Day #23: Wonderland

Inkvent Day #23: Diamine Wonderland

Wonderland is a bright orange standard ink color. Look at how clear this bottle is.

This bright ink shows some lovely shading on my Tomoe River Paper.

On my swatch card there is a beautiful underlying yellow color showing through.

Another gorgeous ink wash. All of the Diamine inks from this calendar has performed well as an ink wash.

So far, Wonderland is the brightest orange ink I have in my collection. It’s a standard ink with subtle shading and a bright yellow underlying color.

In the short amount of time I’ve been using this color, it has grown on me. To me this is a happy color and I can see using this ink in my artwork. It would be a lovely color to use in my writing journal as well. It would definitely stand out among my teal, blue, and purple ink paragraphs.

Ink: Diamine Wonderland (standard)

Pens: Glass dip pen. Automatic pen.

Journal: GLP Creations with Tomoe River Paper (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

Day #21: Brandy Snap

Inkvent Day #21: Diamine Brandy Snap

Brandy Snap is a good name for this standard ink.

This ink has a bit of shading and a tiny, tiny bit of sheen.

This ink reminds me of a color somewhere between Burnt Sienna and raw Sienna from my watercolor paints.

For a standard ink, it responds well with water and creates a lovely ink wash.

When I first saw this color on my swatch card, it reminded me of Robert Oster Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon leans more towards orange. I checked a few more swatches and realized my other ink colors leaned towards orange or brown. Brandy Snap sits somewhere in the middle.

(Note: I will be back to add a swatch comparison picture)

This is a lovely and bright brandy or Sienna color. The yellow underlying color reminds me of Diamine Candle Light from this same Inkvent calendar. This is on my wish list for it’s unique color and for use in my artwork.

Ink: Diamine Brandy Snap (standard)

Pens: Glass dip pen. Automatic pen.

Journal: GLP Creations with TRP (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

Day #17: Thunderbolt

Inkvent Day #17: Diamine Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt is a bold blue standard ink.

It’s a bright blue ink color with a bit of shading.

My swatch card shows a lovely coppery sheen.

Depending on the lighting, it could also be a rose gold sheen.

Here’s my Conklin fountain pen with rose gold trim. It could be my pen picks up some of the rose gold sheen. Still, quite an amazing color for a standard ink.

For use in my artwork, I would lessen this intense blue color by adding water.

At first, Thunderbolt looks like a regular blue ink color and I thought I would do a quick blog post for this morning. I am apparently wrong about this. This is a bold blue ink that leans a bit towards purple. The color reminds me of Robert Oster’s Dragon’s Night (purple leaning blue). It also reminds me of Diamine Kensington Blue. Thunderbolt sits somewhere in between these two colors.

The sheen is stunning in this blue ink. Upon further inspection, I can see a combination of copper and rose gold. I believe it’s the sheen that is making this standard blue color appear more interesting and lively.

Ink: Diamine Thunderbolt (standard)

Pens: Glass dip pen. Automatic pen. Conklin Duragraph Exclusive Brushed Titanium with rose gold trim.

Journal: GLP Creations with TRP (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

Day #15: Night Shade

Ink: Diamine Night Shade

Another standard and beautiful purple ink that leans towards blue.

For some of the standard inks in this calendar, I’ve been using my glass dip pen for my writing samples.

Like the other standard inks this also has a bit of shading. There’s a tiny bit of black sheen. My swatch card shows some pink and mostly bright blue undertones.

Another beautiful ink wash. A mysterious looking ink with some personality.

This is an interesting ink color. At first, I thought I was seeing a blue ink leaning towards purple. The I put my swatch card against a few other swatch colors and I see purple leaning towards blue. It’s a beautiful and unusual color.

Ink: Diamine Night Shade (standard)

Pens: Glass dip pen. Automatic pen.

Journal: GLP Creations with TRP (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

Day #14: Red Robin

Ink: Diamine Red Robin

Red Robin is a standard reddish ink color.

