Robert Oster Signature - Melon Tea
Robert Oster is an Australian ink maker that is well-known for its unique range of colours. On his website, he describes our shared love quite eloquently: "Robert Oster Signature originates from one of the most famous wine producing regions of the world, the Coonawarra district of South Australia, an idyllic setting with great influence on the senses. There is my inspiration. It's a joy to share it with you." Well, we are certainly fortunate to have inspiring ink makers like Robert Oster to satiate our thirst for glorious inks.
In this review, I take a closer look at Melon Tea. Catherine from Sakura provided me with a sample of this ink to play around with - much appreciated! This particular incarnation of a Robert Oster ink is a kind of brown-olive, with a chameleon trick. Let's get this out of the way before continuing with the review - this ink looks different when viewed in daylight or under artificial light. To illustrate, I've taken a picture in both lighting conditions and placed them side-by-side. Under artificial light, Melon Tea leans towards the green, while in daylight it's definitely a brown-looking ink. A strange effect, and just something to be aware of. My scanner simulates daylight, so the scans in this review will show the brown side of this ink.
The ink provides good contrast with the paper, which is good. It writes smoothly even in finer nibs - it doesn't feel dry at all, unlike some other RO inks. All in all a satisfying writing experience. Colourwise I prefer the ink's looks under artificial lighting where it is a nice murky olive-brown. In daylight, the ink looses some of its charm (my personal opinion).
Melon Tea shows subdued shading, with not too much contrast between the light and darker parts. I prefer my shading this way, finding it more aesthetically pleasing. The ink itself is a complex mixture with multiple undertones. In washes, the pink undertones in the ink easily come to the surface which provides for nice-looking effects.
To show you the impact of saturation on the ink's look & feel on paper, I made some scribbles where I really saturated portions of the paper with ink. This gives you a good idea of what the ink is capable of in terms of colour range.
Like most Robert Oster inks, Melon Tea has no water resistance to speak of. Even short exposures to water obliterate your writing. All you're left with are some pinkish smudges. This is also evident from the bottom part of the chromatography. Smudge resistance is also lacking - the ink smudges easily, but at least you're left with perfectly readable text.
I've tested the ink on a wide variety of paper - from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. 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)
Melon Tea behaved perfectly on all paper types, with no visible feathering - not even on Moleskine paper, which is quite a feat. On the other hand, the ink looks rather sickly on Moleskine paper, something I also noticed with other RO inks. Overall, the ink dries fairly quickly near the 10-second range.
I also show the back-side of the different paper types at the end of the review. No troubles there, except with the Moleskine paper, which shows a bit of bleed-through. All in all, a very well-behaving ink.
Inkxperiment: cave of swimmers
I've recently started to experiment with ink drawings, keeping things simple and more-or-less abstract due to my lack of drawing skills (which can use lots more practice). But I find it to be a fun extension of the hobby, and have found single-ink drawings a nice challenge. For this drawing I got my inspiration from the Cave of Swimmers in the movie "The English Patient." I used a Q-tip cotton swab to draw some circles and surrounding dots. This is the backdrop for the cave paintings. The surrounding border was done with Melon Tea, smeared out with a moist Q-tip. The resulting drawing gives you some idea of what can be obtained with Melon Tea in a more artistic setting.
Robert Oster Melon Tea is an olive-brown ink with some chameleon properties. I quite like the ink's look under artificial lighting, less so in the more dull brown colour shown in daylight. The ink behaves superbly on all paper types, writing smoothly and with good contrast even in the finest nibs. I'm personally not smitten with this particular Robert Oster creation. I would have liked it much better if it kept its greenish tinge in daylight. For drawing, this ink has some potential, due to the complex undertones that easily surface in washes.
Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib
Back-side of writing samples on different paper types
Edited by namrehsnoom, 23 February 2018 - 20:57.