grey fountain pen ink

The Great Grey Fountain Pen Ink Comparison

John Bosley Reviews 47 Comments

Grey fountain pen ink is one of those things that it seems like few people are passionate about and many are clueless about. While everyone seems to have multiple bottles of teal, turquoise and purple ink, I’d bet that the majority of fountain pen users don’t have a single bottle of grey ink. Truth be told, it can be an intimidating color to shop for. It doesn’t really sheen, and it doesn’t have a dominant color, but there are subtle variations between each color of grey that can make narrowing it down to one bottle very difficult. If you’ve experienced this before, I’m here to help with the Great Grey Fountain Pen Ink Comparison!

I decided to track down as many different grey fountain pen inks as I reasonably could and compare them all to each other. If only full bottles were available online, I didn’t buy the bottle and instead tried to source a sample from a friend. This wasn’t always possible, so there are definitely plenty of grey inks missing. Please note, while there are quite a few grey inks with shimmer, I did not include any shimmer inks in my testing. Also, it’s surprising how many inks with grey in the name do not look grey at all, so I did not include some of them in this roundup.

Looking at multiple ink samples side by side can really make the differences between colors obvious. In addition to comparing writing samples, I did an ink chromatography sample for each color, which really helped me see what the dominant color was in each ink.

Don’t miss the ink giveaway at the bottom of this post!

grey fountain pen ink comparison ink vials

Here are just a few of the vials of grey ink that I used.

How I Tested The Inks

In this post, I want to show you a writing sample of each ink using both a fine and flexible nib, the chromatography sample and my thoughts for each ink. I’ll also test to see how waterproof each ink is.

I tested each ink on three different types of paper. The main paper, which is what you’ll see in the writing samples, is Mnemosyne. It has high shading, very low feathering and bleeding and fast dry times. I also tested on some Apica C.D. Premium paper, which has low shading and medium bleeding and feathering. Finally, I did a writing sample in my Leuchtturm A6 notebook which has high feathering. I figure if an ink doesn’t feather in the Leuchtturm, it’s probably not going to feather on most fountain pen friendly paper.

The Grey Inks

Let’s start out by taking a look at all of the different inks together. I was able to get over 40 different grey ink samples for this review (go ahead and insert “X Shades of Grey” joke here). I swabbed them all onto some Tomoe River 68gsm paper. I used these same swabs to test how waterproof each ink is by putting a drop of water in the center of each swab (hence the dots in the middle of most swabs). While I didn’t swab them in any particular order, each individual ink sample will appear in alphabetical order in this post, so if you see a color you want more information on, it shouldn’t be hard to find.

Note: The paper I did these swabs on wrinkled a bit with the ink and water. This wrinkling came out as slightly uneven areas of light and dark when I scanned the paper, but from what I can tell did not affect how the inks appeared.

Grey Fountain Pen Ink Comparison swabs 1

Grey Fountain Pen Ink Comparison swabs 2

Grey Fountain Pen Ink Comparison swabs 3

As you can see, the variety in colors is enormous. Some are almost black, some look like I used a pencil, and some appear more red or green or blue. Some only made the list because they have grey in the name! Now that you’ve seen them all, let’s dive in and take a closer look at each individual ink. Again, they’ll appear in alphabetical order, so if you’re looking for a specific color you should be able to quickly find it.

Please note, I accidentally swabbed the DeAtramentis Document Grey twice and mislabeled one of the swabs as DeAtramentis Document Fog Grey (first page, top row). While DeAtramentis Fog Grey appears in this roundup, the Document version does not.

At the end of this post, I’ll share some groupings of my personal favorite inks (like “Warm Inks”, “Cool Inks”, “Shading Inks”, etc…). So, without further ado, here’s the Great Grey Fountain Pen Ink Comparison!

3 Oysters Delicious Cool Gray

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral/red
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A fairly neutral color with some red tint. Higher amount of shading than many of the other grey inks I tested. A little dry in fine nibs. Slight bleed through on some papers.

3 Oysters Delicious Cool Grey writing sample

3 Oysters Delicious Cool Grey chromatography

3 Oysters I.COLOR.U Doldam

Dominant Color/Tint: Cool/Blue
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: Some
Thoughts and Observations: A cooler color without much shading. A fairly wet ink.

