Sunday, October 31, 2010

John Gill Guest Blog: Diamine Damson

A special thanks to John for another good review. I like to hear what others think of inks, even if it's something that I've used myself. Send me an email if you're interested in sharing your own thoughts on your favorite inks. ~Brian Goulet

I never thought of myself as a purple person, and I still don't.  That said, I love this color.  I think the fact that it is a bit grey is what makes it appealing to me.  I initially looked into this ink while looking for an alternative to J Herbin Pousierre de Lune, which is, IMO, almost the same in color and behavior.  Damson is just a bit darker.  This ink review was done with a Pelikan m215 with Binder Italifine nib, which has a 0.9mm cursive italic on the front side and fine round tip on the backside of the nib.  It is a pretty wet writer, so YMMV when using this ink in fountain pens with varying flows.  The paper used is 90g Clairefontaine in the small Unplugged Staplebound Duo, which is excellent. 

The flow of the ink is excellent, having used this ink in many different pens.  It also shades well in both wet and dry writers, so if you hate shading this won't be the ink for you.  I, on the other hand, love shading, so it's just another plus for me.  There is no bleedthrough or feathering on this paper.  I think the greyish quality of the color makes it usable in more professional settings. 
You can see below how the ink looks on a wider nib (0.9mm cursive italic) and a narrower nib (fine round tip).  I usually use this ink in a somewhat wet medium nib and it writes a tiny bit darker than the fine nib sample below.

I have found the drying time for the ink to be excellent in most cases.  That said, a wet writer on Clairefontaine paper is going to take a good bit longer as the image below shows.  Yet, the fine tip dried very quickly even on the Clairefontaine paper, which matches my real life experience with it. 

As far as water resistance is concerned, it's not really suited to withstand water.  I didn't do any soak test, but I did drop a few drops of water on the page and wipe it off with a napkin, which is probably what I would do if I got water on my notebook while writing at a cafe.  For those instances, the ink seemed to fare decently.  At least I can still read the text.  Note that the ink was fully dried before applying the water. 

I really like this ink, and it is one my three regular inks. 

Diamine Damson is available in 2ml samples as well as 80ml bottles at GouletPens.com.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

GouletPens.com soon to carry Noodler's Pens!

Confusing as it may be, the Goulet Pen Company has decided to once again.....sell pens. Shocker, right? We were sent sample rollerball 'nib creaper' and fountain pens from Noodler's, and they are great pens (for the money). We're going to be offering them for the 2010 holiday season, and if they are popular, we may look to carry them after the new year and expand our pen offerings in the future.

We'll be doing full reviews of the pens soon and posting them here on the blog, but we'll be selling the pens as early as next week. A lot of you have been asking us for them, so we're delivering. We also decided to get some Platinum Preppy's too, as they're also a popularly requested item.

What you see below is (bottom to top) the Noodler's Nib Creaper, Noodler's Fountain Pen, and Platinum Preppy.


Noodler's 'Nib Creaper' Piston-Fill Rollerball Pen
The Nib Creaper is a pretty cool pen. It fills and flushes just like a fountain pen, but has the convenience of a rollerball. It uses the fountain pen ink you already have, but you can leave the pen sitting out uncapped for long periods of time (my longest test was 45 minutes, and it wrote without skipping a beat).


It has a piston-fill mechanism, and holds a good amount of ink. It tends to write a bit dry, so using wet, saturated inks will show up best when writing. It's not as smooth as a fountain pen (of course), but it is pretty darn cool. We'll also be carrying the replaceable rollerball tips and piston seals. Right now the only color available for the pen is clear (I guess that would be lack of color). List price is $14.00.


