Fountain Pen Ink and Bleach! What’s the point?

I frequently receive messages like this:

“I’ve seen a bunch of your ink tests over the months and one thing I’m unclear on is – how do we use these for our ink selection? Does mixing with bleach and water inform something about an ink that everyday users should know? Or consider when selecting an ink? I feel like you put a lot of effort into these and there’s something to learn here but I’m just not sure what that is.”

Well, what I’m doing here is all part of an art based project. Fountain pen inks often reveal hidden colour hues when blended with water and can react with bleach in a magical gold and neon light way. To help illustrate this, here is a link to a swatch test for some deAtramentis inks: https://quinkandblea…is-inks-review/ in particular check out the ebony swatch! As a direct result of the beautiful possibilities this ebony swatch test revealed, I then went on the create this: https://quinkandblea…ramentis-ebony/ and there are many other examples on my website of finding something quirky happening in a swatch test and then creating an artwork around this unique behaviour:

I honestly do consider fountain inks to be a genuine hidden gift, with creative possibilities that billions of pen using people are blissfully unaware of. It’s about exploration and experimentation – about getting a lot from so little. I don’t know what’s going to happen next – that’s why I do it. My swatches and blog posts are not directly aimed at handwriting and fountain pen enthusiasts, and not everything in life has to have a purpose. What I do may be deemed as irrelevant, but in its own abstract way, I believe it does add a little something to the overall visual experience and when you get the hang of it, fountain pen inks not only serve as the main medium for written communication but can also give watercolorists, fine artists and illustrators a run for their money! Just saying.

Of Note: The abstract image shown was created using Quink black ink and bleach on Bockingford watercolour paper. I used a giant home made brush – which is how I achieved the fabulous abstract giant brush marks. When loaded with ink…. it’s heavy! (See image below for Big Brush in action!)



12 thoughts on “Fountain Pen Ink and Bleach! What’s the point?

  1. You do it because you are curious, creative and you can. I think they are awesome and am grateful not to be alone in the wilderness of fountain pen ink fascination.


    • Yup! We do it because we can’t stop ourselves. It’s addictive and wonderfully gratifying. Our crazy hobby is going to be the next big thing! Probably after quite a few other big things, admittedly, but HEY!

  2. When I found your blog, I thought- this guy gets it! Not all that sure what “it” is, other that a creative spirit that want to figure new and interesting things out. I like fountain pens, I like ink, but I like painting with and manigulating the ink even better. Thanks for your efforts Nick, they are not lost on me.

    • Hi Jessica. It’s always lovely to hear from you. I can see that you’re busy! I thought I ought to post this to enlighten the people who appear to get confounded and frustrated when things don’t seem to have a purpose. Hopefully this will help put them at ease? One can but hope. Nx

  3. I think you give a great reference to inks and their properties/behaviors so it definitely does add something to the writing community as well. And I also have been using FP inks in my work, but not with bleach, though you inspire me to try 🙂 Love your work!

  4. Your swatches and artwork are so beautiful. How strong is the bleach when you apply it? Is it a 100% bleach application or is it diluted? I’d like to try this but am afraid to: even a small amount of bleach in the same room makes me feel like I’m being smothered. My throat and lungs just feel like they’re stuffed with cotton.

    • The amount of bleach I use is tiny. We are talking 30ml of a 50:50 dilution bleach/water. That said, if you are still suffering from the minimal fumes in a well ventilated room, best not to try this. Thanks for your kind works btw. N

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