3 Oysters doldam writing sample

3 Oysters Doldam writing sample

3 Oysters Doldam chromatography

3 Oysters Doldam chromatography

3 Oysters I.COLOR.U Giwa

Dominant Color/Tint: Green
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: Almost a black ink, this grey has green tones to it. It is a wet ink with no shading.

3 Oysters Giwa writing sample

3 Oysters Giwa Chromatography

Akerman 29 Hofvijer Grijs

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A true grey ink, this one doesn’t show any other color casts. It has a bit of shading, but not much.

Akkerman 29 Hofvijver Grijs writing sample

Akkerman 29 Hofvijver Grijs chromatography

Callifolio Gris de Payne

Dominant Color/Tint: Blue
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A cooler color of grey with some shading. It feels a little dry to write with.

Grey Fountain Pen Ink Comparison Califolio Gris de Payne writing sample

Califolio Gris de Payne writing sample

Grey Fountain Pen Ink Comparison Califolio Gris de Payne chromatography

Califolio Gris de Pane chromatography

Caran d’Ache Infinite Grey

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: Very low
Thoughts and Observations: Interestingly, goes on kind of green but dries to a nice neutral grey. It’s a drier ink, but has good shading.

Grey Fountain Pen Ink Comparison Caran D'Ache Infinite Grey writing sample

Caran D’Ache Infinite Grey writing sample

Caran D'Ache Infinite Grey chromatography

Caran D’Ache Infinite Grey chromatography

Colorverse 29 Matter

Dominant Color/Tint: Red
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A lighter ink with a strong red tint in broad nibs. In fine nibs it appears to be more grey. Some shading.

Colorverse #29 Matter writing sample

Colorverse #29 Matter chromatography

DeAtramentis Charles Dickens

Dominant Color/Tint: Green
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: Yes
Thoughts and Observations: A very wet and green grey ink with some shading.

DeAtramentis Charles Dickens writing sample

DeAtramentis Charles Dickens writing sample

DeAtramentis Charles Dickens chromatography

DeAtramentis Charles Dickens chromatography

DeAtramentis Document Grey

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral
Water Resistance: High
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A dark and neutral grey ink. It is fairly wet and nice to write with. Moderate shading observed.

DeAtramentis Document Grey writing sample

DeAtramentis Document Grey chromatography

DeAtramentis Document Ink Urban Grey

Dominant Color/Tint: Warm
Water Resistance: High
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: Goes on dark, dries light, fairly wet, some shading

DeAtramentis Document Urban Grey writing sample

DeAtramentis Document Urban Grey writing sample

DeAtramentis Document Urban Grey chromatography

DeAtramentis Document Urban Grey chromatography

DeAtramentis Fog Grey

Dominant Color/Tint: Blue
Water Resistance: High
Feathering: High
Thoughts and Observations: Very heavy flow in wet nibs with no shading, feathered on all papers, not very well behaved and hard to clean out of pens

DeAtramentis Fog Grey writing sample

DeAtramentis Fog Grey writing sample

DeAtramentis Fog Grey chromatography

DeAtramentis Fog Grey chromatography

DeAtramentis Mouse Grey

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral
Water Resistance: Medium
Feathering: Yes
Thoughts and Observations: A very nice neutral grey that isn’t too light or dark. Unfortunately, it did feather and bleed on two types of paper.

DeAtramentis Mouse Grey writing sample

DeAtramentis Mouse Grey chromatography

DeAtramentis Silver Grey

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral
Water Resistance: Medium
Feathering: Some
Thoughts and Observations: A nice, neutral dark grey with some shading. Feathered on some paper.

DeAtramentis Silver Grey writing sample

DeAtramentis Silver Grey writing sample

DeAtramentis Silver Grey chromatography

DeAtramentis Silver Grey chromatography

Diamine Earl Grey

Dominant Color/Tint: Red
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: Yes
Thoughts and Observations: This is a magenta-leaning grey ink. It has good shading and appears much more red with a broad, wet nib. I did observe some feathering and slight bleed through on multiple papers.

Diamine Earl Grey writing sample

Diamine Earl Grey chromatography

Diamine Graphite

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A very dark grey that looks black in some nibs. A wetter ink with little to no shading.

Diamine Graphite writing sample

Diamine Graphite writing sample

Diamine Graphite chromatography

Diamine Graphite chromatography

Diamine Grey

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A classic grey ink with no visible color tint. It’s on the darker side, but would not be mistaken for black. Not much shading, but overall very well-behaved.

Diamine Grey writing sample

Diamine Grey chromatography

Diamine Silver Fox

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral
Water Resistance: Medium
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: Another great neutral grey from Diamine. This is like a lighter version of Diamine Grey. It might be a little drier. It has some shading. Very similar to Kobe #53.

Diamine Silver Fox writing sample

Diamine Silver Fox chromatography

Graf von Faber-Castell Stone Grey

Dominant Color/Tint: Some red
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A nice grey that is neutral with shades of red. It shows some shading. It is a little dry, but still nice to write with.

Graf von Faber Castell Stone Grey writing sample

Graf von Faber Castell Stone Grey chromatography

J. Herbin Gris Nuage

Dominant Color/Tint: Red
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A very pinkish/purple light grey ink. Displays some shading. It seems to write fairly wet.

J. Herbin Gris Nuage writing sample

J. Herbin Gris Nuage chromatography

J. Herbin Vert de Gris

Dominant Color/Tint: Blue
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: A bit
Thoughts and Observations: Not really what I’d consider a grey ink, but a nice color nonetheless. I did see a bit of feathering and bleeding. It also has a bit of shading.

J. Herbin Vert de Gris writing sample

J. Herbin Vert de Gris chromatography

Jacques Herbin Gris de Houle

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A nice neutral grey that isn’t too dark or light. A wet writer with some shading. I purchased this ink in Paris and am not sure if it’s available in the United States.

Jacques Herbin Gris de Houle writing sample

Jacques Herbin Gris de Houle chromatography

Kaweco Smokey Grey

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral/Warm
Water Resistance: Medium
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A neutral grey leaning towards a warmer yellow/red color. Fairly wet with some shading.

Kaweco Smokey Grey writing sample

Kaweco Smokey Grey chromatography

Kobe #10 Mikage Gray

Dominant Color/Tint: Purple
Water Resistance: Medium
Feathering: Some observed
Thoughts and Observations: A very wet, dark ink that is basically black with hints of red and purple. Similar to Kobe #31 and #46, but much more purple.

Kobe 10 Mikage Gray writing sample

Kobe 10 Mikage Gray writing sample

Kobe 10 Mikage Gray chromatography

Kobe 10 Mikage Gray chromatography

Kobe #31 Kaigan Stone Gray

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: Low
Thoughts and Observations: A very dark gray that might as well be black. Little to no shading. Similar to Kobe #10 and #46, but more neutral.

Kobe 31 Kaigan Stone Gray writing sample

Kobe 31 Kaigan Stone Gray writing sample

Kobe 31 Kaigan Stone Gray chromatography

Kobe 31 Kaigan Stone Gray chromatography

Kobe #46 Nagisa Museum Gray

Dominant Color/Tint: Cool
Water Resistance: Medium
Feathering: Low
Thoughts and Observations: A very wet, dark grey that is almost black, but looks a bit lighter in fine nibs. Similar to Kobe #10 and #31, but more green.

Kobe 46 Museum Gray writing sample

Kobe 46 Museum Gray writing sample

Kobe 46 Museum Gray chromatography

Kobe 46 Museum Gray chromatography

Kobe #53 Kitano Pearl Silver

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral
Water Resistance: Medium
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A lovely neutral grey that is the lightest in this roundup. Shows nice shading. Very similar to Diamine Silver Fox.

Kobe 53 Pearl Silver writing sample

Kobe 53 Pearl Silver writing sample

Kobe 53 Pearl Silver chromatography

Kobe 53 Pearl Silver chromatography

Kobe #59 Hirano Gion Romance Gray

Dominant Color/Tint: Warm
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: Seems to have good flow, it’s nice and dark but still a grey ink, very low shading.

Kobe 59 Romance Gray writing sample

Kobe 59 Romance Gray writing sample

Kobe 59 Romance Gray chromatography

Kobe 59 Romance Gray chromatography

KWZ Standard Grey Lux

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: Some observed
Thoughts and Observations: As far as I’m concerned, this is a black ink. It doesn’t have any shading and is darker than most black inks I own. It also tended to feather and bleed a bit. I love KWZ inks, but this is not one that I would purchase, especially if I was looking for a grey ink.

