choosing the right ink - our guide

Q&A: Guide to choosing the right ink

A guide to choosing the right ink

So you have maybe decided to buy some new ink, but where do you start? With so much choice, it is hard to know where to turn. Are all inks essentially the same? What do you get for paying more? And what about all those technical terms?

Choosing the right ink can be a daunting process and so this article aims to make the process a lot easier by breaking it down into the various elements that will affect your choice, and to give you a guide on how to go about choosing the right ink.

a guide to choosing the right ink

The Basics

We will start by looking at the basics of making a decision. These are four factors that should easily rule in or out some inks and help give a basic pointer to guide you.

Colour

At the time of writing we have 338 colours available to choose from, and this is spread across 18 choices of inks, not allowing for variations in the bottle size. 300+ colours is overwhelming, especially when you consider that the Diamine ink range has something like 27 blue inks alone.

However, colour is an important factor in choosing your ink, maybe the most important alongside price. For some people this may mean just wanting a basic blue or black ink. For others it means having a specific colour – Enzo Ferrari famously used to sign his name in his signature colour. And no, it wasn’t red – he was a purple ink man.

For others, it will extend down to matching an ink to something specific – to your notebook maybe. Others might place importance on matching the colour shade precisely as no two shades are the same. It really comes down to how specific a shade of colour you are looking for. This may mean you have to search around various different inks to find your perfect colour.

Price

The other obvious influence on your choice of ink is likely to be cost. With some bottles costing under £7 and some costing over £30, there’s a big difference in price. The question is what do you get if you pay more? Is it a straightforward case of the higher the price, the better the ink? Er…no.

With quality brands like Diamine and Herbin costing well under £10, it clearly doesn’t follow that more expensive = better. We only sell good quality inks and so the advice on price would be to choose an ink that suits your budget. We will go on to look at other reasons why you might consider spending more on a bottle of ink later.

We previously looked at the relative costs of different inks, and with inks being sold in various sized bottles you might want to consider this as well. There is little doubt that Diamine ink is the best value, all things considered.

Size

Size is less of an issue, but it’s worth a mention. Bottled ink tends to be around 50ml per bottle. Some inks have bigger bottles – Diamine is a whopping 80ml, KWZ is a hearty 60ml – whilst others might be a more modest 30ml.

A big bottle is going to be better value and will last a good while – an 80ml bottle of ink will fill the TWSBI Eco fountain pen about 40 times over! A big bottle of say 50ml+ is perfect when you know you’ll want to use the ink frequently, or it’s your favourite ink.

Herbin do small 10ml taster bottles which are a great way to test out colours without feeling like you’re wasting ink and even this will last you a while. The point being, size might not be so important in deciding since even a smaller bottle will last a long time.

We did look at the relative costs of different inks vs cartridges before – click here to see more

Purpose

The last of the so-called basic decision makers will be the purpose you intend to use the ink for. Some inks are more suited for specific jobs. You might want a calligraphy ink (which has properties more suited to calligraphy writing), or you might require an ink for archival purposes. You might need a waterproof ink, like Blackstone Barrister ink.

Another element to consider is drying time – if you need an ink that dries quickly then you might consider an ink like Herbin. The alternative is a wetter ink like KWZ, and you might find this proves very impractical if you need to wait ages for an ink to dry.

Your paper choice will also impact upon this – some papers are better for inks to dry quickly if time is an issue. Look at papers from:

choosing the right ink - how much does bottle size matter?
Bottles range from 10ml to 80ml
waterproof ink
Blackstone waterproof Barrister ink

Beyond The Basics

Now this is where the choice of ink becomes really interesting. It is also where you move from choosing an ink for more more functional reasons, and find yourself taking greater pleasure from the act of writing and using ink itself.

At the heart if this lies three key elements you can get from an ink – the Three S’s. Some inks will display none, some or all of these elements and discovering them is part of the pleasure. Their presence, or lack of, doesn’t makes an ink better or worse, it simply helps give an ink its true character.

At this point it worth mentioning the paper. Inks don’t exist in isolation and since it is likely you will be using them on paper, then your choice of paper is very important. The same iink will perform differently on different papers. See below for more notes on this.

