Mini-Tip Monday: Ink Journal

Mini-Tip Monday: Ink Journal


Hi everyone, it’s Kara here from Boho Berry, and I am back with a brand new video for you today. This week’s video is all about my new ink journal. And an ink journal is something that I’ve always wanted to do ever since I started getting into fountain pens and all of the different inks and everything out there. I wanted to start keeping a journal to document, kinda the different properties, what I like and don’t like about each different ink that I try. So, this was my attempt at putting that all into one notebook, and I’m using a Rhodia webnotebook. Rhodia has notoriously great paper for fountain pens, so I decided to use this Rhodia notebook for my ink journal, so that I would minimize the bleed through on the pages when I’m testing out different inks. So we’re just going to open her up and dive right in, so I can show you what I have done inside. Alright, let’s see. So on the very first page here, I have my cover page, which I just did some little handlettering, “Ink journal”. And then open it right up and it goes straight to the index, so I decided to use an indexing system where I can kind of do a little swab of the colour, was my initial plan, then I decided just to use whatever pen I have the ink in and do some hash marks, and then I have the page number that it’s located on and then I have the ink and the pen that I am using with the ink in it. So, I have enough of these to do 96 different inks. I don’t know if I’ll ever get there, but we’ll see. And then after that we just jump straight in. So in deciding what I was going to track, and keep track of for each type of ink, I decided to use Brian Goulet’s format for ink reviews, you can find those all over the Goulet blog. But he has a great format for ink reviews that I really really liked, so I decided to stick with that. So up at the top I have the name of the ink, I have the pen that I used, and then I have a little swab that I did with a q-tip, and then we go straight into all the details. So on the left hand side here I have the smear test, and this is just to test the dry time of the ink. So, you write 5, 10, 20 and 30 seconds, and then you do five little hash marks or whatever you want to do there and start counting out five seconds. At the end of five seconds, you swipe your finger across. Do the same for each row down until you can kind of determine what your dry time is for that particular ink. For the drip test, this is basically testing how water-resistant or not your ink is. So, you just do a little hash grid, and then let that dry for a little bit, and then drop some water droplets onto your grid, and see how your ink reacts. Swabs is a way to kinda test the shading and the saturation of your ink. So the idea here is that you take your cotton swab, dipped in your ink, and you swab it once, all the way from one, all the way over to three. Then you let that dry for a minute, then you do it again, except you start at two, all the way over to three, and then again you swab it for a third time. So that lets you kind of see the degree of colour variation that you’ll be able to get from your ink, and how saturated it is. And then this is where you break all that down. You’ve got your dry time, this one happened to be somewhere between ten, ten and twenty seconds, so I put 10-15 seconds. Water resistance, this one was very low, it didn’t really hold up well to the water. Shading: shading is something that you’ll see from time to time with different fountain pen inks, where as you’re writing, you’ll see a variation in the color. This one does not happen to have a lot of variations, so I’ve put that it’s a low shading ink. Flow is how smooth or well it flows through your pen. Ease of cleaning is something that I’ll add later on, when I try to clean the ink out of whatever pen it is in. So, I’ll make a note there, once I clean it: how easy or difficult was it to clean out of the pen. And then saturation and this one is a very highly saturated ink. Meaning this is the darkest it’s gonna go, it’s gonna go really really dark, but when your write with it, it writes almost, if not at that darkest shade. So I really like how deep and saturated this ink is. And then, on the right hand side of the page, I just have room for notes, scribbles, any thoughts and ideas I have about the particular ink. If I have time I might do a little doodle or a sketch or something like that. And then also have the date up on the upper right hand corner. The date that I reviewed said particular ink. So, that’s my format, and I’m going to just flip through pretty quickly. I only have four of these in here so far. This one I have Private Reserve ‘Spearmint’, which right now is one of my favorite favorite colours. I have this one in my Visconti Van Gogh, and I love how beautifully it matches the pen itself. I’m kind of funny like that, I like my ink colors to match the pen that they’re in for the most part. So I love that this one matches: so pretty! Again, I have some notes on the right hand side here, little scribbles. This one is Diamine ‘Ancient Copper’, which I have in my Montegrappa Mule, which is a copper pen, so I thought that was fitting as well. Love this pen and how smooth it writes. And then after than I have my Private Reserve ‘Blue Suede’, which is one of my new favourite teals. It has some really good shading, so it goes from light to dark as you’re writing, and it’s just beautiful. So that’s all the inks that I have in here so far, but I’m really really looking forward to filling this up. One other little thing I decided to do was to section off the back part of this notebook and have a list of my currently-inked pens. So I have the last few pages set aside for this, and I just decided to do a little index of sorts. So I have my date and then I have my pen and ink. And then this little ‘x’ over here on the right that I’ll put a little checkmark or an ‘x’ along this column once that pen has been cleaned out and re-inked with something else. So these are all of the fountain pens that I currently have inked up and then that transfers over to the back as well. So this is just going to be a running list. Once I put an ‘x’ through, meaning that it’s been cleaned out, then I’ll re-ink it. I might keep the same ink, or I might put a new ink in it. Either way, I’m gonna rewrite it at the end of the list. So anything without an ‘x’ will be my currently inked fountain pens. Alright, so that is it for today, just a little mini video for you today. I thought it was something cool to keep an ink journal, and kind of have a record of all the different inks and fountain pens that I try out. So I hope that you found this useful. I have been getting tons and tons of requests to do more fountain pen style videos. So at some point in the near future, don’t quote me too hard on this, but at some point in the near future I’m gonna be doing kind of an overview of the different fountain pens that I have, and some of my favorites, and some little mini super-beginner fountain pen tips for everyone. So if you have any questions, comments, as always drop those in the comments section below, I’d love to join in the conversation down there. And I will look forward to seeing you all very very soon. Bye!

