Ink Swab: Montblanc Toffee Brown


Montblanc Toffee Brown

I’ve had this ink on my wishlist since 2014, but I didn’t really go to Montblanc boutiques to check if they had it. Yesterday my husband and I were walking from Greenbelt 1 to Glorietta and we passed by the Montblanc boutique on the ground floor. We wandered in and I ogled the gorgeous pens on display. My husband bought the ink bottle because, as usual, I was hemming and hawing about getting it for myself. As soon as we got home, I inked up one of my favorite pens with it, my Parker Vacumatic Golden Brown.

Montblanc Toffee Brown

My first impression before I tried the ink was that I loved the bottle. It’s so pretty, and functional too. That portion near the cap functions like a little pocket that catches ink so that your pen can suck it up even if there’s little ink left in the bottle. Sort of like its own ink miser. The bottle’s opening will fit large pens comfortably. The cap is, surprisingly, quite heavy for an ink bottle cap. It’s my first Montblanc ink, so I’m pretty excited to try it out.

Montblanc Toffee Brown

When I put the pen on paper, it was pure pleasure. The ink flowed moderately wet, and it made the nib glide on paper. When wet, it’s the color of espresso. Rich, dark brown, almost a bit reddish. When it dries, it shows off the most beautiful shading. In natural light, it almost looks like there’s a soft fire glowing inside the strokes. The gradation of colors range from a rich, very dark brown, to a reddish, golden brown. Like luscious toffee. Here are a few close up shots of the writing sample.

Montblanc Toffee Brown

Montblanc Toffee Brown

Montblanc Toffee Brown

Montblanc Toffee Brown

Montblanc Toffee Brown

Montblanc Toffee Brown

The closeup shots don’t do it justice at all. It looks really beautiful in person. I think the closest hue to this I’ve encountered so far is Pilot Iroshizuku Tsukushi, but Toffee Brown has a redder hue. Diamine Ochre is also a little similar, but that has a bit more yellow in it, I think. It’s not water proof or water resistant.

Overall, it’s a wonderful ink! I wrote a whole page in my journal with it right after testing it out and it looks so beautiful on a full page. Like parts of it are softly glowing. I would love to see this in a stub nib. I’ll make a new post about it once I try that out. I think I’ve found my favorite new brown ink.

Review: Robert Oster Blue Water Ice


Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

This past few days, I’ve been using Blue Water Ice in my journal entries. Robert Oster certainly makes eye-catching blue inks. This is a vibrant blue with pink sheen. It’s interesting to look at because the base blue color is light enough and the pink sheen is sheen-y enough for the ink to show a halo around the lines. You can see it on the writing sample above, it’s like the letters have a thin outline around them.

I would recommend using wide nib sizes for this ink for you to truly appreciate the ink’s beauty. I tried using it with a fine nib and the ink comes off as a pale blue. Pretty, but not as pretty as if you use a wider nib, like the one I used here (a cursive italic nib). It’s a saturated ink, but it still shows off a lot of beautiful shading. It’s saturated enough for everyday writing, but it’s not a boring, standard blue. It’s a happy shade of blue that is so vibrant, it pops right out of the page.

It flows wet, and dries about 15-20 seconds (on Tomoe River, with a cursive italic medium nib). It’s always fun to use flow-y inks. Here are a few close up photos of the writing sample.

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

Robert Oster Blue Water Ice

Check out Everything Calligraphy for Robert Oster Signature Inks.

