I have seen these three being put up against each other by some very fine artists and in every case, I have plumped for the Skull & Roses, but when I made them fight it out myself, I changed my tune.
First up - this was the first time that I had held this particular broad nibbed calligraphy scratcher in my hand - it must be older than me, judging by its box and provenance (belonged to my Uncle James who's been dead since Marc Bolan was alive) and I haven't got the technique yet.
Anyway, let's look at the pix:
|Broad nibbed calligraphy pen - dipped|
Ah yes, there's the sheen - sorry that it's all a bit wobbly, but I was standing outside in the sun, angling the paper and trying to take a photo while the wind blew #naileditlikeapro
Nitrogen has the most glorious sheen of purple and red and combinations of both with Skull & Roses hot on its heels. Fire and Ice isn't really sheening for me, although I do like the depth of shading that it gives.
Now, this is all very well using a big broad nib, but what if you like a fine nib? Time to try the inks with a glass dip pen.
|Look, Nitrogen is sheening!|
Even with a fine nibbed glass pen, Nitrogen still gave off a pleasing amount of sheen (don't look at my feathering - shit pen skills, nothing to do with the ink!). Skull & Roses and Fire & Ice are lovely colours, but with a fine nib they don't get to show off a sheening personality.
With a broad nib, the sheen is much more pronounced and Nitrogen and Skull & Roses are pretty much neck and neck on that score, imo. I'd buy whichever one is easiest to get, to be honest. If Diamine start selling Skull & Roses in the UK, it will give Organics Studio a run for its money! However, with the hassle of importing from Germany, Organics Studio will be the winner as far as ease of ordering is concerned, I think.
Fire & Ice will probably show its sheening qualities on better quality paper, so bear that in mind too - if you have lovely paper, I reckon this one is a keeper.
So, who is the winner? I write with a fine nib though, so, for me, it's Organics Studio 'Nitrogen' that is the surprise winner!
Where to buy?
Fire and Ice (Robert Oster) - Executive Pens Direct £14.95
Nitrogen - The Writing Desk (currently website getting a bit of a facelift!)
Skull and Roses is not available in the UK (yet!) but available from Germany here 8 Euros + P&P