I actually like commercially available inks. I like them so much that I have a CD shelving unit full of various commercial inks in every primary and secondary color (including that brown color,) as well as gold and silver colored ink and black (of course) and white inks. I counted once and I have over 50 bottles of commercial ink. They range from Speedball to Ph Martins to Higgins to Windsor Newton and more.
These are all standard commercially available in most hobby store inks. But there is another less known subset of inks out there. These inks claim to be made or based on medieval ink recipes. It is reasonable of course that the manufacturer’s and suppliers do not want to share their recipes with you because then you could make it yourself and they would be out the money you would have spent. Or worse, you could become their competition! These suppliers are more difficult to find. There are some you can find on websites and there are some you can find at difference kinds of fairs.
For Christmas I was fortunate enough to have been gifted a bottle of ink that claimed to be made from a medieval recipe that made a green colored ink. So I took out my hawthorne berry ink and did a side by side comparison. But first I had to cut my quill.
Okay so how did it write?
Pretty well actually. Just not the color it was described to be.
So as you can see their ink came out yellow. Mine is very obviously green. Does this make the seller a liar? Not in my mind. The thing to keep in mind is that both of these inks are made from vegetable matter. Either could easily have degraded over time causing the color change as just one explanation as to the color not being what it was advertised to be.
The takeaway on this is actually very simple. Check the color of the ink in the bottle so see if it matches up to what you think you are buying. If it obviously doesn’t, don’t buy it. If it does, buy it if you can afford to. I’m sure you will find a use for it later.