Or, the Little Ink That Could
Black ink is black ink, right? You would certainly think so. However, when it comes to the world of fountain pen ink, that’s not quite the case.
Black fountain pen inks vary broadly in terms of wetness, darkness and hue. Some are very water resistant, most are not. Some are very well-behaved in pens, never clogging or staining, while others, especially water resistant ones, clog feeds and stain barrels. And when diluted, black inks can become shades of blue, green, or purple.
When it comes to black fountain pen inks, especially in relation to using them for drawing, I really like J. Herbin’s Perle Noire ink. This is for 6 reasons:
- It’s really dark. It’s definitely a black ink, not a grey ink.
- It’s wet so it flows nicely; it feels rich and inky.
- It doesn’t fade when erased over.
- When diluted, it first shades purple and then green, like a gobstopper. It’s very dynamic.
- It doesn’t stain, so I don’t worry about leaving it in my demonstrator pen.
- It’s NOT waterproof.
I generally keep my TWSBI 580AL inked up with Perle Noire. That combination behaves well in all but the cheapest paper, and I love the clean, fine lines I can create.
But this little ink can do much more than line drawings. It’s my favorite thing so far to do pointillism with. I used to use felt-tipped pens like the Kuretake Mangaka Zip pen and Uni Pin Pens, but I was frustrated by the way they faded so much when I erased my guidelines. This ink solves that problem. Plus, the “inky-ness” means much less pressure and much less muscle fatigue. The only caution here is that it becomes very easy to smear the ink, as it takes a few seconds to dry, but I found the same issue with felt-tipped pens.
Perhaps where this ink is really fun though is in creating washes, à la watercolor. This is why I love that it’s not waterproof. As I mentioned above, as it comes into contact with water, it becomes a dark dusky purple, and as you push it further, it becomes green. It has so much depth.
J. Herbin Perle Noire was my first ink. I knew I wanted a black ink for drawing, one that was dark and wet, but reasonably fast drying and well-behaved. I spent a lot of time researching, and finally decided that I needed a bottle of J. Herbin Perle Noire, and it’s been a fantastic choice (if I do say so myself…)
All the opinions expressed in this blog are my own. I was not compensated for this review.