L'Artisan Pastellier Callifolio - Cassis
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 the spotlight is on Cassis, which presumably gets its name from the drink “Crème de Cassis” – a beverage distilled from blackcurrants, and also the favourite beverage of the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. If you’ve set your sights on a dark purple colour, you’ll be disappointed. In reality, Callifolio Cassis is a nicely saturated dark grey with subtle purple undertones.
Cassis is a nicely saturated ink, that works well with all nib sizes. It can live perfectly with an EF nib, laying down a well-defined line that contrasts nicely with white or cream paper. In broader nibs it additionally shows some really classy shading. Nice ! The purple undertone is there, but very subtle. With normal writing it’s barely visible, but nevertheless it gives this grey a certain panache. Personally, I really like it. Like all Callifolio inks, this one is also great for doodling & drawing. Depending on the paper used, the purple undertones will show their appearance when using a water brush.
On the smudge test – rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab – Cassis behaved acceptably. There is definite smearing, but the text remains very legible. Water resistance however is almost completely non-existent. The droplet test leaves only greyish smudges with a ghost image of the original lines. The test with running tap water washes away all the colour – leaving only a barely readable residue of the original text. This is not an ink to consider if you require some measure of water resistance. When using Cassis for drawing, the lack of water resistance can be a plus. As the chromatography clearly shows, there are purple tones hidden within the ink. With waterbrushing it’s possible to bring these purple undertones to the surface in your 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)
Cassis behaved perfectly on all the paper types, with no apparent feathering even on the lower quality papers in my test set. Drying times with an M-nib varied from 5 to 20 seconds, depending on the paper used. Surprisingly, the ink looks consistently similar across all paper types. The purple component is really apparent in the ink swabs – here you are reminded that this is not a pure grey. When writing the purple undertones are nearly invisible, but tantalizingly present, lifting this ink above a pure neutral grey.
I also show the back-side of the different paper types, in the same order. The ink behaved perfectly with almost all paper types. Only with the Moleskine paper, there was significant show-trough and some minor bleed-through. All in all a really well-behaving ink.
Callifolio Cassis is a really nice dark grey ink with subtle purple undertones. I found it a pleasure to use, both for writing and drawing. The ink works really well with finer nibs – leaving a well-defined and nicely saturated line with good contrast on the paper. I also liked the way the ink shades in the broader nibs. The barely noticeable purple undertones lift this ink above a neutral grey – personally I consider this a plus that provides some extra character to the ink. If you like grey inks, this one is certainly worth looking at.
Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib