Top 10 Favorite Shading Inks

Our favorite shading inks

Our favorite shading inks

When I received my first fountain pen I immediately inked it up with an ink color I thought was pretty, the gorgeous Pilot Iroshizuku Ama-Iro. To be honest, “pretty color” was the primary quality I based all early ink decisions on. And I was ok with that! Then I discovered shading ink…

…and my response was:Happy Face

In case you are not familiar with the quality referred to as shading, please allow me to explain this phenomenon. When you make a stroke with your fountain pen onto the paper, then lift the pen up, you’ll notice a little pool of ink that travels back up the line. Depending on your nib size, ink and paper, this will leave you with a line on your paper which looks like 2, or possibly 3 different ink colors were used to make. And it’s absolutely lovely. (And addictive!)


You should know, as my love for just pretty ink colors turned to a love for best shading inks, I also made the switch from Medium-Fine nibs to Broad and Stub nibs. Because as any true fountain pen user will tell you, if you want to show off that beautiful shading, you should have a wider nib size to showcase the color.

To save you the hassle of trying every ink out there to find great shading inks, I worked with Chris to compile our list of Anderson Pen’s Favorite Shading Inks*. Enjoy!

  1. Sailor Kin-Mokusei Sailor Kin-Mokusei
  2. Robert Oster Deep SeaRobert Oster Deep Sea
  3. Akkerman #11 Treves-TurquoiseAkkerman Treves-Turquoise
  4. Sailor Yama-DoriSailor Yama-Dori
  5. Robert Oster Lemon GrassRobert Oster Lemon Grass
  6. Montblanc Toffee BrownMontblanc Toffee Brown
  7. Kaweco Sunrise OrangeKaweco Sunrise Orange
  8. Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-JakuIroshizuku Ku-Jaku
  9. Diamine Kelly GreenDiamine Kelly Green
  10. J. Herbin Violette PenseeJ. Herbin Violet Pensee

Honestly, it was hard to narrow down our top picks for shading inks, and within the Turquoise and Orange color families especially, there were so many to choose from! We easily could have made a list of top shading Turquoise and Orange inks only!

Comment below with your favorite shading inks for a chance to receive a sample of all of the inks mentioned above!!

*Please note, this is just our opinion of our CURRENT top shading inks. It was based on the pens, papers, and writing styles we used. There might be inks you are surprised to not see on the list (Can anyone say “Apache Sunset?”) and while there are other amazing shading inks out there, these 10 made the cut for us.

**CONGRATS KCNIGHTFANG! You were our Shading Inks winner!**

Ink It Up!!