Monday, June 1, 2020

Pen and Ink Pairings: Lamy Safaris and Herbins


When Food Network was added to my cable TV subscription, one program became an instant favorite — Pairings with Andrea by Master Sommelier Andrea Immer. I was so mesmerized by Andrea's food and wine pairings and I looked forward to each episode. Pairings with Andrea taught me the concept of pairings not only for food and wine but also for writing and design. When I began doing lectures about data visualization and infographics, I taught my students about font pairings, color pairings, even data pairings. When I shifted to full fountain pen use, I created my own lists of ink and paper pairings, and later on, pen and ink pairings. I did these lists to remember which inks are suitable for specific pens and paper types considering ink consistency, flow, saturation; pen nibs and filling mechanisms; and paper thickness, composition, and coatings.

One Sunday afternoon in lockdown, an idea of new pairings came to me and I planned my first Pen and Ink Pairings for Rants of The Archer with two of my favorites: Lamy Safari fountain pens and J. Herbin inks.


Pens: 2019 Lamy Safari Pastel Collection

For the first time in 2019, Lamy launched three pens as the year's Special Edition Safari. The Lamy Safari pastel collection included Powder Rose, Blue Macaron, and Mint Glaze. The pens in the pastel collection looked very pleasing. After Lamy's dark phase for the Safari in the previous three years, the pastel pens looked refreshing and youthful. All three pastel pens have chrome clips and stainless steel nibs and had the classic Lamy Safari glossy finish made from sturdy ABS plastic. The Safaris can be filled using ink cartridges or converters, and the nibs on these pens are interchangeable which is very useful. A timeless and iconic fountain pen, the Lamy Safari is available in a wide variety of colors.

2019 Lamy Safari fountain pens, from top: Powder Rose, Blue Macaron, and Mint Glaze.


Inks: J. Herbin "The Jewel of Inks" Series

My shift to full fountain pen use in 2008 came with other passions in the form of inks and paper. Back then, the only ink available in the country was Parker Quink. I was content with Quink Blue Black for a while, but when I saw a rich, deep, pink-red ink in a blog review, I was smitten. J. Herbin Rouge Opéra, a reminder of Spanish flamenco, became my first ink love and led me to more ink colors and reviews in this blog. 

J. Herbin is the oldest name in pen inks in the world. "The Jewel of Inks" was first created in Paris in 1700, using formulas that the sailor J. Herbin found in his many journeys to India. The inks in this series are safe as they are water-based, non-toxic, and pH neutral. They are available in 35 beautiful colors, manufactured using all-natural dyes. J. Herbin's "The Jewel of Inks" series are available in universal snap-in cartridges and 30ml "D" bottles, and a selection of colors in 10ml and 100ml bottles.

J. Herbin "The Jewel of Inks:" Rouille d'Ancre, Vert Pré, and Diabolo Menthe.
Pastels Pairings.


Pen and Ink Pairings No. 1: Lamy Safari Powder Rose and J. Herbin Rouille d'Ancre

Lamy Safari Powder Rose is one of the three special edition pens for 2019. This pen's soft pastel pink color in a glossy finish is soothing and calming. It has the Safari oversized stainless steel clip and ergonomically-shaped grip. Details of the Safari Powder Rose including the cap button and spacer ring are matched to the body color. Powder Rose is not Lamy's first pink Safari pen, though. Back in 2009, one of Lamy's Limited Edition Safari colors was pink, and the Neon Coral Safari was the 2014 special edition pen.

Lamy Safari Powder Rose, one of three special edition Safari pens for 2019.
Lamy Safari Powder Rose and J. Herbin Rouille d'Ancre

Rouille d'Ancre (Rust of the Anchor or Rusty Anchor Red) is reminiscent of J. Herbin's journey and his sea travels. This color is derived from the rust found on the anchor of the boats when moored in one location for a very long time. I chose this ink for the Powder Rose Safari because of the similarity in their colors. Rouille d'Ancre is a unique ink color. It's very light when wet, but dries as a lovely matte dusky pink that is very close to old rose. This pink ink has a good amount of shading which is best seen in a wet pen. It's a bit dry, though, but the generous flow of the Safari's medium nib made writing with Rouille d'Ancre a wonderful experience.