Noodler's Piston-Fill Fountain Pens
The Noodler's piston-fill fountain pen is a pretty solid little pen for the money. It's no David Oscarson, but it's one of the most affordable piston-fill fountain pens out there. They are easily maintainable, designed to be taken apart for cleaning, maintenance, and replacing the piston seal (which we'll look to carry soon enough) and grease the piston when it needs it. It's a fun little pen to mess with :D


All of the Noodler's steel-nib fountain pens are 'fine/mediums', basically halfway between a fine and a medium. There are 7 available colors (though they sell so quick, they're sometimes not all available at the same time). The colors are black, navy blue, red, burgundy, turquoise, gray, and mandarin yellow (what you see pictured). The pens list for $14.00. There will also be two aerometric/eyedropper pens similar to these ones, but available in mottled brown or mottled green ebonite for $24.00.


Platinum Preppy Fountain Pens
You already use one of these if you've ever purchased a bottle of (non-highlighter) Noodler's ink in a 4.5 ounce bottle. These pens are solid pens, and crazy cheap. They have converters that you can use, or they are easily converted into eye-dropper pens with just an o-ring and some silicone grease (I sense the need for a video brewing for that already...).


These pens are great for starters, great to give as gifts, and are great for loading up with a 'regular' ink you like to keep on hand. Grab 10 of these little suckers and keep them loaded up with your favorite array of colors, and you won't have to do a whole flushing routine every time you want to use a different color! With a list price of only $3.95, they're almost unbeatable. They're all clear, but are available with accent colors like green, black, pink, yellow, and others.


One of the most enjoyable things about writing with fountain pens to me is the ink. It's no secret that I love ink, and changing colors a LOT. What's great about these affordable and easily self-maintained pens is that you can get a bunch of them and ink up an array of different colors at one time. You'll spend less on a baker's dozen on these pens than you will on most 18karat NIBS, let alone pens. If you're just getting into fountain pens, want to get your kids started on pens, or want to get a friend hooked on them, these pens will fit that bill just right.


We will be getting these pens in early next week, so you won't have to wait long. I'll be coming out with more detailed reviews of each soon enough, once I've gotten everything in (and the November Ink Drop is out!).

So what do you think? Do you have any of these yet? How do they compare to some of the other affordable pens like Lamy Safari's, Kaweko Sports, and Pelikan Pelikanos?

Friday, October 29, 2010

3 Things You Can Do To Really Help Me Out

I need your help, loyal Ink Nouveau fans! I've been blogging like a maniac for the last 5 months (posting every day without fail, sometimes twice a day), and I don't have any intention of stopping. I want to continue to provide great and relevant content, but there are a few areas where I need help, and I'll tell you 3 easy things you can do to help me:

  1. Subscribe- If you aren't already an RSS or email subscriber, then go for it. Bing bang bong! Sign up for a web-based or desktop RSS reader if you don't already have one, it'll help you to organize all of the posts from your favorite blogs like Ink Nouveau. Subscribing is easy, just click on the orange RSS box to the right. A couple of clicks will keep you up to date on everything I'm up to, and it will help to motivate me to keep blogging.
  2. Share!- If you like a post, tweet it, share it on Facebook, email it, stumble it, heck, print it out and show it to your great-grandmother! Whatever you like but please share it. I put a ton of work into providing good, solid content, and it helps me out tremendously when you share it with your friends.
  3. Post comments- Good conversations help me and everyone who reads Ink Nouveau to learn more, get different perspectives, and keep us all entertained! I am always looking for feedback on my the way I do my reviews and the products in them, and the best way to talk about them is by leaving comments.
I really want to utilize Ink Nouveau for cultivating conversations, not just pushing out information to you. I will actively engage in conversations going on in any of my posts, but I need your help to be active as well. I have a good solid base of fans, and I really, really appreciate all of you! I know there are a lot of others out there though, and I want to find all of them, too.

The more readers I have, the more time I will spend contributing to the writing community. My blog is not monetized, so I'm providing all of this information completely free (with the hopes that I will gain your trust to want to shop with me). If you can help me with the three things above, I promise I'll be able to blog for a long, long time!

So what do you say?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Private Reserve's Rose Rage and Sepia Introduction



Link to YouTube for more viewing options.

Private Reserve Rose Rage and Sepia

I announced the other day that Private Reserve was coming out with two new colors, Rose Rage and Sepia. They were kind enough to send me some samples of each color for me to test, and I will be doing full reviews of the two inks in the very near future (within a week or so).