Sheen

So what is sheen? This is when the ink dries with with a shiny finish to it. Most ink when dry will be flat and have no ‘surface’ to it. Sheen is when the ink has an edge that catches in the light. Discovering this when using an ink is part of the pleasure, but as a guide you will find a good sheen to inks like:

If you want to get the best out of the sheen an ink has then we recommend using Tomoe River paper, which just lets the ink show off its best qualities.

Shading

Shading is where an ink dries with some variation in depth. So rather than leaving a single solid colour, the ink will be more saturated in colour in one area than another. Is that a good thing? Well that depends on what you like and want from your ink, but it is another area that you can discover more about an ink and how it performs in subtle ways to create something richer and more rewarding.

Inks that are good for shading include:

Shimmer

Some might argue that this comes under sheen, but it is something quite specific. Shimmer inks have a metallic sparkle to them. Literally. They have small particles in the ink which you can see in the bottle., and which will settle and need agitating before using. The result is an ink that sparkles on the page. The result can be quite varied but when it works it can be magical.

There have been a whole host of new shimmer inks released in recent years, so there is a good choice, but you might want to look at these for some good results:

Sheen on Kyoto Nurebairo ink
Sheen on Kyoto Nurebairo ink
Shading on Herbin Vert Olive ink
Shading on Herbin Vert Olive ink
ink shimmer
Shimmer on Diamine Arctic Blue ink

What Else Can Inks Offer?

Is there anything else to an ink outside the basics and how it appears on paper? Well, arguably no. Choosing an ink based on those values will likely last you a lifetime after all. But there are other factors to consider, and these may help guide you in your choice of ink.

Limited Editions

Some inks release special or limited editions, and these can be in high demand. For some ink manufacturers this has become an annual event, and most notable amongst the limited edition inks are the Herbin Anniversary inks (this might now have become the Herbin 1798 range as of 2017) and the annual Edelstein Ink of the Year from Pelikan.

Lamy have also started to produce limited edition T52 inks to coincide with the annual launch of the limited edition Safari and Al-Star fountain pens. These tend to be very limited in supply.

Cult Inks

Some inks acquire an almost cult-like status. Sometimes there is an obvious reason for it, other times it seems to defy reason. But no matter, if an ink has been given this lofty status then it is popular above all other colours in that range.

Example inks here would be KWZ Honey, Herbin 1670 Emerald de Chivor and Robert Oster Fire and Ice.

edelstein ink of the year
Edelstein Aquamarine limited edition ink
robert oster fire and ice
Robert Oster Fire & Ice ink

Extras & Exotic Imports

Some inks are worth buying because they come beautifully packaged (I’m looking at you, Kyoto ink) or have extras in the box (Colorverse ink is a perfect example here).

In other cases it is simply that the inks have that exotic something – imports from afar that you are unlikely to stumble across in your local WH Smith or inks with a story to tell. Iroshizuku and Kyoto inks come from Japan, Robert Oster and Blackstone inks are from Australia. KWZ inks are made by a husband-&-wife team in Poland. Feeling closer to the story can make you appreciate the ink in a different way.

The Kyoto inks are also just beautiful objects in their own right, from the box to the bottle. Does this affect the ink? The obvious answer is no, but then again you can gain extra enjoyment from something more than just purely functional, and an ink like this is very desirable!

Complexity

Last but not least is the fact that inks are complex substance. It is no coincidence that KWZ ink is made by two chemists, or that we have worked with chemist-come-bloggers on ink reviews. The process of making an ink requires a lot of input, and not just in terms of colour choice, packaging and marketing.

Look at Iron Gall inks for a clear demonstration of how complex an ink can be – these very traditional inks require sensitive handling in your pen as they can damage it in some cases. As the name suggests, it is made with iron elements and this helps it bond with the paper to form a more permanent mark. More interestingly it is chemistry in the making when you write with it as it changes colour and darkens.

Some inks really are just a complex mixture and discovering inks can leave you somewhere between a writer and a chemist at times.

Colorverse inks packaging
Colorverse inks have extras in the box
KWZ Iron Gall inks
KWZ Iron Gall inks

In Conclusion

To summarise, the most powerful influence on your decision of choosing the right ink will be price. A quality ink like Diamine or Herbin comes in at under £7 and will let you choose from well over 130 colours. But once you start to find more pleasure in using inks so you will likely seek out other more expensive inks for the unique properties they can demonstrate. Whether that is the unusual colour, how it performs when used or just a desire to seek out ever new creations will depend on where you ink odessey takes you! In short, start somewhere that feels right, and let you enjoyment lead you.

