An Experiment: Fountain Pen Ink in a Waterbrush Pen

5 10 2020

As I wondered in my last post about the feasibility of putting water-based fountain pen ink in a waterbrush pen, this week it’s time I follow through on that half-conceived thought and put my own possessions on the line to see how this plays out.

The dog is an optional but encouraged step

Step one: gather the materials. You’ll need a waterbrush pen—I’ve decided to use a Caran d’Ache medium water brush because it was the first water brush I found among my scattered possessions. Step two: realize the water brush still has water in it, frantically eject and violently shake water out of the water brush to the best of your ability. Accept that there are still some stubborn fragmented water droplets in the water brush, and that you have no patience to wait for it to dry out further. Step three: summon up your very frighteningly be-needled ink syringe and ink of choice (for this experiment, I chose J. Herbin’s Gris Nuage, because in my time I’ve found J. Herbin inks to be well behaved, and the light grey ought to do well for sketching), and use the dangerously stabbity syringe to transport ink from the bottle to the belly of the water brush beast. While I could have used the plunger mechanism on my water brush to suck up ink, I didn’t want any backwash from the brush to end up in the ink bottle, so this seemed like the better way to go. Then push the little squeeze zone and wait for the ink to make its way to the brush.

You know what would have been better? A gif of the ink, timelapsed, saturating the brush tip. But you know what you’re getting? A still picture because I realized my great idea several hours too late.

First thoughts: this can hold a lot of ink. That will be handy. And this particular water brush, since it has a hard body is a lot more secure to transport around, while still having a little squeeze section to control the ink flow while working. But the ultimate question: Does it work?

You can see in the upper right corner where I was still getting the leftover bristle-water out of the system. Also, color correcting? Pfft, never heard of that fancy-fangled nonsense

The ultimate answer: apparently! So far, anyway. I’ll continue testing this bad boy and see if any unforeseen consequences pop up (anticipated scenarios: the pristine bristles get stained by the fountain pen ink; if I ever want to use this as a water brush again, what if I can’t get the ink washed all the way out so the water is always tainted???), but for now, especially for a cheap water brush, filling it with fountain pen ink seems like something you can do with minimal downsides. Time will tell if the water brush rises up to choke me in my sleep, or gets dried out ink clogged in it or something. But my shiny first impression is that, rather than try to clean ink out of an ancient ink-filled brush pen, filling up an empty water brush may be the better way to go.