Don’t Be Fooled By A Name04/24/2014
This holds true for inks as well as paints, but don’t be fooled by a name. Manufacturers can be “liberal” with them and sometimes pay little heed to what buyers may expect. Some names are fanciful while others are deceptive. I don’t fault them when one man’s turquoise is another man’s teal.
Without question most of the inks and paints I’ve purchased have been within the anticipated range of color, but on occasion there is a divergence that is significant. Witness the watercolor swatches of paint called Raw Umber. You get the idea. Caveat emptor.
When it comes to purchasing ink, there is nothing as accurate as seeing the real deal before investing in a pricey bottle. Make a small investment in a sample or trade with a pen friend if you don’t like to gamble.
On a number of occasions, correspondence has swayed my interest in a color. A pen forum is a good place to find a like-minded aficionado with whom you can swap ink squiggles for the price of a stamp. Start or join a pen posse (club) for another way to share inky samples. Several years ago through Fountain Pen Network, I made contact with a pen person who wanted to trade bottles of ink. It turned out he lived close enough to make the trade in person.
I will tell you a little secret. I have kept all of my pen correspondence. All of it. Okay, so I’m a bit of a pack rat, but that collection amounts to a significant catalog of ink colors. Most often they are used as direct samples, but they can also be used indirectly for comparison purposes. When I read that an ink is biased in one direction and I have a sample, it is easier to imagine what the color will be. In addition those writing samples can be used to spot accuracy in online swatches whether from a website or my monitor’s loose if not fickle interpretation.
If storage space is an issue or you would like to make specific samples easier to locate, cut out a few bits of each color and glue into a notebook for future reference. Or tuck samples into envelopes by color range. There is a certain handiness to having all of the samples of a single color easy to array on my desk. Do make those swatches large enough to get a good grasp of the color.
Even a small sample is better than none so gather yours around and know better what you are buying when you order that next bottle of ink. Or don’t and be surprised. That can be fun, too.