Posts Tagged ‘sailor’


Brilliant Summer Inks And Watercolors


Usually by June, my tools get pared to a minimum. This year things have gone the other direction.

Instead of a limited three to five ink selection, my rotation is getting a color infusion. For inspiration, there is a swatch on my desk to remind me what is on hand. It isn’t a watercolor palette, but it has the same come play with me effect.

  • Sailor Jentle Peach Pink
  • Noodler’s Purple Martin
  • Diamine Emerald
  • J. Herbin Ambre de Birmaniestil
  • Diamine Teal
  • Waterman Blue-Black
  • Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan
  • Sailor Jentle Nioi-sumire
  • J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage
  • Diamine Aqua Blue
  • Iroshizuku fuyu-syogun
  • Noodler’s Lexington Gray

Elaine from Jet Pens sent a bottle of Sailor Four Seasons Nioi-sumire (Sweet Violet) and Karen at Exaclair has promised bottles of two J. Herbin inks so my rotation will be changing in short order. Now to find an empty, italic pen for some doodling in my Stillman & Birn sketchbook.

Along with modifying my ink rotation, summer is a good time for some colorful experimentation with my watercolor palette. Starting with a dozen basic paints, I added another dozen that I seldom use. That leaves a few empty slots for new acquisitions. My choices are brighter than usual and painting with them will provide a good challenge for the next few months. Even so, I included a modifier, Neutral Tint, just in case a color shouts a bit too loudly.

Certainly a palette needs to be functional, but it can also benefit from visual appeal. This Kremer is a good example of that. The beautiful arrangement encourages playful interaction.

A girl’s gotta have fun you know and what better way than color infused days. Love you guys, but the muse is calling. See ya later!



Favorite Brand Of Fountain Pen Ink – The Poll Results


Remember that Favorite Brand of Ink poll from December? The poll has closed and the results are in. The top ten inks are

  1. Noodler’s
  2. Diamine
  3. J. Herbin
  4. Iroshizuku
  5. Private Reserve
  6. Waterman
  7. Sailor
  8. Pilot/Namiki
  9. Aurora
  10. Sheaffer

Noodler’s received a whopping 23% of the vote. That’s huge compared to the next three brands. Diamine at 14%, J. Herbin at 13%, and Iroshizuku at 12% are good numbers but Noodler’s reigns with Inkophile readers. Given the variety of colors offered by the top brand, perhaps the win shouldn’t be a surprise though Diamine runs a well-earned second in that regard.

Also, consider that four brands of ink garnered 62% of the vote while the next two brands received another 10% combined. That means 72% favor six companies and 28% prefer 29 other ink makers. Those top six companies are really doing something right though availability might play into preferences. The majority of you are located in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada where the top three inks are more easily purchased. Hard to love an ink you’ve never tried.

Many of the other ink brands are excellent quality and worth buying. I have lots of Rohrer& Klingner and use Solferino and Magenta regularly. When only a red ink will do, Morinda is my usual choice. Admittedly, I tend to horde my other preferred red, J. Herbin ‘1670’ Rouge Hematite. That’s one ink I do not want to be without.

That brings up another factor: cost. Noodler’s Ink is a veritable bargain compared to many brands especially since it can often be diluted without losing its best attributes. At $12.50 US, a single 3 oz./90 ml bottle can last a very, very long time. That doesn’t sway me when making a purchase but a pricey ink won’t find its way into my shopping cart except on rare occasion.

Many of my favorite individual inks like Caran d’Ache Storm and Montblanc Racing Green are made by companies farther down the list and I only discovered them through trial and error. Do keep looking if you haven’t found that perfect ink. It’s out there.


A New Bunch of Links


Ink, stationery, calligraphy, and a bunch of other cool links…


Can Inkophile be 3 years old already?!


It’s that time of year again. The Inkophile blog is now 3 years old as is Inkophile on Twitter. My participation at Fountain Pen Network will reach the five year milestone in a few days. Gosh, that sounds old at least on the Internet. Is there a comparable in dog years?

