Gray versus black. At first I thought it was a stupid question. I’m mainly a black ink person. I do have my moments when a blue black or bright blue will catch my eye, but most of the time, for just about any kind of pen, it’s black. If you’d asked me about gray, I would have said “use a pencil”.
So there I was writing in my Leuchtturm work notebook with a trusty-but-a-bit-over-wet TWSBI 580 extra fine pen and I started noticing that the Noodler’s Black ink didn’t seem to dry very quickly. In some cases, it seemed not to dry really at all. Minutes after writing I could still smudge the lines. If I hit it with a watercolor brush I’m sure it would have been all over the place. I don’t do watercolors in my work notebook, so we’ll never know for sure.
Never mind the fact that my journal, where I do dabble in watercolors a bit, is a BookFactory book with substantially more absorbent paper that had no drying problems, I decided I should seek out a black ink that dried a bit faster. Hence a bottle of Platinum Carbon Black arrived a few days later, along with the discovery that it does dry faster, but mostly because it soaks in, and through, the paper. No good there.
But when I was reading around the inter webs I found a reference to Noodler’s Lexington Gray, and the claim that many artists favored it for drawing because it didn’t cause problems when hit with a wet brush. A short stop to Daly’s Pen Shop later and I had a bottle.
Now the pen is still wet, and I’ll still use black for many things, but the gray was a bit of surprise for me. I like it, and not just for drawing. I’m finding myself wanting to write with it. It’s ridiculous because one of the reasons I like black is the contrast, and clearly gray is going to have less, but still it works in a way. Maybe less contrast is what makes it work.
I don’t know that I will toss black aside for gray, but I think it will be a color I use a lot more than I thought I would.