How To Create Sheen

How To Create Sheen from Fountain Pen Ink!

There are three very important aspects of using a fountain pen. They are first, the paper, second the ink, and third the pen. Each aspect is just as important as the rest, and without any one of them, you can’t enjoy our hobby! Today we are going to focus on how to create sheen with ink, and all three aspects of using a fountain pen are going to come into play.

How To Create Sheen

1. Paper

Different papers produce different amounts of sheen. All images, photos, and media, shown in this guide were created using Tomoe River Paper. We decided to use Tomoe River Paper because it is arguably the best paper for producing sheen. Other papers will produce sheen, of course, and your mileage may vary. In general, the less absorbent paper that you use, the better results you can achieve. Sheen shows most in the areas where the ink pools, and less absorbent paper allows for more ink pooling. In general, you can expect more sheen from Tomoe River Paper, Rhodia Paper, and Clairefontaine Paper, than your average copy paper.

2. Ink

Certain inks will sheen more than others, and some inks do not produce any sheen. Make sure that you read up and do your research for any ink that you purchase. Awhile back we wrote a blog on some of the top sheening inks currently available. Also check the ink reviews we do weekly on our blog, or use other resources such as Mountain of Ink, a blog with some more fantastic reviews.

3. Pen/Nib

When it comes to sheen, the rule is always the wetter the better! The broader the nib, the more ink you are able to put onto the page. Because sheen is created from where the ink pools, extra fine or fine nibs generally do not output enough ink to create sheen. Medium nibs are typically a good place to start with most sheening inks but broad or stub are even better. Certain inks however, like Organic Studios Nitrogen Royal Blue, will sheen with practically any nib and pen. If you are looking simply to create sheen the best tool for the job is a cotton swap, syringe or whatever allows you to put down lots of ink.

If you liked this guide, let us know by commenting below! Remember, we have The Write Tools for the Analog Writer!

2 thoughts on “How To Create Sheen from Fountain Pen Ink!


    I haven’t considered sheen much until you made this article (tried to post earlier, but had some browser problems). Paper aside, how can I produce more noticeable sheen with finer nibs? I use an H-F nib in my daily driver pen.

    1. Pen Chalet Post author

      If you prefer to use finer nibs, paper aside, there are a few things you can do to help produce more noticeable sheen. First and foremost, selecting the right ink. There are inks, like Organics Studio Nitrogen, that can sheen no matter the paper, nib, or anything. Additionally, having a wet flow with your finer nibs will help the ink still pool, without it being a broader nib. You can always try to improve flow by using a brass shim to loosen the tines a little. Unfortunately, sheen is not super conducive to finer nibs, but hopefully one of these suggestions helps!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *