A few weeks ago a reader asked for a run-down on some basic ink brands-what a beginner fountain pen user should know about the brand and my thoughts on the brand as a whole. I love taking reader requests, so let’s take a look at some ink brands!
I decided to tackle 10 brands for part one since there are at least 70 different brands, and it would be really overwhelming to cover all of them at once. These are 10 brands I have been using a lot, or reviewing a lot of lately. They are not my ten favorite brands or the ten best brands, just ten brands I thought I would talk about first.
Colorverse inks are made in Korea, and have just made the jump to the United States in the last year. They release inks in collections they call “seasons” with some special editions as well. The bottles are glass, with a 65ml bottle and a 15ml bottle in each box. Some boxes contain two bottles of the same color (season 1 and 2), others have two different bottles (season 3-5). Season 1 inks have good shading, season 2 focus more on sheen, and season 3 and 4 have shimmer. So far I have found them to have an average flow overall, a few are a bit drier and a few are a bit wetter. The dry time ranges from 15 seconds to 60 seconds.
Current Colorverse lineup:
Season 1 Spaceward-12 inks
Season 2 Astrophysics-8 inks
Season 3 Multiverse-6 box sets (12 inks)
Opus 88 Collaboration-8 inks based on Opus 88 pens
Season 4 Trailblazer in Space-6 box sets (12 inks)
Tokyo Special Edition-1 box set (2 inks)
Voyager 1 Set-4 inks
Season 5 Trees-3 box sets (6 inks)
Diamine inks are made in Liverpool, England. There are four different bottles used, based on the line of ink. Standard inks are available in 80ml glass bottles and 30ml plastic bottles. Anniversary inks are available in 40ml triangular glass bottles, and Shimmertastic inks are available in 50ml glass bottles. Overall, I have found Diamine inks to be very well behaved, and a great place for beginner enthusiasts to start. They are available in a ton of colors, and most range from average to slightly wet flow. The Shimmertastic inks tend to run just a bit dry.
Current Diamine lineup:
Shimmertastic Oct 2018-8 inks
150th Anniversary-2 sets of 8 inks
Music Set-10 inks
Flowers Set-10 inks
Store exclusives-approx 11
Some Diamine inks I like right now:
J Herbin inks are made in France. In the past year, J Herbin has been testing out some different names including J. Herbin, Herbin, and Jacques Herbin. The 1798 and 1670 shimmer inks are available in 50ml square glass bottles, as is the new line of Jacques Herbin Luxury inks (only available in a few stores worldwide). The standard inks are available in 30 and 10ml bottles. Six of the colors are also available in 100ml bottles. The scented inks are available in 30 and 10ml bottles. In my experience the shimmer inks have a wetter flow than average, and the standard inks have a slightly watery consistency. Out of the inks I’ve tried so far, I like the J Herbin shimmer inks more than their standard inks.
Current J Herbin lineup:
J Herbin 1670-5 inks
J Herbin Standard-30 inks
J Herbin Scented inks-6 inks
Jacques Herbin 1798-2 inks
Jacques Herbin Luxury-10 inks
Kaweco inks are made in Germany, and are available in 30ml glass bottles. The Kaweco inks I have tried so far have an average flow. Kaweco inks are a great place to start for beginners, usually pretty affordable and only comes in a few colors.
Current Kaweco lineup:
Lamy inks are made in Germany. The standard inks are available in 50ml bottles, and the new line of Crystal inks are available in 30ml bottles. Overall, I have found Lamy inks to have an average flow, with a few on the dry side. Every year Lamy releases special edition inks to match the yearly edition Safari and Al-star. So far I like most of the Lamy inks I’ve tried, they are pretty affordable, and it’s nice to see new colors every year.
