Posts Tagged ‘Noodler’s Black Ink’


A Paperchase Notebook Makes Some Inky Friends


When it works well with fountain pen ink, Paperchase is just right. When it doesn’t, it fares no worse than Moleskine and with less bleed-through. At the price point, it is a viable alternative and with many inks, it is a better paper for clean, clear writing.

For testing purposes, I purchased the Purple Metallic Notebook (7.5 x 5.75″). It has a textured softcover, rounded corners, and sewn binding that holds 128 pages/64 sheets. This is a no-frills cahier style notebook with only a small, discrete logo printed on the back. Count me a fan of its minimalist but colorful design.

The off-white paper has a smooth finish and pale gray lines, a good combination for fountain pen use. Line width and line color are identical to Moleskine while the paper is slightly less yellow. Half the inks tested produced clean lines and an unusual degree of shading. The other half experienced some uneven outlines though little feathering along the fibers that paper like Moleskine can produce. Bleed-through was evident with some inks, though for the most part only the occasional dot.

Worthy of note is that most inks dried slowly so lefties beware.

Show-through or ghosting depended on ink flow and was evident with all inks tested. Some inks produced too little to be offensive especially when paired with a fine nib. With thin paper, this is common and frankly I don’t mind the look of it. Wide, wet nibs deposited too much ink making the backs of pages less useful. Free-flowing inks may produce the same result. To demonstrate how unpredictable I found this problem, Sailor Tokiwa-Matsu and Iroshizuku tsuki-yo in Pelikan italics exhibited more show-through than Diamine Dark Brown in a Platinum #3776 Music Nib. Platinum Pigment Ink showed through the least even with a very wet broad nib. That does not hold true on Moleskine where the same pen and ink made a mess with both feathering and bleed-through.

Confusing? This is one of those situations where matching ink, pen and paper could make Paperchase work well for you. Or you can take a more relaxed perspective and just write with whatever is at hand. Most of my journaling will never get read so it doesn’t matter whether a page has marks from the other side that show through. As long as I am writing, all is well.

For convenience I often carry a green metallic Lamy EF loaded with Noodler’s Black. The duo performed perfectly in the Paperchase journal. The ink did not bleed through so both sides of the paper were usable and since black is highly visible even in low light conditions, I could write anywhere. Thus all of my off-site requirements were met. In addition, the Lamy barrel is a pleasing contrast to the purple notebook cover. Attractive tools do tend to trigger my creative urges and that is a significant plus.

Along with the notebook, I picked up a packet of three larger cahiers (8.5 x 5.75″), one blank, one lined and one printed with a pattern. I couldn’t resist the foldaway bag in the Secret Garden pattern and put it to work immediately. It travels in a diminutive carrying case with a clip that will make it a steady companion for shopping excursions or a carryall for my doodle kit and journals. I managed to stuff it with purchases from two shops plus my daily notebook and writing instruments. Not too shabby at all.

Despite the iffy performance with a few inks, I will continue to purchase Paperchase notebooks. The form suits me very well and the ease of buying it at a local store along with the reasonable price, makes it a worthwhile addition to my paper wardrobe.

All of the Paperchase items were purchased at Staples and are available in several patterns. The metallic notebook was $4 and the 3-pack of larger notebooks was $8. Even my frugal budget monitor cannot frown at those prices, and if he does, he will get laughed at to be sure.


Miquelrius Ink And Watercolor Tests


Much to my surprise, the Miquelrius journal paper handles watercolor from a waterbrush better than ink from a wide fountain pen nib. Admittedly the brush was on the dry side, but still there is a lot of doodling that can be done this way. Note that there was no bleed through. The show through is on par with the weight of the paper and similar to Tomoe River.

As for my continuing pen and ink experiments, a Lamy Safari EF with Noodler’s Black has proven the best match so far. Noodler’s General of the Armies works well, too. Some inks feather while others bleed through enough to make the back of the paper useless. However, at the price point of around $10 and for the amount of paper, these journals could be used up and trashed without regret which makes them perfect for having a little fun with ink, paint, stamps and some other doodads. And fun is what it’s all about.


Noodler’s, Clairefontaine And A Lamy


They didn’t walk into a bar together, but they did join forces at my desk. Noodler’s Black, a Clairefontaine notebook and a Lamy AL-Star EF make a delightful trio that is suitable for use anywhere including that bar. Unlike my fancy, schmancy pens, $40 bottles of ink, and leather-bound journals, this set-up could get lost or destroyed and then easily replaced without busting my budget.

What makes these three tools so special? The Lamy may not be the most comfortable pen, but for the smooth nib, a little discomfort can be tolerated. Noodler’s Black makes every fountain pen a winner and gets my unqualified vote of confidence. Clairefontaine paper is good with any ink and available at a wide variety of retailers including Writers Bloc from whence mine came. Put the three together and this is what you get.


Markings Journals Meet Fountain Pen Ink


Three C.R. Gibson Markings journals have been on a shelf waiting review for more than a year. To be sure they are attractive which could be the reason they never got properly filled. My used journals are destined for the recycle bin and Markings are just too nice for that fate. But since you guys like paper so much, putting them to the test made a good project for this month.

