Ink Review: Noodler’s Suffragist Carmine

Hello again!

Happy weekend, even for those of you, like me, who work tirelessly all weekend.
Hopefully, this review of a whimsical, happy pink ink will make your day just a little better.

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So, as the title suggests, this one’s about a specific ink which seems to have been a limited edition. It also happens to be my perfect plain pink ink — at least for now. I purchased it at Goulet Pens, who happens to have an awesome selection of Noodler’s inks. This one was an exclusive, apparently. But reading different sources and blog posts also said that Nathan Tardiff had crafted this ink for the Commonwealth Pen show. So, whatever the case, maybe it’s a little bit of yesterday’s news, but I love it anyway. And without further ado, here’s a few reasons why:

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Plain, unedited scan on Tomoe River Paper.

I picked up this ink before Goulet Pens could even post it on instagram — that was around mid-October last year, and I didn’t even know it was limited edition when I purchased it on a whim. I just knew I had to have the ink. I don’t really know what’s up with pink ink for me — my favorite color is teal anyway — but this one really stuck with me instantaneously. It’s still one of my favorites, and — if I do say so myself — it looks pretty darn classy in that TWSBI Eco of mine.

People who know me from Instagram know I am rather ink obsessed. Needlessly to say, I had acquired and used pink inks prior to this, like Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji and J. Herbin Rouge Opera. Both of those are favorites, but they are different both and tone and behavior. This one is a warm pink, very saturated and doesn’t really have that shade or sheen in a fine nibbed pen. Now, if you have seen even a row in my instagram, I search for the sheeniest of the sheeny inks. But hey. Maybe you weren’t aware that I write my novel by hand (in many a color with many a pen in a Clairfontaine clothbound notebook) and an ink that is saturated and somewhat flat has better readback than some others. Sure it’s a bright pink, but because the color is so saturated, it’s pleasant for me to write whole pages with, and in fact I have. I’d post pictures of my precious draft but then I’d have to cut that segment or have you all spoiled for when the best seller hits bookstore shelves somewhere in the extremely and totally probable foreseeable future. (:

Anyway.

I’ve never had a poor experience with how a Noodler’s ink performs. I find them to be mostly very saturated and well behaved in most pens. I don’t use a ton of permanent inks, but of the ones I have used, Noodler’s inks are the best and easiest to clean out of pens. So even though Suffragist Carmine isn’t a permanent ink (like, at all, as you can see above) it still is excellent and dependable in all the ways this brand of ink is known to be.

I think it compares most to Sailor Storia Dancer Pink, but the benefit lies in this one not being a pigmented ink. I keep my TWSBI eco filled with this one and it hasn’t stained the cap or body, and cleans really easily…that’s just not the case with any pigmented inks if you leave them too long — take my word for it.

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I came from a world of pointed pen calligraphy and watercolor artwork, so when an ink paints as well as this one does, that’s a real treat, too. The color on Maruman Mnemosyne paper does feather a little and there is a bit of show through, but it layers well and writes smoothly. Tomoe River, of course, handles it like it’s no big deal, even with the the amount used with my watercolor brushes. It’s a fun shade for me to work with, especially in these kinda eh, kinda gray rainy April days. It brightens up my work notes, dries in an alright time while I’m working on a tech support call, and flows really well from any pen I’ve used it in so far. My handwriting, as you can see, is big and loopy and a little lopsided, but the ink keeps up with me and looking at it…at least from my perspective…hides a few imperfections just because the ink is such a happy shade. Who cares if I’m not writing in perfect Spencerian? Check out how perfect that pink shade is! Heh.

