L'Artisan Pastellier Callifolio - Baikal
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-coloured 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 watercolour-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 Baïkal, one of the many blue-toned inks of the series. Callifolio’s blue inks get their name from seas, rivers and the like. Baïkal is no exception – it is named after lake Baïkal, a rift lake in southern Siberia. The lake’s age is estimated at 25 million years, making it the most ancient lake in geological history.
The ink is aptly named – it is in essence a blue-black ink, but one with a faded and worn-out look. It feels old and ancient within a few minutes after writing. There’s also a bit of a purple undertone that provides a vintage feeling. At first, I almost dismissed this ink as yet another blue. But I quickly grew fond of that aged look, which makes your writing look like it’s decades old. Really nice, and sufficiently different from my other blues.
Technically, Baïkal behaved very well, with good performance in all nib sizes and good contrast with the paper. The contrast with the paper is just right – with high contrast inks, a full page of text can look crowded and eye-searing. That’s certainly not the case with this ink. Baïkal flows well, but I found it a bit lacking in lubrication. Shading is almost absent in the finer nibs. It’s only with the broad and calligraphy nibs that you get some subtle shading. I personally like that the ink deals well with F and M nibs, which are my typical nib sizes.
On the smudge test – rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab – Baïkal behaved very well with only minimal smearing. Water resistance is almost totally absent though. Reconstructing text after a 15 minute soak in still water might just be possible, but running tap water almost immediately obliterates your writing. There is less ink left on the page than you might infer from the chromatography.
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. For this review I’ve added OCM Moyen Age to the paper mix. 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)
Baïkal behaved perfectly on all the paper types, without any feathering even on the lower quality papers in my test set. Drying times are fairly short in the 5-10 second range on most papers. The ink works well with both white and more cream-coloured paper. I really like the way it looks on Tomoe River paper. My personal favourite though is OCM Moyen Age – a more toothy paper with a name that matches the faded and worn-out look of the ink.
At the end of the review, I also show the back-side of the different paper types, in the same order. The ink behaved superbly on all paper types. Only with Moleskine there was very visible show-through and bleed-through. Baïkal is a really well-behaving ink.
Callifolio Baïkal from L’Artisan Pastellier is a well-performing ink that you might at first sight dismiss as just another blue. But look again, and you will see a really nice vintage-style ink with a faded and worn-out look. Your writing immediately looks as though it was written decades ago. Personally, I’ve grown really fond of it. If you’re into vintage-style inks, this one certainly deserves your attention.
Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib
Backside of writing samples on different paper types