Noodler’s Polar Brown

I have just been in touch with some of my fellows ink geeks on FPN and the Noodler’s debate is quite raw. Despite the left field nature of Noodler’s as a fountain pen ink manufacturer, many of the inks are hit and miss. The drying times are of concern for many of them. Here is a quick study of some trees using Polar Brown. The ink was ‘sticky’ for a couple of days. Not ideal for taking into the ‘field’ – which is a great shame. Also of note is the that some of these inks bleed. It’s a great asset for subject matter like this but just take a look at the zoom in and you’ll see that my monicker is totally blown! Not desperately good for handwriting surely? Admittedly, this was on a watercolour paper but even so? And then there’s the issue of nib clog! Many of these inks are heavy and sludgey. As you can see, great for art but you’ll need to regularly clean any fountain pens as the there is a real issue that the feed and nib could fuse together! That said, my job is to investigate these inks for creative purposes and there’s no denying, these ARE creative!



Here is a link to an article on the Jetpens site that fairly comprehensively describes the many and varied groups of Noodler’s inks and how they are expected to behave:

Art test on Bockingford 200lb watercolour paper using a No.6 and a rigger.

Many thanks to Brian and Rachel Goulet for the sample vial:

Just for the record – I do this for myself, I receive no remuneration what-so-ever and I tell it exactly how I see it.


7 thoughts on “Noodler’s Polar Brown

  1. Talking about Noodler’s inks as a whole is like talking about people-with-brown-hair as a whole. The line is too diverse to generalize. Some of Nathan’s inks are great, and some of them are junk. Often, they have special properties or are made for a really specific use-case. The polar series, for example, are really made for use in places that have issues with ink freezing. I’m not sure where that is (Wyoming, maybe? Alaska?), but it’s not really made to work well for everyone across the board.
    Love your artistic reviews, by the way!

    • Cheers Mike. Personally, I think they’re all great, but I do feel obliged to ask questions when I come across aspects that are a little too blatant to dodge, particularly when they could be detrimental to both handwriting and pens! But hey! Whatever lights your fire, as they say in Rochester.

      • Yeah, the polar series are odd inks. They are thick and they take forever to dry, but they don’t freeze. The fast-dry inks bleed/feather/spread like it’s their job, but they do dry quickly. The Baystate inks aren’t ph-neutral and they don’t play well with others, but they’re super-vivid. There’s a lot of give and take in the brand, and I think that leads some to have a negative perception of the brand if they’ve only tried one (or a few). Not that you do this, just that’s what tends to happen in the interwebs.

      • If you’ve had a brief gander at what I’m up to, you’ll note that all inks are game on in my book, provided that they have a secret creative side to them. And lets be honest, those two recent Noodler’s posts – The Blacks and Magic Mix – are just knock out!

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