Private Reserve Rose Rage and Sepia swabs

Rose Rage is a VERY bright bubblegum pink color, very vibrant! Sepia is a yellowish brown, similar to Diamine Golden Brown but with shading that is out of this world. These inks are brand spanking new and will be available from retailers like me within a couple of weeks.

**Update- they are now available in 50ml bottles at GouletPens.com.

Are these colors that will be accepted will in the writing community or are they too obscure?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Super Special Write Time at 9, live with BiffyBeans!!

Join us live every Tuesday night at 9pm EST for Write Time at 9! We talk pens, paper, ink, and random other things (writing related usually, but not always!).


Link to Ustream for the 1 hour and 40 minute video.

This week was a very special broadcast, where Stephanie Smith of Spiritual Evolution of the Bean joined us live by phone to talk about her experiences with fountain pens, writing, mandalas, and life in general. It was our most active broadcast to date, with over 110 people vising over the 2 hour period she was able to join us! (the video above, plus 'bonus time')

Stephanie's blog has been a great resource for many, including myself, in the writing world. Her experience with writing and blogging got her to her spot as the blogger for RhodiaDrive, and she has become a fairly well-known mandala artist. She is a wealth of knowledge on notebooks and ink, and was gracious to share her knowledge with us during the broadcast!


We decided to do two giveaways tonight because there were so many people joining us....well, technically 3 giveaways. I goofed with my second question and there was a 'tie', so we gave one notebook to each winner!

This broadcast also coincided with the announcement of our November Ink Drop theme, which is:

'Mudslinging'!!!!

I won't go all into the theme now, since the majority of the broadcast was Biffy talk! I do want to thank Stephanie for all of her time she gave me over the multiple phone conversations we had and for the broadcast itself. It was a blast to have her, and we look forward to inviting her back for future Write Time broadcasts!

The video is long, but well worth it if you like what her and I are up to in the writing world! Definitely go subscribe to her blog and tell her I said hello! You can also check out her transformational art video on YouTube and her Mandala Art page on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Me and BiffyBeans live tonight!!

Don't forget, tonight I'll have Stephanie Smith aka BiffyBeans live on my Write Time at 9 Broadcast tonight! (that's 9pm Eastern US time) She'll be joining me by phone for a first-of-its-kind interview in the writing world. We'll be talking all kind of pens, ink, and paper, and answering your questions about anything and everything that she and I do in the writing world.

So stop by tonight and join in live on the chat to hear the riveting conversation that will go on between me and Biffy!! The broadcast will be recorded as usual, just in case you can't make it ;)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Diamine Majestic Blue Ink Review



Link to YouTube for more viewing options.

I have to premise this review by saying that I'm a huge fan of Diamine Majestic Blue!! I'm biased as I love this color, though it does have its quirks. It's an extremely saturated color, I mean extremely. It's a deep, dark blue with a unique red overtone to it.


Bottle Shape/Size:
Diamine's 80ml bottle (the type I tested from) is nearly 3 ounces of ink, and has an opening of 3/4". It's a nice solid bottle with the most solid feeling cap of any of the ink brands I've used. The opening is wide enough for most pens, and the usability of the bottle is overall pretty good.

Ink on Paper:
I tested the ink on 4 different papers, and due to popular requests, 2 different nib sizes:


Water Resistance: Low
The extremely high level of saturation of this ink means that there is a lot of ink that actually sits on top of the paper as it dries. This makes it more prone to smearing, smudging, or washing away. The color is gorgeous, but not without a tradeoff!

Comparable Colors:
Private Reserve Electric DC Blue
This was the only really close comparable color I could find, and it is pretty close. The PR even has a red sheen to it like Majestic Blue! It does show up a little darker in the swab, but written in a pen the two are nearly identical.
Pros:
Deep, saturated color
Unique red sheen
Writes wet, great flow
Good ink economy

Cons:
Low water resistance
Prone to smearing/smudging
Harder to clean from your pens (and your hands!)


