The Best Waterproof Black Ink

I tested these black inks a couple weeks back but I've been busy working on an installation, Porta-Party, and didn't have time to write up a full review.

Ever since I began using a fountain pen, I've been using the Noodler's Black ink. However, there are many other waterproof inks out there that might be better and I decided to test some of these inks out to find the best waterproof black fountain pen ink. This set of inks came in a sample set available through Goulet Pens here. I am not a calligrapher so I will be focusing this review on the ink's performance in sketchbooks and with watercolour.

Here are the 8 inks I tried out:

De Atramentis Archive Ink

De Atramentis Document Black

Platinum Carbon Black


Noodler's Black

Noodler's Black Eel

Noodler's Heart of Darkness

Noodler's X-Feather

Noodler's Bad Black Moccasin

An Ink Sketch of Singapore with Noodler's Black
An Ink Sketch of Seattle with Noodler's Black

Drying Speed

The first test I did was a drying test to see how long it takes for the ink to dry on paper. The drying time is extremely important for drawing since nobody wants to have to wait for the ink to dry after drawing each line.

I did the test by running a piece of paper over it at different time intervals. For this test, I used a Quo Vadis Habana - Black, Lined (4.02 x 6.38) pocket-sized notebook.

To my surprise, all the Noodlers' inks seem to underperform the De Atramentis and Platinum inks. The Noodlers' Black, Black Eel and X-Feather seemed to have particularly long dry times up to 10-20 seconds while the Platinum Carbon Black dried in 5 seconds.


Watercolour Paper + Waterproof

All of these inks are considered waterproof but the extent of how waterproof they are depends on the paper. This test is done on a Moleskine Large Watercolour Notebook with 180gsm watercolour paper. For each of them, I waited at least 20 seconds for them to dry before I brushed water across them.

Again, the Noodlers' ink seems to be less waterproof than the De Atramentis and Platinum inks and this was a surprise to me. The Noodlers' Black and Black Eel did well with the water while the Heart of Darkness, Bad Black Moccasin, and X-Feather did rather poorly.

The Winner

To sum up, there are many options available for waterproof ink but the best seems to be the De Atramentis Archive Ink with its minimal dry time and its waterproof quality.

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