Review: Robert Oster Plumb Nut


Robert Oster Plumb Nut

A few days ago, I tried out my sample of Robert Oster Plumb Nut. Aside from the little dab of ink on the cap, I didn’t really know what to expect because I’m not sure what a plumb nut is. I used my Sailor Sapporo Progear Slim with a medium nib and (after getting acquainted with the color a bit more) a Lamy Studiio with a 1.5 mm nib. Right off the bat, I like that it’s a pleasant old rose color. It’s a mellow kind of pink, a bit dusky, with a slight hint of purple. It has beautiful deep pink shading, and no sheen. When I first tried it with my Sailor pen, it felt thin, almost watery. It doesn’t bleed or go all over the place, but it felt watery on paper as I wrote, so my nib felt like it’s gliding on the surface of the paper. I reversed my nib to see how it would look like in an xf nib (or maybe closer to a needlepoint) and it flowed quite wet too. I also used it with a 1.5 mm Lamy nib to see how it will hold up with a wider nib.

Robert Oster Plumb Nut

The nib never ran dry, and it showed off the gorgeous characteristics of the ink. Even if the ink’s consistency felt watery, the saturation is not too light. It darkened a bit after drying, but remained a pleasant pop or color on paper. It also dried up pretty quickly at about 10 seconds or so using the medium nib on Tomoe River paper. It’s also not water resistant.

Here are a few close ups of the writing sample:

Robert Oster Plumb Nut

Robert Oster Plumb Nut

Robert Oster Plumb Nut

Robert Oster Plumb Nut

Robert Oster Plumb Nut

Robert Oster Plumb Nut

Robert Oster Plumb Nut

Plumb Nut and other Robert Oster Signature Inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Robert Oster Eucalyptus Leaf


Robert Oster Eucalyptus Leaf

Today I’m reviewing Robert Oster Signature Inks Eucalyptus green. It’s a deep green color with a very subtle red undertone. If you’re a green ink lover, this ink is pretty easy to love. At first glance, it reminded me of one of my favorite green inks, De Atramentis Jane Austen, but a closer look shows some differences between the two:

Robert Oster Eucalyptus Leaf

The red undertone of Eucalyptus Leaf (bottom line) gives it a warmer tone. It has more shading, and the light green component of its shading looks beautifully translucent. Of course, shading will depend on the pen that you use as well as paper quality, YMMV.

Eucalyptus Leaf is a wet-flowing ink, and it takes around 20-25 seconds to dry (medium nib, Tomoe River paper). I like that it feels wet but doesn’t bleed and isn’t too wet that it doesn’t show off the shading. It’s just wet enough for the nib to feel like it’s gliding on paper. It stays vibrant even after it dries, which is something I love about Robert Oster inks. This green ink is nicely saturated and is suitable for everyday writing. It’s not water resistant, but if you use it for pen and wash drawings (like the weird-looking Master Oogwey in the writing sample sheet above), it spreads out nicely and shows the red components of the ink.

Here are a few close ups of the writing sample:

Robert Oster Eucalyptus Leaf

Robert Oster Eucalyptus Leaf

Robert Oster Eucalyptus Leaf

Robert Oster Eucalyptus Leaf

Robert Oster Eucalyptus Leaf

Robert Oster Signature Inks are exclusively distributed in the Philippines by Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Robert Oster Marrone Mustard


Robert Oster Marrone Mustard

I was thinking about which Robert Oster ink to review next and I decided to do Marrone Mustard. I was really expecting something more on the yellow side, as in the commercial mustard that we commonly find in the condiments section of the grocery store. When I put my pen on paper, though, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it’s predominantly brown. A quick Google search on the word Marrone informed me that it’s Italian for brown. The Marrone Mustard ink is a brown mustard color, which is a nice golden brown. It’s pretty striking, especially because it has such expressive shading.

Robert Oster Marrone Mustard

It looks gorgeous on paper, especially in person. The shades of the ink ranges from a soft mustard yellow to a warm brown. I suggest you use a wet medium nib so you can appreciate the shading and the complexity of the color even more. It reminds me of the color of leaves turning. The ink grows a little bit darker a few hours after it dries up on paper. I’ve tried it on my journal which has ivory colored Tomoe River paper and my oh my, it’s gorgeous.

