Posts Tagged 'Ink'

Quick and Dirty Pen Review – Noodler’s Flex

Oof, apologies for the lack of posts this week! I’m leaving my job and preparing for yet another big move. So there’s lots of reflection and a long to-do list on my part, but not a lot of blog-productivity.

Luckily, when my brain needs a break from job searching, I have the new Noodler’s flex nib fountain pen to play with. I bought this from Goulet Pens, and you can read Brian Goulet’s own review here. The unique thing about this pen isn’t a spectacular flex nib or beautiful design, but that’s it’s priced at $14.

Flex nibs for $14 just doesn’t happen, frankly. This is mainly because it’s incredibly difficult to mass-produce a flexible nib– it usually involves some hands-on work. Thanks, Capitalism, for leaving us with only vintage pens and expensive customizations as options for a flexible nib! And as far as I know, nobody’s quite sure how Noodler’s is producing these so cheaply. Brian’s hypothesis involves Oompa Loompas, and I’m just hoping that the secret is something like “patience and devotion to the craft” rather than, say, any exploitation here or overseas.

Although the flex factor isn’t drastic, this cute little nib definitely qualifies as a flex nib– as opposed to the nib on my Aurora Ipsilon, which most pen geeks would say “has some spring to it.” The difference is that when you’re writing regularly, the Noodler’s nib still responds to the slightest pressure change– whereas with the Ipsilon, you have to think about pressing down for flex.

Well heyyyy there. Hopefully you can see from my mediocre calligraphy skills that this flex is legit. In fact this is probably a great first pen for somebody wanting to get into calligraphy without the mess and supplies of a dip pen.

I tried to include three different writing styles so that you can see how this nib will work for varying handwriting. I saw the most shading on this third part, probably because I was writing faster and therefore the nib put down less ink on each letter. Compare this to the calligraphy, above, where I was writing more slowly and the ink color is fairly dark throughout. If you happen to write in all caps, a la The Pen Addict, you’ll get a bit of shading but will probably be annoyed by the responsive nib making lines widths inconsistent.

P.S. Credit goes to Rhodia No. 14 for the writing surface 😉

Autumn Ink Reviews


Me in leaves, long long ago...

I’ll tell you one thing that  I miss about the east coast: a real Autumn. Colorado definitely has a “transitional period” of some kind, but it’s kind of spazzy, weather-wise. Although I’m missing the golds and reds and oranges of home, the one highlight in Colorado is the bright yellow wash of Aspens in Fall.

I embraced the season instead by ordering some autumn ink samples from Pear Tree Pens. (A good excuse, right?) I can honestly say that I’ve never ordered anything from Pear Tree Pens except for their ink samples– they should play it up more. Like: I wish I could get larger-sized samples. Sometimes it’s difficult to suck anything up out of those tiny jars, especially with a larger nib.

I also wish I could get samples of the forebodingly-priced Iroshizuku inks… anybody want to split a bottle with me?

Noodler's Cayenne, Noodler's Habanero, Noodler's Apache Sunset, Rohrer & Klingner Goldgrun (with J. Herbin's Vert Olive for comparison), Noodler's Zhivago, Noodler's Burma Road Brown (V-mail series), and Rohrer & Klingner Solferino

Above, the samples are tested with two dip pens (an italic and a flex), which isn’t going to match how they’ll look in a regular fountain pen. I also got a sample of Noodler’s Bulletproof Black which is not shown above, and Vert Olive is there only for comparison.

Here’s the overview

Noodler’s Bulletproof Black. Tested in TWSBI Diamond, F nib. I’m pretty devoted to Aurora Black, but I needed a waterproof black ink and this one seems to be the standard. I can see more shading than with other black inks, but I also noticed that it’s the only ink that doesn’t feather on regular paper. I’ve used it in the office Moleskines and in my new leather-covered sketchbook with absorbent art paper, with no feathering or bleedthrough. Haven’t tested the waterproof-ness yet, so I’m planning a full review later.

Rohrer & Klingner Goldgrun. Tested in Pelikan M400, F flexible nib. I don’t know if I can say much about its behavior, because my Pelikan’s flex nib is very wet writer, which throws off the test. The color is a perfect match to the White tortoise exterior, though…

Goldgrun (top) compared to Vert Olive (bottom)

Goldgrun is much more subtle and muted than J. Herbin’s Vert Olive, which appears almost lime in comparison.

Noodler’s Apache Sunset. Tested in a Parker 45, M stub nib and Parker Vector, F nib. Ah yes, one of many ethnically-named inks which rely on our cultural stereotypes of color-associations. Juuuust sayin’. Nonetheless, word on the street is that Apache Sunset has some of the best shading around. Which is why I tested it in two pens, though I still think I’m not really highlighting its shading capacities. I wish I had a Pilot Parallel…

Drastic shading, Noodler's Apache Sunset

But you can still see the variation even in these two pens: the Vector, which is a much dryer writer, and the Parker 45 stub nib.

