J. Herbin Gris Nuage


Think gray ink is just watered-down black? Or do you have a “where’s the color” reaction when you see gray? The writing sample at My Life as a Verb just might change your mind.

After seeing Leigh’s lovely writing, but not being in acquisition mode, I put Gris Nuage on my list of promising inks and moved onto other things. That was months ago. So I was very pleased recently to receive a sample of this J. Herbin ink from Karen Doherty at Exaclair, Inc. Now I could see for myself what might be done with an ink called Gray Cloud.

J. Herbin Gris Nuage Writing Sample

J. Herbin Gris Nuage Writing Sample

Gris Nuage is not a storm cloud gray but closer to the soft gray underbelly of a swirly white cloud, the part that gives it a three dimensional form. The color isn’t terribly saturated so it works very well in wide or wet nibs. In a Lamy 1.1mm calligraphy nib, the color is consistent rather than heavily shaded. Leigh’s sample shows more shading so it must depend on the pen, nib, and paper as well as the skill of the writer.

J. Herbin Gris Nuage Doodles

J. Herbin Gris Nuage Doodles

Show-through and bleed-through are non-issues. Flow is average and lubrication is low. So my Lamy nib squeaked on occasion but only my finches seemed to notice. Not sure that counts so I’d say it’s a very well-behaved ink.

J. Herbin Gris Nuage

J. Herbin Gris Nuage

Check out my gray ink comparison post if Gris Nuage might seem too low in color saturation. With the wide variety of nibs in my collection, pale inks don’t deter me, well, except for yellow but that’s another story.

Note: All samples were written on Staples Eco-Friendly (bagasse) spiral-bound notebook paper with a standard Lamy 1.1mm italic nib.

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  1. A thought on using this to “prep” social stationery:

    I use the private reserve Gray Flannel for my gray ink here – it looks a bit darker than your samples. I use it in my Duke Mako pen for writing (not in daily rotation – that is a Heavy pen!)

    But looking at the Herbin samples I had that a-HA! moment of thinking what a Great monogram ink that would make for notecards and stationery.

    I have absolutely no skill at italic and stylized writing here (what better time to learn!!I think I have enough ink and paper to pracice with 🙂 but thought that with such a cool and calming color, one could pre-prep blank cards with the monogram or name, and then go back later and use the cards/pages with one’s daily ink.


    • What a great idea especially if you keep the monogram simple and practice until it flows easily. No stress. Just doodle with it and in no time you will be able to execute it with ease. I fill pages with new letter forms and find it very relaxing. You might want a special nib for it. A nice wide italic would be great and it often gives a nice flair to daily writing. Would that work for you?


  2. […] J. Herbin Gris Nuage: Ohh, I’m obsessed with this ink! This isn’t one of the bottles that I received from Rhodia Drive, but I wish it was. Compared to other grey inks (such as Noodler’s Lexington Gray), this is a cooler gray ink– the color of clouds on an overcast day. Gris Nuage is also a true grey ink, not a diluted black, and has beautiful shading. View more photos of this ink here and here. […]


  3. […] J. Herbin Gris Nuage […]


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