The Ink Blotter, A Dirty Little Secret12/27/2010
If the ink blotter seems like an old fashioned idea, think again. It is the easiest solution to slow drying, too much wetness, “where did that blob come from” problems that you ever met. Really.
My 6″ x 3″ blotting paper has been in use for at least four years. It is very heavy paper and resides in my daily journal between the most recent passage and the facing page. It serves as a bookmark plus I never have to wait for ink to dry, handy when you think about what gets written in a journal. Should someone walk up behind me, I can slam the book shut instantly without fearing a mess when I return. Two disasters averted!
Before my work space became inundated with bottles of ink and stacks of paper, a small but very cute rocking horse resided on my desk. These days I would never find her so I sweep the side of my hand over the blotter paper if I want to continue writing. Pentrace has a good article on how to use a blotter if you want more details.
Once you get the hang of it, which will take a matter of seconds on practice paper, even the most slow-drying inks can be tamed. I have a Pelikan M215 cursive italic that lays down a luscious swath of color but it is often inconvenient to let dry naturally. The blotter makes the writing tidy and as close to instant drying as this nib will ever get.
As if collecting ink and pens wasn’t engrossing enough, there are collectors of rocker blotters and even those who collect blotting paper. To be sure there are some gorgeous antique ones that turn up now and again. Ebay can be a good source but so can Pendemonium. Modern ones are available like this simple design from J. Herbin and are carried by a variety of retailers.
Art supply stores stock felt-finished paper but it is not as absorbent as blotting sheets from a fountain pen purveyor. J. Herbin offers light-weight paper measuring 3 ¼” x 1 7/8″ that appears malleable enough to bend around its wooden rocker. Pear Tree Pens is due to release its own heavy-weight blotting paper in January. I suspect this one will be more similar to the blotter in my journal.
Whether you want the full-on experience of the rocker blotter or the simple ease of heavy blotting paper tucked between pages, this is one dirty trick every pen user should have to hand. It even works on those untidy gel pens that spew dabs of ink at unwelcome intervals. Not that you would ever use such an instrument but just in case…