Similar Fountain Pen Ink Colors


Have you ever discovered two similar ink colors? How did you determine your favorite between them? Price? Smell? Flow? Looking for something similar to an ink you can’t find? Take a look at this article on Pendemonium: A Few Thoughts on Fountain Pen Inks which includes helpful notes on similar ink colors.

Image courtesy of pelikanop on Instagram


Retailer Spotlight – Anderson Pens

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This week on our Retailer Spotlight we have the lovely duo from Anderson Pens, Lisa and Brian Anderson! For our readers who do not know about Anderson Pens here’s a bit of background from their website and e-store

“Established in 2010, was developed to combine the efforts of Brian Anderson’s, and Lisa Anderson’s ProperPads to bring pens and paper together all in one place.”

They have become big enough to successfully open a brand new retail location in Appleton, WI which if you’re in the area you definitely need to check out! Continue Readering »

What color would you most like to see in a new J. Herbin Anniversary ink?

Rouge Hematite and Bleu Ocean

Do you have any suggestions or requests for a new J. Herbin Anniversary ink to be added to the existing 1670 duo of our highly saturated inks? A rich silvery black? A deep forest green with a coppery sheen? What about aubergine with minuscule flecks of mica?

View this previous post about J. Herbin’s Bleu Ocean ink.

What ink properties are most important to you?

Rose Cyclamen

In Tuesday’s blog post, I asked what colors you would most like to see added to J Herbin’s “Jewel of Inks” line. Several of you, (me included) suggested more saturated versions of existing colors which made me wonder… If J. Herbin offered highly pigmented inks, (somewhere between this line and the 1670 Anniversary inks) what particular characteristics do you think would need to remain the same for them to still be uniquely Herbin inks?

What is it specifically about J. Herbin inks that you like? The flow? The shading? The smell?

Love Herbin Inks? What additional colors would you like to see?

Herbin Inks

J. Herbin currently has 30 colors available in the La Perle des Encres (“Jewel of Inks”) line which can be viewed here. If you are a fan of these inks, please tell us which are your favorites, and what colors you’s like to see added to expand the line.

My own personal favorites include Violette Pensee, Perle Noire, and Orange Indien. I’d love to see a brighter and slightly more saturated red than the Rouge Caroubier. (though not as dark or saturated as the Rouge Hematite from the 1670 Anniversary line.) Please feel free to share this post.

All Inked and Ready to Go

Rhodia Ink and Fountain Pens

After last week’s epic pen flush, I decided to cut down on the number of pens I’d be refilling to just 6. (Six? Just six?) The first I’d wanted to fill was a Pelikan 120 that I’d found in an antique shop. It didn’t have a consistent ink flow when I’d first brought it home so I was hoping that flushing and refilling it would help its flow but no such luck. The pen only writes when I bear down on the nib. One more for the fix-it pile I suppose….

So which pens got filled with what inks? My Sailor 1911 was filled with J. Herbin Perle Noire, the Sailor Sapporo with Sailor Blue-Black, my Red Lamy Safari with Diamine Amaranth, the yellow Safari with J. Herbin Orange Indien and the Pelikan M200 with the Binderized cursive italic nib? Diamine Damson.

And then my inker’s remorse starts to creep in. Why didn’t I put the Perle Noire in the Sapporo? I always think I like the blue-black but once I write with it I always wish it were a little more saturated. And while I like the Amaranth, I don’t like how it writes in one color and dries another. (It writes much brighter than it dries) I like the color that it dries but I find the color change distracting as I’m writing. I really wanted to put Diamine’s Poppy Red in that pen but I couldn’t find my bottle. Damson was a good choice for the CI nib but the nib is acting finicky.

In the end, the only ink/pen combination I am really happy with this time around is the Orange Indien/Safari. If I don’t warm up to the rest? I guess I will be flushing/refilling again sometime soon.

What have you inked up lately? Are you happy with your choices?


Friends don’t let friends let the ink dry up in their fountain pens

Cleaning Fountain Pens

The other day I spent an epic amount of time flushing the dried up ink from my fountain pens. How can you avoid havingthishappen to you? Here’s a few suggestions:

1. USE THEM! 2013 was my year of the pencil which is why my fountain pens were neglected.

2. Have 1 pen that requires minimal maintenance.If you aren’t using your pens as often, try using just one.The ink in my Sailor 1911 seems to never dry out. The pen itself and its convertor are easy to clean.

3. If you are not using your pens, take the time clean them out and store them. Thankfully, this time only half of my pens required cleaning. Perhaps a calendar reminder is in order?

4. Get to know your inks. Some inks require greater effort to flush.

5. Find someone to maintain your pens for you. Has anyone started a service to flush pens yet? Someone should. (I could have asked my studio assistant to do this for me ::smacks head:: D’oh!)

NEW 2014 Exaclair Catalog is available to view!

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You can now take a look at the NEW 2014 Exaclair catalog and see all of the goodies coming in the new year – like the large Rhodiarama Webbbies, Landscape Webbies, Mignon Refillable Leather Journals, new colors for the Habana, Graf-It dot pads…

Which products are you most excited about? (You must KNOW that I’m excited for the large purple Webbies!)

