Five Brown Inks to Catch Your Fancy

I haven’t talked about fountain pens and fountain pen inks yet on this blog. So I thought I would jump in the deep end, and show you a couple of my favorite inks today. Spoiler alert, they’re all brown.

So… why brown? Why fountain pens even? The latter question is a conversation for another day. But may be this post will intrigue you if you don’t already use them? I digress. I’ve always been drawn to brown inks. They’re like summer tanned skin, trees glowing in the afternoon sun, hot cups of tea, honey, sunflowers, and the list continues. It’s a color that can transition through all of the seasons and fills me with warmth and joy… especially when I write with it.

Testing these inks on Midori MD Cotton Paper – my personal favorite!

[1] Sailor Kobe #52 Shioya Vintage Sepia

Kobe inks are a new favorite of mine. They’re manufactured by Sailor, and the only word I can use to describe them is delicious. All of the shades I’ve tried feel luxurious, uniquely nuanced as far as color goes, and are delightful to use. The ink flow is wet, and I’m loving it in this Japanese Medium Fine nib. The color itself is a touch warm, but really more of a neutral teddy bear brown.

[2] KWZ Standard Honey

I feel this is a brown ink classic! If you want a warm honey brown ink, look no further! The flow is wet, the shading is lovely, and the only thing I’d look out for is the vanilla scent. For some reason, KWZ inks have this vanilla scent to them. I personally find it pleasant, but it won’t be for everyone.

One of my recent pen acquisitions is a TWSBI Al Mini in Gold with a medium cursive smooth italic nib ground by the Nibgrinder, Mark Bacas! I’ve currently got it inked up with Honey, and it’s such a happy combination!

Look at the delicious shading on KWZ Honey!

[3] Robert Oster Caffe Crema

If I had to pick a favorite brown ink, it would be this one. It’s the goldilocks shade for me: not too dark, not too light, warm but not yellow or red, and it has an average flow with a hint of shading thrown in for good measure. Sometimes Robert Oster’s inks can be a too saturated for me, but this one ticks all of the right boxes.

[4] Monteverde Moonstone

I admit there are way more warm browns on here than cool toned ones, but if I had to recommend a cool tone it would be Moonstone! It’s a unique dusty grey-brown with an exceptional flow. To my eyes, this also has great shading. It’s difficult to tell in my dip pen swatches, but trust me. I’ve inked up a Japanese extra fine nib with this one, and I still saw shading.

One thing I would take note of concerning Monteverde inks, however, is that sometimes they can get a bit smudgy in larger nib sizes. I haven’t had this happen with Moonstone, but I’ve had this happen with Fire Opal and Yosemite Green so I figured I would throw it out there.

[5] Herbin Lie de Thé

Another absolute classic! I like to ink up my vintage pen with this since it’s well behaved, not super saturated but just saturated enough, fairly neutral in tone, and overall a wet writer. Herbin inks are a bit weird in that they feel wet but also feel less lubricated than other wet inks I’ve tried. That said, I’ve loved Herbin inks for a long time, and the formula works well in my pens.

As an aside, it feels weird to call them Herbin inks when I’m used to calling them J. Herbin inks. I used a few of their inks while I was still in high school for different art projects so to say I’m fond of the brand and perhaps a little nostalgic is an understatement.

Monteverde Moonstone, the cool-toned odd one out.

Do you have any favorite brown inks? A color you often gravitate towards?

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