Brian's Bottom Line:
This is actually one of my favorite colors, and I've used it extensively in a variety of pens (all performing well). It takes some work to flush it out of your pens, though I haven't experienced any problems with staining plastic parts like you will with other highly saturated inks (not to say it can't happen, though). This is one of the most popular Diamine inks, and one of the most popular blue inks we sell, and for good reason. Despite it's 'quirks', the color is so captivating that its worth the trouble!

Diamine Majestic Blue is available in 2ml samples for $1.25 and 80ml bottles for $12.75 from GouletPens.com.

***I do make my living from selling ink like Diamine, so take that into account for this review. Though my main purpose for the review is not to sell ink, I'd be lying if I said I don't hope for it as a consequence! I'm not paid at all to blog, so this review is a labor of love for me. I hope you enjoyed it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

John Gill Guest Blog: Diamine Emerald

Another thanks to John for his review of Diamine Emerald, and his comparison to Diamine Umber. If you're interested in posting your own guest review on Ink Nouveau, just email me! ~Brian Goulet

Diamine Emerald is another somewhat muted green, but warmer than Diamine Umber.  I actually saw yellow tones where the shading is light.  I tested Emerald on both the Clairefontaine Unplugged Staplebound Duo and G Lalo off-white, using a Pelikan m215 with Binder Italifine nib, which has a 0.9mm cursive italic on the front side and fine round tip on the backside of the nib. 

The flow is slightly less lubricated, IMO, than Diamine Umber, but not uncomfortably so. 

Below are a couple images of Emerald on the G Lalo paper, which minimizes the color differences between Emerald and Umber.  

In the image below, one can see the color differences when using both a wide and narrow nib.  The shading is also evident.  Like the Umber, there is some shading, but not tons.  I think dry times were a tiny bit better in Emerald than in Umber, but not enough to make any significant different.  The same can be said about it's water resistance. 
Here is a comparison shot showing both Umber (on the left) and Emerald (on the right) on the G Lalo paper.  Though the off-white paper makes their color tone differences less obvious, I can still see it when they are next to each other. 
Performance-wise, I think Umber has a slight advantage, because it lays down a slightly smoother line.  Again, it's not enough of a difference to make a big deal over, but I noticed it on these papers.  Color-wise, I prefer warmer tones of the Emerald, but I like the darker tone of the Umber.  The lighter tone of the Emerald in finer nibs is actually a bit too light for me to use regularly.

Diamine Emerald is available in 2ml samples and 80ml bottles from GouletPens.com.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

John Gill Guest Blog: Diamine Umber

Thanks to John for putting together this guest review for us. You can see John's comparison to Diamine Emerald here. If you're interested in doing your own guest blog on Ink Nouvea, just email me!~Brian Goulet

I have never been a green person, but I have recently been warming up to some greens.  Basically, I'm starting to like some non-standard greens.  This ink review was done with a Pelikan m215 with Binder Italifine nib, which has a 0.9mm cursive italic on the front side and fine round tip on the backside of the nib.  It is a pretty wet writer, so YMMV (your mileage may vary) when using this ink in fountain pens with varying flows.  I used two papers for this green.  The white paper used is 90g Clairefontaine in the small Unplugged Staplebound Duo, which is excellent.  The off-white paper is G Lalo.


The flow of the ink is excellent on these papers.  It shades pretty well in both wet and dry writers, so if you hate shading this won't be the ink for you.  I love shading, so it's just another plus for me. There is no bleedthrough or feathering on this paper.  This green seems is a cooler green with a touch of gray.  If you prefer warmer greens, you may not like this one. 

You can see below how the ink looks on a wider nib (0.9mm cursive italic) and a narrower nib (fine round tip).


I have found the drying time for the ink to be very good in most cases.  That said, a wet writer on high-quality paper is probably going to take a good bit longer as the image below shows.  Yet, the fine tip dried very quickly even on both papers.

