Too Much Ink

Brand Breakdown

I have too much ink. There, I said it. Although, I really don’t believe it. But I do have so much ink that it scares me and I’ve been sticking to my well known inks lately. To get a handle on things, I spent a couple nights listing all my inks in a spreadsheet. I did exclude all the inks I’ve decided to never use again (I’ve been giving it away but still have some put aside). I probably have a few miscellaneous ink cartridges in various nooks, crannies or couch cushions but this should be any ink that counts. I also avoided including my ink samples. I ended up with 146 different colors. While that total count didn’t surprise me (after all, I have two overflowing drawers full of ink bottles), the breakdown of the numbers was surprising, even to me.
I have more Montblanc ink colors than any other brand. With 19 colors, all of which are bottles. Montblanc is my favorite ink brand, but that number surprised me. Especially since I have multiple bottles for several of those colors, giving me 25 Montblanc bottles in all. Montblanc Bordeaux leads all inks with four bottles, although one of those is nearly empty. That was no surprise since it’s my favorite ink and I hoarded it when it was discontinued.
Pilot is second in the brand count, with 14 colors. Five in the “Pilot” line and nine in the “Iroshizuku” line. Third place among the brands is Diamine with 13 different colors, although two of them are sold as a Cult Pens brand.

The breakdown by color family also brought its own surprises. No surprise that Blacks and Greens topped the list. While black may be a pretty basic color I do like variety. Green is also a favorite color even though I don’t use it much. I don’t use green as much as black so it was a bit of surprise that I have as many green options as I do black options. On the other hand, I rarely meet a green ink I’m not willing to buy.
I went through a recent sepia buying binge recently so I wasn’t surprise by having so many brown options. The problem here (for me) is that Montblanc Toffee Brown is my typical brown choice.
Color Count by Color Family
I need to expand my ink horizons. It’s not enough to set a goal to use each ink at least once in 2015. While I may pick some inks just because I want to use them, I’ll use the new list to pick my inks. I’ll just generate a random number and use the ink on that row. I can always filter by color family if I want and exclude inks I’ve already used. There’s no guarantee I’ll use every ink this year, but at least there will be variety. Although I imagine Montblanc Bordeaux will always be in a pen as will R&K Blau-Schwarz and I’m sure other favorite inks will be used multiple times, just because I want to use them. Leaving myself at completely at the mercy of chance would be crazy.
Do you have a few standard inks? If not, and you have many inks, how do you rotate through them?

9 thoughts on “Too Much Ink

  1. If you want to work right through the list, generate a column with random numbers, uniformly distributed, and then sort by the number. Use one every 3 days and you should use them all in 2015.

    • Hi Jack,
      I’d probably lose interest if I set a goal to work through the entire list in a year. So I’ll settle for variety and enjoy them. Naturally, one of my first random picks was an ink I don’t like at all and will probably be flushed early from the pen. But in most cases I want to write the pen dry so one every three days would be a bit much for me.
      Thanks for reading,

  2. 141 inks is a good start for a serious ink collection. 🙂
    You have too much ink I have too much ink. I added ink number 242 (Montblanc Corn Poppy Red) to my collection just the other day. All of mine are bottles (no samples or cartridges).
    i think I am about half way to collecting all available on The Goulets website. 🙂
    My top 3 are Noodler’s (82), Diamine (43) and Pilot iroshizuku (24).
    I am currently redoing all my ink swabs so once I have finished I will do a post on showing off the pretty pages of swabs.
    How do I manage them all via a Filemaker database of course. I have algorithms that propose the next ink to be used in a pen based on a number of factors including days since last used, how many of that colour is in use and whether that ink is banned from that pen etc.

    • I’m a neophyte in comparison. One look at your twitter profile pick shows I’m not close. I did have to go to Goulet Pens and count :). They have 599 bottles of ink listed, although maybe not all in stock. So you are close. The database is also impressive, especially the way it picks inks.
      Thanks for reading,

  3. I only have a small box filled with ink bottles and it’s already to the point where I don’t use all of them on a regular basis. For me, part of the the problem is that I like to have a variety of colors available but for my daily users I refuse to use anything that’s not at least fairly water resistant…

    • Hi Andi,
      With the ink tests you do (which are great!) I would have guessed you’d have more. But then again, you do long term tests so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. It depends on your definition of regular, but it’s pretty clear I don’t use many on a regular basis.
      Thanks for reading,

  4. That is a really impressive ink collection. I like to imagine it like an old sweet shop, where you’ve got them all out on display and can run your fingers along the bottles.
    My collection so far is tiny, and I am definitely not allowed to add to it (or get another pen) until I have a job. I’ve got two bottles of Pelikan, and the J Herbin scented inks set. I like to be able to change without flushing, so I pick colours that work well together. In my fine nib pen I’ve just finished off the orange from the J Herbin set and loaded up with the cherry red, so I’ve got an ombre effect going on when I write.

    • Hi creativityinthebox,
      I probably wouldn’t admit to fondling the bottles if I did :). Mixing ink without flushing does result in some nice colors at times.
      Thanks for reading,

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