Blackstone Uluru Red
Blackstone Uluru Red
Diamine Apple Glory
Diamine Apple Glory
Lamy Dark Lilac
Lamy Dark Lilac
Edelstein Mandarin
Edelstein Mandarin
World Calligraphy Day 2017 script

Bureau Does… World Calligraphy Day 2017!

World Calligraphy Day 2017 script
Calligraphy kindly written by Satwinder Sehmi who will be hosting a Calligraphy Workshop at this years Gloucester History Festival.

It's World Calligraphy Day today! We get stuck in and have a go from a beginner's stand point and show what a little practice can do 🙂

In order to prepare for World Calligraphy Day we’ve spent the past week equipping ourselves with calligraphy nibs and having a go at some fancy writing. We’re starting pretty much from no skill so don’t expect to see perfection! Here we’d like to show what we got up to and show off what even the most novice of writers can do with a little spare time.

First of all we needed some sort of script to practise with. We’ve had a sample pack of Introduction to Calligraphy Lettering enjoying a lovely extended break at the bottom or our drawers for a while now so today was the perfect excuse to dig it back up. It has a good selection of different font faces printed on large card to copy and trace from with a stroke by stroke guide to get you started.

World Calligraphy Day 2017 practice
Faisal keeping the straight and narrow, practising through the alphabet with the grids in the Clairefontaine Handwriting books.

Each font has a recommended nib to suit the stroke styles. In our case, the Gothic type fonts need a wide flat nib so we went with a 1.9mm on the Lamy Joy Calligraphy and a very fat 3mm nib on a dip pen.

For paper, the usual suspect – Rhodia pads. With the plain sheets, we printed slanting lines to help keep our form. We also used some of the Clairefontaine handwriting books as they have some nice grids and lines to help space out your letters and strokes. While we were practising, we used Lamy inks, save the exotic stuff (read: expensive inks) for later!

World Calligraphy Day 2017 practice
Emma's obsession over getting "the one" b

The last ingredient is time and patience! Find a relaxing quiet place, sit comfortably at your desk and keep breathing. Have your paper angled so you can keep the entire length of your writing arm resting on the table. Remember not to rush… it is all about keeping a slow and steady pace.

Pause for a moment to check your strokes against the template and mentally note what you can improve on in your next go. Even after just a couple of lines of practising you can really notice the difference between your first few attempts and the last.

World Calligraphy Day 2017 practice
After all that hard work, Emma has some words strung together!
World Calligraphy Day 2017 practice
Mishka perfecting her Gothic lettering, looking good!

We’d love to see what you guys have been writing too! World Calligraphy Day is all about trying new things and sharing what you’ve done. If you’d like to join in, send us an email or post some good old mail (address details here) of any calligraphy you’ve been doing, even just your practise sheets or scrawlings on scrap paper. We’ll show them all off in a follow up post!

If you’re interested, we’ve gathered up a small collection of items we think a budding calligrapher may want to start with, you can browse them here.

the journal shop stand

London Stationery Show 2017

the journal shop stand

The London stationery show has been a staple of the Bureau calendar for many a year now.

It’s situated in the functional Business Design Centre where once a year, stationery geeks gather to share the best and newest in the biz. This event also coincides with National Stationery Week which quite simply celebrates what we all love – stationery 🙂 #natstatweek

It is a trade show so unfortunately not open to the public. So Mishka, Emma and Faisal were tasked with being your eyes and ears 🙂 Here is what they have to report.

business design centre

Our expectations

We all had differing expectations. Mishka now has two Stationery Shows under her belt, Faisal’s second time out and rookie on the block Emma.

Mishka: Half of our team visited on Tuesday, me and Faisal went on Wednesday. This was my 3rd show in a row, so I knew what to expect – lots of amazing stationery! 🙂 I knew time would be tight so I did my homework. Carefully clicking through all the exhibitors (100+), I made a list of stands I wanted to visit and products I wanted to see.

Some things never change – it is the same beautiful venue. This year there were a lot of workshops – I was particularly interested in trying Calligraphy. #writingmatters

Faisal: To be quite frank, I was feeling a little down on going to the London Stationery Show this year. I remembered enjoying my first time out to the show last year but would it be any different this time around? How much could really change over the course of the year? These doubts had begun to brew, possibly unfairly, as I am surrounded by the same old stuff on my desk.