I like this red ink with the bits of shading. It’s more of a dark red and not too bright. It has some personality.

There is a bit of dark bronze-like sheen.

The underlying color reminds me of coral.

After going through my swatches, I found a color that is similar to Red Robin.

Oh and I found these as well. I added Charred Hickory to this mix as another person mentioned seeing the color brown.

Another ink that produces another beautiful ink wash.

This is a beautiful red ink that leans a bit towards coral. The only brown I can see on my samples is from the sheen. I’m on the fence as to adding this ink to my wish list. I already have too many bottles of red inks in my collection. I would add a larger bottle just to use in my artwork because of the coral undertones. I’m glad I have my 12ml bottle to play with.

Ink: Diamine Red Robin (standard)

Pens: Glass dip pen. Automatic pen.

Journal: GLP Creations with TRP (68gsm).

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

Day #5: Harmony

I’m glad there’s a break from all that shimmy and sheen from yesterday. Let me take a minute to recompose myself. Breathe in. Breathe out. Okay, onto the next ink color. ūüėÉ

Inkvent Day #5: Diamine Harmony

Diamine Harmony is a lovely purple and standard ink.

Since this ink has no shimmer nor sheen, I decided to use my glass dip pen to write with. Harmony has some lovely shading.

From my swatch, I can see a tiny bit of blue along with the pinky undertone color. Also I can see a tiny bit of dark sheen.

I was going through my swatch cards and most of the purple ink colors I have leans into the blue color range. Here are three colors I have that come close to Harmony.

Here’s my pen & ink sketch.

I like this purple ink color. It produces a gorgeous ink wash on my art paper. This color is not too bright and not too dark. Could be a “just right for me” purple color.

Ink: Diamine Harmony (standard)

Pen: Glass dip pen. Automatic pen.

Journal: GLP Creations TRP (68gsm)

Paper: Grumbacher Mixed Media

An Automatic Pen, a Pilot Parallel Pen, and My Opus 88 Pen Hack

I’ve changed up how I do my fountain pen ink swatching by using a way cool tool called the automatic pen. I’ve mostly used it to swatch ink colors in my ink journal which I have posted a few pictures from my previous blog posts.

My automatic pen used to create my ink swatches in my Stalogy 365 ink journal

I saw someone use an automatic pen to create their swatches on their Col-o-ring cards and also in their fountain pen ink journal. I thought that was the neatest thing to use and had to try one out. The automatic pen puts down enough ink to see any sheening properties the ink might have (depending on paper). It has improved my swatching process as well as saved me from using q-tips to smear the ink on paper.

I like how the automatic pen holds the ink in it’s “nib” area (sandwiched between two metal plates) and how easily the nib can be cleaned. I dip the nib in some water, swish the water around, and dry off the nib. I know many folks use this type of pen for calligraphy and have to re-dip the nib when the ink runs out. That is a similar process for pointed pen calligraphy.

Side of the nib

The automatic pen reminds me of my Pilot Parallel pens. The only difference between the two, my Pilot pen can use a cartridge, converter, or be used as an eyedropper pen.

I use my Pilot Parallel for decorative writing (cards, small signage, etc) and for sketching. The nib on this pen uses a lot of ink. I could easily go through an ink cartridge within a few short hours of writing and sketching.

Close up of my Pilot Parallel pen with 1.5mm nib

Then I came across a “hack” for my Parallel pen. I could put my Pilot Parallel nib into my Opus 88 Omar fountain pen. What?! I immediately saw how beneficial this hack could be with using a larger ink capacity pen with a decorative writing nib. This combination would allow me to write and sketch longer than a few hours or even a day or two.