As far as water resistance is concerned, it's not really suited to withstand water.  I didn't do a soak test, but I did drop a few drops of water on the page and wipe it off with a napkin, which is probably what I would do if I got water on my notebook while writing at a cafe.  For those instances, the ink seemed to fare decently.  At least I can still read the text.  Note that the ink was fully dried before applying the water.

Diamine Umber is available in 2ml samples and 80ml bottles from GouletPens.com.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ideas for improving my ink reviews

In the last week, I really pounded out some ink reviews, investing some serious time and effort to cover the inks as thoroughly as I could. However, after getting some feedback (I knew I would) after having posted them, I've decided I may want to change or add some things to be a little more thorough.

These are the videos I've been doing the last week that I want to use as a format for future reviews:

Diamine Pumpkin
Diamine Syrah
Noodler's Red
Noodler's Beaver 
Private Reserve Orange Crush

Things that I feel are very important to keep:

1) Doing both video and the written portion with color-adjusted scans
2) Using multiple types of both white and off-white, consistently made paper
3) Water resistance test


Here are some changes I definitely want to make:

1) Use a fine-nib pen for testing the inks in addition to the 1.5mm italic Pelikan m800 I've been using (to get a better range of pen usage)

2) Improve the lighting on my videos (granted, the lighting was bad for the last 4 reviews because I was filming in a different location than normal)

Aside from these changes, what else would you suggest could enhance my reviews? Keep in mind, it's all about time. For every review I do, it's several hours of work behind the scenes, mostly spent scanning, color adjusting scans, and editing/processing video. What I don't want to do is have these reviews become so burdensome that I either don't have time to do them, or I rush through them and do a sub-par job. I want them to be comprehensive and a good reference ongoing.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

2 New Private Reserve Colors to Come

I just got word that Private Reserve is going to be coming out with 2 new colors, Rose Rage and Sepia. I don't know if those will end up being the official names or not. I have samples of each supposedly coming my way as we speak.

Rose Rage is apparently going to be somewhat of a revival of an old bubblegum color (an aggressive pink) that PR used to have. Sepia is a brown color apparently similar to the sepia that Fharney's used to celebrate one of their anniversaries years ago, so I'm told. I'm glad to see this sepia color come, because PR has been pretty light on the brown inks, Chocolat is the only true brown they have.

That's all the information I have right now! As soon as I get these inks in I will start to play around with them and see what they're like in person. More coming soon!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Write Time at 9: October 19, 2010

Join us live every Tuesday night at 9pm EST for Write Time at 9! We talk pens, paper, ink, and random other things (writing related usually).


 Link to Ustream for the video.

This was a great broadcast! Rachel was able to join me for the whole thing as co-host, something we're going to aim to do from now on.

This week's broadcast had a focus on October's Ink Drop, which consisted of Diamine Pumpkin, Diamine Syrah, Noodler's Red, Noodler's Beaver, and Private Reserve Orange Crush. Click on any of the names of the inks to see my full review of each ink. I posted these previous to the broadcast, and took questions going deeper into each ink.

We also touched on some of the new Noodler's pens, which I received as samples from Luxury Brands as part of my normal shipment of Noodler's ink. I got two pens, one a rollerball that's refillable like a fountain pen (similar to the Visconti Eco-filler), and the other is a piston-fill fountain pen. I'm eager to thoroughly test them out!

The giveaway tonight was a full bottle of one of the ink colors used in this month's Ink Drop. Congrats to Mike, for winning a bottle of Syrah! He was the one to first guess the correct mixture of Binder's Burgundy, the ink Syrah was modeled after (50/50 blend of Waterman Purple and Sheaffer Red).

Be sure to join us next week, where we'll be sharing the broadcast live with Stephanie Smith from Spiritual Evolution of the Bean! Email me with any questions you'd like me ask her!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Noodler's Beaver Ink Review



Link to YouTube for more viewing options and other videos.

Noodler's Beaver is the last color we chose for the October 2010 Ink Drop. It was sort of a last-minute change, but we're glad we chose it. It's a nice solid brown color, leaning just a bit towards the red.