With this mindset, I hadn’t actually planned to go around and explore the show floor too much, thinking there wouldn’t really be much new to see anyway. I settled on killing my time with a safe looking programme of seminars and workshops that would be running throughout the day.

Emma: I only joined Bureau Direct late last year, so this was my first London Stationery Show. I have been to trade shows before, but I have always wanted to go to a stationery trade show! Having heard all about it from the rest of the team, I was really excited to be getting a first look at some new products, meeting with some of my clients, and generally geeking out over lots of lovely pens and paper goods!

2017

National Stationery Show 2017 - hall

2016

london stationery show at the business design centre

2015

National Stationery Show

First Impressions

Emma: I have been to the Business Design Centre in Islington before; its a lovely venue with lots of natural light, and not too big.  I confidently told the rest of the team I would visit the show in the morning, and be back after lunch (needless to say, that didn’t happen. What was I thinking?!). When you first enter the venue, there is a smallish floor space at ground floor level, and then steps behind leading up to a central mezzanine where the bulk of the exhibitors were.  There were also additional exhibitors on the balconies surrounding the hall. Immediately, my eye was drawn to a central New Product Showcase display, with lots of new launches, and from there on in I tried to work my way up and down the aisles is a logical way, without being too distracted!

Mishka: Me and Faisal were in on the Wednesday, as soon as we entered we were met with the display of stationery award winners which were whittled down from the same stand a day earlier. There was a spectacular range of colour this year – lucky cat pencil pot immediately caught my eye. I love everything teal/mint, so I was glad to see #everythingteal

Faisal: Lucky for me then that the Stationery Gods (and Mishka) had other arrangements to my earlier pessimism. Walking through the open doors, you start to feel an extra bounce to your step with your eyes wide and ears pricked. We both took a deep breath and a good whiff of the scent of freshly opened stationery in the air. There’s no turning back once you’ve opened this Pandora’s box. Everything looked fresh and new but I felt right at home, ready to explore!

calligraphy workshop

Calligraphy workshop

Emma: I had wanted to go to the show on the first (Tuesday) morning, because there was a Modern Calligraphy workshop being held by Manuscript pens and Joyce Lee of Artsynibs. Its a tall order trying to teach a mixed ability group in the middle of a trade show, in 30 mins, but Joyce was incredibly patient (and fun!), teaching us to sit in the right position, hold the dip pens the right way, and most importantly, relax, and BREATHE.  We each came away with a couple of practice sheets and the basics with which to start practising; seeing examples of Joyce’s beautiful calligraphy has certainly inspired me.

Faisal: Having only amateurishly attempted calligraphy for a few minutes, a couple of months ago, hastily on some scraps of paper… this was a brilliant chance to get an initial step up to the table.

The one big thing I took away from that day was the posture. To help keep your writing steady you need a solid position for your arm on the table. Achieving this means angling your chair into the desk so your elbow has a good position on the table. I would have never in my life ever conceived this simple step would instantly improve all my strokes!

Mishka: I can proudly announce that by 10:35 our clean fingers were already splattered in ink 🙂 Joyce is an amazing artist and great teacher. Slowing down and being mindful about every stroke is what makes calligraphy almost zen like. I’d love to just sit there and play with flex dip pens all day… We were discussing printing paper templates at the table – you know you are in the good company when gsm comes up 🙂

Bureau’s Best Bits

Mishka: Paper Republic Grand Voyageur – notebook with leather cover. Similar to Traveler’s notebook which is incredibly trendy at the moment. Packaging, colours (green with red), presentation, sizes and functionality. Everything about this product presses all my stationery buttons…

The most fun stationery of the show award goes to the magnetic Polar pen. We probably spent an hour making shapes and launching magnets in the air and we continue to do so even as I write this 🙂 Andrew, the creator of the pen is a true inventor with plenty of ideas up his sleeve. I really hope to see his creations doing well…

I was eager to try out the Pentel Hybrid gel pens which Emma told me about the day before. These gels are rather magical. Believe it or not, but they look differently on white and black paper. Green turns into blue, black into red etc – whaaat?! Amazing! Imagine Emerald of Chivor ink in a gel pen 🙂 I salute you Pentel…Year in and year out you come up with new ideas, really well done!

Paper Republic - Leather!

Paper Republic stand leather covers

POLAR pens - Magnets!

polar pen magnet fun

Emma: Stabilo Boss Pastel Highlighters. They looked so pretty in the display, and gorgeously photogenic. I have a set of four, but now I realise there are actually six in the range. Two more for my shopping list…

The Karlbox. A collaboration between fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld and Faber-Castell, this is the ultimate art set. West Design had a box on display at the show, and I couldn’t help but drool a little over it. Designed like a lacquer jewellery box, each drawer is organised by colour with pencils, markers, pastels and art pens – the entire rainbow. It has a limited production run, and retails at least £2000, but its oh so covetable!

Getting to make my own pen on the Kaweco stand!  I got to choose a cap, grip section, barrel and fit them together. A couple of satisfying ‘clunks’ from their hand-operated machines, hey presto! My very own Kaweco Skyline was born.

Stabilo Boss Pastel

Stabilo Boss Pastel highlighters

The Karlbox

Faber-Castell The KarlBox

Faisal: As a veteran of one previous show so far this was also a must do event for me. Last year we had a whole plastic barrel of fun with the Studio Pen team and had an awesome collage of how we made them. This year me and Mishka wanted to step up our game and bring you a live demonstration! It was all going so well, we got the camera rolling and the machine clunking away.

It’s hard to pick my favourite but I will go out and say I had the most fun with the Polar magnet pen. Even though it will be rarely used to write with, it’s was just an absolute joy to have and play with! Perfect for a quick stress relieving break in the office.

Special mention

Mishka: The best writer of the show goes to Manuscript 1856 pen.
This was on my ‘must see’ list after browsing online the night before. Manuscript hosted the Calligraphy event in the morning so as soon I waved goodbye to Joyce it took all my strength to stick to my planned route instead of running straight to their stand.

Let me tell you…It was love at the first sight. Each pen is turned by hand. The materials look spectacular. They have a choice for everyone, starting with a professional pocket percher in black. I was a bit dismissive of the beige but looking at it closely I saw the subtle elegance of the material, showing up like the calm looking surface of Saturn. The real stars of the show were the pearlescent and swirly type acrylics. Purple and turquoise finishes for the chic and red and orange for the brave.

I ran home with one in my bag, eager to ink it up and boy oh boy… Smooth like butter. Steel nibs can be as smooth as gold and this pen is exactly that. Big win in my book 🙂

Manuscript 1856 fountain pen
Manuscript 1856 fountain pen

In conclusion

Mishka: I’m so glad that I could go to the show – my creative juices and love for stationery have been refuelled 🙂 Big thanks to the organizers, we had a great show!

Emma: The show was everything I expected, and more.  I ended up spending the whole day there, catching up with some of my contacts at Castelli, Moleskine and Caran d’Ache/Faber-Castell, playing with new products, and looking for stationery items that can be branded for our corporate clients.

Faisal: I was happily swayed by the end of the day, the Stationery show was great. These sorts of events just give you a breath of fresh air and sometimes that’s all you need. Actually, I wish I had more time to peruse the stalls. Unlike my colleagues I don’t think I even got around to seeing half of the stands really. Perhaps a bit too much time playing with magnets… 🙂

Faisal, Mishka and Emma

ps: we will see you again next year 🙂

polarpen smiley magnets
guide to handwriting books

Q&A: What Are French Handwriting Exercise Books?

seyes

An Introductory Guide To How To Use Each Book And Progress Your Handwriting

This is a guide to how to use the six-stages of French handwriting books from Clairefontaine. It will guide you through various stages, each of which help learn and refine the skills and techniques and the rules that Seyes paper uses.

Although Seyes paper is intended to be an integral part of the French eductional system, helping to teach children to learn cursive writing (joined-up writing), some or all of the system can be readily used by anyone wishing to teach people to write neatly and consistently. This is a guide we have put together to help explain what each stage of notebook is meant to help you achieve.

The aim of the series is to help you arrive at a point where you are comfortable using the full Seyes layout, which is based around an 8mm grid with 2mm rulings.

