Link Love: Official Mascot and more catch-up

Link Love Link MascotFirst, I’d like you to all admire my new and fully customized Link mascot thanks to my pal and co-worker Adan who, clearly, is a fabulous illustrator. I think I need Link on a t-shirt!

Now, on to the links:







Ink Review: Noodler’s Bad Green Gator

Noodler's Bad Green Gator

I was so excited to get a bottle of Noodler’s Bad Green Gater ($12.50 for a 3 oz. bottle). A bulletproof green? This should be a win-win for me. But I have to confess that I was severely underwhelmed by this ink. Yes, it is waterproof. Yes, it is green. But the color is very flat and dull. It lacks a richness or a pizazz. When its wet, it has more depth and  zing so I had such high hopes. When its dry, its just BLAH. The hunt for the perfect green ink continues.

This ink was tested with a hacked Pilot Prera with a Plumix calligraphy nib on Rhodia plain paper pad.

Ink Review: J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen

J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen Ink

As the weather warms up and I’m seeing the first peeks flowers and trees budding, I decided it was time to get out some brighter inks. I had this J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen ($9 for a 30ml bottle) from the massive ink haul I won last year from Julie B over at Pens Paper Inks … Whatever. I’m not normally inclined to purchase pink inks, Pelikan Edelstein Turmaline Color of the Year not included, but I was getting the itch to use an ink that wasn’t blue-black. So the J. Herbin Cyclamen found its way into circulation and, boy, am I glad it did.

I painted the title with a paintbrush and then wrote the writing sample using the Pilot Plumix calligraphy nib currently residing on my “spare” lime green Pilot Prera. Following the nib hack a couple weeks ago, a reader (Denis) mentioned that this hack also worked with Preras. Since I had a Prera with a too-fine-for-me F nib, this seemed like a great way to make it useful again. Besides, the pink ink in the lime green pen made me think of Lilly Pulitzer summer resort dresses.

J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen Ink writing sample

It’s a very purple-y pink, more raspberry than a fuchsia or hot pink. It really is the color of a Cyclamen flower.

(via Wikipedia)

The ink has a little shading but not much and its not as noticeable once the ink is dry either. But overall, J. Herbin ink is very reasonably priced and offers vivid colors that brighten my day.

J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen Ink Pink comparison

For comparison, here are some swatches of other pinks I had on hand. From left to right, Diamine Deep Magenta, J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen, J. Herbin Rose Tendresse, DeAtramentis Dianthus, Platinum Cyclamen Pink (actually neon which was hard to capture in a photograph), Diamine Hope Pink (also neon bright) and Pelikan Edelstein Turmaline (no longer available).

To be honest, I found very little difference between the J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen and Rose Tendresse. I find the Cyclamen a tiny bit deeper and a little more complex and the Tendresse a tiny bit brighter. I think the Tendresse looks like it would shade a bit more. The De Atramentis Dianthus is very similar in hue, maybe a tiny bit brighter and it is a scented ink. I could only smell it slightly when it was wet and was lightly floral. When dry, there is no scent. The only other color close (in my collection) was the Diamine Deep Magenta which was more of a deep, dirty pink not as raspberry purple as the other three mentioned. The Platinum Cyclamen, Diamine Hope Pink are much pinker and neon when wet. They both dry to a vibrant pinky-red. The Pelikan Edelstein Turmaline is the most subdued as a deep, complex red/pink/brown.

Do you ever use pink ink? What’s your favorite?

Ink Drop: March 2014 Lasting Impressions

Ink Drop March 2014

This month’s Ink Drop featured five inks known for their stay-put properties and titled the collection Lasting Impressions. These inks are all designed to be permanent or very water-proof. The colors featured were Rohrer & Klingner Salix and Scabiosa, Platinum Carbon Black (that dark sheen spot is dry ink though if I rub it with my finger, it smudges like charcoal), Noodler’s Bad Green Gator and Upper Ganges Blue.

I was delighted that, when presenting permanent inks, Goulet Pens didn’t send just black and blue inks. I had wanted to see Scabiosa in person for a long time because I do like a deeper, more complex color and it really is unique. Its a deep plum, almost purple black.

