Thursday, May 24, 2012

Calligraphy inks

For those who don't know, I run the pen pal club at ReForm School- which is an independent shop full of local artists + makers in Silver Lake. Tootie and Billie are the women behind ReForm School and they are close friends. The club meets once a month to talk, share what we've received in the mail, and make crafty projects for our pen pals. Tootie and I thought it would be fun to have a calligraphy workshop. She mentioned that she wanted to get some Noodler's ink for the meeting. I had never heard of this ink. We found out that it's carried at Vroman's Fine stationery shop in Pasadena so Monday morning we headed over there. They carry about 20 different colors and have a sample book to look through. I could see why Tootie loves this ink- the labels are so great and each 3oz bottle is filled to the brim.
We decided on two colors, but when I got them home I had some trouble with it.
I thought it was the paper, so I tried an envelope. It looked fine, but as it dried it also bleed out.
The turquoise was better but I was frustrated that I couldn't get the pink to work on any paper. I had never heard of this before, I don't know what I was doing wrong.
I also got some other ink from Blick art stores- this brand Winsor and Newton is more affordable (around $5 a bottle) and comes in about 40 colors.
I enjoy the variations in color you get from this ink, it's just the right thickness.
Save the best for last- I picked up a bottle of J. Herbin ink from Vroman's and it was my favorite. Not only for it's color but because it's smooth and readily flows.
Even though we couldn't figure out what was wrong with the pink ink, everyone had a good time trying out the different nibs and different inks.
If you're interested in ink and pen reviews, check out Ana's blog.
All photos by Margaret Haas.


  1. Replies
    1. The variations of the green ink impressed me the most, it is a really pretty color. Glad you like it.

  2. My favorite tip if you're encountering bleeding inks: spray hair spray on your writing surface and let dry thoroughly (important)! Then write away, I find it helps so much!

    1. I've never heard of that, thanks for the tip.

  3. Noodler's inks are specifically designed for fountain pens, not dip pens so it is probably going to bleed and feather. If you've seen my Ink Drop sample writing with dip pens, you'll see its all a bleeding mess.

    Alternately, inks like the W&N and other inks sold at art supply stores should NEVER be put into fountain pens as it tends to be corrosive. Dip nibs are only a couple dollars each so when they corrode its not a big deal, just stick a new nib on and go. But fountain pens are a whole 'nother story.

    Keep us posted if you find the perfect ink and paper combo for dip nibs. I just inked up some envelopes with Pelikan 4001 and it bled all over.

    1. Weird that the woman at Vroman's didn't mention that, because I did say we were going to use it with dip pens. That would have been good to know! Thanks for the information. I'll be on the lookout for more good dip inks.

  4. Where do I learn to write like you? Have you ever thought about offering an online calligraphy class? I would sign up in a heartbeat!!



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