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Platinum Carbon Black ink is a carbon-based ink that is made for use in fountain pens.  This ink is essentially India ink without the shellac or other adhesive.  It addresses the issue that many fountain pen artists face, of needing a waterproof ink that is safe for use in fountain pens.

As I previously mentioned, Noodler's makes lines of "waterproof" and "bulletproof" fountain pen inks that are waterproof in the sense that they cannot be washed away with water.  However, they are not necessarily waterproof in the artist's meaning; the inks sometimes can be smeared with water applications.  So, the inks are not as useful to those who like to sketch in fountain pen and then watercolor those sketches, for example.  Platinum Carbon Black ink is waterproof in the artist's meaning; the ink does not smear in water (or alcohol, which is a terrific bonus).

Though the ink is intended for use in fountain pens, I recommend being careful in selecting which fountain pen to use.  The ink is still carbon-based, meaning that it contains suspended carbon particles.  Though these particles are very fine, they can eventually build up in the narrow feeds of most fountain pens.

I have used Platinum Carbon Black ink in Kaweco Sport fountain pens, Kaweco Sport ink roller pens, the Kuretake brush pen, and the Platinum Carbon brush pen - soft (one of the two pens for which this ink is specifically intended, the other being the Platinum Carbon Desk fountain pen, a fountain pen with a broader feed than usual).  The ink rollers and brush pens handle the ink beautifully; these pens have fairly open and broad feeds compared to a fountain pen.  In the fountain pens, however, the ink tends to dry on the nib and clog fast.  Dipping the pen's nib in water usually gets it restarted, but I recommend not letting the ink sit more than a few days in a fountain pen, fully cleaning the fountain pen between each refill, and designating this ink to only a few fountain pens that you are willing to risk clogging badly, just in case the clog becomes irreparable.

All that said, this is an enjoyable ink to use.  I have used it for both sketching in ink and inking planned drawings.  It erases more than an India ink would, so I sometimes re-ink lines after erasing away the pencils.  The ink is waterproof and alcohol-proof, so I have been able to use it in pictures that I water color or color with alcohol-based markers without smearing.

Platinum Carbon Black ink, being an import and a very niche product, is much more expensive than other India inks or fountain pen inks.  So, I do not make it an all-purpose replacement for either, instead using it for specific purposes.

I started seriously buying and trying brush pens in 2006, I think.  My first was the Pentel Color Brush Pen, a refillable brush pen that supplies ink from its soft-body reservoir when the user squeezes the reservoir.  I found the large brush handy for black fill, but too large for my small comic work.  So, I started looking for pens with smaller brushes and began a new obsession.

Since then, I have tried -- and fallen in love with -- many different brush pens, but I probably could have stopped with my second try, the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.  The nice, lightweight plastic body is sturdy and well-balanced.  The synthetic hair nib is longer and more flexible than other non-Pentel brush nibs I have tried, which first meant less control but -- with practice -- means more range and variation.  If you are not the collector that I am and you want only one drawing brush pen, then this is a good option.

I did not stop with the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen for two reasons:  I am an obsessive collector and I did find the longer bristles unwieldy at first.  Honestly, I still have difficulty controlling the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen more than I do the Kuretake Brush Pen, but practice helps.  I finally narrowed my brush pen collection to three:  the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, the Kuretake Brush Pen, and the Platinum Pocket Brush Pen.

As I mentioned, the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen has a long and flexible synthetic hair nib, so it provides the most variation.  The plastic body is comfortable and lightweight.  The pen takes its Pentel FP10 cartridges, which contain a waterproof black ink.  Inking with it is a fun experience.

The Kuretake Brush Pen is the best of my top three for fine lines.  Its metal body is also lightweight and a bit handsomer than the Pentel's, though posting its cap is marring the body's finish.  Both pens are about the same length capped (about 5 3/8") and the Kuretake is slightly longer posted (about 6.5") than the Pentel (about 6.25").  The synthetic hairs in the Kuretake nib are a bit shorter, so I find them easier to control, particularly for finer lines.

