleskine though the lines are identical in spacing and color. The weight is similar to Moleskine, but the paper seems to be lightly coated which causes fountain pen ink to suffer inconsistent coverage. Some inks feathered significantly and all of those tested bled through except Noodler’s Black. A Sharpie Pen in black performed well, so other writing instruments ought to get along fine with these journals.

These Markings journals are readily available, attractive and well-made, but unreliable for fountain pen use. Since the feathering and bleed-through are evidence of ink incompatibility, a narrow nib won’t improve performance enough to get a recommendation. However, the right ink will write well enough even with a o.7 mm nib.

What’s the takeaway from these pen tests? Don’t expect uniform paper performance from a manufacturer. Frustrating? You bet. Waste of money? Yep. Add to that the variability of ink performance and it’s hard to recommend any brand without reservation though there are exceptions.

Not for the first time this year only Noodler’s Black performed well. It’s reassuring that there is at least one pen on my desk that should write on most anything. However, it is not fun when my other pens are loaded with pretty inks that won’t work with the journal at hand. Better to stick with what has earned the approval of my inks and pens. That makes me more productive and my pens much happier. Go team!

 

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I Cheated But Just A Little

03/28/2014

Taking a cue from my Colorful Background post, I sploshed some blue and green watercolors on a page in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook. Unlike the artist who made the video in my post, I didn’t want to write on the painting so I cheated, but just a little.

The trick was to make the words temporary without obscuring the background painting. After a few so-so ideas, I remembered a packet of translucent vellum that disappeared years ago. It took some time to locate, but provided the perfect solution.

With a Pilot Prera/Plumix Italic and Noodler’s Black ink, I wrote the Eurythmics lyric several times on the vellum until it looked suitable. A little paper tearing produced uneven edges that echoed the watercolor. Then I made another written piece using a Uchida Gold Opaque Paint Marker. With a Scotch Wrinkle-Free Glue Stick, I attached the written words to the watercolor. Lastly, a swath of gold dots on the left side and the page was complete.

The Daniel Smith watercolors are from my basic palette and include Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Turquoise, and Green Gold with a touch of Ultramarine Blue. I may have inadvertently dipped my brush in Sap Green on one pass, so that could be added to the list or not.

Epsilon paper is 150gsm so it can handle a fair amount of liquid, but it still required quick work to keep things fresh and flowing. The Isabey Petit Gris Mop brush from Leigh was perfect for the loose wash. It holds a huge amount of paint and added to the fun of getting the colors to mingle on the paper.

If you aren’t into painting, a similar background effect can be achieved with wide or brush markers. The latter works extremely well when held horizontally, almost parallel to the paper. Another option is to doodle with Sharpies and write with a fountain pen over your design.

If you want to write with a fountain pen more than paint colorful backgrounds, Jet Pens has a fun palette that could be used to create a pale wash of color over which ink will stand out nicely. More about the Yasutomo Niji Pearlescent set next week, but it could make a good starting point paired with a waterbrush. It does take a few drops of water to get the paint thick enough to put down significant color. However, a less saturated look might be just the thing to make your writing stand out on the page.

Whatever way you go, writing over a colorful background adds pizazz to your words. If it inspires you to write, so much the better. Play with it and have fun. That’s what should happen with all artistic endeavors.

Speaking of having fun, I think I’ll add a few more gold dots. One can never have too much gold, right?

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Moleskine And Fountain Pen Ink

03/23/2014

Another test with Moleskine and fountain pen ink, but this time with italic nibs.

Noodler’s Blue Eel isn’t bad though the bleed-through limits writing to only one side of the paper. Noodler’s Black paired with a Pilot Prera and a Plumix medium italic nib performed so well that there wasn’t even a dot of bleed-through. No feathering to speak of either.

Writing with a wide nib on both sides of Moleskine paper? Shocking I tell you. Shocking!

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Jackson’s Watercolors Meet Tomoe River Paper

03/14/2014

More experimentation with watercolor and ink last night with Tomoe River paper, Jackson’s Watercolors, and Noodler’s Black ink. The paint was fully dry before writing over it with a fountain pen. The paper buckled surprisingly little for its weight and held up much better than expected. Of course, Noodler’s Black is perfect on Tomoe River, but that’s no surprise. No doubt many inks would work well, but I like the crisp look of black on watercolor. My Paper For Fountain Pens journal with Tomoe River paper was not destined for life as a Doodle Journal, but perhaps I underestimated its capabilities. Hmmm.

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Paperblanks Journals Are Gorgeous

01/13/2014

Until a few weeks ago, I would have needed a “way back machine” to recall my last Paperblanks journal. So when the company offered products to review, I was happy to oblige. Imagine my delight when not one but three of the beauties arrived!

These journals are solidly constructed and friendly with enough inks to earn a place in my paper wardrobe. They come in lined and blank formats and offer standard Smythe sewn binding, acid free archival paper, ribbon bookmarks and Memento Pouches in the back of each journal. The closures vary by model from clasps to flaps to traditional book style.

