De Atramentis Dark Blue Document Ink Review

First, I must apologize for the crappy pictures. The inspiration hit me to write this post, but I did not have a camera with me. So, I simply did some snaps with my phone.

I promise to do better with the photos in the future.

When it comes to an item like this (an ink), I don’t really believe in a good review or a bad review. So many things are personal preference, can fit one situation, and not another, that I just want to know the facts. Sometimes, very specific facts can be very hard to find, but when you have them, you can weigh everything out, and see if something is going to work for you, or not.

That is my intention here. To simply lay out all my observations about this ink, and let you decide if you want to try it or not.

After writing with a pen and paper for a very long time, I abandoned it to pursue digital methods. Software, apps, scanning, etc. I have come full circle and back to the good old pen and notebooks. With that, came changes in my needs. Previously, I was writing just for the fun of it. I had time to grab my notebook, be patient, and make exceptions for things like ink dry time. If you read my last post, you know that I doing much more with it now. Using paper as a capture method, as an organizational tool, and a creative tool. Because of that, I needed to be able to pull out a notebook in haste, make a note, and put it away. I didn’t want to have to wait to close my notebook, or fuss with blotting paper, etc. I figured the more work it was, the less likely I was to do it, and I couldn’t have that.

Some of you are probably thinking, “Why not just use a ball point pen?” Well, as an fountain pen addict will tell you, once you get addicted to using a fountain pen, there is no going back. I just can’t do it.

I had been previously been using Noodler’s Bulletproof black ink. It may be unfounded, but in my pursuit for meeting every criteria, I want my ink to be waterproof. I figure if I am putting all this effort into creating a notebook, creating a journal, creating a log, that I want it to be able withstand just about any condition I throw at it, including water. I say unfounded, because if my bag gets too wet, I am probably going to be more concerned about my laptop than my notebook 🙂 So, more than likely, it won’t happen. Still, I generally have to purse these types of things until I find something I want, or exhaust the possibilities before settling.

I found that the Noodler’s ink on the better journal papers (Moleskine, Ciak, Leuchtturm) was just too long. I think Rhodia makes an even finer notebook, and dry times are even longer there! I am not talking seconds, more like minutes. I would leave a book opened for what seemed like forever, and the ink would still blot on the opposite page. So, I had to search for something faster, and permanent. Not an easy combination to find.

In the meantime, I bought an ink which is my current favorite. I don’t want to get into that now, and I will do a separate review on that one later.

I found some good reviews about De Atramentis Document Ink, and I had to order some.


This is just an observation, but worth noting because it is the first time I have come across this. Every ink I have used thus far looks like a deeply colored water. Like it has some transparency to it. This ink reminded me of thin paint. It was opaque, and you could not see through it at all. Not a good thing, or a bad thing, just an observation. You can see in the following photos, but the ink also works like that. There isn’t any variation or shading (I hope I am using that term correctly). It is just even and consistent. You may like that, and you may not, but that is how it works.

My first test were with a Rhodia No. 19 Premium Notepad with ivory 90g Clairfontaine paper.


First thing I had to check was drying time. At 5 seconds, there was a very slight smear. So slight, you might not even be able to see it in my crappy phone picture. So, I did it again at 7 seconds, and I would say that it is safely dry at 7 seconds. For this paper, that is very fast! I couldn’t wait to see what it did on other papers.


More than satisfied with that, I just had to try some random writing.


This is where I start to have my first inkling that there might be a problem. I am using a fine nib pen, and this ink is writing much wider than I am used to. I was using this pen all day with another ink, so the change is quite obvious to me. I am not writing it off just yet, so let’s see how it goes.

I pull out my Large Moleskine Journal, which is my current Bullet Journal. I did not take a picture, but again, lines are much wider than I am used to. I keep telling myself “I can live with this” and “I want to like this ink.” So, I keep going.

I did my same “drying time” test with this journal, and found almost the same results. 5 seconds….not quite. 7 seconds…..just fine. I am more than happy with that performance.

After writing in this journal, I turn the page and it shows a lot more ghosting. The picture below shows the ghosting of my current favorite ink, and one line written with the De Atramentis Ink.


I did some tests on cheap paper. Just some envelopes I had lying around. This is where it becomes obvious to me how much this ink flows. The paper just sucks the ink out of the pen and makes for some very, very wide lines. Although the pen is laying down some wet, thick lines, it is dry before you can even get a finger to it to touch it. So that is very impressive!

This is where I start thinking I am going to have a problem with this ink. Still, I want to stick it out and give it a fair shot.

Next, I did some water tests. It holds up to its reputation for water resistance. You can wash it and wash it, and you do not see any trace of anything happening with the ink. You can rub and rub the paper until the paper fibers start falling apart and wearing away. At that point, you are destroying the paper and it really has nothing to do with the ink any more. I was very impressed, and it made me want to keep pushing on.

Later the same night that I received the ink, I had a Men’s Bible Study that I go to. We have handouts of printed material, with room to take notes, printed of course on cheap copy paper.

Sure, it writes wider than I would like, but I am determined to make this work and like it!

I had to write larger, and could not fit in as many notes as I would normally like.


Okay….so that was the first page of our study. I got to turn the page, in which there were more questions printed on the back. The ink was so legible on the back side that I almost couldn’t read the printer printed text.



This ink just lays down wet! Real wet!

I am not the type to carry around one pen for this pad, or another for this kind of paper, etc. Yup, this stuff just wasn’t going to work for me.

When I got home, I flushed my pen and re-filled it with my current favorite ink again. You can see the line width difference for comparison.


All of that is not to say that I am completely done with this ink. I will set it aside, and perhaps use it in the future.

I am not a pen collector. I don’t have tons of pens sitting around, not getting used, or selecting the right pen for the right use. I think this ink may work in a pen with an EF (extra fine) nib. The line weight would certainly be more to my liking, and perhaps laying down less ink would minimize some of the ghosting issues. I don’t have such a pen, so that is a test for another time. Until then, I will put this ink away until maybe that pen comes along.

I could see buying an EF nib pen just to be able to use this ink. I do like it that much. But, I just can not justify it at the moment, so we will see.

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