The first is a Markings sketchbook (MASA-2) with a Monet Waterlily Pond cover. It contains 130 pages lightly ruled on one side and blank on the reverse. The paper is 6.8″ x 8.9″ and held together with large double rings. Line spacing is 7.5 mm and pale blue so it doesn’t interfere with writing. The paper is soft white and has no tooth but does have a somewhat velvety texture. It’s a comfortable surface for fountain pen nibs and good with other writing instruments as well.

Ink did not show through or bleed through so double-sided use is assured. This is a very nice notebook I will enjoy filling.

The two bound Markings journals are the same style though sporting different covers, one leather (MJ5A-1) and the other embossed metallic (MJ5A-3). Each has 240 pages, a storage pocket, elastic band closure, ribbon marker and lays remarkably flat. Both journals look great and are well made for the price though the 6 mm line spacing might prove too narrow for wide nibs.

The paper color is slightly more yellow than Moleskine though the lines are identical in spacing and color. The weight is similar to Moleskine, but the paper seems to be lightly coated which causes fountain pen ink to suffer inconsistent coverage. Some inks feathered significantly and all of those tested bled through except Noodler’s Black. A Sharpie Pen in black performed well, so other writing instruments ought to get along fine with these journals.

These Markings journals are readily available, attractive and well-made, but unreliable for fountain pen use. Since the feathering and bleed-through are evidence of ink incompatibility, a narrow nib won’t improve performance enough to get a recommendation. However, the right ink will write well enough even with a o.7 mm nib.

What’s the takeaway from these pen tests? Don’t expect uniform paper performance from a manufacturer. Frustrating? You bet. Waste of money? Yep. Add to that the variability of ink performance and it’s hard to recommend any brand without reservation though there are exceptions.

Not for the first time this year only Noodler’s Black performed well. It’s reassuring that there is at least one pen on my desk that should write on most anything. However, it is not fun when my other pens are loaded with pretty inks that won’t work with the journal at hand. Better to stick with what has earned the approval of my inks and pens. That makes me more productive and my pens much happier. Go team!



I Cheated But Just A Little


Taking a cue from my Colorful Background post, I sploshed some blue and green watercolors on a page in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon Sketchbook. Unlike the artist who made the video in my post, I didn’t want to write on the painting so I cheated, but just a little.

The trick was to make the words temporary without obscuring the background painting. After a few so-so ideas, I remembered a packet of translucent vellum that disappeared years ago. It took some time to locate, but provided the perfect solution.

With a Pilot Prera/Plumix Italic and Noodler’s Black ink, I wrote the Eurythmics lyric several times on the vellum until it looked suitable. A little paper tearing produced uneven edges that echoed the watercolor. Then I made another written piece using a Uchida Gold Opaque Paint Marker. With a Scotch Wrinkle-Free Glue Stick, I attached the written words to the watercolor. Lastly, a swath of gold dots on the left side and the page was complete.

The Daniel Smith watercolors are from my basic palette and include Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Turquoise, and Green Gold with a touch of Ultramarine Blue. I may have inadvertently dipped my brush in Sap Green on one pass, so that could be added to the list or not.

Epsilon paper is 150gsm so it can handle a fair amount of liquid, but it still required quick work to keep things fresh and flowing. The Isabey Petit Gris Mop brush from Leigh was perfect for the loose wash. It holds a huge amount of paint and added to the fun of getting the colors to mingle on the paper.

If you aren’t into painting, a similar background effect can be achieved with wide or brush markers. The latter works extremely well when held horizontally, almost parallel to the paper. Another option is to doodle with Sharpies and write with a fountain pen over your design.

If you want to write with a fountain pen more than paint colorful backgrounds, Jet Pens has a fun palette that could be used to create a pale wash of color over which ink will stand out nicely. More about the Yasutomo Niji Pearlescent set next week, but it could make a good starting point paired with a waterbrush. It does take a few drops of water to get the paint thick enough to put down significant color. However, a less saturated look might be just the thing to make your writing stand out on the page.

Whatever way you go, writing over a colorful background adds pizazz to your words. If it inspires you to write, so much the better. Play with it and have fun. That’s what should happen with all artistic endeavors.

Speaking of having fun, I think I’ll add a few more gold dots. One can never have too much gold, right?


Moleskine And Fountain Pen Ink


Another test with Moleskine and fountain pen ink, but this time with italic nibs.

Noodler’s Blue Eel isn’t bad though the bleed-through limits writing to only one side of the paper. Noodler’s Black paired with a Pilot Prera and a Plumix medium italic nib performed so well that there wasn’t even a dot of bleed-through. No feathering to speak of either.

Writing with a wide nib on both sides of Moleskine paper? Shocking I tell you. Shocking!


Jackson’s Watercolors Meet Tomoe River Paper


More experimentation with watercolor and ink last night with Tomoe River paper, Jackson’s Watercolors, and Noodler’s Black ink. The paint was fully dry before writing over it with a fountain pen. The paper buckled surprisingly little for its weight and held up much better than expected. Of course, Noodler’s Black is perfect on Tomoe River, but that’s no surprise. No doubt many inks would work well, but I like the crisp look of black on watercolor. My Paper For Fountain Pens journal with Tomoe River paper was not destined for life as a Doodle Journal, but perhaps I underestimated its capabilities. Hmmm.


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