During this time the number of available ink colors has grown enormously which bodes well for people who love fountain pens. While some companies have retired colors that were peerless, others have come out with ones that are unique. The biggest loser is Montblanc who discontinued Racing Green. The biggest winner is Pilot with its Iroshizuku line. Sailor created the Kobe line but only for market in Japan so that’s a no gain. Platinum has released a line called Mix Free that is aimed at those who want to mix their own colors but it hasn’t reached the U.S. yet though it could arrive early summer. It may not be a game changer but it certainly will thrill those with a creative urge or want a one-of-a-kind color.

Virtually every ink manufacturer has at least a few new colors especially Diamine and Noodler’s. Then there are the recently released Pelikan Edelstein inks. The bottle is very attractive but the ink has yet to win over the pen community though amongst the samples sent by Pear Tree, Topaz and Ruby look promising.

Is the marketplace getting overcrowded? Perhaps. It may take a distinguishing characteristic or marketing campaign to become a standout product in future. Well, unless the ink is a standout on its own. That’s where Pilot made a breakthrough. With a premium ink that delivers in every respect including a beautiful bottle and handsome packaging, Iroshizuku has set the bar high for future luxury products.

There is less news at the economy end. Noodler’s remains the best value for money especially with colors that can tolerate a little dilution. The colorful and often amusing labels make up for the no-frills bottle that helps keep the cost of packaging down. Never at a loss for ink colors or colorful names, Nathan Tardiff continues to add to his line with no end in sight. All to the good for ink lovers.

There are so many new pens on the market you probably know more about them than I do. The only recent additions to my collection are a couple of Noodler’s pens that perform at a level commensurate with their prices. Not new but new to me was a pink Platinum Preppy, a gift from The Pear Tree Pen Company. At the price point, this steel nib is a steal.

Of course there are always new paper products. Rumor has it the revamped Quo Vadis Habana may prove to be the best new item for fountain pen users. The off-white color and narrow line spacing are similar to Moleskine but it has the paper quality necessary to control fountain pen ink. This sounds promising but I haven’t seen it myself.

Despite the economic challenges of the last few years, companies continue to provide pen people with new products. All to the good for a three-year-old inkophile.

A Few Inkophile Favorites

A Few Inkophile Favorites

Pictured are bottles of Rohrer & Klingner Solferino from, J. Herbin Vert Olive, and Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku, pads of G. Lalo and Rhodia paper, a 1970’s Montblanc 220 fountain pen with an OB nib, an Ebonite Dipless Dip Pen from, and a pen wrap from

New Ink Colors From Sailor


Swisher Pens announced today that “Sailor is coming out with 6 new colors of their Jentle ink line. These will be part of their regular line. ITOYA (U.S. distributor) should be receiving these inks by early April. However, we can start taking pre-orders at any time.”

There is no mention of the new colors being exclusive so expect to see them at your favorite retailer along with the current black, blue, and blue-black inks.

The new colors are

  • Apricot – yellow-orange
  • Epinard – blue-green
  • Grenade – pink-purple
  • Peche – soft pink
  • Sky High – sky blue
  • Ultra Marine – deep blue-purple

Sailor Inks for Spring 2010


Recently Sailor introduced four limited edition colors for Spring 2010. Miruai, dark pine green, Waka-Uguisu, medium yellow-green, Sakura Mori, pale pink, and Nioi-Sumire, medium blue, comprise the new offering. If you were to paint a spring scene, surely all these colors could be present which makes it a good combination for an ink palette.

Sailor Inks for Spring 2010

Sailor Inks for Spring 2010

Phthalo at The Laurel Tree made some really accurate swatches with comparisons so I hope she won’t mind that I nabbed them for this post. Courtesy of Phthalo I was able to test Sakura Mori (Cherry Blossom), and Waka Uguisu (Young Nightingale). Both are attractive if not the most saturated though certainly fresh and lively enough for correspondence. I like them best in pens with character like the Lamy 1.1 mm calligraphy nib. The colors are lovely with white, ivory or silver pens on very white paper or correspondence cards.

