Here are the inks I purchased in 2016, by brand.
Bung Box: (2) Dandyism and Sweet Potato Purple. I succumbed to curiosity, and to the lure of a deal. I hadn’t sampled either, but I took the risk and bought these because I figured I could sell or trade them if necessary. Happily, I like them both. They are still scandalously expensive, though.
Graf von Faber-Castell: (2) Garnet Red and Midnight Blue. Both were on sale, so that was good. I knew I liked the brand, and I knew I liked Garnet Red, which I had sampled last winter. So that was good. Midnight Blue I had never tried. And I’m not sure I would have have bought Midnight Blue if I had sampled it first. Now that I own Midnight Blue, and have figured out its tricks, I like it. But that might have had an unhappy ending.
Montblanc: (2) Montblanc for BMW and William Shakespeare Velvet Red. These are great, and I’m glad to have them. Mentioning them reminds me to use the Shakespeare again soon. It’s (a) gorgeous and (b) perfect for this time of year. Unfortunately, the problem with having too many inks is you just can’t use any one enough.
Parker: (½) A friend found me a half bottle of Parker Penman Sapphire at a reasonable price. I had already tried it, thanks to the generosity of another friend, and I knew I loved it. Having my own bottle has let me pay forward that favor and share samples with new people. Yay! Friends!
Pelikan: (1) Pelikan Edelstein Amber, which I bought after a friend sent me a sample. This is one of the past “inks of the year,” and I like it very much. It’s another good winter ink that I should put in a pen soon. Again with the friends!
Sailor: (10) Ten bottles. Too many to photograph. You’d think Sailor is my favorite brand, wouldn’t you? Especially if you add the Bung Box. But it just worked out that way. This year I got some of the Four Seasons inks, after sampling them, and then later blind-bought some more. The bottles I had sampled I knew I liked. The ones I blind-bought were more mixed. There are lessons here. Sample first! Also, friends! (Just for fun!)
Cartridges: I bought three boxes of ink cartridges: Lamy Dark Lilac, Lamy Charged Green and Montblanc Golden Yellow. These aren’t colors I’d use much, so cartridges were perfect. Yay! Cartridges!
Well I am just in a cheerleading mood here, it seems. Probably because I did so much better in ink purchases than in pen purchases this year.
Still, there were some lessons. One is that 20 bottles of ink is still too many. I sold a lot of ink this year, but I only finished four or five bottles, probably. I’d rather buy less than I’m using, not more.
It’s interesting that almost all these purchases were in the second half of the year. Clearly, I am better at keeping my “don’t buy more ink” resolution in the first half of the year.
On the other hand, most of my pen purchases were in the first half of the year. So maybe, I buy ink when I don’t buy pens? So maybe ink buying is good, after all? How do I wrap my head around that? I’m a cheerleader, not a philosopher.
It is clear that when ink is on sale, or available more cheaply somewhere, I’m more likely to give in to temptation. This is bad. Unless it’s an ink I already have tested. In which case, it’s good. Again with the conundrum.
And I should always sample an ink before buying a full bottle. Except for Montblanc limited edition inks, which I always like. So where is the clarity?
Looking forward, I suspect I will buy fewer ink bottles next year no matter what. I need to tighten the pen and ink budget. Also, I have too much ink already, and this is the second year I’ve said that, so I’m probably serious now. Plus, I now have the key to success: I just need to avoid sales and to disconnect my internet on the first of June. I’ve got this.
So it sure looks like blue skies and clear sailing ahead. (Yes, I’ve joined the sailing team now.) Of course, the Titanic’s captain was pretty confident, too. We’ll just have to see after next year.