I’ve had an idea spinning around in my head of trying to build a colour wheel of ink swatches for the 40 or so inks I own.
It would be a pretty mammoth undertaking, and I’m not sure it would be of great practical use, since every ink looks different depending on paper, nib and ambient lighting.
Still, it might be fun.
I thought I’d do a bit of a pilot project with just one colour as an anchor, to see if I could roughly order my inks by shade, and find out what the end result might look like.
I picked blue.
Ardent readers of this blog (hi, mum) may remember a comment in passing that I wasn’t, until recently, a big fan of blue inks, although I do like teals and turquoises quite a bit.
Since I wrote that, I’ve picked up two Akkerman blues (#11 Treves Turquoise, and #1 Passage Blauw) and I have a bottle of Pilot Blue-Black on the way. But I’ve probably only got a few bottles. It’ll be a pretty manageable task. Right?
As it transpires, I have more blues than I thought. If I included the random blue cartridges that you get with pens, and all the sample vials I’ve got packed away, I’m probably up to 20 blues. Who needs 20 blue inks?!
So, being generous about what I count as a blue, but excluding samples and cartridges (which would be difficult to use with my glass dip pen), I lined up these ten miscreants.
Well, it turns out that there’s a wonderful range of colours and properties just in this little microcosm of the hundreds of blues out there. Not to mention a fabulous variety of bottles and nations represented (Noodlers, America; Pilot and Sailor, Japan; Pelikan, Germany; Herbin, France; Akkerman, Netherlands; KWZ, Poland — time to get some Oster or Blackstone, perhaps?!).
OK, they’re not in a great order, and the lighting in my dining room is terrible — I should have planned that out better. But look at the range! From bright sky blues to bold navies and blue-greys, and the blue-greens of Ku-Jaku, Aquamarine and Emerald of Chivor.
I never liked blue because it made me think of the washed-out royal blues you use at school. But with these ten inks (and more to come) I consider myself thoroughly rehabilitated: there’s no excuse to find blue boring, because there’s such thing as “blue” — instead, there are many, many blues.
If you’ve got a recommendation for a blue that I should try out, give me a shout!