Understanding Fountain Pen Ink Properties: A Deep Dive into the World of Fountain Pen Inks

Hello, ink enthusiasts!

Today, we're going to delve into the fascinating world of fountain pen inks and their properties. Understanding these properties can significantly enhance your writing experience and help you make informed choices when selecting inks, pens, and paper.  In the world of fountain pens, the ink you choose can dramatically change your writing experience. The ink's properties can influence not only the colour and appearance of your writing but also how your pen performs. Let's dive into some of these properties and how they can enhance your writing experience.

  • Saturation: The Intensity of Colour. Saturation refers to the concentration of dye in the ink. A highly saturated ink has a lot of dye, resulting in vibrant, rich colours. However, these inks may take longer to dry and could be harder to clean out of your pen. High saturation inks, like Van Dieman's Night - Shooting Star, have a rich, intense colour, while low saturation inks, like Van Dieman's Night - Dusk, offer a more subdued, delicate hue.

  • Shading: The Play of Light and Dark. Shading is the variation in colour density in a single stroke of ink. Inks with good shading will show a range of tones, adding depth and character to your writing. Shading is often more noticeable with broader nibs and on high-quality paper that allows the ink to pool in places, usually darker on the downstroke and lighter on the upstroke. Shading inks, like Van Dieman's Birds of a Feather - Blue Jay Crown, change in colour intensity as you write, creating a beautiful gradient effect from light to dark.

  • Sheen: The Hidden Surprise. Sheen is a shiny, reflective quality that appears when ink dries. It's a result of certain dyes being at a high saturation. It is usually a different colour than the ink itself and is most visible at certain angles. Some inks have no sheen, some have a little, and some are monster sheeners. For instance, Van Dieman's "Blue Ringed Octopus" and "Aurora Australis" are known for their exceptional sheen, making your writing look almost metallic.

  • Shimmer: The Sparkling Effect . Shimmer inks contain tiny particles that give a glittering effect. They're best used in pens that can be easily cleaned, as the particles can sometimes clog the feed. Van Dieman's Underwater - Parrot Fish and Van Dieman's Tassie Birds - Azure Kingfisher are great examples. Remember, shimmer inks need special care. Check out our blog on Shimmering Inks for more details.

  • Flow: The Smoothness of Writing . Flow refers to how freely ink travels from the pen to the paper. Some inks have a wetter flow, making them ideal for pens that tend to write dry. Inks with good flow are less likely to skip or hard start. The flow of an ink can be influenced by the pen and nib used, with wetter pens often performing better with drier inks, and vice versa.
  • Multi-tonal Inks: The Symphony of Colours. Multi-tonal inks, like Van Dieman's Tasmania - Snowy Mountain Sunset, or Woollarawarre Benelong from Voyagers, are a unique breed in the world of fountain pen inks. These inks contain a blend of different dyes that separate and interact in fascinating ways when put to paper. As you write, you'll notice a dynamic range of hues within a single stroke, creating a beautiful, complex colour profile. The magic of multi-tonal inks lies in their unpredictability and the depth of colour they bring to your writing or artwork. They can exhibit different shades depending on the pen used, the paper, and even the angle of light hitting the page. This makes each writing experience a delightful surprise, as you never know exactly which colours will dominate in any given use.

To get the most out of these inks, consider using a broader nib that allows for a wetter flow, which can help to better showcase the range of colours. Also, using high-quality, fountain pen-friendly paper will ensure that the ink doesn't feather or bleed, allowing the colours to shine in all their glory. In essence, multi-tonal inks are like a symphony, where each colour plays its part to create a harmonious and captivating overall effect. They truly are a testament to the artistry possible in the realm of fountain pen inks. Understanding these properties can help you choose the perfect ink for your needs.

     Remember, the pen and paper you use can also influence how these properties appear. For example, broader nibs and wetter pens can enhance shading, sheen, and shimmer. Similarly, certain papers can bring out the best in your ink.

    So, go ahead, explore, experiment, and most importantly, enjoy the process. After all, the joy of fountain pen writing lies in its personalisation.

    Happy writing!

    * This blog was inspired by information supplied from our friends and colleagues at Van Dieman's Ink.

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