In the TWSBI, the ink is really wet, making the fine nib put down ink as easily as a broad nib would. I almost always write with a fine nib, and inks that feel dry tend to be pushed to the back of the ink shelf — Suffragist Carmine has the honored place of first on the left of the top of my shelf, right in the easiest to see place. It’s got a permanent place in my rotation. While it may not be completely business appropriate, I use it in my notes at work because most of my notes and tasks are for personal use. I do upgrade to a black pen and a blue-black ink for meetings with managers…don’t worry, my job isn’t that whimsical…(:

I think if you’re looking for a happy shade of pink that’s saturated, is no fuss and no bells and whistles, cleans out well and is bright without being obnoxious, this one’s a winner. I know it’s not widely available these days, but hey. Maybe you can find some on the FPN or, if you do ink swaps with some other pen friends like I do, maybe you can get a sample somehow. I might be inclined to send a sample or two to a pen friend, who knows?

Either way, I hope you enjoyed the review, and that the pictures and colors helped bring a little light to your Sunday morning routine!

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Literary Inks // Vol 1: Gandalf

Hello again!

This is exciting — a brand new blog series to try out. I was planning something that would require a little digging in to other communities in order to tie things back to our world. In browsing some art, I found I couldn’t stop looking up fan art for some of my favorite stories, and thus this series was born.

Literary Inks is going to be my reasoning behind a book character and a fountain pen matchup — probably an ink matchup too, if I’m feeling extra creative or find something perfect. I may not have these pens in real life, and so I’ll be looking for creative photographs of said pens. Please feel free to use my contact form on the “Contact” page to submit any ideas!

That said, this week’s character spotlight is held by the great Gandalf the Grey from many of Tolkien’s books about Middle Earth.

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Credit: [x]

Gandalf the Grey is obviously the wizard of the group if we are talking about The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings. He’s part of the Maiar in the Silmarillion, and was a student of Vala Nienna. (Oh gosh, please just look it up or I might go on for ages!) Anyway, he spent a lot of time with someone who was essentially the goddess of grief and sorrow — but courage too. This guy traveled around Middle Earth for ages beyond comprehension. Even though he did hang around Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves and Eagles an awful lot, and tended to be shown walking more often than not, he did some incredible things.

My favorite of which was that he fought the Balrog…which was, essentially, a firey demon, and came out alright on the other side of it.

So I picked the Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age with an extra fine nib as the pen dear Gandalf would use, were fountain pens a thing in Middle Earth.

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Credit to Anderson Pens! [x]

Grail pen though it might be for me, Gandalf would have one because it has that old world charm to it. It’s made of gold and volcano which might signify to himself that he defeated said balrog fire beastie. (…sorry, channeled Jack Sparrow there for a second.) I could see him carrying a fauxdori that was made out of unassuming but beautiful, high quality leather — like maybe one ShopJot would make — filled with tons of notes in several languages about magic and the world…ya know, same sort of stuff you and I would write about.

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Credit: [x]

The book would be tied with a fabric ribbon made by elf tailors that keeps it from getting lost. He wouldn’t always have time for sheening inks to dry, so I think he’d keep a bottle of Diamine Silver Fox or Rohrer & Kligner Alt-Bordeaux wrapped up and tucked away. Or since he was such a practical wizard, I’d say he might have even invested in a Traveling Ink Well if such things had existed in his time.

Maybe his notebook would hold a few sketches. Maybe future Middle Earth anthropologists would find the journal and he would walk out of nowhere and snatch it right on back, stating something akin to not angering wizards. Maybe he would share his notes, or write secretly how rude the modern world had become and how awful all these machines were. (Wait, that might sound like Gandalf becomes Tolkien at the end…)

Either way, each time he picked up the Visconti Homo Sapiens, he’d think back to a more nostalgic time, ya know, at the top of the snowiest mountain what with all the fire vanquished from Moria. So so much better a memory than anything modern, eh?

So what do you think? Good match, or flight of fancy? (Probably both.) What would your match for Gandalf be?

Write me your suggestions in the comments below!

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Review: Written Word Recycled Newspaper Colored Pencils

Well, hello!

Welcome to Inkwell & Whimsy. I suppose you’re wondering if maybe this is just another average every day stationary blog — and you’re probably on the right track. But it’s more like an every so often at night blog, trust me. (: And if you’ve ever seen my instagram, there’s very little about me that’s average. And that’s okay.

