First: THANK YOU so much for all the comments concerning the video in my last post – I am overwhelmed by the positive attention it got, and I´m so happy that so many people seemed to appreciate it. I hope I can put together some more videos in a not too far away future.
I got a lot of questions after the video, about what ink I use. It seems a lot of people are struggling to find fountain pen inks that are waterproof without ruining the pens, so I thought I´d write a few lines about what I use. If you intend to try the Platinum ink that I´m using, please read this long ink nerd text to the end. I don´t want to be the one who tells you this is the perfect ink, and then you end up with expensive fountain pens ruined…
So, here goes: I draw mainly with two inks, or maybe three, when using fountain pens: Noodler´s Lexington grey, Platinum Carbon Black and sometimes Platinum Pigmented Sepia.
Platinum Pigmented Sepia
Platinum Pigmented Sepia is a quite new acquaintance for me, so I don´t have that much to say about it yet. It´s waterproof, a nice colour, and I think it´s probably a good idea to rinse the pen every now and then if you use it, though it´s not as mean as the Carbon black.
Noodler´s Lexington Grey
I´m not going to say so much about the Lexington grey either, because I have rambled on about that before, but I can say that it has never caused me any trouble whatsoever. I love it a lot, I like that it isn´t black, it´s a soft grey, very unobtrusive in a drawing. These days I even dilute it with water before filling my pens with it, to make it even lighter. It´s easier to use than the other Bulletproof inks from Noodler´s that I´ve tried, simply because it dries faster. It doesn´t smudge when painted over with watercolours, and works on any paper that I have used.
BUT. Because there is always a but when something sounds too good, right?
A while back, I got struck by Flex Pen Love. It started with Noodler´s flex pen, then a fantastic renovated vintage Wahl-Eversharp, and then I bought myself a Namiki Falcon with a customized nib (added flex), which is now my preferred drawing tool on some papers. And here´s where the ink “but” comes in.
Noodler´s bulletproof inks are meant to be somewhat waterproof, but they only turn waterproof in contact with the cellulose in the paper. With a flex pen, especielly the Namiki Falcon in my case, you lay down quite a bit of ink on the paper surface, because the pen has a really juicy ink flow. This means that some of the ink never comes in contact with the paper to become waterproof, it just lies on top like a drop. With the Noodler´s ink, this causes the ink to dissolve when you lay down watercolours on top of your lines.
Platinum Carbon Black – with a warning
So I started looking for something else to use with the Namiki Falcon, and found the Platinum Carbon Black ink, which works perfectly for me. It is black, and behaves well with watercolours. It dries fairly quickly, but not super fast. I often accidentally smudge a line with my drawing hand, as in the image above (lower right corner of the bottle). My bad.
BUT. Cause there´s a but here too. Two, actually.
But number one:
I have had to spend a lot of time finding good paper for this ink. It has a tendency to spread and creap on some papers, and a juicy pen makes it even worse. I am quite fuzzy about the surface of the papers I use, they need to be strong enough for working with several layers of watercolours, and still be smooth and good for drawing too, and this ink made some of my favorite papers impossible to use.
But number two, and the most important one:
Platinum Carbon Black ink isn´t very kind to fountain pens. It is a fountain pen ink, but you need to really take care of your pens to use it. I used to never clean my Lamy Safaris while using Noodler´s inks in them, but I have had to change my habits with this one.
If you leave Platinum Carbon black in a pen for too long without using it, there is a serious risk of the pen getting clogged. I have started a habit of rinsing the nib under the tap every time I refill the pen, and then taking the pen apart for cleaning every third or fourth refill. I always make sure to keep the pen capped when not in use – the ink dries quite fast on the nib, which is not what you want with a fountain pen.
During Christmas I had my pens with me on a flight to Northern Sweden, and usually flying is not an issue with the fountain pens that I use. This time, however, a Lamy ink converter containing Platinum Carbon ink decided to leak inside a bright red Lamy Safari, only I didn´t notice until I took the cap off the pen one and a half week later. The nib section of this pen is now severely stained by the black ink, and I haven´t been able to clean it off no matter what I tried. So this is a mean black ink, if you treat it the wrong way.
I think this product page on Platinum Carbon Black over at Cult Pens (I´m not associated with them in any way) is well worth reading before deciding to use this ink. Please scroll down to read all the way down to the end. For your own good.
With all this badness said, I have never had any problems with the ink other than the leaking accident. I do dare to put it in my Namiki Falcon, which is quite an expensive pen, but I make sure to treat the pen to a good cleaning now and then.
If you have any questions about this, please don´t hesitate to ask in the comments section, I´m sure others would be interested too. Ink is an important dark matter, isn´t it? ; )
13 x 12 cm, Namiki Falcon with Platinum Carbon black ink, and pencil and watercolours on Arches Satinée 300 g watercolour paper.