The flow is almost moderate but a tiny bit on the dry side. It’s also not very water resistant, making it a nice ink to use for pen and wash drawings. The water brings out more of the reddish component of the brown tones, though. The wash looks more orange-y than brown or yellow.

Here are a few close ups of the writing samples:

Robert Oster Marrone Mustard

Robert Oster Marrone Mustard

Robert Oster Marrone Mustard

Robert Oster Marrone Mustard

Robert Oster Marrone Mustard

Robert Oster Marrone Mustard

Robert Oster Marrone Mustard

Overall, I find this ink very, very beautiful. I must add it to my personal collection. It’s the kind of ink I want to write many letters and journal entries with.

Robert Oster inks are exclusively distributed in the Philippines by Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Robert Oster River of Fire


Robert Oster River of Fire

Here’s another Robert Oster ink from a batch of samples sent by the nice people of Everything Calligraphy. It’s called River of Fire, and at first I was surprised because I was expecting something blue, then I realized that the name is “River”, not “Sea” or “Ocean”. It’s a deep, rich, forest green color, sometimes leaning towards blue green, and a nice red sheen. It’s quite an attractive color, especially in person. It reminded me of Sailor Tokiwa Matsu, except the base color is a bit lighter than Tokiwa’s which is sometimes hard to distinguish from black when used with wet nibs because of how dark a shade of green it is. This ink is highly saturated green, but it not too dark as to make it an ambiguous shade.

Robert Oster River of Fire

As is the case with many dark-colored inks, the shading is not too expressive, though there’s definitely some shading there. What’s more noticeable is the red sheen. It really gives the color a nice contrast. That dark but shimmery halo that makes the lines almost luminous under certain kinds of light.

I would put the flow of this ink at a hair over medium with a stub nib. I’m happy I decided to use a stub nib for this review because the personality of this ink really shone through with a wet, stubby writer. Like the other Robert Oster inks I tried, it has a very nice flow that is a touch over moderate without being watery. It dries to a darker shade that is still vibrant and really eye-catching, with the red halo becoming more pronounced. Under natural light, it makes the ink looks like its edges are on fire.

The ink isn’t water proof. It’s not very water-resistant as well, so people who like to do ink and wash artworks will certainly enjoy this aspect of the ink’s characteristics.

Here are a few close ups of the writing sample on Tomoe River paper:

Robert Oster River of Fire

Robert Oster River of Fire

Robert Oster River of Fire

Robert Oster River of Fire

Robert Oster River of Fire

Robert Oster River of Fire

Overall, I enjoyed trying this ink out! The flow is pleasantly wet, the hue is gorgeous, and the red sheen gives it that wonderful look on paper.

Robert Oster inks are exclusively distributed in the Philippines by Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Robert Oster Blue Denim


Robert Oster Blue Denim

The wonderful people at Everything Calligraphy sent over a few samples of Robert Oster Signature inks, and I’m eager to try them all out! It’s very noticeable that Robert Oster make beautiful blue inks, so vibrant that the color jumps out at you from the paper. I was expecting a “Blue Denim” ink to be more on the blue black side, but this is a brilliant blue, much like turquoise. It’s a beach-y color that looks so happy, you can’t help but smile when you look at it. It’s also nicely saturated, so it’s not difficult to read. It looks like a great standard ink for daily use. In person, it has pronounced shading.Here’s what it looks like in my Elias pen and ink journal:

Robert Oster Blue Denim

There’s a slight red sheen on it, not too pronounced, but if you use a wet nib you can see the halo around some parts of the letters. I love ink with subtle sheen like this. It makes your strokes on paper look more like painted-on letters. The contrast between light  blue, dark blue, and red sheen on this ink is just beautiful.

I would put the flow at a medium to wet. It’s not extremely wet, but it does take a little over 20 seconds to dry on Tomoe River paper, using a medium nib. There’s very little water resistance here, a few seconds after letting the water droplets sit on paper, it all but washed away most of the ink. Leaving a very pale blue outline. It makes for nice pen and wash drawings, though.