Stage 1

Aim: Forming lower case letters

These books are based around a 20mm spacing, with a 5mm ‘feint’ line. The idea is to focus on writing lower case letters, keeping the body of them within the 5mm line, learning to control your formation of letters and keep them to a consistent height. It also has slightly thicker lines to make it easier to focus on the basic element of controlling the height.
Write letters on the darker purple line making sure they touch but don’t exceed the blue line. Concentrate just on the body of the letters, ignoring any stem or tail (e.g. letters like ‘b’ or ‘q’).

Book – DL 5mm, code CF/3997

seyes handwriting book stage 1

Stage 2

Aim: Adding stems and tails

The line spacing is now reduced to 17mm, as you gain better control over your letters, and with two ‘feint’ blue lines. These are spaced at 3mm and 10mm, and the idea is now to start to form letters with stems and control the overall height – this means getting better control over letters like ‘b’ and ‘q’. The rulings have also become slightly feinter as you become more comfortable with the layout.
Write the body of the letters within the first feint line (now 3mm, so it requires a bit more accuracy), and allow the stems of the letters to go up to the second feint line (e.g. ‘b’ and ‘d’). With letters like ‘g’ and ‘p’ you drop the tail down to the feint line just below the bold line.

Book – DL 3mm I, code CF/3793

seyes handwriting book stage 2

Stage 3

Aim: Controlling the spacing across the page

This takes the Stage 2 layout and throws in vertical lines, at 10mm intervals. It’s intended for you to concentrate on individual letters without worrying about cursive writing. With a horizontal and vertical grid layout the page has become quite busy and by now you will be focusing on really gaining good control of your letters both horizontally and vertically.
Write as with stage 2, but this time form your letters inside each set of vertical lines to create a regular width to the letters.

Book – DL 3mm IV, code CF/3994

seyes handwriting book stage 3

Stage 4

Aim: Gaining better control

This takes the Stage 3 layout and forces you to up your game with the first elements of a standard seyes layout appearing. The overall line spacing is reduced to 14mm, with lines at 2mm and 8mm, with a vertical grid spaced at 8mm as well.
This layout is intended to really get you focusing on reducing the size of your writing down to the finished article, with a 2mm line being a tough requirement considering the starting point of 5mm in stage 1.

Book – DL 2mm IV, code CF/3999

seyes handwriting book stage 4

Stage 5

Aim: Adding cursive writing

The layout at this stage seems to take a step back, with an overall line spacing of 16mm and 4mm lines in between. The vertical lines are also spaced at 16mm creating a much more open grid. However the intention now is to focus on cursive writing, bringing together all the skills you have learnt on stages 1 to 4, but in a continuous written form. The vertical lines are intended to act as breaks and markers, helping you with spacing along the line. Just focus now on writing in a joined-up style across the page.

Book – Seyes 4mm 16/16, code CF/3795

seyes handwriting book stage 5

Stage 6

Aim: Refining

The last stage in this 6-book set is intended to be a final stepping stone to a full-on seyes layout. We now see an overall grid of 12mm with 3mm interval lines. It just follows that you now hone your skills of forming letters and cursive writing before moving on to a standard seyes ruling which will see you writing in 8mm grids with 2mm lines.

Book – Seyes 3mm 12/12, code CF/3796

seyes handwriting book stage 6
Herbin Metallic Inks - Copper on dipping pen

J Herbin Metallic Inks

Herbin Metallic Inks

Something shiny arrived in the post and the whole office could not help but gather around like a flock of mesmerised birds. It's the J Herbin Metallic inks... Brace yourselves!

Herbin Metallic ink - Copper animated

I was thinking about how to talk about these inks but figured that the best way to show them off was with a photo heavy review 🙂

I’m sure that many of you have fallen in love with J Herbin 1670 and Diamine Shimmering inks. While their gold and silver particles look amazing, they do not show too well on black paper. Our saviour, the J Herbin Metallic inks, fill this gap – they are pigment based calligraphy inks and work on both light and dark paper. However, I cannot stress enough that it is only suitable for dip and glass pens. Sorry, no fountain pens are allowed here!

You can get the inks individually as 30ml bottles or an assorted set of five smaller 10ml bottles. They are very easy to use – you do not need to dilute them or add Arabic gum. That said – they do need shaking… A lot of shaking 🙂

Let’s have a look at what you get in the set.

First, there’s the white. There are no white inks for fountain pens, so it’s great that J Herbin added this here even tho it’s not really metallic. White calligraphy ink will look ace on silver/gold/black or kraft paper. My only moan is, that is is not as opaque as the rest of metallic inks.

