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Black Inks

There is definitely a bar I feel over whether these are worth using over the Uni-Ball One, which has such a gorgeous black. Regardless, writing with fountain pens is kinda more fun. Actually a lot more fun.

I want my go-to black to be appropritely water-resistant, since I’m worried about my journal taking abuse from the elements and my tea-cluttered desk.

Noodler’s Black

A real go-to black. Very dark. “Bulletproof” meaning once it reacts with the cellulose of the paper it won’t get washed away. On coated paper like the Leuchtturm it is prone to smudging, unfortunately.

The purpose of this ink is apparently to make fountain pens as versatile as other types of pens. So it can be used on newsprint, copy paper, or cheap notebooks as well as the other stuff.

Looks good on Field Notes paper. The lines stay tight without feathering or spreading.

I’m keeping a Pilot Explorer EF inked up with this for my “writing on normal paper” pen since it behaves so nicely in that context.

Noodler’s El Lawrence

This is my current journaling ink. It doesn’t feather on the Lemome paper the way that Heart of Darkness does. It’s a dark greenish gray that fits in well with the sepia tones of my notebook.

I haven’t tested its water resistance yet but as a Noodler bullet proof ink I’m not worried.

Noodler’s Heart of Darkness

Ill-chosen name aside, this is a nice black that is a warmer gray than Noodler’s Black. It absorbs more into the paper so the lines are thicker, but ideally that limits the smudging.

It seems to be feathering a bit on Lemome paper, which is my latest bullet journal, which is a shame because it’s my favorite color of the water-resistant black inks I’ve tried.

De Atramentis Archive Black

Another water-resistant black. A bit more gray-ish than Noodler’s, which maybe gives it a bit of character.

On Field Notes it spreads to make a much thicker line, and is a lighter gray, but on the quality papers it may be a good alternative to Noodler’s Black’s smuginess. Currently trying to see how it feathers.

I’m using this as my go-to water resistant ink on the coated papers in my Leuchtturm and Paperage notebook, since the Noodler’s bulletproof formula smudges when the paper doesn’t absorb it all.

Pilot Take-Sumi

Known as “Bamboo Charcoal” and for good reason. It has a lot of character and shading, and a really decadant bottle that’s quite appealing.

But it’s not water resistant! It washes away quite easily. So I think it has to be a special-occasions ink for me.

I may consider limiting that restriction in my RPG journals so I can use this for something. It’s got a strong appeal to me.

Platinum Classic Sepia Black

I thought the Lavendar Black was pretty neat from this line, so I got a sample of the sepia black to see how it compared to the Noodler’s black inks I’ve been mostly using.

On my journal paper it ended up being slightly wetter than El Lawrence while looking almost exactly the same — probably slighly less shading — so I didn’t see a reason to invest in a bottle.

Two lines showing El Lawrence and Sepia Black
looking very similar

Top line written in Noodler’s El Lawrence with a Pilot Prera F nib. Bottom line in Platinum Classic Sepia Black with a Pilot Explorer F nib. As you can see, they’re really close.

Color Inks

Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses

Magenta? Sign me up. Only the black component of this is water-resistant, but that means if it does get wet the underlying text is still there. That’s the theory, anyway.

Noodler’s Air-Corp Blue-Black

This is a dark teal-black ink, which, as you can see from this blog’s color scheme, is very much right up my alley.

When I first tried a sample I was so excited I wrote someone a letter and then ordered two more bottles. The shading between the teal and the black is gorgeous.

One slight concern is that when I first used the ink it was a lot more colorful, but recently it’s been coming out of my TWSBI Diamond EF a lot more black. I’m not sure if that’s the pen breaking in and the flow increasing, some reaction, or what. I prefer the lighter color, so I’m going to experiment to see if I can get it back.

Also, like other Noodler’s bulletproof inks, is tremendously smudgy on coated papers.

Text from 12/8 showing more teal
Text from 12/14 showing mostly black

Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts

A blue-gray that is likewise water-resistant. Flirting with the idea of using this as a color for text, though it is nice as an accent.

I like how it dries pretty flat into the paper.

Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku

This is a beautiful peacock blue with lovely shading and bright colors. Very crisp lines, no feathering.

And the decadent Iroshizuku bottle!

Noodler’s Lexington Gray

An interesting gray ink. Water-resistant. Lots of shading on this, which might make it less suitable for writing text.

Platinum Classic Lavender Black

This has the really neat property that it goes on to the paper as a fairly bright reddish purple but darkens as it dries (apparently for up to 24h after, actually).

I only have a sample right now so I haven’t done too much with it.

It ended up being very dry in my Pilot Prera F, so I might put it in a TWSBI or Lamy that has more flow. I also haven’t tested its water resistance.

It is apparently an iron gall ink, which is pretty neat historically. (I assume formulated to be gentler on fountain pens, though.)

De Atramentis Alexander Hamilton

A nice deep purple-black. Rather wet and much more feathering than say an Iroshizuku in my Lemome journal.