Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Study in Blues

I hate blue.

Let me rephrase: I, who should know better than to deal in generalizations, hate blue.

I have always said I dislike blue ink. That, in fact, I'm not overly fond of the color blue at all.

While rooting through the cabinet which holds all of our inks, I realized that we have a goodly number of inks that arguably fall within the spectrum of "blue." Given the supply of blue ink in the house, I thought it would behoove me to become further acquainted with blue ink.

So, I gathered them all up, booted up the PC, and put together a quick list of each color. I spaced the ink names to allow for swabbing and printed it on our usual printer paper - HP 32 lb bright white.

I then grabbed a handful of cotton swabs and commenced swabbing.

And I was quickly fascinated by the variation that was almost immediately apparent in our blue inks.

I thought briefly of rearranging swabs in color order, but I like having them alphabetical by manufacturer and then color name. In fact I'm finding this so useful I will probably do the same for the other basic colorways we have - reds, oranges, browns, greys and blacks.

I've done some work with color in fiber arts, notably spinning, weaving and knitting; I've never really translated that knowledge and experience into viewing inks before though. This was an interesting eye-opener for me.

Here are a couple of color-corrected shots of the various blues. First, a photograph:

Then, a scan:

I've done my best to represent colors accurately, but of course Your Monitor May Vary. If you've got your heart set on a particular color, I highly recommend you purchase a sample from a dealer before investing in an entire bottle to avoid possible disappointment.

This was a great exercise for me; it made me acknowledge what I should already know: "blue" isn't just blue, there are myriad shades involved, each of which carries its own appeal. Even Waterman Florida Blue - an ink that I always use for testing, not for its color but because of its performance properties - draws the eye nicely.

And in conclusion, let me just show you this photograph:

Kindly note the color of the coffee cup.

Not to mention the wall.



  1. Thanks for the comparison Sheila. As you may (or may not) have noticed from my letters, I love a good blue and blue-black, so this was fun to read.

    1. Hi Derek! I must admit it never hit the level of realization, but thinking back on it, yes, I do remember lots of blue inks! Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Yep, I can see how you "hate" blue, hahaha! Love the Levenger Cobalt--must go take a looksie.

    1. Yeah, I pretty much need to quit saying that. It's amazing how preconceived notions can get so ingrained - and obviously I am far from immune!