KWZ Grey Lux writing sample

KWZ Grey Lux chromatography

L’Artisan Pastellier Classique Gris de Payne

Dominant Color/Tint: Blue
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A nice ink with a blueish tint. It goes on the paper quite dark, but dries a lot lighter. It has a bit of shading and might even have a tiny bit of red sheen with the right pen and paper.

Encre Classique Gris de Payne writing sample

Encre Classique Gris de Payne chromatography

Montblanc Oyster Grey

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral/Warm
Water Resistance: Medium
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A neutral leaning towards purple/brown color with some shading. It feels dry to write with.

Montblanc Oyster Grey writing sample

Montblanc Oyster Grey chromatography

Monteverde Coal Noir

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: Some observed
Thoughts and Observations: A dense, dark grey that could easily be mistaken for black. I did see a bit of feathering and bleeding. With the right pen and paper you can probably coax a bit of gold sheen out of this ink.

Monteverde Coal Noir writing sample

Monteverde Coal Noir chromatography

Monteverde Smoke Noir

Dominant Color/Tint: Neutral
Water Resistance: High
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A nice dark grey ink without much of a color tint. No shading, but also no bleeding or feathering. In the right pen this could probably be mistaken for a graphite pencil.

Monteverde Smoke Noir writing sample

Monteverde Smoke Noir chromatography

Noodler’s Lexington Gray

Dominant Color/Tint: Warm
Water Resistance: High
Feathering: Some observed
Thoughts and Observations: A medium-dark grey with some warm tones. It has decent shading and is fairly wet.

Noodlers Lexington Gray writing sample

Noodlers Lexington Gray writing sample

Noodlers Lexington Gray chromatography

Noodlers Lexington Gray chromatography

Papier Plume Oyster Grey

Dominant Color/Tint: Cool
Water Resistance: Medium
Feathering: Some
Thoughts and Observations: Very nice, cooler dark grey. Not much shading.

Papier Plume Oyster Grey writing sample

Papier Plume Oyster Grey writing sample

Papier Plume Oyster Grey chromatography

Papier Plume Oyster Grey chromatography

Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun

Dominant Color/Tint: Blue
Water Resistance: Medium
Feathering: A bit
Thoughts and Observations: This color is definitely on the cool side of the grey spectrum. Even in a fine nib it looks blue. I saw a bit of feathering, but not much and no bleed through. It has a bit of shading.

Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun writing sample

Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun chromatography

Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-same

Dominant Color/Tint: Red
Water Resistance: Medium
Feathering: Some observed
Thoughts and Observations: A light grey with purple/red tones. It has a bit of shading and feels a bit dry to write with.

Iroshizuku kiri-same writing sample

Iroshizuku kiri-same writing sample

Iroshizuku kiri-same chromatography

Iroshizuku kiri-same chromatography

Private Reserve Gray Flannel

Dominant Color/Tint: Green
Water Resistance: Medium
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: I really like this color. It is on the green side of the grey spectrum, but is unmistakably grey. It has great shading and good flow.

Private Reserve Gray Flannel writing sample

Private Reserve Gray Flannel chromatography

Robert Oster Graphite

Dominant Color/Tint: Green
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A very dark green grey that could easily be mistaken for black ink. Very low shading.

Robert Oster Graphite writing sample

Robert Oster Graphite writing sample

Robert Oster Graphite chromatography

Robert Oster Graphite chromatography

Robert Oster Grey Seas

Dominant Color/Tint: Blue
Water Resistance: Low
Feathering: Yes
Thoughts and Observations: Another ink that is grey in name only. This is a blue ink. It does have a bit of shading, but also feathered and bled on two different papers. Similar to the KWZ ink, I’m a fan of Robert Oster inks but wouldn’t buy this one.

Robert Oster Grey Seas writing sample

Robert Oster Grey Seas chromatography

Rohrer & Klingner SketchINK Thea

Dominant Color/Tint: Warm
Water Resistance: High
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: A good, wet ink with some slightly warmer tones. It has some shading. My sample bottle had sediment in it, which somewhat concerns me.

Rohrer Klingner Sketch Ink Thea writing sample

Rohrer Klingner Sketch Ink Thea writing sample

Rohrer Klingner Sketch Ink Thea chromatography

Rohrer Klingner Sketch Ink Thea chromatography

Stipula Calamo Dark Grey

Dominant Color/Tint: Red
Water Resistance: Medium
Feathering: None observed
Thoughts and Observations: Another ink where the name doesn’t quite match the color, but this time it’s because this ink says it is dark grey but in reality it’s fairly light. This ink has some shading and no observed feathering or bleeding. It feels like a wet ink and is nice to write with.