So night blogging? Stationery? Halfway decent photographs? Bring it on, right? Hopefully?

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Me too.
First thing’s first — the question about a certain lack of ink in said colored pencils may or may not have crossed your mind. There’s a method to my madness, trust me.

Today I am reviewing Written Word Pencil Co. Recyled Newspaper Colored Pencils. I found them on sale at the Staples near my work and I couldn’t resist. Not because I am a huge user of pencils in general, or some over the top advocate of eco friendly things (…I am, but that’s beside the point) but because colored pencils were my first medium for hand lettering.

And here’s the thing — Hand Lettering led to brush pens which led to water colors which led to pointed pen calligraphy which brought me right up to the rabbit hole called Fountain Pens. And you know what? I thought it fitting to bring you a new perspective on a fairly simple and commonplace tool in the first post I’ve ever written for this blog.

You know — how they say to build from the ground up.

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So. Here goes nothing!

Written Word Colored Pencils come in a cute little recycled card stock box which is strong enough to be reused. The pack I found was supposed to be 24 colors, but ended up around 22, because I swear there was at least one double, but I’ll get to that in a moment. There are exactly 24 pencils in the bunch.

Each one is made of — you guessed it — newspapers! They come with presharpened cores and are capped on the end with plastic. Printed on each pencil is “It’s Academic [Recycle Symbol] I’m Made From Recycled Newspaper” and color names are not visibly listed. Don’t worry — I made up my own.

The cores aren’t overly soft, nor do they write like nails. The pencils themselves are of normal pencil size, and they do not come with any sort of sharpener or eraser in the box. As I said, I found ’em at Staples — and they were listed at $9.99 + tax.

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As for the actual experience of coloring/writing with these, I am finding most of the colors rather pleasant. I definitely wouldn’t call these rich, per se, though some colors are more saturated than others. They aren’t completely smooth, either, and yet don’t have much in terms of point retention. They are like writing with a #2 pencil for a school test, which isn’t bad, but it’s definitely not your precious artist’s pencils you keep stashed away at home. It’s right in between.

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So if they’re mostly alright pencils, what would I use them for? Well … I used to sketch a lot of things in colored pencils. I was pretty much an art major through high school, as in I took every single class I possibly could fit into my schedule. I wanted to make. I wanted to paint. I wanted to be an art teacher at that point in my life. I sketched with less expensive and less soft pencils like these, to essentially build layers in different colors for a later project so I could go back and see the pieces. I would use these sorts of pencils to hand letter a birthday card — there’s just something so nostalgic about all the sketchy lines cores like these can create.

But they aren’t soft. They don’t lay down much color without a bit of a struggle. Some colors are exactly the *SAME* as other pencils — I swear I had 3 of the same blue. But they don’t specify 24 colors on the box — just says a 24 pack. I wouldn’t use many of these for coloring books because the colors don’t go down smooth with every one, as PrismaColor colored pencils would.

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In conclusion — I’d say these are average quality pencils, but have dear to my heart eco friendly tendencies. I love the construction of them and their packaging, I love that they have a good nostalgic quality when put down on paper. I don’t like the repeat colors and I don’t like that they aren’t as saturated as they could be.

And damn if I only knew what articles were written on the newspapers they’re made from…what stories each of these pencils tells…my goodness!

Overall, I’d recommend them for non professionals who want to sketch and practice different hand lettering styles, not really for the coloring book craze or for saturated and bright drawings.

They remind me of me sketching the map of Middle Earth in colored pencil, which later became a huuuuuge painted mural in my school. I love remembering how painstakingly I copied Tolkien’s hand over and over again until it felt almost natural. It began with pencils like these. And hell, maybe you’re here thinking your journey might start in colored pencils, too.

I hope so.

Stay tuned for more ink, more whimsy and more reviews, which I hope will be useful!

These pencils were purchased with my own money, and were honestly reviewed as part of my normal tendency to acquire a myriad writing utensils.