A very special blue-black: “Randall” by Nick Stewart

I’m a sucker for blue-black inks. So when Nick Stewart offered me the chance to try a sample of his new ink, Randall (named after one of Nick’s aquatic adventurer friends), I jumped at it.

I don’t claim to the mastery of ink and lettering that Nick has, but even I can see that Randall is very special.

I tried it out in two nibs: my wet, broad TWSBI Eco Turquoise and my not-so-wet medium Kaweco Art Sport. Randall behaved delightfully differently in different situations, ranging from a mid-blue to near black, and often with incredible red sheen, too.

2018-06-12 17.06.17.jpg

This was taken in daylight on my Pixel 2 XL


This was taken on my Sony DSLR, also daylight.

Overall Randall reminded me rather of Organics Emerson, but with the sheen dialled  down and with much better behaviour.

Nonetheless, Randall is a wet and highly saturated ink, and it’s incredibly clingy inside of demonstrator barrels. This is one of few inks that remains as a stain on the smooth glass barrel of a dip pen even after a good wipe with kitchen roll — it’s persistent, heavy. I am a bit afraid of how difficult it will be to flush.

2018-06-14 11.05.37.jpg

Pixel 2, daylight

Dry times were OK. With the Kaweco on Tomoe (right column below), the ink was dry around 15 seconds. With the wet TWSBI? It was still VERY smeary at 30 seconds. But again that’s much better behaved than Emerson, which basically never dries.

2018-06-16 20.49.47.jpg

Warm LED bulb, Pixel 2 XL.

In terms of colour, of my sixteen blue blacks I guess Randall is most like Montblanc JFK — but in the real world it behaves totally differently.


Under warm LED

2018-06-15 16.01.53.jpg

In daylight

In a swatch there’s the red sheen, haloing, dark blue-black, but on the lighter patches a glint of almost tropical blue.


Swatch is on Tomoe, made with the rounded end of a Herbin glass pen

On my Col-o-Ring swatches, which are more absorbent than Tomoe, the underlying cheery blue is more visible — but the sheen is still heavy.


The sheen is almost Organics Studio level, but with little of the bad behaviour

And the sheen is very much visible in regular writing, too.DSC01522DSC01519DSC01520

For an ink that’s meant to evoke the sea, in all its changeable, shining glory, I think Randall delivers with gusto. If you like a rich, shading blue with a lot of red sheen, take a look. Keep an eye on Nick’s site for an official launch announcement.

For an alternative take, check out Scribble’s review.

Nick sent me a 4ml sample of Randall for free to review. If that bothers you, check out my ethics.


8 thoughts on “A very special blue-black: “Randall” by Nick Stewart

  1. Pingback: Nick Stewart’s Randall – A Blue Black Chameleon | FOUNTAIN PEN INKS & BLEACH

  2. Pingback: Randall Ink: The Ocean Blue in a Bottle – The Figure 8 Voyage

  3. Pingback: Randall fountain pen ink review | United Inkdom

  4. Thank you for the elucidating introduction to Randall, pictures and all. What a lovely ink! And, I appreciate your warning about its tendency to stain. I found this review by entering “blue ink” into your site’s search window, something I’m doing on favorite fountain pen sites in order to discover new blues 🙂 So, it is now about 14 months since you wrote this review—do you have any new insights to share about Randall? Given the choices in your ink collection, do you find yourself remembering it and reaching for it at all? Is the original sample gone, and if so, have you felt the “need” to purchase a bottle? Gracias!


    • Hola! I did buy a bottle of Randall, and I did use it — although I sold it in the great ink purge this summer, when I disposed of 70 bottles. The blues I reach for most frequently? Let me dash out a post on that tonight…

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s