Pen, ink, water, bleach
November 3, 2017 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Nick Stewart: Fountain pen inks are made up of dyes. When the inks are applied to blotting paper the dyes are released and the colours spread outwards – imagine a drop of petrol on wet tarmac. I have found a way of achieving and utilising this effect on watercolour paper. The chromatic process is very much serendipity led and the beauty of the final outcomes are invariably dictated by this. Because they are natural and non contrived, the viewer is naturally drawn to them, like watching clouds or a sunset. I’m also a firm believer in the concept of ‘less is more’ and through these processes you can get so much from so little. I also love the idea of alchemy or in this case, creating a gold effect through subjecting fountain pen inks to bleach.
posted by rewil (15 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Happy Fountain Pen Day 2017!
posted by rewil at 10:45 AM on November 3, 2017 [8 favorites]

I saw a demonstration at the Queer Comics Expo in San Francisco by comics artist Tyler Cohen of doing art with waterproof colored India ink - as is mentioned in one of the main post links, the color is waterproof after drying, so other colors can be added after drying.
posted by larrybob at 11:21 AM on November 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

These are really pretty, but good god do I hate listening to artists talk about their art (and I'm an artist).
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:36 AM on November 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

I have a lamy safari - still the first pen I ever bought, if a Pen of Theseus. I fill it with blue ink and when that starts to run low, I add red ink, and then some more blue. Gives me a delightful shifting hue of deep to light to grey, brown, violet, and more.

Nothing better than a fountain pen.
posted by rebent at 11:53 AM on November 3, 2017 [12 favorites]

Wow, gorgeous art. And really getting my interest since I just recently started playing around with brush pens.

His regular website for his lettering work is also really neat. Turns out he's the guy behind several well known logos and designs like from some Paul McCartney albums.

So it's Fountain Pen Day? Total coincidence, I just ordered the first one I'll have had in decades and it's due in the mail today. (Pilot Metropolitan, ordered based on recommendation as "top fountain pen under $50" from The Pen Addict.)
posted by dnash at 12:00 PM on November 3, 2017 [5 favorites]

Nice choice! Metros are sturdy and reliable, and come in some super-cute colors if you get bitten by the collecting bug.
posted by rewil at 12:05 PM on November 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I am a poor person, but I love fountain pens, so my collection of less expensive pens has been amassed over a few years. My Lamy Safari is still my favorite, but I have great affection for my JinHao x750 in Shimmering Sands with a replacement fine nib. That thing is so satisfying. I also have two Metropolitans, a couple of TWSBI demonstrators, and an AL-Star.

Lately my ink jam is Diamine Majestic Blue (ink and bleach sample), which has incredible sheen even on Leuchtterm paper. On something like Tamoe River it's like writing with liquid fairy dust.
posted by xyzzy at 12:06 PM on November 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

This reminds me of doing paper chromatography in high-school chemistry.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:14 PM on November 3, 2017 [6 favorites]

Writing in my journal every day with a fountain pen is one of the things that preserves my sense of being "me", and makes me feel like it's all worth it.

For daily usage I rotate between a Pilot Vanishing Point xf, a Pilot Vanishing Point f, a Visconti HomoSapien Dark Age m, a Lamy 2000 xf, and a handful of Pilot custom 74s in various colors.
posted by idiopath at 12:31 PM on November 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Metropolitans are great, and I love the ones I have, but I've really taken to the Kaweco Skyline Sport (I have this one). I haven't gotten a converter for it yet because the same day I got it I picked up some short J. Herbin cartridges that I really like (vert empire and poussiere de lune). And because I hear the converter's just a bit too long for the pen barrel anyway when completely full and it gets messy, I decided to try refilling empty cartridges with a syringe full of bottled ink, which is great when I want to use some of my Noodler's inks like Apache Sunset or Antietam or General of the Armies. (Oooooh, I wonder how those respond to bleach.) My real fave right now, though, is Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo.

If you want to play around with a bunch of different inks, Goulet Pens has a great selection of ink samples and sample packages.
posted by palomar at 12:37 PM on November 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've recently gotten into fountain pens to practice my handwriting (years of taking notes at high speed and more years of typing on computers instead of writing have done my penmanship absolutely no favors) but it was mostly because I took a look at Kaweco Sports and Perkeos and I said MINE *___*

Anyway, my favorite pens right now are a salmon/grey Perkeo with J. Herbin Lie de Thé and an opal Lamy Nexx M with Sailor Yama-dori.
posted by sukeban at 12:38 PM on November 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

*adds Sailor Yama-Dori to ink wish list*
posted by palomar at 1:12 PM on November 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

When I was seven I saved all my allowance, for months to buy a Parker ink pen with midnight blue ink. It was a beauty in beetle green.
posted by Oyéah at 2:37 PM on November 3, 2017 [6 favorites]

Paper chromatography has been my go-to science party trick since grade 9 (pro babysitting tip: every house has markers and paper towels or coffee filters and it blows kids' minds every time) so this is relevant to my interests. It's beautiful! Maybe this is the push I need to try a fountain pen and not just lust over the Levenger catalog.

I also instantly thought "paging paper chromatographologist" if that was a thing we do here which it isn't
posted by Flannery Culp at 3:12 PM on November 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

(Oooooh, I wonder how those respond to bleach.)

Bleach is NoodlerCo's true enemy. That and socialism.
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:36 PM on November 3, 2017 [6 favorites]

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