Pilot nib unit with a tiny o-ring

The Pilot nib and feed can be removed easily by pulling out the nib from the grip/section. On the Opus 88 Demonstrator, just unscrew the nib unit (nib/feed/collar) from the grip/section. There’s a tiny o-ring that also needs to be removed and saved with the Opus nib unit. Take the Pilot nib and feed unit and push it into the Opus grip/section until you can feel it click into place. That’s it!

My Opus hack!

I put my Opus nib unit along with it’s o-ring and store it in a zip lock bag for safe keeping

Here’s a writing sample from my hack:

Oooops! Correction “to”= “too”

Why do this hack?

  • Personally, my hand prefers a girthy pen and my fingers relax more while I write
  • The Pilot Parallel nibs lay down a lot of ink
  • Opus 88 pens have a huge ink capacity that allow for longer writing sessions

The Pilot Parallel nib and feed fits into the Opus 88 Omar demonstrator and the Opus 88 Koloro Demonstrator pen as long as they use the JoWo #6 nib unit.

Pens: Automatic Pen, Pilot Parallel 1.5 mm, and Opus 88 Omar Tainan

Ink: Pilot Iroshizuku Ku Jaku

Paper: Ayush Paper pad (fountain pen friendly)

Diamine Ink Sample Swatches

I have been collecting a few vials of ink samples. Sometimes I might get one or two with my orders. Sometimes an online vendor will send me one to try out. I typically wait until I collect more than half a dozen vials and block out some time in the morning to create my swatches.

This morning looked like a great time to get this done.

I posted in one of the fountain pen groups that I was looking for a good silver shimmering fountain pen ink to add to my palette. Some of you might remember a sketch I did of my first Benu pen, the beautiful Euphoria Bora Bora, and I was missing a silver shimmering ink to create the silver highlights in my pen. I ended up using my Daniel Smith silver iridescent watercolor to fill in.

I ended up ordering Diamine Moon Dust and Snow Storm. Since I was on a Diamine Shimmertastic frame of mind, I decided to add samples of Cocoa Shimmer and Blue Flame.

My four Diamine ink samples

Wait a minute. I just listed four inks when I just mentioned I will swatch a minimum of six inks. There were two other Robert Oster inks I had, but since they were not Diamine inks and not shimmering inks I did not include them in this post.

There’s a reason why I wanted to devote this post to Diamine inks. I have enjoyed using and experimenting with their inks. Diamine was the second brand of shimmering inks I tried and fell in love with their Shimmertastic line of colors. My first shimmering brand I tried was Jacques Herbin and I will save that for future blog post.

My ink swatching setup

I love how the Diamine ink colors are saturated. They are bold and vibrant colors. They also make great pen and ink washes. I find most of their ink colors (that I have) are somewhat wet. Personally, I think wet inks make great pen and ink washes on watercolor paper.

Here’s Moon Dust and Snow Storm

The Moon Dust looks like a neutral gray which is what I need for my palette of colors.

Cocoa Shimmer is a beautiful saturated brown ink with beautiful gold shimmers.

The Cocoa Shimmer is on my wish list. This is a gorgeous brown color that will work in my landscape palette.

In my ink swatch Stalogy journal I use the remaining ink on my Q-tip and dabble ink onto the paper. I take my water brush and go over the ink with water. This allows me to see the ink’s characteristics.

My ink swatch/wash journal (Stalogy 365)

Pen: Glass dip pen

Inks: Diamine Moon Dust, Snow Storm, Cocoa Shimmer, and Blue Flame

Paper: Col-o-ring swatch cards and Stalogy 365 journal

Dip Pens and Calligraphy (My Version)

It snowed yesterday and we had sleet and rain overnight. This morning when I woke up it was a chilly 28 degrees. Our neighborhood roads were “crunchy” as I could hear our neighbors driving out. You know it’s bad when Hubby could not open the doors on his truck.

Yes. I’m having a late start this morning. Or I should say early afternoon right now.

I spent a few minutes this morning with my dip pen and Nikko G nib. Practicing my calligraphy or my style of writing. The last time I had a practice session was four (4) months ago. Needless to say, I was a bit rusty. This morning. I just went with the flow.