When it comes to Japanese ink, Iroshizuku gets all the fuss. However, Sailor makes a first rate product, too. Unfortunately, Sailor has chosen to make little effort with the U.S. market offering only a limited selection of basic colors. There are a few sources in Japan like Bundoki and Rakuten as well as Pen Gallery in Malaysia if these are “must have” inks or you want to delve into the full Sailor line. I have ordered once from the latter without issue but have never ordered from the other two companies. It’s probably just a matter of time though…

More at Scriblets.


Pen vs Nib Poll Results


The results are in from last month’s poll.

Fountain Pen vs Nib Poll

Fountain Pen vs Nib Poll

Nibs win!

You folks really like your nibs. Looks count but nibs count more.

I’m with you. Not that a pretty piece won’t turn my head but if it’s got a stinky nib, all the looks in the world are wasted on me. Better the pen should go to someone who will appreciate it. Actually, comfort matters more to me than appearance but that’s a subject for a different post.

86% of you want good if not great nibs. Thus companies that fail to make quality nibs a priority are missing what makes fountain pens worth buying. Some companies think so little of their pens that they offer nibs in one size only. Do they really think we all love the ubiquitous, generic medium? Perhaps they smugly think looks are all that count. How horribly shallow of them.

Worse are the nibs that come in a variety of sizes but need repair just to be useful. If you get stuck with one of those turkeys, do return it. One would hope a manufacturer or two will get the message. Or maybe they should stick to roller balls and ball points. Those instruments are far better suited to a one-size-fits-all manufacturing and marketing strategy.

Which pen makers are doing things right?

For those of you who demand beauty as well as a great nib, which pens make your best of the best list? Not to make less of a single great pen, but it would be great to hear about companies and pen models that consistently deliver what matters most.

My nominees are the Sailor Pro Gear, 1911, and Sapporo Series. I currently have three and sold a fourth a year ago. Not one has been disappointing. My preference is the rhodium trim but the fit and finish are beautifully done on the gold models as well. Light heft, quality and consistency make these pens true winners.

More pens worth considering

There are many brands for which my experience is too limited to make a recommendation or my collection does not include enough new pens to put them on the list. I’ve eliminated used pens for lack of certainty that the pen I own is truly representative of the model.

Pilot Elite Pocket Pen

Pilot Elite Pocket Pen

Pilot "Isaac Newton" Fountain Pen

Pilot "Isaac Newton" Fountain Pen

Pilot Custom Black Strip Fountain Pen

Pilot Custom Black Strip Fountain Pen

My Pilot pens are a good case in point. I have five of various finishes from the 1970s and early 1980s. All are fine nibs (not script nibs) and write very well for me. However, I was not the first owner so I don’t know if the nibs were repaired or modified. I just know they are excellent now.

There are two other brands for which I own multiples of a  model but inconsistent nibs keep them off my list. That’s an indictment as well as a disappointment but it certainly does make the really good ones stand out.

Lastly, there is another good pen but it is not an out-of-the-box favorite. It’s the original version of the Namiki Falcon with a soft fine nib. The build quality is not quite as nice as the Sailors but good nonetheless. The new metal version may be quite different but I have yet to get my hands on one. Unlike the Sailor pens, in my experience the nib requires a period of breaking-in to become all it can be. I am hesitant to recommend a model that has a caveat but it’s a good pen if you are willing to give it enough time. Some people like the soft medium better than the soft fine and I can see why though I think a soft broad would be even more fun.

Ink counts, too.

12% of the people who participated in the poll are more excited by ink but terrific pens make using those fabulous colors even more fun. So if you have a favorite or two, do include your pen choices in the comments. Inkophiles need pens, too.

%d bloggers like this: