by Shameera Nair Lin

You’ve had the five-minute lecture on why I think fountain pens are amazing. ‘She needs to find a real hobby,’ you might say. And you wouldn’t be wrong, but let’s imagine that this article brings joy to many of you. I’d call that a good use of time. 

In this edition of the Fountain Pen Chronicles (and if you’re not convinced that a fountain pen is what you need, this should help), I will be sharing with you a few shades of inks that motivate me to write my sorrows away.

1. Robert Oster Soda Pop Blue

Get ready for those summer beach vibes (post-COVID, please) with this vibrant blue ink. It is not too ostentatious, and proves to be a sight for sore eyes. Robert Oster’s blue inks are truly one-of-a-kind: check out Bondi Blue (it’s the colour of old Apple desktops) and Fire and Ice, if you’re looking for something more adventurous.

No, seriously, Fire & Ice is SUCH a unique ink.

2. Pilot Iroshizuku, Yama Budo

Before anyone asks: no, I did not draw this. However, this is a perfect example of how this wine-coloured beauty can work wonders. (Well, that, and the ability to sketch…) In all seriousness, the Yama Budo is a timeless colour, perfect for a bit of writing and a lot of shading. It’s also a great ink for annotating, but I would not recommend this for extensive note-taking.

3. Diamine Terracotta

Diamine’s what I call the ‘meat and potatoes’ of the ink world: steadily reliable, has flavour and good. Their terracotta is a warm orange-brown that is fairly water-resistant (tip: if water resistance is essential to you, try Noodler’s inks) and dries out into either orange or brown, depending on the type of paper you use. If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper alternative to this limited edition orange-brown, try Diamine’s Burnt Sierra. Personally, I find brown inks really inspiring to write more ‘serious’ material with.

4. Pilot Iroshizuku, Kon-peki

Need to make meeting notes? This is your shade. Confession: I tend to enter meetings with a Rhodia notepad and a fountain pen, inked up with Kon-peki, and doodle. Ask my exasperated colleagues. Not a colour I was initially fond of, Kon-peki’s now a staple favourite: I use it every day for various purposes, and it’s the type of ink you could use in different settings.

5. Sailor Jentle Miruai

Sailor’s range of fountain pen inks are unmatchable: you could get just about any colour. However, I have yet to come across any other ink colour quite like the Jentle Miruai: it’s green, but not quite. This is the perfect ink for sketching landscapes, as it brings out a richer, darker green.


If you want ink recommendations that go beyond the staples, please feel free to get in touch. I’ll leave you with something to think about: did you know that you could (and should, really) test out different types of inks before committing to a specific shade? These places are called ink bars; I personally love Czip Lee in Bangsar (honestly, it’s in my neighbourhood). 

BONUS INK: Diamine Jalur Gemilang

If you’re feeling particularly patriotic, Diamine and PenGallery’s Jalur Gemilang ink, with the blue and red associated with the national flag, is your go-to.