Here’s my writing sample from this morning:

My practice session from this morning and a few quotes

It was a quick practice session lasting about 15 minutes. I have to say it’s like riding a bike. My muscle memory was a bit rusty and my hand was a bit tired towards the 10 minute mark. Looking at the previous picture, I can see I have to work on spacing and writing straight.

Here’s a slide showing my previous writing session four months ago and the current writing sample:

I used the same dip pen and nib in both writing samples. You will notice that I used fountain pen ink. My practice sessions are more enjoyable when I’m writing with colored inks. Yes, I was bored with the black Sumi ink I used when I first started into this Calligraphy rabbit hole. For me, this is a great way to use up my bottles of ink.

Here are the brands I’ve been using so far and have had really good results.

I pour the ink into glass or plastic jars with wide mouths. I will then use these jars for dipping my nibs into the ink. That way I’m not contaminating the original bottles of ink.

I pour my ink into glass or plastic jars with wide mouths.

I keep mentioning jars with wide mouths. That’s because the dip pens I use are obliques. They have a brass angular nib holder:

Here’s a few empty jars I have on hand. Note the width/distance of my brass nib holder and the grip of my pen holder.

There are times where I can’t my nib into the ink. I will tilt my jar a bit just enough to get the ink to cover the nib and the breather hole.

Here’s a few of my dip pens that I use:

An assortment of dip pens that I use. Can you tell? I prefer chunky grips.

I originally started with a straight pen holder (white grip) like the one you see in the middle of the previous picture. After a few rough starts with calligraphy, I started to use the oblique holders. I found it was easier to control the pen. There’s also a slight spring or bounce when writing with an oblique. That has helped with my “rhythm” as I write.

I have tried out several different nibs. I’m still poking my paper with the finer and fancier nibs and hope to graduate to these nibs later. For now, it’s the “G” nibs.

These are the three popular “G” nibs (top to bottom): Nikko G, Tachikawa G, and the most popular Zebra G.

I started out with the Zebra Gs and found the nib did not hold a lot of ink. I was constantly dipping. Constantly stopping during my practice session. I did some research and found out there were two other popular “G” nibs available that hold more ink: Nikko G and Tachikawa G.

If you look in the previous picture, you will see the top two nibs (Nikko & Tachikawa) have ridges along the tip of the nib. The Zebra G at bottom is smooth at the tip. The ridges hold more ink on the nib.

For my practice sessions, I use my Rhodia Reverse Book. The paper in this book has a dot grid format. I found that regular grid lines in the other Rhodia pads were distracting to me. The “Reverse” in this book means I can use this book with the spiral on the side or rotate the book to use with the spiral on the top. I enjoy using this with the spiral on the top where it doesn’t interfere while I’m writing.

To keep track of my dip pens and nibs, I store them in a Sterlite plastic case. As you can see I can store a lot of pens in this case.

I know I covered a lot of areas and did not go into great detail. That will be for future posts. Just wanted to give you the basics and things to think about for your own use or further research.


The “G” nibs are wonderful nibs for those who want to start learning Calligraphy.

Not limited to black ink. Colored inks are wonderful to use and brighten up writing samples.

I limit my practice session to 10-15 minutes in the morning and if I have time another 10-15 minute session in the afternoon. I personally have found that at the 10 minute mark, my hand will get tired as well as my fingers from holding the dip pen. My writing will also get sloppy. The shorter practice sessions are easier to carve out during a busy day. I like doing this first thing in the morning (after coffee) as the best time for me. I am alert and ready to start my day.

Practice lower case first. Develop muscle memory in forming each letter. Later learn to join the letters to create words.

Practice the alphabet. Practice writing favorite quotes, songs, etc.

I still have a ways to go. The important thing for me is to enjoy my practice sessions and my writing adventures.