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January 09, 2019


Beth, I appreciate this glimpse of your tree and the contrast between its dizziness and the lithe limbs of the orchid...

Noodler's El Lawrence is my standard ink — I've used it for years now, and I still love it. It's a little more greenish than a khaki, and in some light looks almost like a faded black — a page of writing looks like something you might find in a diary from the middle of last century. It's not completely waterproof like Noodler's 'Bulletproof' black, but it would certainly stay easily legible even with a good soaking. If you want to put a wash over it, though, you'll need to look at something else. Even though it's more expensive than most other Noodler's inks, it's still good value compared to many other brands. It also writes very wet, to the extent that I prefer it in a fine rather than medium nib in my Lamy Al-Stars.

Water resistance is important for me, so I'm severely constrained in my choice of inks. If water resistance isn't an issue, the choice is endless. Recently I bought a little bottle of Sailor's Tokiwa Matsu ('Old Pine'), and it's gorgeous. It has no resistance at all to water, though — otherwise, I'd be infatuated with it.

If you're looking for a strong colour, Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses is a beautiful ink that shades well and will remain legible if wetted.

I love your illustration of the Christmas tree! And I love that I can spot familiar ornaments in there :)

Sometimes line drawings speak so much in silence. In Calcutta (now Kolkata), India it won't be that easy to find a fountain pen,turning it into a fossil soon.Good to see your mind through your beautiful Sheaffer.

Thank you, Vivian. The tree is down now and I'm sorry you didn't get to see it this year.

Pete, thanks so much for this information about El Lawrence and your uses of Noodler's inks. I'm going to order some El Lawrence and try it - my Lexington Grey isn't absolutely waterproof either but it's fine as a base for watercolor; in the comparative results I've read, it tests pretty much the same as yours. But for drawing and writing, I think this color would be very attractive to me, and it has some personality, which the grey doesn't! I also liked Black Swan in Australian Roses in the test swatches, so that's a possibility, but probably not so much for drawing. I'll probably go with a blue-black like 54th Massachusetts. Anyway -- it was nice to find out you also care about this and get the benefit of your experience!

Thanks, Martine! Yes, they keep coming out every year...

Dear Pinaki,Thank you very much for your comment and kind words. I was also glad to find out about your blog and enjoyed reading your recent essays. Thank you for getting in touch.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.