Keeping Track Of Ink And Pens


Last year keeping track of the ink in my collection became a haphazard affair. That is not a good thing for an inkophile. Finally it dawned on me that I wasn’t using my system because it wasn’t getting the job done. After ten years, it was time for a change.

For flexibility the Mnemosyne Word Book is a good fit for ink swatches and I started using it several weeks ago. Squiggles and the name written with a dip pen is a simple format to view the color though it says little about the properties. The back of each card, which has less tooth than the front, will get a written sample from any fountain pen that gets filled with that ink. This will remind me of bad matches as well as good ones. No need to repeat past mistakes.

Eventually, there will be sets organized by color categories further divided by neutral, cool or warm bias. Just in the brief time I’ve used this system, my preference for neutral to warm colors has emerged as a significant factor in my rotation. That’s useful information when I cannot decide between colors that are similar.

Pens need written samples, so I’ve started a new system for them, too. Arc notebooks from Staples have fountain pen friendly paper that is attached to the notebook with discs making it easy to reorder or remove pages. (There are other companies that make a similar product, but Staples is located nearby. Convenience counts.) In the past, I used a spiral notebook that resulted in the order being based on date of acquisition. While historically interesting, an alphabetic arrangement makes more sense.

Getting started with my new system was easy. However, cataloging all of my inks and pens is daunting, but will happen eventually. No rush since I intend to enjoy the process.


  1. What’s the green under the MB?

    I’ve started using the ARC system to keep my writing/plotting/characters straight.


    • That’s a Sailor limited edition ink made for Pen Gallery called Uranari Green. I think I’ve had it for at least five years. Isn’t it a pretty color?


      • Gorgeous! Just my flavor of green.


        • Nothing else I have seen is quite like it so I use it sparingly.

          The Arc system is really useful. Have you purchased the hole punch?


          • Of course


  2. I punch a small heart shape in the corner, which is real handy when comparing colors.


    • So you can see other cards through the hole? Clever!


      • Yes. I use a cotton swab to make a swatch of the color and then punch within that swatch. This allows me to compare colors. I put my color samples in photo memo books. I have a book for each color group. Every ink sample I get is done this way, along with a writing sample. Then when/if I decide to buy a bottle, then I move the sample to a separate memo book that contains the swatches of all the inks in inventory at the time.


        • Sounds like a very useful system. 🙂


  3. I have a large 8.5 x 11 sized Staples Arc notebook that I keep trying to decide what I am going to do with. This article is very timely, as an ink journal might be the best use for it. Thanks, Margana. =)


    • Glad to help, kp. 🙂


  4. […] Bernanke Black Ink Review – Stationary Journey Cursive – cursed again? – Pete Denison Keeping Track Of Ink And Pens – An Inkophile’s […]


  5. The Arc System is what I use as well for my ink cataloging…the paper is good and I can move things around. Good call!


  6. […] An Inkophile’s Blog I’ve thought quite a bit about my own storage and sampling of inks lately, though I must admit the small collection I have certainly doesn’t require anything too extensive. This system of using Mnemosyne cards for ink samples provides a great quick reference: Keeping Track Of Ink And Pens […]


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