2015-Copper Orange, Neon Lime Green
2016-Dark Lilac, Charged Green
2017-Petrol, Pacific Blue (Same as Turquoise)
Current Lamy Lineup:
Current 2018 limited edition-1 ink
Past limited edition-7 inks
Some Lamy inks I like right now:
Monteverde inks are made in Austria, and available in 30 and 90ml bottles. Monteverde inks use proprietary ITF Technology, which provides a wet, lubricated flow. I love the flow of Monteverde inks, and I love that they release their inks in focused collections. The Gemstone inks are my favorite.
Current Monteverde Lineup:
2018 DC Supershow-1 ink
Core Collection-32 inks
Gemstone Collection-11 inks
Noir Collection-10 inks
Emotion Collection-10 inks
Pelikan inks are made in Germany. The 4001 inks are very dry, and come in 62.5ml bottles. Edelstein inks come in 50ml glass bottles and 8 standard colors, with a new "ink of the year" released each year since 2012. This year's ink is Olivine. I have found the Edelstein inks to have an average to slightly dry flow overall.
Ink of the Year Editions:
Current Pelikan Lineup:
Standard Pelikan Edelstein-8 inks
Edelstein Limited Edition-7 inks
Pilot inks are made in Japan, and are also known by the brand Namiki. Namiki seems to be the more expensive part of the company, and Pilot the more affordable part. The most popular inks seem to be the Iroshizuku line, which have a nice slightly wet flow. The inks used to be more expensive, but they recently streamlined their bottle-making process and dropped the price, which almost never happens. The Pilot Mixable cartridges come in a pack of 10 and are designed for use with the Pilot Parallel pens. Pilot Iroshizuku inks are lovely, I use them often, but they don’t ever release new colors so the line feels a bit stagnant. *Pilot just announced 7 new Iroshizuku inks as part of the 100th Anniversary offerings, but they will be very limited.
Current Pilot lineup:
Pilot Iroshizuku-24 inks
Pilot 100th Anniversary-7 inks
Pilot Namiki bottled-2 inks
Pilot Namiki cartridges (only)-5 inks
Pilot Mixable cartridges (only)-10 inks
Robert Oster inks are made in Australia. New inks are released frequently. Standard inks come in 50ml bottles, and Shake ‘N’ Shimmy inks come in 50ml and 15ml bottles. Shake ‘N’ Shimmy inks have shimmer added and are usually based off of a standard color, i.e. Crystal Marine seems to be the shimmer version of Marine from the standard lineup. inkArt.ink are inks more suited for art and dip pens, usually match the standard colors, and come in 100ml bottles. Robert Oster inks generally have an average to slightly wet flow (there are a few on the dry side). I love Robert Oster inks, it’s rare that I find a color I don’t like. I appreciate that Robert Oster is releasing the newest inks in a collection (1980’s), with more order rather than random releases with no clear direction or focus.
Current Robert Oster Lineup:
Shake ‘N’ Shimmy-20 inks
Exclusives-approx. 7 inks
New 1980’s collection-7 inks
Sailor inks are made in Japan. They have a lovely wet flow. Generally the inks come in squat 50ml glass bottles, but recently Sailor switched some inks to 20ml square bottles. The new 20ml bottles are very expensive for the amount of ink you get, so I’m not a fan. The new Ink Studio line has 100 inks, but I haven’t had the chance to try any of them yet. I found it a bit overwhelming that they released 100 inks all at once. Generally, I love the flow of Sailor inks but I don’t like the shape of the 50ml bottles, and the price of the new 20ml bottles. Sailor also manufactures other brands: Bungubox, Nagasawa Kobe, Pen Saijiki, etc.
Current Sailor Lineup:
Sailor Jentle Standard-3 inks
Sailor Jentle Pigmented Nano-4 inks
Sailor Jentle Original Set-6 inks
Sailor Jentle 2010 Four Seasons-8 inks
Sailor Jentle 2016 Four Seasons-8 inks
Sailor Jentle Highlighter-1 ink
Sailor Shikiori-4 inks
Sailor Storia-8 inks
Sailor Ink Studio-100 inks