Here are a few close ups of the writing samples:

Robert Oster Blue Denim

Robert Oster Blue Denim

Robert Oster Blue Denim

Robert Oster Blue Denim

Robert Oster Blue Denim

Robert Oster Blue Denim

I love that even after sitting a few days, the ink doesn’t look dull after it dries. It remains vibrant on paper, close to how vibrant it was after writing. I used to dislike blue inks, but after trying a few that are interesting to look at, I’ve become a fan of the color. Robert Oster’s blue inks is a great place to start if you’re looking for interesting, great-flowing blues.

Robert Oster inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Kyo Iro and Kyo No Oto Roundup


Kyo Iro and Kyo No Oto Inks

The past few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of trying out all the different colors of Kyo Iro and Kyo No Oto. It was really a lot of fun, and while I enjoyed trying all of them out, a few of them really stood out for me as my favorites.

Kyo Iro Soft Snow of Ohara

Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

I really love this blue. I don’t think I have a similar shade of it in my ink collection. It’s a mellow kind of blue that has purple tones. It really pops out of the page for me, I love seeing an entire page written with this ink. Simply lovely.

Kyo Iro Moonlight of Higashiyama

Kyo-Iro Inks - Moonlight of Higashiyama

This one’s really easy to like. It’s a beautiful shade of terracotta, and it stays so vibrant on the page. The shading is so expressive too.

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

No surprises here, I guess? It’s a light olive green ink that has beautiful shading. It flows a bit on the dry side, but works beautifully with the right pen.

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

I am quite surprised that I ended up liking this ink so much. I’m not big on yellow inks at all. In fact, I don’t think I have any yellow inks. This one’s a beautiful, earthy yellow though. You need to see this in person, on paper, to fully appreciate how beautiful it is.

Overall, both lines have really interesting colors. The collection is quite varied and the inks have their own personalities, so to speak. I had such a great time reviewing them, thanks to the wonderful people at Everything Calligraphy for the samples.

Ink Swabs Kyoto Inks

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Kyo No Oto Imayouiro


Kyo No Oto Imayouiro

The last Kyo No Oto ink that I will review is this cute pink ink called Imayouiro. It’s an intense pink when wet but it dries to a more mellow, suitably saturated pink. Dark enough to be easily readable, but also light enough to look a bit delicate on paper. It’s not a screaming neon pink color, but something that would look nice with calligraphy or in combination with other darker inks on a page.

The flow is pretty wet on a medium nib. It’s also quite well-behaved. It’s not all over the place, doesn’t feather or bleed through. It dries relatively fast at 15 seconds or so. It’s not water resistant. It’s got beautiful shading, though not really what I would call expressive or with a complex range of colors. It’s a pretty standard, nice-flowing, saturated pink ink. Here are a few close ups of the writing sample.

Kyo No Oto Imayouiro

Kyo No Oto Imayouiro

Kyo No Oto Imayouiro

Kyo No Oto Imayouiro

Kyo No Oto Imayouiro

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Review: Kyo No Oto Nurebairo


Kyo No Oto Nurebairo

The next ink I’m reviewing from the Kyo No Oto line of Kyoto Inks is Nurebairo. At first I was a little confused by it because I really thought it’s blue black. Under fluorescent light, it does look like a very dark blue. Under natural light, it’s clearly a black colored ink with blue undertones. The ink feels quite thick to me, so it flows a bit on the dry side. It also has some copper sheen, although the sheen seems equally distributed along the lines that I draw. Much like what happens when the ink doesn’t have expressive shading. For me, the effect is that the ink looks more glossy than sheeny on paper, much like how india ink would look like when dry. Here’s a short clip on the copper-colored sheen on Tomoe River paper. Keep in mind that the sheen of any ink can be seen if you use the right combination of ink, pen, and paper. More absorbent paper and dry-writing nibs most probably won’t show off the sheen-y properties of ink.

