Fountain pen ink, lots and lots of it.

Fountain pen ink normally behaves modestly, emerging in a prim, controlled line from the nib of a pen. That’s why I take it out to play every so often, with bamboo and folded pens, and even tap water.

This doodle has Noodler’s Ottoman Rose, Private Reserve Shoreline Gold, and Noodler’s Samsui Red. The red is waterproof. I draw with non-waterproof ink over it while it’s still wet, so the two shades blend, but not completely. Then I wash water over that, so only the non-waterproof ink dissolves and spreads, taking part of the red with it. That’s why you see defined lines under the washes. The text reads, “She hid letters to herself and always forgot where.”


Here’s a close-up of the wash-over-waterproof-ink technique:

Reddish close-up

The next one has Noodler’s Beaver, Noodler’s Dragon’s Napalm (which looks exactly like merthiolate) and Cocktail Poudre d’Iris, also used with bamboo pens and water. None of these is waterproof, but Noodler’s always has a surprise. You’ll see it in the next image. This doodle is called “Oh So Clever” – if you look closely you’ll see it repeated throughout the drawing.

oh so clever

After all the ink had dried, I noticed dark green streaks emerging from the boundaries of Noodler’s Beaver and Dragon’s Napalm. A very strange thing indeed, because Beaver is reddish-brown and Dragon’s Napalm is pinkish-orange-brown. Do any of you know why this occurred?

oh so clever green streaks

For this one, I used the folded pen, rinsing and drying with tissue for each color change. I used Noodler’s Ottoman Rose (because it washes so beautifully), Waterman Blue-Black (which is more Green-Blue really) and Private Reserve Ebony Purple.


Ebony Purple can shade from black to lavender. If you have a stub or a flexible nib amongst your pens, give Ebony Purple a try. You can also dilute it with distilled water if you want it more purple than ebony.

These drawings are all in my large Fabriano Venezia notebook – I love the paper in it, it can take both fountain pen and watercolor techniques with ease. I hope Fully Booked always keeps it in stock.