In my swash test, I really liked the woodsy green of Bad Green Gator but I’ll have a full review of the color later this week. Noodler’s Upper Gange blue is a deep blue on the edge of a blue-black while the R&K Salix is more of a denim-y blue.

As mentioned, the Platinum Carbon Black left a shiny deposit in my swash test when dry and when I ran my finger over it, it smudged like charcoal pencil. The swash had been sitting for almost 24 hours when I smudged it. Keeping in mind, this was not a writing sample but it is definitely a black ink that is going to stick around.

Overall, these colors seem more sedated and subdued than their less-permanent, more-vibrant brethren. Not that subdued is a bad thing at all. I find their muted colors to be pleasing.

Both of the R&K colors are iron gall inks and I know a lot of people are concerned with potential damage to their pens as a result of these inks. I don’t know much about caring for pens with iron gall inks or other permanent inks but I think if you change your inks at least monthly, it shouldn’t be much of an issue. If concerned that any of these permanent inks might stain or clog your favorite pen, I recommend trying it first in a cheaper pen (maybe a Plaltinum Preppy or a Pilot Metropolitan) before trying it in your top-dollar or vintage pen.


Word Cards + Ink Drop = Ink Organization

Word Cards

I picked up this stack of Kyokuto Word Cards at Maido in San Francisco. They are small cards measuring just 1.5″ x 3.5″ (3.7 x 9 cm) and contain 100 sheets. I paid $2.75 for them. They are hole punched  at the narrow end and held together on a clamp ring making them perfect to store and collect ink sample swabs. Because the clamp ring is easy to open, ink samples can be rearranged by color or manufacturer on a whim.

I’ve started using them to have swab references of the Ink Drop colors I receive. I plan to go back and do all the previous color swabs so that I can get all OCD and mix and match them by color, which ones I’ve purchased and manufacturer at a whim.  The paper quality seems good, only one ink swab of the ten I tried showed any bleeding or feathering. Its bright white and my printer husband estimates the paper weight between 60 lb and 80 lb cardstock. Think of the card stock used for magazine blow-ins (those subscription cards that fall out the first time to open it) for a comparable weight. The cards are very smooth paper, there is little-to-no texture.

The nice thing about this set (or any of these mini-flash-cards-on-a-ring) is the ability to add more cards as needed. If they exceed the ring capacity, larger rings are available in most office supply stores or I can split the colors between multiple rings or divide them into smaller rings — all the reds, all the blues, all the blue-blacks, etc. I just love how easy it is to review, sort and be as anal about my ink collection as I want to be.

The closest product I could find online is the Maruman Mnemosyne Word Cards which measure 4.1 x 2.1″ (5.4 x 10.5 cm) with 100 sheets for $4.95. For more about the Maruman Mnemosyne Word Cards, check out the review on The Pen Addict. Have fun and nerd out with your new ink cards!

Word Cards Ink Drop

Link Love of Epic Proportions!

Clampersand (via Domesticated Desk)

Clampersand (via Domesticated Desk)




Writing & Letter-Writing:

Paper & Notebooks:

Link Love: Instagrammatical & TWSBIs (made-up words!)

Image credits (clockwise from top left: Noyolajose, Mary Kate McDevitt, Tuesday Next [that's me!],  FPGeeks, Rad And Hungry, MyCoffeePot, Rad And Hungry,  Elltbr, and GouletPens)

Image credits (clockwise from top left: Noyolajose, Mary Kate McDevitt, Tuesday Next [that's me!], FPGeeks, Rad And Hungry, MyCoffeePot, Rad And Hungry, Elltbr, and GouletPens)

Yeah for awesome Instagram friends! If you’re not following the folks in the photo collage above, I highly recommend them for wonderful office accoutrement photo yummies.

In other news:

Paper and Notebooks:

Pens and Ink:


For Valentine’s Day:

(via Creatively Curated)

Download the hi-rez file at  Creatively Curated

Ink as Watercolor

watercolor ink sample

Watercolor lettering sample (via Well-Appointed Desk)

Following the post this morning about painting with ink, I started thinking of other ways ink could be used. Its very much like watercolor paints so I thought I might share some fun ways to use watercolors that might inspire you to play and experiment with all those bottles of ink and ink samples you’ve accumulated. I wouldn’t recommend trying these with bulletproof or other waterproof inks but most fountain pen inks should play nicely.