The ink dries relatively slow at 25 seconds or so. It’s also not water resistant. This is a nice, rich black if you want something that’s not watery-looking for your everyday writing. It doesn’t show off much shading, though the little shading it has shows a color of dark bluish grey. I know many people like myself who like black ink to be black like tar or jet black. This would be just the right legit black for your legit black ink needs. Here are a few closeups of the writing sample:

Kyo No Oto Nurebairo

Kyo No Oto Nurebairo

Kyo No Oto Nurebairo

Kyo No Oto Nurebairo

Kyo No Oto Nurebairo

Kyo No Oto Nurebairo

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Review: Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro


I’ve never been a big fan of yellow inks, and it wasn’t exactly love at first sight with this one, but it’s strange because the color kinda grew on me. I started using it to write dates, headers or section titles in my journal entries, and they pop right out the page. It’s a nice shade of yellow, very earthy. It brings to mind that point when leaves aren’t quite dead and dry yet, but the green has just drained out of them.

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

It’s not too light that you can’t read it, but I would recommend that you use it with a wet nib. This page was written with a Pilot vanishing point that has a medium nib. I was intrigued about how it would look with a stub, so…

The ink has very expressive shading, and I like that the shading ranges from a golden brown, to yellow orange, to light yellow. Like the color of leaves as they dry. The ink might be too light if you’re using a fine nib, though. It’s best used with wider and wetter nibs so you can appreciate the complexity of the color. I’m surprised that I like this ink as much as I do, honestly.

I would put the flow at a moderate, depending on what pen you use with it. With my stub nib, it flowed a touch on the wet side. With my medium nib, it flowed moderate, a touch on the dry side. It dried at a little over 20 seconds on Tomoe River paper. It’s not water resistant, it washes away quite beautifully, actually. I think it’s a great ink for creative applications. Maybe not something you would use to sign your checks, but something to add a splash of color to your journals. Me likey.

Here are a few close up photos of the writing samples:

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Review: Kyo No Oto Kokeiro


I was trying my best to save this review for last, like the fountain pen ink version of the marshmallow test, but my EQ is low haha. I’ve always had a soft spot for olive green inks, especially those that have a lot of the yellow component in them. This is why the Kokeiro ink from the Kyo No Oto line is so attractive to me.

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

The color reminds me of a cross between Alt Goldgrun and Diamine Wagner. It’s the color of shelled pistachio nuts. It’s light yellow-green in some places, darker green in some, with a little bit of that gorgeous golden tinge that gives it a nice glowing quality. The color is really eye-catching, especially on ivory-colored paper. The flow is quite wet. I used it in my Sheaffer Lifetime with a fine nib, and it flowed really well. It dries moderately fast at about 20 seconds on tomoe river paper. It’s saturated enough to make it easy to read, it’s a good enough ink to use for daily writing. It’s well-behaved and has very expressive shading. The shading is quite obvious even with a fine nib. It’s not water resistant, though it does leave behind faint light green lines. If you like olive green inks, this is such a nice color to have. Here are a few close ups of the writing sample.

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Review: Kyo No Oto Aonibi


Kyo No Oto Aonibi

Here’s another nice blue ink from the Kyoto ink samples I got from Everything Calligraphy. This one’s from the Kyo No Oto line, and it’s called Aonibi. It’s a dark blue ink, quite in the neighborhood of blue black, though not too highly saturated. It’s a nice ink to use for daily writing, even for work because it’s a sufficiently-saturated, well-behaved kind of blue. Not a crazy shade, just a dark blue ink that doesn’t necessarily stand out except for the subtle shading. The drying time is pretty fast at about 10 seconds, though I did use a European fine nib for the writing sample. I would put the flow at slightly dry to moderate. Here are a few close ups of it.