Colorful Torn Ink Tests and Practice Sheets


This is an image from Gentian Osman, our friend from the blog Drawing with a Squirrel. I personally love looking at all the images of her grand calligraphy and also her watercolor paintings – and even when she’s just trying out a new color combination or testing new art supplies, it’s all really interesting. Even this image of torn up calligraphy in a dozen inky colors is fun to look at.

Do you keep your ink test sheets? I had two different notebooks that I used for a long time to try different inks. I still have them but I don’t really use them any more.

Overwhelmed by Ink Options?

DIY Sara ink

Most people I know (myself included) don’t just have just one fountain pen and one bottle of ink, they have many. This leads to the inevitable question of which to choose at any given time. While it isn’t difficult to change inks in a fountain pen, it does take time to properly flush a pen from its previous ink. Once your pen is filled, it becomes a small commitment to use that ink until it either runs out, or you take the time to flush it.

How do you choose which ink to use? Do you have a specific color family that you stick with? A favorite brand?

Image courtesy of DIYSara – be sure to check out her blog!

Follow Exaclair on Instagram!

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Exaclair is now on Instagram! Follow us! #Hashtag us! #Rhodia #JHerbin #Clairefontaine, you know the drill. You can also follow @Exaclair on Twitter, visit the Rhodia Drive Facebook Page… Wherever you choose to interact with us, please be sure to share the love with your friends.

PS – Stephanie’s Anniversary Giveaway is Tomorrow!!!

J. Herbin Sealing Wax

J Herbin sealing wax

Sometime back in grade school, I collected stamps and had a subscription to receive them “on approval” – this meant that businesses like the Jamestown Stamp Company would send you an envelope filled with stamps that you could either purchase or send back.

One of the coolest things I discovered in those approval packages wasn’t a stamp, but an envelope that had the remnants of a red wax seal. My Mom told me that those types of seals were once used by kings to seal important messages and I remember running my finger over the broken wax wondering what important documents that envelope might have once held.

Most people know J. Herbin for their fountain pen inks, but did you also know that they make various types of sealing waxes? Continue Readering »

Gentian’s Calligraphy, Pelikan Pen and Rouge Opera Ink


It is such a treat to see Gentian Osman’s art and calligraphy and we always appreciate her using our dotPads and Herbin inks in her creations.

You should look at her pictures on Flickr, then check out her blog Drawing with a Squirrel. After that, read this brief artist highlight about her at JetPens and if you want, you can also check out her Pins on Pinterest.

Image courtesy of Gentian Osman –  gentian_o on Instagram

Swimming in the Bleu Ocean

J Herbin Bleu Ocean

Have you had the opportunity to try J. Herbin’s latest 1670 Series Anniversary ink, Bleu Ocean?

J Herbin Bleu Ocean

In lieu of testing it in a fountain pen, I opted for the “everything else I could find in my studio” approach Continue Readering »

Inky Gifts for your Fountain Pen Friends

Another great gift idea for your favorite fountain pen user would be a new bottle (or three) of J. Herbin fountain pen ink. J. Herbin inks are non toxic,  pH neutral, lightfast, water based, and are available in 30 colors. The inks are made from all natural dyes and are smooth flowing and fast drying. Each 30 ml bottle is elegantly labeled and has an integrated pen rest. They are known as “D bottle pen inks” with the “D” referring to the old French unit of measure “la Demi Courtine”

I have personally tried all of the Herbin fountain pen inks with the exception of the new Ocean Blue 1670 Anniversary Ink. My favorites include Perle Noire, Orange Indien, and Violette Pennse.

Which of these inks are your favorites? Are they on your holiday wish list?

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Grab Your Camera and Show us Where You Buy Your Rhodia!

Target? Dick Blick? Borders? Art Brown? We want you to show us where you buy your Rhodia... The next time you are out and about,  snap us a picture of where you buy your Rhodia products so we can assemble an online gallery of local retailers. To... Read on »

Favorite Pens

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David Allen of GTD on Rhodia

David Allen is a productivity consultant who is best known as the creator of the time management method known as “Getting Things Done”. David comments on the Rhodia Meeting Book: “I love this Rhodia pad. First, the paper stands... Read on »

Chef Hosea Rosenberg on Rhodia

Season 5 (Bravo Network) Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg, originally from Taos, New Mexico, was always good at math. After graduating 3rd in his class at Taos High School, he moved to Boulder, CO to study at the University of Colorado. His dream... Read on »

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If so, contact me via e-mail at stephanie at rhodiadrive dot com with your proposed subject matter. We are looking for posts ranging in length from 100-500 words. Photos to accompany the article are a welcome bonus. If you have been reading... Read on »

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Rhodia Drive is a blog about Rhodia notebooks and the people who use them. It’s a place where devotees of this “French orange notebook” contribute ideas, experiences and links on the latest tools, events and general notebook-related news.

Rhodia Drive attracts creative people passionate about their Rhodia. Designers and artists, writers and pen collectors, thinkers and free spirits—anyone who loves notebooks—come together on Rhodia Drive.