Overrun by Fountain Pens


Does this happen to you? No matter how limited I try to keep things, my desk gets overrun by fountain pens. Time to whip them into line or at least to make my fountain pen excess more manageable.

Actually, only a few duos get regular use based more on the inks than the pens. Sure, I’m a sucker for color but other properties as well. Nevertheless, there are a few pens that are so much fun to use, they are rarely given a rest especially when matched with the perfect ink.

(Note that the ink scan is far from ideal. Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku is darker and a bit more green while Diamine Violet is slightly more red than the image appears on my monitor. Even Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrün could be a tiny bit more yellow. The image of the pens is spot-on but then black is hard to get wrong even for me. )

A Simple Fountain Pen Ink Rotation

A Simple Fountain Pen Ink Rotation

After much winnowing the core of my rotation now includes

  • Turquoise – Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku in Sailor Sapporo Fine
  • Blue-Black – Diamine Blue-Black in Pilot Custom Black Stripe Fine
  • Purple – Diamine Violet in Namiki Falcon Soft Fine
  • Magenta – Rohrer & Klingner Solferino in Pilot Elite ‘Isaac Newton’ Fine
  • Dark red – Noodler’s Red-Black in Sailor 1911 Fine
  • Brown – J. Herbin Lie de Thé in Levenger True Writer Fine
  • Dark green – Montblanc Racing Green in Lamy Safari Custom Cursive Italic
  • Medium green – Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrün in Lamy Safari 1.1 mm

Alt-Goldgrün is so right for so many uses that it deserves a better performing pen than the Safari. That is the only weak spot in my lineup and it could get remedied as soon as a few pens return from the spa.

A Few Favorite Fountain Pens

A Few Favorite Fountain Pens

For additional variety, two or three duos from my Very Nearly Perfect List will do.

The secondary players:

  • Green – Iroshizuku Shin-Ryoku in Pilot Elite ‘Socrates’ Fine
  • Dark green – Private Reserve Avacado in Waterman Carene Stub
  • Red – Rohrer & Klingner Morinda in Lamy Vista 1.1 mm
  • Orange – Iroshizuku Yu-Yake in Retro 51 Scriptmaster II Fine
  • Blue – Diamine Mediterranean Blue in Namiki Falcon Soft Fine or Montblanc 220 OB
  • Black – J. Herbin Perle Noire in Levenger True Writer Fine
  • Dark brown – Noodler’s #41 Brown in Noodler’s Aero Medium Fine (still testing this one) or Pilot Elite Fine

There are a few inks that either haven’t met the right pens yet or other inks nabbed the great pens first.

  • Noodler’s Cayenne
  • Rohrer & Klingner Magenta
  • Sailor Deep Moss Black
  • J. Herbin Café des Îles
  • Iroshizuku Syo-Ro
  • Stipula Moss Green

These inks will eventually meet ideal mates and join the secondary list which will bring my total rotation to twenty-one with ten to twelve inked at a time. Add to that a few inks being tested for Inkophile reviews and it’s no wonder my desk always looks so overcrowded!

Do you have a core group of inks and pens? Do add your list to the comments. I would love to know which ones make you happy.


  1. I’m sorry but what is meant by “duos”? You mean ink and pen combination’s?


    • Yes, “duos” is short for “pen and ink combinations”.


  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Margana, Leigh Reyes. Leigh Reyes said: RT @inkophile: An Inkophile Is Overrun By Fountain Pens: http://wp.me/pfSKv-Ej […]


  3. I hear you. In fact, I have so many inked that I have to keep a list of my filled pens and their ink colours, otherwise I’ll forget which is which!


    • Penagogy, a log of what’s inked is the only way I could keep track of so many pens and inks, especially true when testing several at one time. A log is useful for ink comparisons, too. It’s a great tool for an inkophile.


  4. Wow, I couldn’t keep that many pens inked at once – I’d lose what little mind I have left. I just got a new desk and it is clean and tidy at the moment but after reading your blog it may see messier days. I keep my inked pens in cases so I can carry them with me, so I usually only have 5 or 6 inked at any one time. And I switch pens and inks so don’t really have “duos” that I stick with.


    • Peggy, sometimes I would swear the little brats ink themselves! As long as it’s with the right ink, I don’t mind terribly.

      Once in a while a duo is so perfect that I just want to use it over and over. That doesn’t happen often but I treasure it when it does.


  5. What color is the true writer, if you don’t mind my asking? It’s really pretty.


    • Megan, the brown marble Levenger True Writer color is called “mink” and was discontinued quite some time ago. They turn up on eBay from time to time though not always in great condition.


  6. Thanks. It’s too bad it’s retired, but I might very well keep my eyes out for it.


  7. At one point in my life, I realized that my obsession with good pens and inks made me lose track of what why I actually had them in my office in the first place. I got them to write with them. I got so wrapped up with getting great pens and wonderful inks, that I stopped actually writing. I spent more time reading / looking online and in stores at pens / reviews / comments then actually using them. So now my collection is way down, and it is a good thing. Now I worry less about the tool I am going to use and I spend more time using it for what it was meant to do, covert thoughts into paper.

    I enjoy your blog, good work!


  8. First things first: great blog!
    I would love to try out the Iroshizuku inks – any idea on where to buy them in Europe? The same goes for the True Writer pen – the Cafe au Lait screams “me” but it only appears at American websites…
    I do have a favourite pairing – not very imaginative but flows wonderfully on moleskine paper: Rotring artpen with their own black ink; the blackest black, almost like drawing ink and no feathering!


    • Thanks, Silvia. Glad you like Inkophile. Unfortunately, I don’t know who carries Iroshizuku in Europe but you might check Fountain Pen Network for suggestions. Levenger products come from a U.S. company. So either you will have to order directly from them or watch for something on eBay.

      Rotring does make nice pens. There are a couple in my pen drawer but I don’t recall what I thought of the ink back in the days when I sketched with it. Might have to revisit that one. Thanks for the reminder.


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