Bottle Shape/Size:
Noodler's bottles are nothing unique, in fact they're intentionally that way. They, like Private Reserve, put far more emphasis on cost effectiveness and ink performance than the design of the bottle, it's simply to transport ink. They are 3-ounce bottles (about 89ml), some of the biggest out there. This gives a good ink economy with a 3-ounce bottle listing for $12.50. The neck is large, so it's easy to fill big pens, and the bottles is also quite tall. The thing to watch out for is the bottles are filled to the brim, and that's no joke.

Ink on Paper:
I tested the ink on 4 different premium papers, including a water test.


Water Resistance: Low
Even with just mild water exposure, I could tell this ink was washing right away. It's a great color, but not for its water resistance. Then again, it's not advertised as such, so that's okay. 

Comparable Colors:
Diamine Rustic Brown- somewhat close, but more red and a bit darker
J. Herbin Terre de Feu- close in color, but not at all in saturation. It's about 50% weaker than Beaver.


 

Pros:
Good value 
Nice shading
Controlled on absorbent paper
Unique color
Easy to fill from bottle

Cons:
Low water resistance

Brian's Bottom Line:
This is an overlooked ink, much like many of the standard Noodler's colors. The brand attracts a lot of attention with the really flashy and waterproof inks, but their standard line of colors are actually quite nice with really good shading. Beaver is a unique color that I think many of you might enjoy if you're looking for a dark brown with a slight red hint.

Noodler's Beaver is available at GouletPens.com in 2ml ink samples for $1.25 as well as 3-ounce bottles for $12.00.

***I do make my living from selling ink like Noodler's, so take that into account for this review. Though my main purpose for the review is not to sell ink, I'd be lying if I said I don't hope for it as a consequence! I'm not paid at all to blog, so this review is a labor of love for me. I hope you enjoyed it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Private Reserve Orange Crush Ink Review

 

Link to YouTube for more viewing options.

Private Reserve Orange Crush is another color we chose for the October 2010 Ink Drop. It's an underrated color, one you don't hear much about. Well, you're gonna hear about it now!

Private Reserve Orange Crush

Bottle Shape/Size:
Private Reserve isn't known for their 'fancy' bottles. Like Noodler's they put more emphasis on the ink itself, and the bottle is simply a vehicle for transporting ink. For that reason, it's very economical, only $8.40 list for a 50ml bottle. Though it's not the prettiest thing, it has probably the widest neck of any ink bottle on the market. You can practically stick a garden hose in this bottle.

Ink on Paper:
I tested it on 4 premium papers to see the different aspects of the inks performance.

Private Reserve Orange Crush on 90g Habana
Private Reserve Orange Crush on 90g Webbie
Private Reserve Orange Crush on 72g Moleskine
Private Reserve Orange Crush on 80g Rhodia Dotpad

Water Resistance:
Though this isn't at all what I would classify as a 'water resistant ink', it actually did hold up okay. If you spill something on this, you could probably still read it okay, though it soaks up a lot of the orange and just leaves red behind.

Comparable Colors:
Noodler's Cayenne
Noodler's Antietam
That's about it! This is a pretty unique color.





Pros:
Good value
Big bottle opening
Excellent shading, not over saturated
Nice flow

Cons:
Somewhat long dry time
So-so on absorbent paper
Fugly label/bottle

Brian's Bottom Line:
This is a very unique ink, and it performs really well. Though you probably will have to search to find a use for this type of color, it is a really fun one to use. I would stick to more in resistant papers with this one, a lot of the nice performance and coloration might be lost on cheap paper. Though the bottle isn't flashy, it's an affordable ink with qualities much like more expensive inks. I highly recommend it. What better time to try it than in October?

Private Reserve Orange Crush is available at GouletPens.com in 2ml ink samples for $1.25 as well as 50ml bottles for $8.25.

***I do make my living from selling ink like Private Reserve, so take that into account for this review. Though my main purpose for the review is not to sell ink, I'd be lying if I said I don't hope for it as a consequence! I'm not paid at all to blog, so this review is a labor of love for me. I hope you enjoyed it.

I would love to hear what you think. You're welcome to leave comments!