A technophile lawyer rediscovers the joys of pen and paper

Monday, January 24, 2011

Do you match up pen and ink colors?

It seems that a few of my pens almost require ink of a certain color group. Not because of performance issues, but because any other hue just doesn't seem to match the personality of the pen. Three cases in point:

Monteverde Invincia Stealth
Monteverde Invincia Stealth

This is the most obvious. I tried other inks with this pen. But this pen is so completely, utterly black that any ink color other than black just doesn't seem right. Even Noodler's Lexington Gray seems to be pushing the envelope. This is all very unfortunate, as I don't really care for black ink! (So can someone please explain why I have about 8 samples of assorted blacks?) This is giving me second thoughts about a Parker Premier Black Edition.

Brown Esterbrook J
Brown Vintage Esterbrook J

I've used some blues in this pen, and even a burgundy or two, but I keep coming back to Private Reserve Copper Burst. If I want to stretch the pen's range, it's Iroshizuku Tsukushi (Field Horsetail Brown - a slightly reddish brown). Lots of browns would probably work. Oranges might work, too.

Blue TWSBI Diamond 530
Blue TWSBI Diamond 530 XF
I'm still on my first inking of this pen, but I can't imagine shifting away from blue. Luckily, while I initially found blues boring, I absolutely must have a blue for work, and I've got some blues I find enough out of he ordinary to be interesting. Pictured is Diamine China Blue, but I also like Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo.

I think one reason I may be doing this lately is that I keep way too many pens inked at one time, and this is one easy way to remember what inks I have in these pens. I'm not sure.

Oddly, on other pens, the color does not seem to call for any particular ink. Nothing seems unusual flowing from a Lamy 2000. Even other all blue pens, like my blue Safari and blue Waterman Expert, feel comfortable with any color ink. So, what is it about these three?

What about you? Do you find yourself color-matching any of your pens and inks? Or perhaps consistently mis-matching them?



  1. Well, I've just started fresh on the pen/ink craze but I generally try to match the color of my pens to the ink. In fact when planning a future ink purchase I will also attempt to pick a new pen that I would like to put it in. This rule isn't set in stone though. I will be blogging about this at a later date but I have a yellow Pilot Prera which has Noodler's Navajo Turquoise in it so... talk about crazy combinations.

  2. The only time I go 'monochromatic' is with black pens and black/neutral gray ink. Otherwise, I tend to match up warm/cool colors when I can. I've got Poppy Red in a deep, dark navy blue pen right now.

    I also use certain inks in certain journals just because of the ruling color. I like messing with color theory a lot.

  3. LOL! I thought I was the only one who did this. I've deliberately mis-matched some just to try force myself away from this madness. But, as you say, there are some pens that demand it. My purple Plumix feels alien without purple ink in it.

  4. I usually try to match the color of the ink to the color of the pen as well. For instance, in my black Pilot 78G I have Noodler's Bulletproof Black. In my black Pentel Excalibur, also Noodler's Bulletproof Black. In my green Pilot 78G, I have Private Reserve DC Supershow Green. In my red Parker Jotter, I have Diamine Monaco Red. In my blue Waterman Phileas, I have Waterman Florida Blue. In my dark red Esterbrook LJ, I have Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses. In my black Pilot Plumix, I didn't use the blue cartridge it came with and used a black one instead. In my dark blue-ish Esterbrook J I used Parker Quink Blue-Black until it ran out. I do have a few pens with mismatching colors, but I guess I just like the coordination. :)

  5. I don't care as much about matching pens with ink as I use to. My current favorite is Private Reserve American Blue in my Pelikan M205 Demonstrator. But I also loaded Noodler's Gruene Cactus into my girlfriend's pink Lamy Safari, and she loves how much it clashes.

  6. Thanks for the insight. I have the very same Esterbrook J and I only ever keep Private Reserve Chocolat in it, but I like your idea to try the Copper Burst. This seems appropriate since Esterbrook first advertised this pen in the mid fifties under the color "copper." They seem to be made for each other.