When the urge to mix became uncontrollable, I went down to our
local pharmacy and purchased, real cheap, some little clear glass
bottles with plastic caps, 2 1/4 inch high by 3/4 inch diameter.
They also had bigger brown glass bottles (maybe 1oz and 2oz?)
Suggested combos: GRADUALLY mix black into green to get "Hunter
Green" or "British Racing Green". I call mine "Virid Anaconda";
not the happy green green grass of home, but the color of the
snake that EATS you. Add some blue to this, and you get "Scary
Turquoise"; not the cheery decorator shade but the color of the
ocean that DROWNS you (this is a real popular automobile color
right now, for some unearthly reason).
Blue and black together proved to somewhat disappointing to me,
probably because it looks like, well, storebought blue/black ink.
Somewhere in there should be a killer "Midnight Blue", but it
tends to go grayish in the middle stages then turn to "Weakling
Black" all of a sudden.
Red and black together give you all sorts of delicious scarlets,
dried blood, rust etc. STOP when you get to rust, add a couple of
squirts of blue and you get a shade I call "Virgin's Blood",
although I haven't researched that fully. This starts you off
into all the plums, violets, cerises, etc., suffice it to say
there's a whole world of purples.
A few hints:
P.S. (Eyedroppers are also real useful for flushing out nib
sections when you don't feel like cranking back and forth on the
piston doohickey 42 dozen times).
- Red and green mixed together make a shade called "Ooogy Mud",
so keep two separate dump bottles for the reddish ends and the
greenish ends. Not surprisingly, these often turn out to be the
- COUNT YOUR EYEDROPPER-FULLS and make small batches. It's
really frustrating to whip up a big winner and then be totally
incompetent at duplicating it, and pouring mass quantities of
good ink into some really gross aberration to try to "fix" it can
be an expensive proposition.
- You can mix and match inks from all the different companies.
They're all lying, nothing bad will happen.
- Q-Tips are useful sampling devices (they're good for Gonzo
Calligraphy too), but they soak up A LOT of ink and they might
put cotton hairs in your mixes. Fountain pens don't like hair.
Try toothpicks instead, or even (gasp) a fine-point artist's
brush. Who knows, your blotter paper might sell for millions when
- Keep a tip-proof bowl of water and some paper towels or rags
close at hand. REAL close. Dark clothing and/or camouflage are
also indicated if you're the twitchy sort.
- Painters have been doing this stuff for centuries, so there's
a lot of information available if you're not a bone-head like me
who has to figure everything out myself.
- If you're a Sheaffer-head too, spring the $5.75 for the good
piston converters. They won't fit the skinniest pens, but the
$4.00 squish converters don't last too long around an
obsessive/compulsive ink-changer like me.