Stipula Calamo Dark Grey writing sample

Stipula Calamo Dark Grey chromatography

Grey Groups

Now that you’ve had a chance to take a good look at each ink individually, you probably noticed some similarities between some inks. When I started this test, the most obvious groupings to me were the warmer and cooler shades of grey. I really wanted to find a good neutral grey, but it turns out that’s something that is not easy to find. Most grey inks tend to be on the warm or cool side of neutral. Of course, although I wanted something neutral I still have my favorites from the warmer and cooler grey inks.

Warm Grey Inks
Cool Grey Inks

One thing that I’ll mention about the cool grey inks is that they look great on paper that isn’t white! Most paper from manufacturers like Life and Leuchtturm is actually a warm, off-white color. When an ink that is more blue and cool is added to a paper that is more yellow and warm, the colors tend to cancel each other out and you get a neutral(ish) grey!

Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun on white paper

Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun on white paper looks more blue and cool

Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun on cream paper looks more neutral

Dark Grey Inks

Another set of groupings that stood out were the dark and light grey inks. I found myself attracted to both dark and light greys, although I found that I don’t prefer the greys that are almost black. The dark grey inks felt more moody and mysterious to me, while the light grey inks gave a unique and interesting writing experience. Many wrote dark while they were wet and then dried light. I definitely found some new favorites, which I’ve listed below.

Light Grey Inks
Best Shading Grey Inks

There are also the grey inks that shaded. I was quite surprised with how few grey inks actually had any strong shading. I figured that most of them would shade to some degree, but I was wrong. Still, some did have a good amount of shading, which I personally prefer, so here are the best shading grey inks that I tested.

My Personal Favorite Grey Inks

Finally, here are my personal favorite grey inks from all of the different inks that I tested. While I already had bottles of two of these inks, I am definitely going to buy a bottle of the other two inks.

Conclusion

Grey inks aren’t going to be for everyone. Many people love to use colorful inks or inks with sheen or inks with high amounts of shading. Grey inks don’t really have these things. So why use grey fountain pen ink at all? That’s a question each person will have to answer that for themselves. For me, I enjoy using grey inks because they are different from the usual colors that I use. I don’t find them boring and find them much more interesting than black ink.

If you enjoy sketching, doodling or painting with fountain pen ink, many grey inks have wonderful color profiles that work great with water and chromatography. I found that there were grey inks that I didn’t enjoy writing with but did enjoy doodling with, specifically the greys that were strongly tinted towards red or blue.

Grey Fountain Pen Ink Comparison doodle

While I don’t enjoy writing with J. Herbin Gris Nuage, I do enjoy doodling with it.

If you’ve never tried any grey fountain pen ink, I would highly encourage you to pick up a few samples of any inks in this post that you think look interesting. They are truly something different than most inks that are out there and I personally find them very enjoyable to use. I’m guessing that if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this post, you’ll find them enjoyable to use as well.

Most of these ink samples were purchased from Vanness Pens or Goulet Pens, so if you see an ink that you like you can probably find it at one of those two spots. I also was able to find a few samples through friends and I had one or two hard to find bottles that I’ve picked up on my own.

Grey Fountain Pen Ink Giveaway!

Grey Ink Giveaway

Comments 47

  1. Hi John,
    Thanks for a very interesting and thorough article on grey inks. I only have JHerbin’s Stormy Grey so I really appreciate this analysis. There are some shades of grey in your article that I will want to try.

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  2. You’re right when you say grey is not a first or even second choice for most people. I have a bottle of Quink Blue and of Quink Black from 1970s, and they’ve lost some of their colour and look like some of the examples you’ve shown, especially in the case of the bluey greys.
    Regarding the blackish greys, I had a bottle of black which had dried up completely and it was a bottle with a small amount of powder. I added water to see what happens – it reconstituted immediately. The trouble was, I didn’t know how much water to add and ended up with grey not black. Well, a washed-out black perhaps. This is why I don’t salivate when I see grey ink for sale.
    I hasten to add that these sorry bottles of ink joined my collection when I married.
    You’ve done a lot of work here John.
    How did you know I love Teal? My favourite non blacks are browns. They look great for shopping lists and for Italic. Darker colours generally have more legibility. I’ll start you off:
    Diamine Saddle Brown.

