I am finally getting to my new bottles of the new improved ink colors
from Birmingham Pen Company,
beginning with the stunning bright blue Birmingham Electron ink,
made to commemorate the Shippingport Atomic Power Station,
the first full-scale PWR nuclear power plant in the United States, now decommissioned.
Remember that others review these inks just for writing;
I am also interested in how they are used for ink-painting!
Properties of Birmingham Electron Blue ink:
The first thing I noticed is
that the ink is very wet… in a stub it is a gusher, much wetter than the Diamine blue that lived in my Lamy AlStar for years, yet it is also a well behaved ink which dries relatively quickly. It bleeds slightly on Post-its, but shows no feathering on Post-its, my Minimalism Art Journal, right, or my Hahnemühle Nostalgie journal, below.
What a gorgeous blue!
For the first time in five years my Lamy
is inked in a new color!
When I scrubbed it on the swatches, it indicated some water resistance, above,
and further test sketches in my journals show it to leave a good imprint of
water resistant ink lines when the waterbrush moves the color, left and below.
**But not waterPROOF; know there is a difference!!**
It has no sheen that I could produce,
but produces beautiful shading even in my work journal.
It does not break down into many other pigments, so I don’t consider this a complex ink color. Above you can see the pretty blue that pulls out of the dark writing ink.
The paper towel test shows the clarity of the blue, above right!
When the edge is touched with water it begins with a blue that could be used in any business environment, into brilliant turquoise blues!
Looking at watercolor comparisons, I offer QoR’s Phthalo Blue,
Sennelier’s Phthalo Blue, and Daniel Smiths Cobalt Teal.
*Above, watercolors, from several companies.*
MOST water soluble ink companies do not pay attention to light-fast qualities
and Birmingham is exploring this as we speak!
Most artists who use ink are making prints of their work.
My first drawing on Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook of the blue vase by the side of the bed that holds a few bushed and a dip pen, drawn with a Lamy Al-Star 1.1 stub.
I touched the lines with water using a Pentel Aquash waterbrush.
This was a 30 minute sketch with a lot of water movement…
The lines stay slightly visible but also release ink;
which means slight water resistance. I added a few dark lines afterwards.
This sketch of the new moon and the water on Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook shows off the water-resistance to Birmingham Electron ink.
It is important to now what your inks will do when washed hard,
as with some inks the lines disappear completely and some stay —
there is no right or wrong, just know your inks!
Birmingham’s Bottles are straightforward and functional, even in the small sizes.
It is easy to fill a pen from their bottles.
I like glass bottles; they feel like they will last longer.
The history from their website:
“We started Birmingham Pen Co. in 2012
in the Southside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
with the doors of our first retail shop opening
to the public in 2016. The region of Pittsburgh
where we began once called “Little Birmingham”
due to the area’s prolific manufacturing industry
in the early 1900’s. The Birmingham moniker
was derived from Birmingham, UK –
a manufacturing hub that specialized in,
among other things, pen and nib
manufacturing with thousands of
craftspeople employed in the industry.
We chose the name Birmingham Pen Company
to share this little known piece of history and
continue in the traditions behind the name.”
Birmingham also turns their own pens,
which I’ve noticed often sell out as fast as they make them!
**and i love mine**
A small family business run by the brothers, Nick and Josh,
Dad is the chief pen machinist, and Mom does one of the coolest things about Birmingham, which is to tell the tales of their historic names!
Disclosure, I bought this ink from Birmingham.
“Memory is more indelible than ink.”
Anita Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
“I think not….”
Me… why I journal!
©D. Katie Powell.
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I teach architectural sketching,
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