Noodler’s Habanero. Tested in Aurora Ipsilon, F nib. I’ve actually tried this ink before; I just wanted to compare it to Cayenne and Apache Sunset. It’s a beautiful bright orange with good wet flow and is more opaque than other oranges, like Herbin’s Orange Indien. It has excellent shading, although it’s hard to see in my Aurora’s fine nib.

Noodler’s Cayenne. For whatever reason I didn’t fill up a pen with this color! So, um, raincheck?

Noodler’s Zhivago. Tested in Lamy 2000, F nib, and Pilot 78G, B italic nib. A lot of people complained that you can barely distinguish Zhivago from plain old black, and  this is generally true for fine nibs. In my Lamy 2000 F nib, the subtle variations in shading can only be seen close up (I’m interested to try it in a dry writing fine nib, though; because the wet-writing Lamy 2000 makes many inks appear darker). However, this well-flowing ink is pretty damn smashing in my Pilot’s B italic nib. It’s like a black, but a black with character. Click on the image below to view the shading full-size. And I love  beautiful subdued colors like this one: a mossy green almost-black.

Zhivago, compared in two pens

Beautiful Neutral: Zhivago and Burma Road Brown. Notice the crazy feathering on Burma Road Brown!

 

Noodler’s Burma Road Brown (V-mail series). Tested in Lamy Safari, EF nib. Another lively neutral color, Burma Road Brown is a dark sandy brown, like very faded letter. With regards to ink behavior, my first impression was that, hey, this ink is, um, really different from other inks. The first clue: it actually bled through Clairefontaine paper. (Wha..?) So then I tried it on regular crappy paper, and… zero bleedthrough. And zero feathering. Even in a Moleskine. (Wha…?) …Okay, there was bleedthrough in the Moleskine. But no feathering! Which is a pretty huge accomplishment. Like Bulletproof Black, I’m going to follow this up with a full review.

Rohrer & Klingner Solferino. Tested in a Lamy Al-Star, 1.1 italic nib. And thus we move from subtle neutrals to, um, blinding neon purple. Granted, Solferino becomes slightly less vivid after it dries, but only slightly. But I’m pretty fond of this color already: it’s great for calling attention to things in my planner, and it matches Daniel Smith’s Quinacridone Violet, which I think is pretty cool.

 

J. Herbin Redux

I was pretty excited about some new J. Herbin inks when I made this quick post. So I was obviously a little embarrassed when the Quo Vadis blog decided to feature them in a post… yikes.

Anyways, after reviewing the Kalligraphie pad recently, I decided to revisit that concept and came up with this:

My Current Collection of J. Herbin Inks. And yes, I know Perl Noire is misspelled 😦

The thing about dip pens… is that they always show an ink to be more saturated than it really is. So I tried to smoosh them around a bit (professional terminology) to show their real range of color. When used in a fountain pen, these inks will write in the color that you can see in the smear.

The other thing about dip pens… is that they require a really saturated ink. They’re best used with India Ink, not fountain pen ink, which is less viscous (read: more watery). I’ve had some luck using Private Reserve inks in dip pens, but on the viscosity scale of fountain pen inks, J. Herbin is by far the least saturated, least viscous ink. So making this page was a total drip-disaster. That’s why there is some pretty uneven line work here…

I find that I use J. Herbin inks a lot with brushes, which I really enjoy. And of course, in pens. I currently have two pens inked with Cacao du Bresil, actually.

A Date with J. Herbin

Inking on a Rainy Afternoon

I thought we were in for Spring weather, but March certainly is fickle in Ohio…

Finishing My Second Exacompta Sketchbook

a filled Exacompta

*EDITED: I decided to include the images that I had previously posted, just to keep it all in one place. Enjoy!*

I purchased my first Exacompta sketchbook, and won my second from a Rhodia Drive raffle giveaway. (Remember how cute they were together?) I admit I had my doubts about using the same book twice… I tend to get a little claustrophobic with my art supplies if I’m not head-over-heels in love with them… and I did have few frustrations with the way that some of my more delicate nibs would catch on the Exacompta’s laid paper.

But now that I’ve finished that second book, I’d have to say it’s one of the best all-purpose books I’ve used thus far. In fact, I’m having a lot of trouble finding a replacement. I want many of the same characteristics: thick, unlined paper, a nondescript cover, and medium size. I’d like to have smoother paper this time around, though. And apparently, those requirements don’t come together too often in one book. I need to gather up the energy to bind one for myself again.

Here’s the visual summary:

ink therapy 🙂

testing Caran D'ache Museum leads

What is this Nonsense?

I used a charcoal Lamy Safari with a F nib for almost a year until it disappeared (!) a few months ago. I replaced it with a shiny black Lamy Safari with an EF nib, and suddenly my handwriting is so.. bubbly.

I’ve never had bubbly handwriting!  Also, this happened right about the time that I switched to Noodler’s Habanero. Funny how these things can affect your handwriting…


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