Graphite vs Ink

I was just getting rid of some old documents from my office when I came across three sheets of paper I had written on in 2010 – one with pencil, one with rollerball and one with fountain pen.

All three documents were not exposed to direct sunlight.

The squared paper in the middle shows the rollerball. I am not sure which rollerball this was, but seven years later the text is hardly legible. The once red rollerball is now just a light shade of yellow.

On the right you see the writing from the fountain pen. I am not sure which ink was used, but the writing is much lighter than any ink I would have used at the time. I assume this must be either because of the ink’s properties or the paper or both. The fading can’t just be down to age. I have school notebooks from the early 1980s (ink: Pelikan Royal Blue) that still look great.

On the left you see text written with a pencil. Still as good as on the first day. OK, graphite isn’t darker than black ink, but look how light the ink has gotten in seven years. Maybe in another seven it will be hardly legible while the graphite will still stay dark.


7 thoughts on “Graphite vs Ink”

  1. Somehow I am not too surprised about the rollerball, but a bit disappointed how that fountain pen ink aged. Yes, to me, that ‘lasting effect’ is quite important 🙂 Good to know that the Pelikan Royal Blue from the 80s still looks great. Also, I guess if your pencil is not too smudgy, then you can still read your notes from many years ago 🙂

  2. Thank you for your comments.

    PingPing, the rollerball was probably either a Pilot or a Faber-Castell. I expected a better shelf life.
    I’m quite surprised that the Pelikan ink is doing so well, it is quite washable, maybe because all school kids have to use one like that, so the moment the dried ink on the paper sees a drop of water it will dissolve immediately (I noticed once when a classmate’s notebook was opened in the rain.

    Johnny, it must be true. I got a t-shirt that says so.

  3. Prior to shredding all of my journals last year, I first read through them and was surprised at how some FP inks had faded over the years.

    It’s one of the reasons that despite playing with 100 different colors, I almost always came back to Noodler’s BB and Herbin’s Perle Noire.

    Several years back, I began to grow weary of FP maintenance and switched to graphite in the form of a mechanical pencil. I still keep at least one pen inked up, and it’s still Noodler’s BB so it has the best shot at longevity. (Or at least until I rip it up again. Lol)

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