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:

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 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 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: Birmingham Inks – Andrew Carnegie – Steel Blue


Here’s another Birmingham Ink that I’ve been playing with for the past few weeks. It’s Andrew Carnegie Steel Blue. I must admit I was surprised to see a dark blue instead of a light, icy blue, but a quick research in Google corrected my perception of the color.

Birmingham Inks - Andrew Carnegie - Steel Blue

The ink is a dark blue-grey while wet, but it dries to an interesting color of dark blue with a greenish tint. Like dark turquoise. Of all the Birmingham Inks I tried, so far this is more flow-y. I would put the flow at a moderate to wet. It take a bit longer to dry too, about 25 seconds or more, depending on how wet the nib is and the quality of paper. For this review, I used a Pelikan M200 with a medium nib and tomoe river white paper. It’s not waterproof or water resistant, though it leaves noticeable blue lines behind. The high saturation of the ink makes shading less noticeable, except if you’re using fine nibs. It reminds me of Sailor Miruai, except it’s on the bluer side. Here are a few close ups of the ink’s writing sample:

Birmingham Inks - Andrew Carnegie - Steel Blue

Birmingham Inks - Andrew Carnegie - Steel Blue

Birmingham Inks - Andrew Carnegie - Steel Blue

Birmingham Inks - Andrew Carnegie - Steel Blue

Birmingham Inks - Andrew Carnegie - Steel Blue

Birmingham Inks - Andrew Carnegie - Steel Blue

Overall, it’s a nice dark blue ink. The greenish tint makes it an interesting variation on blue-black. I also like the flow a lot.

Birmingham Inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Birmingham Inks – Schenley Park – Thicket Green


Here’s the second Birmingham Ink that I tried so far. It’s called Schenley Park (Thicket Green). It’s a nice, dark green ink that looks a lot like the color of pine trees, or evergreen. It’s a very organic-looking color.

Birmingham Inks - Schenley Park - Thicket Green

As far as performance goes, I would put the flow at almost a moderately medium flow. It is a tad dryer than what I would like, though it behaves pretty well, and I’ve been using this ink for over a week. It dries pretty quick at a little over 10 seconds, with a medium nib. It’s not very water resistant, though it does leave behind some traces of dark green ink. The color reminds me of Pilot Iroshizuku Shin Ryoku, without the reddish sheen. It’s sufficiently saturated, making it easy to read and (for green ink lovers like me) a nice ink to use for everyday writing. It’s beautiful, though not quite what you’d call an adventurous color. The shading is quite pronounced too. Here are a few close ups of the writing sample.

Birmingham Inks - Schenley Park - Thicket Green

Birmingham Inks - Schenley Park - Thicket Green

Birmingham Inks - Schenley Park - Thicket Green

Birmingham Inks - Schenley Park - Thicket Green

Birmingham Inks - Schenley Park - Thicket Green

Birmingham inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.