Leslie Shewring experiments with ocen inspired blue watercolors (via Decor8 and A Creative Mint)

Leslie Shewring experiments with ocean inspired blue watercolors (via Decor8 and A Creative Mint)

Just brushing ink on paper, like you would with watercolors, can inspire and inform you. You can see the undertones of an ink color easily as well as the range of lights and darks of a color.  Add a little water to ink in a dish or bowl to create color washes.

Watercolor quote by Rocketrictic (via Flickr)

Watercolor quote by Rocketrictic (via Flickr)

Try blending two colors and drawing your favorite quote in ink.

Ink dipped ediging on doilies to decorate gifts (via Decor8)

Ink dipped ediging on doilies to decorate gifts (via Decor8)

The inks can be used to tint other papers, create tissue puffs, coffee filter hydrangeas or something else entirely!

Liquid Masking Fluid demo (via Comic Tools)

Liquid Masking Fluid demo (via Comic Tools)

Use masking fluid to block out areas on your page. Let it dry and then paint over it with your inks. Then peel the latex away to create a fun, colorful piece.

While any paper should work, a heavyweight watercolor paper will give texture and will be less inclined to curl or distort. I’ve been using an Aquabee Super Deluxe 9×12 wirebound sketchbook for playing with watercolor and ink. It is textured (cold pressed) on the front and smooth (hot pressed) on the back. If you’re searching the internet for watercolor paper, think hot is like ironed (smooth) and cold is wrinkly (textured) if that helps to remember the difference.

Hope these ideas inspire you. Drop me a link if you try any of these. I’d love to see what you create.

Ask The Desk: That’s not a pen!

Ask The Desk Header

I received an actual letter from Leah a week or so ago. She asked lots of different questions about pens and tools so I thought I’d include some of my answers here as well as in a letter to her.

She asked:

What pen/nib did you use for the titles of your 12 Days of Inkmas?

The secret is that I didn’t use a pen at all. I used a brush!

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 10.44.46 AM

I got the idea to use a brush from seeing some ink “swabs” on European Paper. They were using a brush to create a lovely little ink swab. I like that a brush was easy to clean and I wasn’t creating a landfill full of q-tips in sampling inks each month.


I’ve used several different brushes that I’ve accumulated over the years to not only create “swabs” but also to create a more interesting header for the 12 Days of Inkmas. I’ve tried to keep up the habit for future ink samples and reviews as I can see the range of shading with the inks this way.

EDIT: The word “Wide Strokes” was done with the Scharff FINELINE 3000 #3, not the #6. Oops!


From left to right: Robert Simmons #2 red Kolinsky hair and synthetic filaments round brush, A. Langnickel 670 #5 Red Sable script brush, Scharff Kolinsky red sable FINELINE 3000 #3 round and #6, and a Silverwhite synthetic 1500S #2 Round.

I’ve acquired brushes over the years from friends, yard sales and various art supply stores. I’m stunned to see how expensive the Scharff #6 brush is ($67)! I’ll definitely take better care of it. I’m confident that any good quality round brush recommended for watercolor, acrylic or oil would make a perfect tool for “swabs” and ink tests. Visit your local art supply or craft shop to pick up a couple.

Just remember to wash out your brushes in water, squeeze dry and reshape the tip to dry. Don’t scrub them and make the bristles flair out  or you risk breaking the fibers and/or hairs. Always dry your brushes with the tip up and don’t leave them sit indefinitely in your wash water or the bristles will bend at a weird angle. If you let them cake with inks or paints, try The Masters brush cleaner. It will save just about all your brushes!

Link Love: The Good, The Bad & The Postal Rate Increase

Shades of Lime (via A Penchant For Paper)

Shades of Lime (via A Penchant For Paper)

Pens & Ink:



US Postal Rate Increases (illustration by Donovan Beeson via Letter Writers Alliance)

US Postal Rate Increases (illustration by Donovan Beeson via Letter Writers Alliance)