Friday, June 3, 2011

Noodler's Yellow ink review

How many of us fountain pen aficionados write in yellow ink? Not many I would guess. And yet, there are yellow inks out there and there are very valid reasons to use them.

First, let me get this right out of the way: I don't believe anyone will use a yellow ink in a fountain pen just for writing. On the other hand, yellow inks are very useful for art in general and also for highlighting. Another very popular use is for ink mixing.

Noodler's Yellow is the most basic shade of yellow from the Noodler's brand. They do have other yellows, including ones designed specifically for use in highlighter pens but this one seems to be particularly well suited for mixing. If ink mixing interests you, check out this link which shows a series of Noodler's inks used as CMYK primary colors. The article does an excellent job of illustrating the various shades which can be obtained by mixing these inks to different proportions.

I only bought a sample of Noodler's Yellow and I didn't plan on using it for mixing. As I started typing this article, I got it into my head that maybe I should try at least one combination, seeing that I already possess a whole bottle of Noodler's Navajo Turquoise, which acts as cyan.

I loaded Noodler's Yellow in my Pilot Parallel calligraphy pen with 2.4mm nib. That was the only pen in my collection suitable for such a light colored ink.

The price of a full bottle of Noodler's Yellow is the standard $12.50, or $0.14 per milliliter.

There isn't a lot to say about a yellow ink. This particular specimen is probably the most neutral yellow you can find. It is definitely a warm shade (whatever "warm" can mean in this context) and it doesn't show any shading. For some reason I wrote "Shading: good" in my written review. That should have been "Shading: none" because no matter how many layers of this ink I apply, the color stays flat.

Saturation is high, as it should be.

Drying times are long but that is obviously due to the very wet and wide swath drawn by the 2.4mm broad nib.

Water resistance is non-existent. A few seconds under running water managed to completely obfuscate the text. As a consequence, Noodler's Yellow isn't well suited for applications where water resistance is required.

I have tried using the Pilot Parallel loaded with Noodler's Yellow to highlight text and it depends on the water resistance of that text whether it will smear or not. Bulletproof inks, such as Noodler's Heart of Darkness, won't smear a lot (although it depends how dry the text is). Text from a laser printer or ballpoint pen didn't smear either. The bottom line is that you should think of Noodler's Yellow as being water. If water smears your text, so will this ink.

I'm sure there are a lot more applications for this ink when used for drawing and other types of artistic endeavors. I have used it for a sketch but unfortunately I lacked inspiration and the whole thing lacks punch, but, whatever...

I keep changing my mind whether I should buy a full bottle or not. The thing is, I've already sunk a lot of money in inks which will last me years so I'm a bit reluctant to buy more full bottles. Besides, I have a ton of ink samples that I need to review before diving into ink mixing, because that's the main use I would have for Noodler's Yellow: to experiment by combining it with other inks.

Following are two samples written on photocopier paper and Rhodia 80g paper. Notice that the photocopier paper sample is a bit contaminated at the beginning. It's my fault because previously to Noodler's Yellow I used J Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite in the Pilot Parallel and it looks like I didn't manage to clean it thoroughly so the result is a little bit of orange.

Noodler's Yellow on photocopier paper

Noodler's Yellow on Rhodia 80g


  1. How timely of you to review this ink! I've been looking into getting a yellow ink and this one was on my list of potential options. Looks very nice in you review!

    I'm not sure if it's just my monitor but it looks like there's some shading to me.Particularly on the top where you wrote "20 May 2011   Rhodia 80g". Either way it's a lovely shade of yellow! That makes three new inks I want now. :)

    Keep up the good reviews!

    777 - Tyler Dahl

  2. Thanks Tyler! Yeah there is a little bit of shading but it's hard to see. And then you'd have to apply a wide swath but it is there.

    I've got a bunch of other yellow samples but who knows when I'll get around to testing them.

    I'll be testing the yellows in the Pilot Parallel because they wouldn't make sense in a normal fountain pen. Luckily the Parallel chugs ink like there's no tomorrow, so I can switch inks a lot quicker than in my other pens.

  3. I've often wondered about using yellows for everyday writing. Mostly people say it's way to bright. I'd probably agree but I've never actually seen with my own eyes in person. I think I need to get some samples from Goulet Pens!

    Thanks again for the reviews, they're extremely useful! I'm on the hunt for a gorgeous ink to put in my TWSBI when I get it. I have an unused sample vial of PR Mojo. I think that might do well. Do you know of any staining with that ink?

    777 - Tyler Dahl

  4. The problem with yellow in a fountain pen with thin(ish) nib is that there is very little contrast between the ink and page. Which makes the text very hard to read.

    If you are looking for a bright ink, I highly recommend Diamine Orange which is very beautiful, saturated and bright.

    Were you asking about staining in Noodler's Yellow or PR Mojo? Yellow doesn't stain but I don't know anything about Mojo. Diamine Orange doesn't stain but it isn't waterproof either.

  5. Thanks again for the extremely useful information! I was asking about PR Mojo. Glad to hear Noodlers Yellow doesn't stain though.

    I noticed your review of Noodlers North African Violet. Have you had any luck removing the staining that was caused by that? It looks like such a pretty color...Regards,777 - Tyler Dahl

  6. Wow, that looks pretty nasty... I guess I won't be using NAV in my TWSBI...

    I better research some non-staining inks before I put anything in my good demo. pens... :)

    777 - Tyler Dahl