L'Artisan Pastellier Callifolio - Oconto
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 Oconto, one of the many blue inks of the Callifolio series. Their blue inks are named after bodies of water, so this one is presumably named after the Oconto river in Wisconsin, USA. Oconto turns out to be a very nice blue ink, that looks real businesslike. And yet, it has a tiny bit of a green streak, which gives it just that little extra to stand out from the crowd. I consider it a wonderful ink for use at work – the ink grabs the eye, yet is classical enough not to get frowned at in a business setting. I love it!
The ink is also a great choice for doodling and drawing. I was pleasantly surprised by the way it looks in some of the doodles I made with it. A splendid type of blue!
Not that the ink doesn’t have its flaws. I found it to be a bit too dry and undersaturated in EF and F nibs. With these finer nibs, the ink’s lovely colour and subtle shading fail to materialize, resulting in too flat a look. But starting with M nibs, the ink really takes control of the paper, and becomes a classic beauty.
On the smudge test – rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab – there is some of the blue dye that rubs off, but the text itself remains basically untouched and very readable. Even better, accidentally spilling some water on your notes is not a problem. You can just dry it off with a paper towel, without much impact on the written word. This becomes clear from the droplet test, where water is dripped on the grid, and left there for 15 minutes. Running tap water does more damage to the text, but the remaining residue of your writing remains perfectly decipherable. Oconto definitely has a rather good water resistance, which is great for an ink used at the office. Keep in mind thought that this is not an archival ink – so it’s not completely waterproof!
I have 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)
Callifolio Oconto behaved perfectly on all the paper types I used, with no visible feathering on the lower quality papers in my test set. It even looks great on Moleskine paper – if an ink manages that feat, it can definitely cope with the lower quality paper that’s typically found in an office setting. Drying times are on the short side in the 5 to 10 second range – another plus for an ink you use at work.
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 did I notice a tiny bit of bleed-through.
Callifolio Oconto from L’Artisan Pastellier is a robust blue ink, that is really well suited for a business setting: the ink has a classic look, is surprisingly water-resistant and is quick drying. All qualities that are greatly appreciated in an ink you want to use at the workplace. Oconto also has a tiny bit of a green undertone, which results in a blue colour that’s just that bit different from a standard blue. As such, it will draw the eye, without being too playful. If you’re looking for a business ink, this one will surely fit the bill (and it’s a nice variation from the staple blue-blacks that are often seen in this setting).
The ink is also a fine choice for personal use. I especially enjoyed using it for doodling & drawing – great colour!
Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with a Lamy Safari, M-nib
Backside of writing samples on different paper types