Experiment 5: Introducing Ink Tests (The Orange Series Part I)

At a certain point in gathering/collecting/hoarding inks, you reach a threshold where an organized cataloging and testing system becomes beneficial. When I outgrew my first "ink box," I knew I had reached that point. When I divided my collection into three color coordinated storage containers, I knew I was way passed it.


I began testing different ink swab cards and ink testing techniques. I studied different formats of ink reviews online. There are plenty of amazing ones out there- some beautiful and artistic, and some detailed and technical.

If there was something that I want to see more of in terms of ink reviews it is comparison. Maybe it's just the scientist in me, but I want to know how an ink fares across different paper types. How does nib selection change the appearance of an ink? And how do writing samples of inks in the same color grouping look side-by-side? 

Sounds like a pretty good experiment to me. 

Introducing: Ink Tests

I'll load up one ink into three pens with varying nib types and sizes. I'll test the ink utilizing those three pens across at least three types of paper. Then, I'll clean that ink out and load up a comparator ink into those same three pens- and repeat the process all over again. Bonus points: the review format will require me to practice both my handwriting and my drawing skills. 

I'll store scans of each of these ink tests under the Ink Test Link on this site- grouped by color.  

Speaking of color, the first one up is (of course) orange. 


Specifically my first two orange inks come from two up and coming ink brands- Robert Oster and Papier Plume.  

Experimental Test Subjects

Ink 1: Robert Oster NG Special '16  

Ink 2: Papier Plume Sazerac

Experimental Variables 

Pen 1: Sheaffer Legacy(Factory Stub Nib)

Pen 2: Pilot Vanishing Point(M Nib)

Pen 3: Sailor Pro Gear(H-MF Nib)

 Experimental Conditions

Paper 1: Tomoe River

Paper 2: Rhodia

Paper 3: Watercolor


Results in Pictures:  

Results in Words: 

Interestingly, even though these inks look very similar on the watercolor paper swabs, their differences become more apparent on Tomoe River paper. NG Special has a more dramatic yellow undertone than the Sazerac. Both have great shading, especially in the wider nibs.

One point that really interested me was how differently the samples reacted to the Rhodia paper, especially in the ink swabs. With the Sazerac, it was almost as if the coating on the paper was visibly rejecting the ink. However, it looked completely normal once it dried, and I didn't even notice this property when using it in the M or the F nib. Sazerac really shines on Tomoe River. 

If I had to keep the NG Special in only one of these pens, it would be the Sheaffer Stub Nib no doubt, that shading is off the hook. For the Sazerac, I think I would keep it in the Vanishing point. The medium nib lays down enough ink to be an easily readable orange ink and even show some shading. And seriously, how can you beat that wax-sealed bottle?

Next up in The Orange Series Ink Tests? Two Sailor Oranges. Stay tuned.