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17 Ink Questions

Posted in Ink

I learned about the 17 Ink Question tag from The Pen Addict‘s weekly subscriber newsletter “Refill,” Issue #408. In it, Brad linked to KC’s (DimeNovelRaven) post. You should all know, by now, how much I enjoy tags and challenges, so I had to answer the questions. According to KC, Lisa at started the 17 Ink Questions tag.

Now, on to the questions!

What was your first (memorable) ink?

I well remember the first ink I bought: Diamine Aqua Lagoon and Meadow. Of the two, Meadow was the more interesting to me because of its shading. Does that make it my first “memorable” ink? I suppose so.

What is your favorite ink bottle design, and which bottle (or cartridge) is your favorite to use?

To be honest, as long as a bottle doesn’t cause issues with storage — Diamine Inkvent, I’m looking at you with your enormous footprint — or filling — Troublemaker, please make your bottles with bigger openings — I don’t give them much thought. The contents are much more important.

What’s an ink you love or find useful, but would not use for everyday writing?

This is hard. I’ll use any ink at any time. Being a “creative” at work means there is less expectation of using “work appropriate” pens and colors. I suppose an honest answer would be shimmer inks that don’t perform well in pens. I’m still testing Diamine Glacier and Van Dieman’s Snow Leopard Frost, having only used each in a single pen, but, so far, both may get relegated to use only in art.

How do you discover new inks?

Newsletters. Pen shows. Pen meetups. Instagram. Facebook. Friends” recommendations. Instagram is probably the biggest culprit, but I’ve been known to email a company to find out what ink is in a newsletter picture, too.

Do you use inks for anything other than writing?

Very rarely. I’ve been trying to play with ink more. To that end, I recently picked up a couple of the Sailor Dipton pens to give myself an easier way to play with ink.

What’s an ink that’s worth hoarding (whether you actually do or not)?

I don’t know. I have so many inks, and it takes me so long to even make a dent in a bottle, that I can’t think of anything.

How do you choose which ink goes into a pen? Do they have to match? Do you always use the same ink in a particular pen?

I’ve mentioned in a previous post how I usually choose my ink, typically pinking something that “goes” with the pen. I only have one pen, the Kurikara Ken, that has a “matched” ink: J. Herbin Orange Indien.

Recently, I’ve been focusing on using ink samples in advance of the Baltimore show to figure out my shopping list. While this means the inks aren’t always complementary, I won’t use an ink that clashes with a pen, as that makes it less likely I’ll write with it.

Do you use ink samples? If so, is your goal find an ink to buy a bottle, or just get a smaller amount of ink to use?

Yes. And both. I try to sample inks before buying them, if possible. But sometimes, I decide that a sample is enough. And, of course, I have plenty of samples for my 25 Days of Dupes series.

all of my baskets of ink samples stacked in two columns of 4 baskets

Is there a popular ink that’s just not for you? What underhyped ink would you like to see more people try?

For the longest time, I shied away from shimmer inks. But, Van Dieman’s Elegant Peacock Train recently changed that. I also don’t use black or near-black inks, those are for rollerball or ballpoint pens.

As to underhyped inks, I feel like inks have become such a hot commodity lately that most inks get their time in the spotlight. I would, however, like to give a shout-out to Gourmet Pens‘ collabs with Ink Institute:

What do you do with any unused ink when you clean a pen?

It goes down the drain. Because I only fill pens for a week, with some exceptions, I only put about 0.1ml of ink in at a time. So, I don’t waste much. I keep meaning to make art out of it, but I forget at pen-cleaning time.

What is the most unique ink you’ve used or seen?

DeAtramentis Mahatma Gandhi is pretty unique in that it turns neon green the moment it touches water. And Wearingeul White Rabbit is the only ink that I can think of that shades to gray, rather than from gray to something else.

How do you catalog, swatch, track, and store your inks?

I use a combination of Airtable and swatch books to catalog my ink. Jim and I dedicated an IKEA wine cabinet to store most of our pens, paper, and ink.

Photo of my (very full) ink cabinet
I don’t have an ink problem. Really.

What is your favorite ink color/color family?

Yes. Except black. As I said earlier, if I want black ink, I use a ballpoint or rollerball pen.

What ink-related tool or accessory can you not live without?

Do fountain pens count as ink-related tools? *giggle* Seriously, though, syringes. As one of those fountain pen user abominations who despises inky fingers, syringes are a must.

Have you ever mixed inks or used shimmer additives?

I’ve mixed a few inks, but have never used shimmer additives. I keep wanting to try NibsAndFlourishes‘ ink mixing recipes, but I have so much awesome ink, I never think to mix inks on filling days.

What is your favorite ink delivery system (cartridges, type of filling system for bottled ink, etc.)?

Converters filled via syringe. They’re best adapted to my small fill volumes and make the least mess. It means I have to prime the nib, and there’s a longer wait to actually write, but the fill volume measurement and the lack of mess make it perfect for me.

What ink(s) are you excited about right now?

Wearingeul continues to knock it out of the park, and Colorverse’s Korea Special series has some interesting inks as well. Oh! and the upcoming Pelikan Lapis. I’m eager to see that.

Do me a favor and answer at least one question in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading to the end, I hope you enjoyed my post. Make sure to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss any posts. I generally post at least once a week.


  1. LeAnne Bernard
    LeAnne Bernard

    I’m late to this challenge, but I’ll answer the question about cataloging ink. I use a combination of ways to catalog. For a long time, I’ve used the Col-o-ring system (both reg. rings and the keychain sized rings). I use these when I do my fancy “serious” swatching. And recently I bought the Endless Ink Journal (that I’ really love), as well as the Wearingeul ink cards (yet to try these, but have sets in rabbits and ink bottles). If I’m in a hurry, I’ll just scribble all of the pen & ink info. in a pen friendly journal until I can properly swatch it. And purple is my favorite ink color and I don’t like light inks that I have to struggle to read. LeAnne

    March 8, 2024
    • I got one of the endless ink journals, but I haven’t yet figured out what to use it for. I already have swatch books for all inks, ink bottles I own, and ink samples I’m testing to determine if I want to buy a bottle.

      March 8, 2024
  2. Kristy / needlegrrl
    Kristy / needlegrrl

    I did not need to know about the Gourmet Pens collab with Ink Institute, but there are some really nice inks in there!

    February 26, 2024
    • You’re welcome!! 😀

      February 26, 2024
  3. subgirl / inkygeek
    subgirl / inkygeek

    What ink(s) are you excited about right now?

    I’m really excited about the yearly Lamy ink release (really, the weird purple).

    I’m also really wanting to explore several of the new to me brands that were in the Enigma Stationery Inkvent from last year. Wearingeul, Pentonote (these are really intriguing!) and Teranishi Guitar inks are all on my to-check-out list for this year.

    I also love these sorts of tags/q & a posts! I need to get up and running again so I can play along. 🙂

    February 23, 2024
    • I should try Pentonote. I don’t think I’ve tried any of their inks. Also, yes, you should get it going, because the tag posts are so much fun!

      February 24, 2024

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