The journals sent for review include the Parisian Mosaique Safran Midi, the Gandhi Embellished Manuscript Mini, and the Silver Filigree Maya Blue Ultra.

At 5″ x 7″ the Safran Midi is just the right size for my desk. The cover is gorgeous, rich in color and texture. Like the other two Paperblanks, the spine carries the same detail as the cover and looks sumptuous and vintage on my bookshelf. My Safran will get pressed into service as a repository for famous, and maybe not so famous, quotes along with a few doodles and flourishes in the margins. How would you use such an elegant journal?

The Gandhi has an aged look with an embossed quote decorating the front. It’s a mini at 3 3/4″ x 5 1/2″ and a very comfortable size in the hand. Pages are lined on both sides so there is ample room for writing. The cover of the Gandhi snaps closed with concealed magnets. The flap protects the pages so it could easily serve as a travel journal and it is sure to be a head-turner at the local coffee shop.

The 7″ x 9″ Silver Filigree is just beautiful with its blue and silver cover and antique-looking clasps, but then I do have a soft spot for those colors especially when turquoise ink flows from a white gold nib. However, black ink might be better suited to this journal allowing the cover to be the prominent feature. The Silver Filigree is so elegant it begs to be treated like royalty.

Then there is the paper. Although there is a faint impression on the back of a sheet, it isn’t enough to be considered show-through or ghosting and there is absolutely no bleed-through. This makes the paper suitable for writing on both sides and is how all journals should perform. It’s like getting double the writing surface compared to Moleskine and the like.

Black ink is the perfect neutral for the beautifully detailed covers and it has convinced me to keep a pen so loaded at all times. Noodler’s Black performed very well and, as a good all-purpose ink, is a fine choice for Paperblanks. For now NB is loaded in the ivory Pilot Prera Italic for an elegant duo that will suit any of the journals.

Additional inks that tested well include Noodler’s Air Corp, Diamine Sepia, Diamine Steel Blue, Sailor Sky High and Waterman Florida Blue. The remaining inks tested showed the tiniest amount of feathering, but no show-through or bleed-through. Rohrer & Klingner was the exception and produced too much feathering to get a pass, but I’ve been disappointed with it on other brands of paper as well. I will continue to test inks as pens get refilled and post an update should any ink prove to be as trouble-free as Noodler’s Black.

So here’s the deal. Paperblanks journals are gorgeous, but you already knew that. If you use anything but fountain pens, the paper will be fine. For fountain pen users for whom paper is the deal breaker, my findings are mixed. Some pens and inks are good to excellent. Others are not up to my standards.

Because the covers are so attractive, I won’t use my full ink inventory but restrain myself to neutral colors like black, gray and brown. With Noodler’s Black handy, ink performance will not be an issue. Eventually, the best gray and brown inks will emerge and my ink selection for the Paperblanks journals will be settled.

Since all inks tested performed better or comparable to Moleskine without any show-through or bleed-through, and Paperblanks easily beats Moleskine in the looks department, I know which one I would choose. Well, at least I know which brand. Selecting a style from the Paperblanks offering is a whole ‘nother matter.

With the lone exception of the writing sample, all photos were taken by Tessa Maurer.

Here is a first for An Inkophile’s Blog:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ycmppHkNlE

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Nathan And The Ahab Nib

01/12/2014

Nathan Tardif videos are packed with useful information, but if a picture is worth a thousand words, this screen capture tells you all you need to know about the flexible Ahab nib.

The video is chock full of tips, but this screen capture of line variation shows what the flexible nib can do even when just producing doodles. The pen is a clear Noodler’s Ahab filled as an eyedropper with Noodler’s Black ink. Not bad, eh?

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Shelf Life of Fountain Pen Ink

01/28/2013

A thread at Fountain Pen Network about moldy ink made me curious about which brands of ink still contain phenol or another effective biocide. The EU’s rules for the manufacture of inks has affected a few brands though new formulations seem to have improved recent batches. While I have had a few bottles go bad, never has that happened with Noodler’s, Diamine, or any Japanese ink in my collection. Nor has it happened with ink in my collection manufactured more than five years ago.

There is no intent to bash any ink but rather to find ink that, if stored for an extended length of time, is most likely to remain untainted. Parker Penman ink is a good example. It was only manufactured from 1993-2000 which predates any government tinkering. My stash remains viable with the exception of one bottle of Ruby that arrived partially used and containing SITB. The former owner was the culprit in that case.

So who is making the good stuff these days?

Leonardo Fountain Pen Meets Noodler's Black Ink

Leonardo Fountain Pen Meets Noodler’s Black Ink

This bottle of Noodler’s Ink was purchased more than seven years ago and remains untainted. That’s what I call “the good stuff” and ink that is worthy of high praise.

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