27 thoughts on “Mini-Tip Monday: Ink Journal

  1. Thanks Kara! I have one fountain pen and am doing the Rock Your Handwriting challenge next month. One question, do you always use fine tip pens? Mine is medium and I'm finding it a bit thick. I have small writing. Thank you for a really cool video!

  2. I also match my ink color to the pen color when possible. I currently have 4 Pilot Metropolitans, and the ink matches the pen in three of them. The fourth is the yellow-orange pen and I have black ink in it. Eventually, I plan to put Apache Sunset ink in it. 🙂

  3. About how many pages have you left for Currently Inked? This is so great! Thank you so much for sharing this journal!

  4. Hi Kara, I like your videos a lot. You are a real inspiration!
    Maybe you answered that question before, but where did you find your penpals? I'd love to contact with people from other countries.
    Greetings from Germany 💛

  5. You've inspired me to order some fountain pens and ink! I'm new so I just went with a fairly inexpensive set off of amazon and found ink cartridges off of a buy and sell! The pens I ordered have great reviews so I'm so excited to get them! Please do a video or tutorial on fountain pens! You'd be so good at it! I'm curious on how to ink a pen from bottled ink vs. Cartridges etc! All this learning .. plus pen man ship! Hey you could even sell us practice sheets over on etsy!!!! Your awesome!!!!! Thanks for always inspiring me!!!!

  6. Hi Kara I love all your wonderful videos! I was curios as to how you got into the fountain pens? And do use them with everyday work? Thanks again

  7. Hi Kara, how did you like the paper in Rhodia? How does it compare to Leuchtturm (sorry, if I spelt it wrong! )…

  8. Very inspiring video! Thank you!
    Would love to see you doing a vid presenting all your fountain pens and telling your story. 🙂

  9. Thank you for posting this. I just got into fountain pens when I got my first one for Christmas. I now have about 37. Have you tried any of the Jinhao's? They are super cheap but incredibly made and they write really well. Jinhao 992 transparent demonstrators are my favorite. Do you have an update you can post on this journal?

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