Here we are at the end of April and it’s time to conclude my 30 days, 4 pens, 1 ink challenge. I think I’ve surprised myself by sticking with it because I was a little rocky midway through the month. Once I abandoned the wet, medium-nibbed Waterman Exception, I came to enjoy the Scribo Notturno Viola ink in my finer-nibbed pens and felt more comfortable with my journal pages.

Overall, there were a couple of ways in which I felt this ink didn’t meet my needs: the colour is rather too dark and too dense for my tastes, and I found it a little pernickety about paper quality. Now, the paper quality thing is not unique to this ink. Indeed, most purple inks I’ve tried have been challenging with more absorbent types of paper. Even in pens with the finest nibs, the Notturno Viola was spotting through the paper in my Museums & Galleries’ Perpetual Planner and in my Paperblanks’ hardcover journal. It wasn’t bad enough to call it bleedthrough, and I was perfectly happy using both sides of the page, but for me it was a little offputting. When I tried it on William Hannah paper, the problem disappeared, so I expect coated papers (like Rhodia, Clairefontaine and Stamford Notebook Company, for example) would be fine.

The ace up my sleeve was the new Cross Beverley which I inked up with Waterman Tender Purple. This provided me with some welcome relief from the dark Notturno Viola and I ended up using it by preference in my planner. It is worth pointing out, though, that this ink was equally reluctant to behave well with the paper in the planner and journal, especially as this pen has a medium nib with a good ink flow. So it was mainly the brighter shade of purple which jollied things along. There is still a bit of ink in this one so I’m probably going to continue with it to write my journal until it runs dry.

Concentrating on the one main ink colour for the month gave me a chance to compare the four pens I had selected and it was a good learning experience. The Waterman Exception is a fantastic pen with a nib which doesn’t suit my taste. I haven’t entirely abandoned the idea of experimenting with different inks to see if I can find a magical combination, possibly combined with a journal containing blank paper. The Lamy Studio remains a wonderful workhorse pen which is comfortable to write with and, together with the Iguana Blue Kaweco, adds a bright zing of colour to my predominantly dark blue pen collection. The Parker Sonnet is starting to come into its own, having been a slow burner when I first bought it. We seem to be getting used to each other now, which is heartening. The Cross Century II remains the hero of the whole collection, combining faultless performance, an elegant design, and high sentimental value.

Definitely not my own artwork beneath the pen

So now, at the end of the month, I have written dry two of the pens – the Lamy Studio and the Parker Sonnet. I still have about 1/3 of the fill remaining in the Cross Century II. As I mentioned, the Waterman Exception was abandoned, though I had got down to only a drop remaining in the converter so I could have written it dry if I’d persevered. I wrote 57 sides in my journal (Paperblanks’ Midi size – 170 x 120mm) which ensured that each pen got a good workout. I also got about 12 sides of my notebook filled over the course of the month. These pages are 197 x 133mm, so a bit larger than the journal, but a bit smaller than A5. I only have a couple more pages to use in the notebook, so I’m having a think about how I progress from here.

One thing this experiment has truly driven home to me is how much I like having a red ink on the go. I’ve missed it like crazy through this month and have rectified the issue by using red ink for my May 2023 horoscope spread in the journal. Ah, that’s better!

I’m going to use up the Graf von Faber-Castell India Red cartridges I have, then move on to my Diamine Wild Strawberry. I hope I’ll be through both of these inks by Christmas. I’m trying to reduce my inks to just a core few – enough to provide variety, but not so many that they feel like they will last to the end of eternity. I do feel that I have enough red and purple ink to see me out, but I’ll be happy to prove myself wrong. The other colour I have inked up to start May is Diamine Pelham Blue which I’ve put in the Kaweco Collection Iguana Blue. Now, this is a well-behaved ink which plays very nicely indeed with the paper in the perpetual planner, even with the medium nib of the Kaweco.

So, farewell April, just hold the door open for May on your way out!

2 thoughts on “30 days, 4 pens, 1 ink – the wrap

  1. There is something strangely warming about a photograph of pens set on a journal with handwriting. Again Alison, such lovely matching washi tape.

    You have inspired me to sort my pens and inks for May. The first time.

    1. Thanks, Tim, I was very pleased with how the whole May horoscope spread turned out. I have lamentably got myself into the situation where I have a number of pens waiting to be cleaned. I blame it on the Covid which I contracted over Easter – though I think there may be a statute of limitations on how long I can use that excuse! I am now trying to encourage myself to make sure I clean one pen per day.

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