Kyo No Oto Aonibi

Kyo No Oto Aonibi

Kyo No Oto Aonibi

Kyo No Oto Aonibi

Kyo No Oto Aonibi

Kyo No Oto Aonibi

Kyo No Oto Aonibi

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Review: Kyo-Iro Flaming Red of Fushimi


Kyo-Iro Flaming Red of Fushimi

Here’s the last of the Kyo-Iro line of Kyoto Inks that I’ve tried. The next inks linked up for review are all Kyo No Oto inks. This one’s called Flaming Red of Fushimi. At first I was surprised because it was neither flaming nor red when wet. The ink’s color got darker as it dried, and under natural light, the red component is much more obvious. It does start out as a cross between pink and peach, like the color of pink guava flesh or four seasons juice. Pink that leans more on the red side. When in a low-light surrounding, the ink looks less-saturated and more pink, but in natural light, it does become a more pronounced shade of red. The color is pretty interesting in both cases. I don’t think I have tried an ink that is similar in hue. It’s eye-catching, to say the least. It’s a moderately saturated ink, so I would recommend that you use it with a medium nib at least, or something that writes wet, so that you can appreciate the character of the ink. The shading is expressive and gorgeous, with shades of peach and dark pink. It flows a bit drier than moderate, though not unpleasantly so. I just feel it’s not as wet as the other Kyo-Iro inks I tried. The drying time is more or less the same, about 15 seconds. It’s not water resistant. Here are a few close up shots of the writing sample.

Kyo-Iro Flaming Red of Fushimi

Kyo-Iro Flaming Red of Fushimi

Kyo-Iro Flaming Red of Fushimi

Kyo-Iro Flaming Red of Fushimi

Kyo-Iro Flaming Red of Fushimi

Kyo-Iro Flaming Red of Fushimi

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Review: Kyo-Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage


Kyo-Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage

Gosh, look at that. That is a purrty shade of pink. Cherry blossoms come in a range of colors, from pure white with the faintest hint of pink to dark pink, yellow, purple, and even green. This color of Kyo-Iro ink reminds me of pink cherry blossoms because the shading is expressive and shows a range of pinks, like the blossoms. The ink is sufficiently saturated enough to make it easy to read, but I find the color so delicate and refined.

The flow is moderate; not too dry, not too wet. It’s well-behaved and pleasant to write with. It dries in about 15 seconds (using a European medium nib on Tomoe River paper), and it’s not water resistant. I like that the vibrancy of the ink doesn’t fade after several days. The color didn’t go flat or dull.

Pink ink lovers will definitely love this shade. Here are a few close-ups of my writing sample:

Kyo-Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage

Kyo-Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage

Kyo-Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage

Kyo-Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage

Kyo-Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage

Kyo-Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage

Overall, you may not be able to use it for work or exams, or anything like that, but it’s a cute ink for journal-writing and other creative purposes.

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Review: Kyo-Iro Stone Road of Gion


Here’s another Kyoto Ink from the Kyo-Iro line. It’s called Stone Road of Gion. It’s a delicate shade of brown. It’s earthy and soft, almost a bit silvery, at least on tomoe river paper. It has this old-timey feel to it and it’s really gorgeous when used on ivory-colored paper.

Kyo-Iro Ink Stone Road of Gion

It reminds me of the color of Raw Umber, which is one of my favorite watercolor pigments. I guess because I see the color a lot in nature, I use it for woody parts of plants, mushrooms, soil, etc. Stone Road of Gion has a very organic look to it. I really like it a lot. In terms of performance, the ink flows very wet, but it doesn’t feather or bleed. If anything, it almost feels a bit watery.

The delicate color may strike some people as a bit translucent, but it’s very easy to read in person. Because the color is a bit light, I would suggest using it with a wet-writing nib. I used a Cross Century II with a custom medium cursive italic nib for this review. I like the gorgeous shading on the ink, I think it would make a nice addition to my brown ink collection.

