Issue#21 My most-used inks of 2023

Diamine Ancient Copper, Writer's Blood, Iro Yama Budo, Pilot Vanishing Point

Issue 21 | 26 November 2023

For the average fountain pen enthusiast, it is not unusual to have a bunch of different inks, and to try out many others you don’t have in samples from fellow enthusiasts. This leads to many different inks being used, especially over the course of a year.

I use my fountain pens practically every single day - I make notes for work, I jot down to do lists, shopping lists, plans for work and so on. This also means that I have a bunch of pens inked up at any given point in time. When I set out to figure out my most-used inks in 2023, I was expecting there to be a bunch of inks that I would have used slightly more than everything else. However, I was quite surprised to see that three inks stood out significantly more than all the other inks I had used.

Diamine Ancient Copper

This is one of my oldest ink bottles and dates back at least five years. It’s a colour I love and it’s never out of circulation for long. In 2023, I found that it was the single most-used ink for me, in spite of the fact that I had it inked only in one single pen all the time - my trusty M600.

Now this pen was also my constant work companion through some pretty hectic months of planning and executing some big projects at work, and as a result got used intensively. I am amazed to note that this pen and ink combination remained in circulation without a break for more than 6 months this year. It was only during the great cleaning that I finally stopped using this combination. Given this long run during a busy period, Diamine Ancient Copper claims the top spot as my most used ink of 2023.

Diamine Writer’s Blood

I love this ink, which is no surprise to me since I love Oxblood as well. However, there was a certain joy I got out of using this, and as a result it remained inked in a couple of my ebonite pens for almost four months. I used it for writing out thoughts, practicing writing, just doodling and scribbling and for everything in between.

This was the second most used ink for me in 2023, and just writing about it here is making me want to ink it up in one of my waiting-to-be-inked pens!

Pilot Iroshizuku Yama Budo

A beautiful colour that also flows really wet and makes any writing look good instantly, this was my third most used ink in 2023. An inordinately large number of pens were inked with this. Since it flowed so well, it was a natural choice for any pens that seemed to have flow issues. Even the driest writing pens became comfortable to write using this. Some of my favourite writing sessions this year were with Yama Budo, and I am not at all surprised that it made it to the top-used list.

FP Doodles

Nandini Ramchandran | Instagram

FP Doodles

Tarun Durga | Instagram

Everyday FPness

Today being the last Sunday of November, we had our monthly fountain pen meeting. I got to hold an write with a couple of vintage safety pens thanks to my large-hearted fellow fountain pen enthusiasts.

A beautifully decorated Invicta safety pen from 1966, with a personal engraving on it.

Detail of the decoration on the Invicta safety pen

A ring-top Aurora safety pen

The warranted nib on the Aurora safety pen

The nibs on both these pens were pleasant and springy, and they wrote exceedingly well. Anything you have read about vintage nibs will fall by the wayside when you finally write with them, and you will invent your own description for how it feels.


I’ve been having a hankering for a Vanishing Point, especially after my first experience with a retractable fountain pen earlier this year. After widely casting about many retailers within India for a Vanishing Point with a gold nib, I finally pulled the plug and ordered it from a Japanese seller.

I had a really pleasant experience - the pen was delivered to me on the fifth day after placing the order, and the cost, including shipping fees and customs duty, was about 30% less than the cheapest price I could get from a retailer in India for a new Vanishing Point. Now I am revelling in the beauty of writing with a Japanese EF nib!


There are Black Friday sales going on everywhere, and there are deals galore. I’ve already partaken a little bit, and may indulge a bit more - complete details on Black Friday acquisitions in the next issue. As you might have guessed, all non-acquisition resolutions are firmly out of the window now! Do write in and let me know about your Black Friday acquisitions.

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