Writing With Real Ink—Black and Blue

Erato, muse of lyric poetry.Since Possets Perfume is having a Poetry Collection for Summer of 2013, I think it quite fitting to talk about the accessories to poetry: pens, inks, papers and journals and anything else that the budding poet would need to practice their magic. We explored some good classic fountain pens on the last blog (scroll down if you missed it) so this time, let’s talk about ink.

The kind of ink I am telling you about comes in bottles and is a liquid with the viscosity of water. It comes in EVERY color and lucky for us, there has been a massive renaissance in the making of ink and pens in the past decade. Didn’t know that, did you? Neil Gaiman was spotted writing with a TWSBI fountain pen at a book signing within recent memory. Nice.

There are so many to suggest that I will try to break down the subject into several installments and present only those which are superior or possess some unusual property. You are guaranteed amusement and when you get through with this you will know 100% more than anyone else does about fountain pen ink.

The most classic of all colors is black. It’s always correct for whatever occasion and on whatever support (paper). Black ink goes from a mid-value grey to a jetty black. If you are looking for something in the lighter area, Waterman Black might be just the ticket for you. Waterman actually shades (produces interesting lighter and darker areas as you write), is quite easy to wash out of anything it spills on but is archival enough for any use. It’s wonderfully well bred and goes in any pen you put it in.

On the other hand, if you want the blackest possible black which is waterproof, fadeproof and really the height of modern ink making try Noodler’s Black. Noodler’s is a relatively new ink making company which has taken the country by storm. Noodler’s Black doesn’t feather on cheap paper, flows very well, does not shade, and is readily available.

Now, as for blue…that is a horse of a different color! There are all sorts of shades, intensities, variations, and kinds of blue to choose from (1). My favorite blue is China Blue by Diamine but that might be too light for some people. It goes down a medium blue but dries to a pretty cerulean after about 10 minutes. It also has a sort of sheen on some papers. My most popular blue is Akkerman’s Shocking Blue with I hesitate to recommend because it is very hard to get in the USA. It comes from Holland and it’s sort of a connoisseur’s dark pthalo blue with a huge coppery sheen. The rumor is that Diamine Majestic Blue is the very same ink, and much less expensive. Then again, you can’t go wrong with the cheap and personality-free Waterman Florida Blue which will wash out of a pen easily. On the other end of the excitement spectrum is Noodler’s Bay State Blue, the eye searingly intense mid blue which looks like ultramarine on steroids. This stuff stains everything and if you put it in a pen you have to dedicate that pen to BSB because it will be in there for ever! Proceed with caution here, you wild thing. Finally, I would like to mention Sailor Sky High Blue which is a gorgeous cerulean with a really pronounced reddish/purple sheen and it shades as well, when you write to someone in Sky High your message is unforgettable.

Where would you get these exotic inks? Search for them on amazon.com which is a treasure trove of goodies.

(1) There are zillions of blacks as well but I only presented two so I could really confuse you with blue.

This essay on ink is brought to you by Possets® Perfume which has presented its summer collection of Poetry fragrances. Everything from Ginsberg’s Howl to Beowulf, from Dickinson to Byron and the perfumes that they inspired. Come and see for yourself at www. possets.com. It’s bottled happiness™.

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