Issue#25 The Truth about Ink Swatches

Hyderabad TIPS, Ink Swatches, Endless Alchemy

Issue 25 | 4 February 2023

We hit our 25th issue finally! This has been delayed for 35 days - mostly caused by real life interfering with hobby life. There’s a bunch of stuff I have to share, so let’s leap right into it!

My First Fountain Pen Show!

After spending years in the fountain pen hobby, I finally attended a fountain pen show! The Hyderabad edition of The India Pen Show happened a few weeks ago, and I got to spend an inordinate amount of time nerding out over fountain pens with fellow pen enthusiasts, meeting fountain pen makers and trying out a bunch of new fountain pens and related stuff.

While this does not necessarily put my city on the fountain show map - this was a small exploratory show - it definitely gave a bunch of us our first introduction to a fountain pen show. I am now really looking forward to attending at least one of the big shows in the coming years!

Check out more pictures on the Hyderabad Fountain Pen Club website.

The Chameleon Ink: Why Swatch Reviews are Just Half the Story

Imagine two artists, both dipping their pens into the same bottle of shimmering emerald ink. One glides her fountain pen across smooth, ivory paper, leaving behind a vibrant trail, alive with glistening flecks. The other, using a calligraphy dip pen on textured parchment, sees her strokes emerge darker, almost jade, the shimmer muted like whispers in a storm. The same ink, yet two vastly different realities.

Welcome to the fascinating world of ink, where color is not a constant, but a symphony played on the strings of many instruments. The very nib that kisses the paper, the pen it dances within, the paper that cradles its touch – each act as a conductor, shaping the ink's performance.

Take the nib: a broad stub unleashes the ink's full-bodied hues, while a fine needlepoint coaxes out its delicate veins. A smooth steel sings with vibrancy, while a textured gold whispers with a softer charm. Even the angle of attack, the pressure of your touch, becomes a conductor's baton, orchestrating the flow and intensity of the color.

Then there's the pen itself: a piston fountain feeds ink with gusto, its lushness singing from the nib. A cartridge, more restrained, offers a hushed melody. A vintage pen, aged and worn, might impart its own character to the emerald, a whisper of a bygone era.

And even the paper, that stage upon which the ink performs, plays a critical role. A thirsty, absorbent surface drinks the ink, muting its vibrancy, while a coated, waterproof page holds it proud, showcasing its every facet. Rougher papers add texture, lending a rustic charm to the performance, while smooth surfaces allow the ink to flow unhindered, a virtuoso's display.

But the orchestra doesn't end there. The temperature, the humidity, the very air itself plays a part. On a dry day, the ink whispers, concentrated and intense. On a humid one, it blooms, spreading its wings like a watercolorist's dream.

So, what does this mean for the aspiring ink aficionado? The beautiful truth is that online swatches and reviews, while helpful introductions, are just the curtain call. The true performance, the ink's unique song, can only be discovered through your own exploration, through your own pen, your own paper, your own hand.

Embrace the variability, the endless possibilities. Experiment with different nibs, papers, pens. See how the emerald sings on textured parchment, how it twinkles on ivory smoothness. Notice how the air, thick with humidity, softens its edges, while a crisp winter day sharpens its focus.

In the end, the perfect ink is not a singular entity, but a relationship. It's a dance between you, the ink, and the world around you. It's about discovering the unique melodies your pen can coax from that bottle of emerald, and appreciating the beauty in every fleeting note.

So, go forth, ink alchemist. Let your pen be your brush, your paper your canvas, and the world your orchestra. And above all, remember: the true magic of ink lies not in a static swatch, but in the dynamic performance it reveals when set free in your own hands.

FP Doodles

Nandini Ramchandran | Instagram

FP Doodles

Tarun Durga | Instagram

FP Doodles

Vamsi Krishna | Instagram

Sunset solace

Everyday FPness

Our very own local penmaker, PLP Pens, finally have their own website. We are hoping this means with an expanded market, we can see more new offerings from them!


A launch I was rather looking forward to was the Alchemy ink from Endless, not least for the innovative bottle. It is shaped like a Soyuz capsule with a little bump at one end. It comes with a little cork mat, on which it makes for an interesting desk toy, as it moves around like a lazy top. The packaging is really engaging - with a spectacularly designed box to go with it.

The shade I got is called Mystical Forest, and is a dark green with some shading and sheening.

Get featured in Fountain Pen Weekly

Share your take on fountain pens and related things in one (or more!) of our upcoming issues.

Any and all content you share will belong to you and will be credited to your name (or a pen name of your choice) and linked to any of your online profiles. Ideal content would be a write-up between 200 and 400 words with 1 to 5 images.

Here are a few things that can go in the Fountain Pen Weekly:

  • Pen / ink / paper ownership experience

  • Favorites in FP, ink, paper etc.

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  • Any FP-related content you want to call out - articles, podcasts, videos.

If you have any other ideas as well, do share, and I will be happy to think about it.

That’s all from me this week.

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