I started Mountain of Ink two months ago as a project for one of my college classes. Through the assignments for my class, and creating this site, I realized that I love doing ink reviews. I love playing with ink and utilizing a bunch of different ways of writing. I had always wanted to have my own stationery site, but I was always too chicken to actually do it. My class forced me to do it, and I discovered I really love writing about paper and ink. Now that my class has ended, I am free to change the site into what I want it to be. This week I have made some big changes to the site, hopefully for the better. I was always taught to begin with the end in mind, so I'm trying to be very intentional with the choices about my site. So now let's talk about the 5 W's of the Mountain of Ink project...
What: the ink project is a site where you can eventually find a review of every fountain pen ink. I am currently reviewing five inks per week, (42 inks in the last two months), as well as doing other posts and notebook reviews.
Who: I will be personally reviewing each ink.
Why: When I first got into fountain pens, I wanted to find a site that would show me all of the fountain pen inks available. I wanted to be able to see all of the inks divided by color, and by brand. I wanted to be able to click on a swab and have it show me the review of that ink. I wanted to see the ink on different papers, different paper colors, different nib sizes, and the back side of the page where I could see the show through on the other side. I might as well have asked for the moon, right?? I never could find what I was looking for, so I decided to create it myself.
There are lots of bloggers who do a great job of reviewing ink, but none of them have reviewed all of the ink I'm interested in, and why haven't they? Because it's a crap ton of work. I will say that the Goulet Pen Swab Shop is a great place to compare a few swabs of ink. The Anderson Pens Ink Comparison Tool is a great place to compare a few ink swabs as well. While both of these resources are helpful and amazing, I wanted more information than they could give me, and they are also limited to the inks that they sell in their store. Swabs are great, but they don't show me how the ink looks on different papers, different colored papers (Ivory, white, cream, etc.) and different nib sizes.
When I do a review, I try show a sketch or brush lettering with the ink, pictures of the bottle, a swab of the ink on a Col-o-ring, swabs on Tomoe River paper, ink drops, writing on four different papers (on ivory, white, and cream paper) in five different nib sizes, and the show through on the other side of the page. I also show a page with longer writing using the ink, as well as five similar inks for comparison.
If you look on the sidebar of mountainofink.com, you will find links to the inks divided by color and by brand. When one of the ink swabs on these pages are clicked, they will take you to the review of that ink. If someone was looking for a blue ink, and they love Robert Oster inks, they could click on the Robert Oster link in the sidebar, and see the blue inks side by side. They could click on the swab of the ink they like, scroll down to the type of paper they use, and see how that ink looks on the paper they like, in the nib size they like. Hopefully this allows the reader to make more intentional ink purchases, and hopefully would end up with ink they love. I always hear stories from people who have purchased ink, and then didn't end up loving it, and I want people to be happy with the ink they buy. Hopefully Mountain of Ink can help those purchasing ink to make more intentional decisions about what ink to buy. I created my ink reviews to be what I want to see in ink reviews, and I share them so they can hopefully help others as well.
When: I'm currently reviewing five inks per week, which is 260 inks per year. I approximate that it will take me about five-six years to review all of the inks. Each review takes me 3-4 hours to complete. Yes, it's a ton of work. Do I get paid to do this? No. Do I enjoy it? Yes.
Where: All of my reviews will be posted on mountainofink.com.
So here's my question to you-what do you like to see in ink reviews? Do you prefer to see swabs or writing? Do you prefer all white paper or ivory? What brand of ink is your favorite? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!