For broader lines and for sketching, the Platinum Pocket Brush Pen serves me best.  Its plastic body is very long (about 7.25" capped and 6.75" uncapped, but lightweight and well-balanced.  The cap cannot be posted, which is a slight drawback, particularly when I am not at my desk.  Despite the fact that this is the least "portable" pen of my top three in sense of design (longest, no clip, cannot post cap), it is my favorite for toting around because it is the best sketcher.  The synthetic hairs in the nib are the same length as those for the Kuretake Brush Pen, but the brush nib is thicker and its feed is wider, so ink flows more readily.  Fast movements that might result in dry lines with the Kuretake Brush Pen or the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen get full, wet strokes from the Platinum Pocket Brush Pen.  It also serves excellently for when I want to make consistently broader lines.

During my searches and experimentations, brush pens have come and gone through my collection.  Other pens included:

* The Bienfang Watercolor Brush Pen, which is a waterbrush, a brush that contains its water reservoir in a squeezable body.  Waterbrushes are generally intended to be filled with water for travel watercolor painting, but can be filled with ink.  I like working with these for painting, but do not find the body quite to my preference for regular inking.

* The Faber-Castell Pitt Artist brush pen, which is a disposable pen with a flexible felt tip for the brush nib.  Though comfortable to hold and nice for a disposable pen, it is disposable, not refillable, and I prefer synthetic hair brush nibs over felt tips.  This is not one that I regularly use, but I do keep it on hand for air travel, when I should not take a fountain pen (all of my top three brush pens are fountain pens).

* The Kaimei Brush Pen, a refillable brush pen much like the Kuretake Brush Pen, with a natural hair nib.  This pen earns my award for Biggest Heartbreak of A Pen.  Its short-long body design (very short when capped and a longer, more standard length when posted) charmingly dances the line between handsome and adorable.  It acceptes Platinum cartridges, the same cartridges that the Kuretake Brush Pen and Platinum Pocket Brush Pen accept.  It should be fabulous... but it has natural hair for its nib.  I dislike natural hair brush nibs.  I find natural hair unwieldy and too delicate for my needs.  I cannot use waterproof inks with natural hair and I try to use only waterproof inks.  The natural hair of another brush pen that I tried actually rotted.  I pulled the hair nib out of the Kaimei Brush Pen and am trying to find a way to fit a synthetic hair nib into it.  If I cannot, then I shall regretfully find a new home for this pen.

* The Pentel Color Brush Pen, which is really a waterbrush with ink cartridges provided by the manufacturer.  This was my first brush pen and I kept it for a long time, even refilling it with different inks, since I really enjoyed the thick and long synthetic hair brush.  I eventually found that the Platinum Pocket Brush Pen neatly filled the roll of the Pentel Color Brush Pen, with the added bonuses of being more manageable for finer work and being easier to refill with whatever ink I chose.  Had I not discovered the Platinum Pocket Brush Pen, then this probably would have stayed in my collection.

* The Sailor Profit Brush Pen, which is probably the handsomest brush pen available.  Its lightweight plastic body has a very classy cigar shape and its brush is comprised of tightly packed synthetic bristles.  Because the brush was so densely packed, this pen afforded superior control for thick lines, but did not really allow for thinner lines.  It was particularly fun to use for drawings in which I wanted to achieve consistently bold lines.  Had I not discovered the Platinum Pocket Brush Pen, then this undoubtedly would have stayed in my collection.  I finally sold it because I wanted this wonderful pen to get more use than I was likely to give it anymore.

* The Sakura Pigma Brush Pen, about which I have nothing nice to say.  This disposable pen is uncomfortable to hold and its thin felt tip frays easily.  It is an overhyped and overpriced pen that I simply cannot recommend.
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