L'Artisan Pastellier Callifolio - Olifants
L’Artisan Pastellier is a small company in southern France that specialises in natural pigments, and offers customers authentic and reliable products in beautiful colours based on mineral or vegetable pigments. In a collaboration with Loic Rainouard from Styloplume.net, the chemist Didier Boinnard from L’Artisan Pastellier created the line of Callifolio fountain pen inks. These pastel-colored inks are traditionally crafted, and can be freely mixed and matched. Overall these inks are only moderately saturated, and have low water-resistance. The inks were specifically designed to work well with all types of paper, and all types of fountain pens.
Being pastel-tinted, these inks have a watercolor-like appearance, and are not only fine inks for journaling, but are also really excellent inks for doodling & drawing. I only recently discovered them, and they are already the inks I gravitate towards for personal journaling.
In this review I take a closer look at Olifants, one of the many blue inks of the series. The blue Callifolio inks are named after rivers, lakes and oceans – this one gets its name from the Olifants river in South-Africa. Olifants not only has a cool name, it’s also a cool ink – a kind of blue-black with strong green undertones or a very dark teal. It’s a strange and unusual colour… I really have no other blue to compare it to.
The ink writes well, with good flow, and is nicely saturated. Lubrication is on the low side, resulting in noticeable feedback from the paper when writing, especially with the finer nibs. Olifants is comfortable with all nib sizes – it even looks good and nicely saturated with an EF nib. The ink also exhibits a pleasing shading, even with the finer nibs. I typically use smaller nib sizes because of my small handwriting, so I appreciate an ink that shows character in EF/F nibs – Olifants definitely delivers.
Olifants is smudge-resistant – there is very little spreading of the ink. The ink’s water resistance however is really low. With both the running tapwater test and the soak test almost all of the colour disappears and only faint greyish markings remain. These markings are still decipherable with some effort. But this is definitely not an ink to use for signing important documents.
When using a water-brush when doodling & drawing, you get a nice light-blue shading effect, that contrasts well with the inky lines. Like all Callifolio inks, Olifants is a very fine choice for inky drawings.
I’ve tested the ink on a wide variety of paper – from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. For the Callifolio reviews, I’m using a new format to show you the ink’s appearance and behaviour on the different paper types. On every small band of paper I show you:
- An ink swab, made with a cotton Q-tip
- 1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturation
- An ink scribble made with an M-nib fountain pen
- The name of the paper used, written with a B-nib
- A small text sample, written with an M-nib
- Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib)
Olifants behaved perfectly on all the paper types, with no apparent feathering even on the lower quality papers in my test set. Drying times are mostly in the 10 to 15 second range, with a low of 5 seconds on the more absorbent paper. The ink looks really nice on the white papers in my test set, and is positively stunning with Fantasticpaper. Personally, I don’t care for the colour on the off-white, creamy papers – I find the combination rather unpleasant with such a pairing.
I also show the back-side of the different paper types, in the same order. With the low-end Moleskine and generic paper, there is significant show-through and bleed-through. With the other papers, Olifant’s behaviour is impeccable. The ink copes really well with all paper types.
Callifolio Olifants is a very well-behaving ink on all types of paper, with a rather unusual green-blue-black colour – I have no other blue similar to it. The ink works really well with finer nibs, which is a big plus for me. I also find Olifants very enjoyable for doodling & drawing. Unfortunately, the ink only combines well with pure white paper, and is – in my personal opinion – rather unpleasant when paired with off-white creamy paper. A fine ink, but not one of my best.