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      Noel, it does seem like many of the vintage colors were fairly washed out. I think we’re just a lot more used to very saturated inks these days. I’ve tried to reconstitute ink powder before and ended up with the same problem you had. I had no idea how much water to add, so ended up with watered down ink. Still, it makes for a fun experiment. Thanks so much for reading!

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  3. Cool! I have Montblanc Oyster Gray and all from Diamine. This really helped me to narrow down my next gray inks to buy. I’m probably getting J.herbin Gris nuage for drawing. It would be useful for sketch and then making final lines with darker ink.

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  4. This was a very nice review and study of the grey inks. Thank you for taking the time to do this. I think I found a couple new inks that I will try out.

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  5. Lovely selection of Grey inks. I quite enjoy using Grey’s in my journaling, it makes for such a peasant read! I think I’ve found a few more through your post that I would love to try.

    1. Sakshi Reddy – don’t you find grey ink harder to read and/or need a stronger light?. People who have only one colour ink invariably have black or blue-black. John B does ink doodles, quite nice ones, and I can well imagine that black would be too heavy for that. For diary or poems, however, I need a maximum, or near, contrast with the paper.

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        Noel, in my experience the grey inks are only hard to read if they’re really light. The darker ones aren’t bad at all. Some have also good shading which I find helps to make them more readable. Still, to each their own! Also, thanks for the compliment on my doodles! 🙂

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  6. I enjoyed reading your thorough review on grey inks. I want to try out a grey ink but just can’t decide which one. My first choice would be Diamine Earl Grey. I have the RO Grey Seas and just as you mentioned here, the grey is only in the name. In reality it’s a blue ink. But still I like it. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  7. What you wrote about grey inks not being everyone’s cup of tea is accurate as far as I’m concerned. There are a good number of grey inks in your post I would use, however. Thanks for the great writeup.

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  8. Wowzers! When put together like that, I didn’t know that the shades varied so much! Most interesting. I only have the Fuyu Shogun & thought that “grey is grey”, so I never bothered looking at other shades. Oh dearie me.

    Kudos to this article too! A lot of work went into it & is much appreciated. Didn’t know / forgot that you did a post on doodling too. Am going back to read it later today. 😀

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  9. Grey isn’t exactly the color you think people will find exciting. Nevertheless, that Robert Oster Graphite is quite smart!

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  10. John, great minds think alike. I am writing a post on grey inks also — I am an artist that adores bright colors, but also the amazing muted tones of grey. We are covering many different greys — and I an looking at purchasing some you talk about — so this is an article I bookmarked and will follow you!

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  11. Very helpful comparison, thank you!
    One of the pleasures of ink is that it draws you into more subtle areas of color. Many of the colors in a traditional artists palette (where, of course, they mix to achieve naturalism) would be far to garish for a written page!
    The other thing I enjoy with subtle colors like these is that they tend to keep their qualities rather hidden until you bring them into context – a good excuse to keep multiple pens on the go at a time, each with its own “voice” to bring to the thought conversation.

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  12. This is great! How did you know I was on a gray ink kick? It’s also useful to see swabs and chromas of the ones I already have. Thanks.

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  13. So I divide my basic palette into warm colors, that tend to neutralize to brown, and cool colors, then tend to neutralize grey, but then there’s the borderlands, a fascinating world of warm greys and cool browns. Colorwise the borders seem to be occupied by greens (grey-green and green-brown are both quite common) and violet (although grey-violets seem a lot easier to find out than purple-browns – but Noodlers’ Nightshade and De Atramentis’ Sepia Brown show that it’s possible).
    One idle fancy of mine has been to find a pinkish grey, which seems possible (there’s a good deal of pink in the chromatography above, if not in the final colors) or a cool yellow grey – these exist in my imagination at least, but I haven’t seen them on paper. Maybe they will always tend tan/khaki/buff? Any ideas?
    Sahara Grey from De Atramentis is not the answer!

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      It sounds like you have quite a system, Philip! It also sounds like you have a lot of grey inks!

      In my opinion, the pinkest greys in this roundup are J. Herbin Gris Nuage and Iroshizuku Kiri-same. Neither would ever be mistaken for a pink ink, but compared to the other greys they definitely lean in that direction. As for a cool yellow grey, I can imagine how it would look, but don’t know of any. Best of luck in your quests for these elusive inks!

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