More cataloging of fountain pen inks…
Writing from a fountain pen makes the color much darker in most cases, but for comparison purposes, the swatches are just fine.
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.
It’s only a month into this journal so my opinion might change in future, but for now, the grid format is working very well. That’s something I never thought would happen.
Ruled notebooks are designed for writing. Like the yellow brick road, just follow the path. I’ve used them for years and doodled in the margins, but with a few exceptions like when Gene Kelly danced across a page, seldom added anything else.
Blank journals have no limits, but do invite filling the empty space creatively. However, I miss the lines that keep my writing level and so use blank journals mostly for water media rather than words.
As my daughter pointed out, the pale grid format is like a background pattern. The horizontal lines can be followed for writing or I can ignore them and doodle in any direction. Turning the book sideways, allows for long sentences and a fresh perspective.
Line spacing on Miquelrius paper is 4mm so skipping a line when I write full-sized looks fine or I can use a fine nib and write on every line. For my journal use, this grid is just the right size. For comparison, the Moleskine and Rhodia grids are 5mm so there isn’t much difference.
Glad I didn’t spring for a dated planner since the freedom of decorating pages my own way is liberating. Plus I don’t write in my journal every day and some days I write more than a page. Despite the useful design and appeal of a Hobonichi or Midori, I need room to roam.
Things like Washi tape, paper cut outs, stamps will enliven pages, but not add significant bulk. Watercolor squiggles applied with a dry brush is another option. Filling in some of the squares to make various designs is relaxing and can add more details. No talent necessary for any of these embellishments.
Trying something different has paid off this time and added an element of adventure to keeping a journal. Predictable can get ever so boring. Where’s the fun in that?
Late last week I received a box of paper products from a friend who shares my paper hoarding affliction. You know the symptoms. Buy tons of paper retail, on sale, discounted, whatever, but often in quantity with hopes one product will be so ideal for fountain pen ink that you experience a state of bliss whenever you see, touch or put a pen to it. Not sure if that is over the top or dead-on, but if it sounds familiar, you are in good company.
Here is the dilemma I faced over the weekend.
Where to begin with so many choices? I finally gave myself a nudge and removed one plastic wrapper. But that’s as far as I got. The journals just looked too perfect to abuse with scribbles and such.
However, reviews take hands-on experience. So after the wrappers are removed, pen and ink tests will follow for writing paper and watercolor tests for the art paper. Call it initiation. Those that pass, join the hoard. Those that don’t, land in the giveaway box. On occasion, a format doesn’t thrill me, so even good paper can get tossed. It’s a simple system even though my collection seems to expand no matter what I do.
But isn’t that a good thing?
If you could bring back back from the grave a few discontinued inks, which ones would they be?
My list would include
There are others, but these are inks I’ve used enough to know I will miss them when their bottles are empty. There are substitutes and worthy replacements, but no true duplicates for any of these inks. But that just means I get to move on to something new. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Which inks would be on your list?