Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Comparison of Blue Fountain Pen Inks

Black and blue are the two ink colors that are commonly used in fountain pens for everyday writing, and most people use blue inks for business and professional purposes. Blue is my 'go to' ink, and I have more than 30 bottles of blue fountain pen inks, but not all blue inks are the same. I have a few favorites, and I categorized them into three categories: Regular/Standard Blue, Dark Blue/Blue-Black, and Turquoise.


This category has the widest selection of blue inks, including the basic and true blue inks. Some blue inks in this category have green and red undertones, but the ones I included here are the true, vivid blues. These ink colors can be used everyday in business and and legal documents, in note taking, and even journaling.

J. Herbin Éclat de Saphir is a vivid, bright blue ink with excellent flow and lubrication. It's a wet ink, and shades well, especially in broad or stub nibs. Éclat de Saphir is a beautiful, bright blue even after it dries on paper. It doesn't stain the pens I've filled with it, and is easy to wash off.
J. Herbin Éclat de Saphir

American Blue is my favorite Private Reserve blue ink. It is bright, saturated, and has excellent flow. Shading is best in broad and stub nibs, where I occasionally see a distinct red sheen. American Blue is a well behaved saturated ink, and does not stain or clog my pens. My PR bottle is a fast dry ink, and it dries really fast!
Private Reserve American Blue (Fast Dry)

I have Noodler's Baystate Blue, and I love its bright color, but I am more drawn to the depth and richness of Noodler's Blue. It's a saturated blue ink, and takes longer than most inks to dry. I usually use it on my broad-nibbed pens.
Noodler's Blue


Whenever I want to try a different ink color that's still blue, I go through my box of blue-black inks. They are still blue, but darker, and yet lighter than black. I use blue-black inks to sign documents, and in note taking at the office.

Noodler's Midnight Blue and Bad Belted Kingfisher (BBK) were my first blue-black inks. I prefer BBK because of its depth, shading, and lubrication. It's a saturated ink, smooth, and a true blue-black ink that doesn't become teal after it dries. The only downside to this ink is its drying time. It takes a while to dry, around 20-25 seconds, especially when it's used on a wide nib. It also takes a while to wash off.
Noodler's Bad Belted Kingfisher

Pelikan Blue-Black is my favorite blue-black. It's from Pelikan's 4001 ink series, and a dry ink, so I use it mostly in broad and stub nibs. It's very expressive, turning grayish blue from dark blue, and the shading is simply awesome. It doesn't feather or bleed on thin paper, and dries fast.
Pelikan 4001 Blue Black

My bottle of 1670 Bleu Ocean came from this ink's first batch. It doesn't have the additional gold flecks, and I like it that way. Most people avoid this ink because it is heavily saturated, but I love its deep, dark blue color, and my Lamy Al Star Ocean Blue is always inked with it. The pens I filled with this ink wrote smoothly, and Bleu Ocean dries faster than its older sibling Rouge Hematite, which is a notoriously slow drying ink.
J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean


When I was a fountain pen newbie, my first ink love was Waterman South Sea Blue, a turquoise ink. It has been discontinued several years ago, and I have found a few turquoise inks in place of South Sea Blue. While turquoise inks are lovely, I use them more for journaling.

Bleu Pervenche is my introduction to J. Herbin inks. It is a lovely turquoise ink, with subtle hints of green. Bleu Pervenche has excellent flow and lubrication, shades well, dries fast, and easy to wash off.
J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche
Pelikan 4001 Turquoise is a bit darker than J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche, but has the same hints of green. It has nice shading, excellent flow, and dries fast (around 10 seconds). Although it's a light blue ink, it becomes a bit darker when it has dried.
Pelikan 4001 Turquoise

Below is a photo of the ink swatches on a page.

These inks are my favorite blue inks. They are the most behaved, easy-to-maintain-in-pens inks, they do not clog nor stain my pens. The pens in my EDC are always filled with one or two of them.

I got these inks from different stores at different times, but in Manila, they are available at Scribe Writing Essentials. For availability and prices, contact Scribe through their website, or visit their stores in Eastwood Mall, Shangri La Plaza Mall, Glorietta 5, SM Aura, and SM Megamall.

1 comment:

  1. I can not stop reading your blog now since I found it researching the ink Sailor Jentle Grenade!