Ink Fight | Fire & Ice v Skull & Roses v Nitrogen

It's the day of Prince Harry's wedding to Meghan Markle, so what better time to retire to the ladycave and let three inks duke it out for my favourite sheener?

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

Nitrogen is a delicious purple blue, Skull & Roses is a brighter blue and Fire & Ice is decidedly teal.  I like all three.  But what about the magic sheen?

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


  1. All three are beautiful! I just purchased skull and Roses on eBay from a German retailer. Can’t wait to get it. I might have to try the Nitrogen too. I have Organics Studio twilight blue, and it’s beautiful too.


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