Gads I love this ink!
I am a huge fan of grey inks, and have never loved a black ink
(though I’ve loved them for their waterproof qualities when sketching).
This ink is not grey, and is not black…
In person you can see the qualities maybe better than on the screen.
Birmingham Black Olive ink departs from their naming inks after famous places.
This ink is truly the exact color of a delicious Black Olive.
It is a Crisp Formula fountain pen ink, formulated to perform well with
a variety of premium, mid range, and discount papers.
Above, a detail of an ink-painting on Hahnemühle’s new Hemp Sketch paper.
From their Natural line, it is 80 gsm and while not technically suitable
for watery drawings, this ink performed well on the paper.
Remember that others review these inks just for writing;
I am also interested in how they are used for ink-painting!
Properties of Birmingham Black Olive ink :
It is a well behaved ink which dries
relatively quickly. It does not feather on
Post-its nor any paper I’ve tried it on,
including my Hahnemühle Nostalgie journal,
shown right and below!
On watercolor paper, above, when I scrubbed it, Black Olive ink showed quite a lot water resistance. In further test sketches in my journals show it to leave an imprint of water resistant ink lines when the waterbrush moves the color.
It has no sheen that I could produce,
and is not a strong shader with my 1.1 stub nib.
Below you can see the Black Olive ink can
be a warm black then a cooler black ink,
and a soft blue pulls out of the dark writing ink
in the paper towel test.
*Above, watercolors, all from Daniel Smith.*
Journal notes and a small drawing in my Hahnemühle Nostalgie journal, my
Black Olive ink is in a Pilot Metropolitan and yet this ink works well even in this fussy pen!
It comes off as a soft black when writing.
Above, the full ink-painting on Hahnemühle’s new Hemp Sketch paper.
Drawn with the Black Olive ink, the lines were touched with water using a Pentel Aquash waterbrush, except for the black olives, which were painted onto the paper.
This was a 30 minute sketch with water movement…
The lines stay slightly visible but also release ink; which means some water resistance.
Brushed sketch of Yamantaka, our black panther cat, on rough thick watercolor paper.
The two images show the difference light plays on this ink’s color.
MOST water soluble ink companies do not pay attention to lightfast qualities
and Birmingham is no different in this line of inks.
Most artists who use ink are making prints of their work —
But ink-painting is becoming more interesting so maybe it is time!
I like what Birmingham says on their website:
“We started Birmingham Pen Co. in 2012 in
the Southside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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’s bottles are glass, and functional
even in the small sizes. I like glass bottles;
they feel like they will last longer.
Birmingham also turns their own pens,
which I’ve noticed often sell out as fast as they make them!
*I LOVE my Model-A Demonstrator, Violet Beauregarde!*
This is a small family business run by four people! The brothers, Nick and Josh;
Dad is the chief pen machinist; and Mom does one of the coolest things about Birmingham, which is their amazing historic names!
“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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