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.
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.
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.
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.
In a swatch there’s the red sheen, haloing, dark blue-black, but on the lighter patches a glint of almost tropical blue.
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.
And the sheen is very much visible in regular writing, too.
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.