It dries pretty fast, at around 15 seconds. It’s not water resistant, a few seconds of soaking with droplets of water almost completely erased the ink.

Overall, I think it’s a gorgeous shade, especially when used with a wet writing nib or nib sizes from medium upwards. Here are a few close ups of the writing sample:

Kyo-Iro Ink Stone Road of Gion

Kyo-Iro Ink Stone Road of Gion

Kyo-Iro Ink Stone Road of Gion

Kyo-Iro Ink Stone Road of Gion

Kyo-Iro Ink Stone Road of Gion

Kyo-Iro Ink Stone Road of Gion

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Review: Kyo-Iro Soft Snow of Ohara


Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

Here’s another Kyo-Iro ink from Kyoto Inks, Japan. It’s called Soft Snow of Ohara. It’s a pretty interesting ink because under certain kinds of light, it looks a little purplish. In natural light, it is a beautiful shade of blue. A familiar kind of blue, I thought. It actually reminded me of this article I read before about indigo dying techniques in Japan. It’s called Aizome or that indigo dye that comes from the Japanese indigo plant. It became popular initially because indigo was an effective insect repellant. The color of indigo extracted from the plant came in different ranges from “indigo white” to dark indigo and was so extensively used that it became popularly known as Japan Blue. I think this ink’s color is pretty close to it.

Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

It’s a muted shade of blue that is eye-catching and has a subtlety to it. It’s nicely saturated, but still manages to look delicate. The shading is quite gorgeous, and shows a range of different shades of indigo blue. It’s also very well-behaved. The flow is quite wet, but it doesn’t feather or bleed through. It feels almost as if it’s lubricated. My pen just glides on paper while using it.

It dries relatively fast at about 15 seconds. It’s not water resistant, 30 seconds of soaking in droplets all but wiped out any trace of the ink. Here are a few close ups of the writing sample.

Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

Overall, it’s easy to fall in love with this ink. It’s a beautiful color and it flows great. I like that it’s really close to an iconic color in Japan. I don’t think I own an ink that’s similar to this hue yet. Looks like it’s a keeper. 🙂

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Review: Kyo-Iro Moonlight of Higashiyama


Kyo-Iro Inks

The nice people from Everything Calligraphy sent over a few samples of their new line of inks from Kyoto, Japan. There are Kyo-Iro and Kyo No Oto Inks. I’m eager to review them because all the Japanese inks I’ve tried so far have been excellent. I’m curious to see how these inks perform. Kyo-Iro inks are named after famous places in Kyoto Japan. It may be a bit hard to distinguish the colors on the bottle because for Kyo-Iro inks, the names are printed in Japanese characters. I’ll dive right in and review one of the colors that really got my attention. This one’s called Moonlight of Higashiyama.

Kyo-Iro Inks

I like that the packaging of Kyo-Iro inks are so reminiscent of what makes Japanese aesthetics so pleasing. It’s minimalist, simple, elegant, and functional. I love the print on the box and the labels on the bottle. Each bottle holds 40ml of ink, and the opening is convenient to use, no matter what the pen size is.

Kyo-Iro Inks - Moonlight of Higashiyama

Moonlight of Higashiyama is an earthy brown color that leans more towards orange or terracotta. When wet, the yellow component of the ink is more obvious, but it gets a lot darker as it dries. The color reminds me of autumn leaves, or caramel. It’s warm and pleasant, and really gorgeous especially on cream-colored paper. I like that it has subtle shading that shows different hues from light terracotta orange to dark brown, the color of burnt brown sugar. It’s saturated enough for daily writing, it’s very comfortable to read. The flow of this ink is also quite good. It’s a touch above moderate flow, and my pen just glides on paper when using it. The drying time is relatively fast at about 15 seconds using a medium nib on Tomoe River paper. It’s not water resistant. So don’t leave your journal out in the rain ;-). Here are a few close ups of the writing sample.