J. Herbin Rouille d'Ancre


Pen and Ink Pairings No. 2: Lamy Safari Blue Macaron and J. Herbin Diabolo Menthe

Blue Macaron is the second of three special edition Lamy Safari pens for 2019. This pen's light blue color in a glossy finish looks so refreshing. It also has the Safari oversized stainless steel clip and ergonomically-shaped grip. Unlike the Powder Rose Safari, details of the Blue Macaron such as cap button and spacer ring are darker and not matched to the pen's body color. Blue Macaron is not Lamy's first light blue Safari pen, though. In 2011, the first Aquamarine Safari was the limited edition pen color.

Lamy Safari Blue Macaron, one of three special edition Safari pens for 2019.
Lamy Safari Blue Macaron and J. Herbin Diabolo Menthe

Diabolo Menthe's (Lemonade Mint Cordial, or Mint Lemonade) name and color come from a popular non-alcoholic Frech drink made of peppermint syrup and club soda. This cool and refreshing ink color reminds me of summer and the blue and clear waters of the beaches in Boracay, Anilao, and Puerto Galera. I chose Diabolo Menthe for Blue Macaron because they're the perfect color match. It's a cool ink color with excellent flow. It's very light while wet, but dries a beautiful bright cyan with visible green tones with fantastic shading. Because this ink has a light color that remains translucent even after it dries, it's great for highlighting! I used to fill my Rotring Artpen with a 2.3 italic nib with Diabolo Menthe and used it as one of my highlighters. Diabolo Menthe is a beautiful ink color but it has a low tolerance to moisture and is not waterproof.

J. Herbin Diabolo Menthe


Pen and Ink Pairings No. 3: Lamy Safari Mint Glaze and J. Herbin Vert Pré

Mint Glaze is the third of three special edition Lamy Safari pens for 2019. This pen's subdued light green color in the classic glossy Safari finish looks very cool and refreshing. This pen's color is mint, but it looks so much like a creamy avocado shake to me! Similar to the Powder Rose pen, details of the Mint Glaze such as cap button and spacer ring are matched to the pen's body color. Mint Glaze is not the first green Lamy Safari, it joined four other green pens: Savanna Green, Lime (2008), Green (2012), and Neon Lime (2015).

Lamy Safari Mint Glaze, one of three special edition Safari pens for 2019.
Lamy Safari Mint Glaze and J. Herbin Vert Pré

Vert Pré (Green Meadow or Green Prairie) is a fresh green ink that's as fresh as the spring season, the color of the meadow or prairie, and the new grass growing right after the end of winter. Green is a secondary color made from blue and yellow, and Vert Pré's green has more yellow, giving it a fresh and soothing look. Despite its light color, this green ink has fantastic shading that's more noticeable when used in a wide nib. It's wetter than most J. Herbin inks but dries fast. Similar to Diabolo Menthe, Vert Pré remains translucent even after it has dried, so it can also be used for highlighting or underscoring. I chose Vert Pré for Mint Glaze because they're the perfect pen and ink color combination.

J. Herbin Vert Pré

I love doing pen and ink pairings! I had so much fun planning for this review, looking for inks to match the 2019 Lamy Safari fountain pens, and rediscovering some inks that I haven't used in a long time. I hope to do more pen and ink pairings in the future, and perhaps do other pairings, too! Watch out for more pairings here at Rants of the Archer!


Lamy Safari pens are widely available in reputable pen sellers worldwide. For a global search of Lamy sellers worldwide, follow this link. In the Philippines, Lamy pens are available from Times Trading Company, through their increasing number of kiosks at National Bookstore outlets around the country. 

J. Herbin inks are also widely available worldwide through their accredited retailers, listed here. In the Philippines, J. Herbin inks are available from Scribe.ph and Everything Calligraphy.

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