Iron ink is a little strange – it looks like a rusty water pipe 🙂 There is a nice mossy green sheen which sits on the top and shows well on bright white paper. A surprising win in my books.

Silver and gold inks are great – they are exactly what you want them to be. Perfect for addressing envelopes.  #incowrimo They will take your calligraphy to another level.

Last, but not least, copper is my favourite of the bunch 🙂 I prefer to call it rose gold 🙂 As I dipped glass pen and pulled it back out – everyone gazed with awe and let a little ‘oooh’ out. Wow factor guaranteed.

These new arrivals have brought a lot of attention around the office and have awoken the creative element in us all (no pun intended). You don’t need to be a first class calligrapher to have fun with these, just dip and go! J Herbin Metallic inks are unique and original. I’m finally glad I get to use my glass pen for something else other than sampling ink 🙂

Products featured in this post:

We also reviewed J Herbin Fluorescent inks. Check out the awesome photos here.

J Herbin Fluorescent inks on black paper under UV light

J Herbin Fluorescent inks

J Herbin Fluorescent inks on black paper under UV light

J Herbin Fluorescent calligraphy inks just came in and since I love everything neon I could not resist. Here is my review.

Hand on heart I know nothing about calligraphy. I would like to learn, but at this very moment it is what it is. There are all sorts of supplies you can pick up from art shops to try, watch a Youtube video or read about. I have done all that… Again, I feel like I need to stress that I am not a calligrapher of any sorts. Please excuse my poor attempts…

Bureau’s latest arrivals include calligraphy nibs, holders and inks. I’m attracted to neon stationery – it’s items like these that make me want to pick up a dip pen and have a go. There are five 10ml bottles in the J Herbin Fluorescent ink set – yellow, orange, green, pink and blue. Please do not ask me to pick a favourite, it would be impossible to choose. I love them all 🙂  J Herbin advertises these as suitable for both white and dark paper. Interesting! Fluorescent (neon) ink on black paper…hmmm…this needs to be tested and photographed under UV light.

J Herbin Fluorescent inks under UV light

This fluorescent ink is a lot thicker than other ink I have tried. Pigment is more noticeable in green and orange inks, but they all need a good shake. Once there is no sediment at the bottom of the bottle you will be good to go. All five fluorescent inks are an absolute joy to use, they stick to nibs and flow very well. For some reason blue ink seems gooier than the rest.

We did just couple of splats…and boy oh boy – this was the best part 🙂 I literally went around the office to grab every envelope, sticky note just to try them out.

One of the J Herbin nibs from the assorted sets is 036 Steno, also known as Blue Pumpkin flex nib. Flexing means that the nib widens under pressure therefore you control  the line variation. The first rule is to go easy on the upstrokes to create the thin line and press harder on downstrokes to create broader lines.  My writing looks really wobbly lol, but overall I am very impressed how much flex this nib can handle. Does flexing make my handwriting look better? I think so 😉

Elephants in the room – J Herbin Fluorescent inks are not suitable for fountain pens. Ink bottles need to be shaken vigorously before using. This ink is richly pigmented, so all writing supplies will have to be cleaned immediately after use. Trust me, it’s a lot easier to clean while the ink is still wet. They are slightly water resistant, I didn’t have enough time to test them thoroughly. Although, I think they will withstand some rain if you use them for addressing envelopes. #incowrimo

If I had to describe these Fluorescent inks in one word I would use fun 🙂

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joan quiros

Joan Quirós

Calligraphy Artist

I came across this interview that Kate Reid (of Olive and Reid, a home for calligraphy art). The interview is with Joan Quirós, a Spanish calligraphy artist based here in London. Now I have to admit at this point that I know little (that’s a polite way of saying nothing) about calligraphy or calligraphy artists, and so it’s fair to say that I didn’t know of Joan Quirós, but I found this an interesting insight into his way of working, thought process and I did like the practical notes at the end.

Read the interview here and you can see a portfolio of Joan’s work here.

Seb Lester

Amazing Logo Calligraphy

These are simply mesmerising. I don’t quite know why – after all, they’re just corporate logos that you see everywhere, but watching the broad strokes and the wet ink is quite…well, quite something. A hats off to Seb Lester via Instagram.

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More doodling.

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