Kyo-Iro Inks - Moonlight of Higashiyama

Kyo-Iro Inks - Moonlight of Higashiyama

Kyo-Iro Inks - Moonlight of Higashiyama

Kyo-Iro Inks - Moonlight of Higashiyama

Kyo-Iro Inks - Moonlight of Higashiyama

Kyo-Iro Inks - Moonlight of Higashiyama

Overall, it’s an eye-catching color. I enjoy using it in journal entries. Kyo-Iro inks and I are off to a great start, it seems. 🙂

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Review: Birmingham Inks Edgar T. Steel Works (Coking Coal Black)


I’ve been using this ink for a week and it’s about time to write a short review. What surprised me most when I was only beginning to explore different kinds of inks for fountain pens is that not all black inks are alike. I’ve come across several interesting black inks like Diamine Onyx, which has some subtle hints of purple. My least favorite is Parker Quink which seems so diluted and has terrible flow with most of my pens. It seems weird to review black ink, but if you look closely enough, different kinds of black ink do look…different.

Birmingham Inks Edgar T Steel Works (Coking Coal Black)

So, Birmingham Inks’ Coking Coal Black. While wet, I had the impression that it was a bit on the warm side. A little purplish brown. As it dries, the color develops to a more slate grey hue. It reminds me of the color of the core of a pencil. Under certain lights, it reminds me of the color of nori wrap. I wouldn’t say that it’s highly saturated, it doesn’t look jet black and it doesn’t look “thick” on paper, like J. Herbin’s Perle Noir. It doesn’t look watered-down either. For a dark-colored ink, it certainly shows some nice shading which highlights different gradations of gray. There’s a slight hint of purple, too.

The flow is really nice, it flows moderately wet in a medium nib. The pen glides on paper while using the ink, I like the flow a lot. It dries relatively fast, too. About 10-15 seconds. It’s definitely not too water resistant, only leaving behind a faint purplish line after 30 seconds of soaking in drops of water. Overall, it’s a pretty nice coal-black ink. Here are some closeups of the writing sample:

Birmingham Inks Edgar T Steel Works (Coking Coal Black)

Birmingham Inks Edgar T Steel Works (Coking Coal Black)

Birmingham Inks Edgar T Steel Works (Coking Coal Black)

Birmingham Inks Edgar T Steel Works (Coking Coal Black)

Birmingham Inks Edgar T Steel Works (Coking Coal Black)

Birmingham Inks Edgar T Steel Works (Coking Coal Black)

Birmingham inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Birmingham Inks – Andy Warhol – Pop Art Purple


Here’s another Birmingham ink that I tried this week. It’s called Andy Warhol (Pop Art Purple). I was expecting a bold, loud, violently violet color but it turned out to be quite a demure and dusky purple color.

Birmingham Inks - Andy Warhol - Pop Art Purple

At first it looks very similar to Diamine Bilberry when wet, but it gets darker as it dries. After it’s completely dry, it looks more like blue violet. It’s very subdued and nicely saturated. While it’s not exactly a screaming purple ink, it’s something you can use for daily writing, without calling too much attention to it. I would put the flow at dry to moderate, depending on the nib you’re using. It dries up pretty fast, considering that I used a stub nib for this writing sample (obviously, I need to clean my other pens soon, haha). It’s not waterproof but does leave a faint purple line behind. Overall, it does look a bit flat, but it’s something you can use for work or class notes if you want a purple ink that, at first glance, can pass as dark blue. Here are a few close ups of the writing sample.

Birmingham Inks - Andy Warhol - Pop Art Purple

Birmingham Inks - Andy Warhol - Pop Art Purple

Birmingham Inks - Andy Warhol - Pop Art Purple

Birmingham Inks - Andy Warhol - Pop Art Purple

Birmingham Inks - Andy Warhol - Pop Art Purple

Birmingham Inks - Andy Warhol - Pop Art Purple

Birmingham Inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.