Inigo Echeverria was dissatisfied that there were no current fountain pens that could use India ink, so he created his own. That's a lovely 4ml ink bottle filled with India ink. Because I didn't know the ink's brand, I used Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay Black instead for my evaluation. Here is what I found:
The writing paper I used for testing is 500-lb. Cotton/linen blend stock from Office Max. It's the most expensive paper I've ever bought but it's very high quality. The pen I used for testing is the Invisa-Tip by Pilot. It's a fine point pen with an extra-large ink cartridge.
First of all, I was surprised by how much ink this bottle holds! It looks like only 3-4 cartridges worth but it writes really well with no banding or drying out of the ink. I also liked that the ink came in several colors, including black and blue.
Here are some pictures of test letters written with the pen:
This letter was written with 1ml of India ink and is 5mm tall. You can see here that there is plenty of ink for good writing quality. There are no gaps between words or sentences and everything is smooth and even.
This letter was written with 2ml of India ink and is 7mm tall.
Pigmented inks for fountain pens do exist, although they are unusual. India ink, a carbon pigment-based ink, contains gum arabic as a binder, which can easily clog such pens. If you use an india ink-filled pen, it is recommended to avoid filling the reservoir too far so that some of the ink remains in the barrel as well.
In general, fountains pens work best with black ink. The color may come from additives mixed into the ink or from the wood or bamboo used to make the pen body. Either way, colors other than black will not show up well on paper. However, many artists prefer to mix their own colors instead of using pre-mixed inks. For example, red might be made by mixing blue and yellow inks.
Using colored inks could damage your pen, though. The plastic parts of the pen could absorb certain chemicals in the ink, especially if it's an organic colored ink made from fruit or vegetables. Over time, these chemicals could leach out of the ink and into the resin housing of the pen.
This could lead to problems with leakage or damage to the mechanism inside the pen. It also means that your ink won't look its best on paper. For best results, use only black ink with your pen.
Calligraphy and India inks are not intended for use with fountain pens. Some calligraphy inks are also thicker and gooier, designed for dip pens so that the ink does not bleed into the paper fibers.
Calligraphy inks are made with special pigments that are more resistant to water than those used in regular Indian inks. Because of this, they will not dissolve into the water of a fountain pen. However, like all other inks, calligraphy inks can be mixed with water to create a washable paint-like substance that can be applied with brush pens or spray bottles.
Because calligraphy inks are not soluble in water, they are not suitable for use with fountain pens. However, because they contain more pigment than regular Indian inks, one can create beautiful effects by applying multiple thin layers of ink with a brush or spray bottle.
India ink, also known as Indian or Chinese ink, is a basic concoction that has been used for ages by calligraphers and painters who required a medium similar to water color for writing and painting. The Chinese invented India ink in the third century, utilizing charred bones and tar pitch. It came into widespread use in the fifteenth century with the introduction of printing presses.
The first recorded instance of using India ink for writing purposes comes from a book written by Martin Luther in 1525. He wrote in Latin: "I write in red ink on yellow paper." Red ink was commonly used at the time for legal documents and private letters.
In 1770, Henry Fox Talbot made the first successful photograph of printed matter. He used powdered carbon black and vinegar as his ink mixture. Today, most photographs are printed with cyan, magenta, and yellow inks which combine to make all the other colors of the rainbow. Talbot's invention opened up a new world of possibility for artists who no longer needed to rely solely on pencils and brushes for their work.
Talbot's invention was not the first photographic reproduction process, but it was the first one that could actually be considered useful for reproducing text. Prior to this point, all the photographs that had been taken had been art works themselves that were meant to be seen only in paintings or drawings.