L'Artisan Pastellier Callifolio - Ohlanga
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 Ohlanga, one of the many blue inks of the series. The Callifolio blues are typically named after bodies of water - this one takes its name from the Ohlanga river in South-Africa. This Callifolio ink is a nice teal - representing the blue-green water of its river namesake. In my opinion, teals are difficult to get right. Ohlanga has an interesting colour, but is not really special. I personally prefer the more green-heavy Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine or the more blue-heavy iroshizuku ku-jaku (see the comparison chart later in this review). Ohlange looks good, but is not an ink that captured my attention.
Technically, the ink feels well lubricated even in my rather dry Lamy Safari test pens. That's a welcome change from other Callifolio inks that often feel a bit dry on the nib, and work best with wetter pens. Ohlanga shows subtle shading with only minimal contrast between the light and darker parts. This shading is even visible with finer nibs, but more pronounced in broad or italic nibs. It certainly enhances the character of your writing.
To show you the impact of saturation on the ink's look & feel on paper, I made some scribbles where I fully 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. Ohlanga shows a broad dynamic range, ranging from a wispy light teal to a very dark and saturated colour.
On the smudge test - rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab - Ohlanga showed a lot of smearing, but without impacting readability of the text which remains crisp and clear. Water resistance is remarkably good for a Callifolio ink. After a 15 minute soak in still water, the text remains perfectly readable. And even with running tap water, a purple-blue outline of your writing remains that is still readable. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Ohlanga is a water resistant ink, but your writing will be recoverable if you spill some fluids on it.
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 small strips to show you the ink's appearance and behaviour on different paper types. On every 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)
Ohlanga behaved perfectly on all the paper types, with no apparent feathering even on the lower quality papers in my test set. Only with the infamous Moleskine paper, a tiny bit of feathering is present. Drying times are mostly around the 5 to 10 second mark, making it a fast drying ink. Not really suited for lefties though, because it lays down a rather wet line, albeit one that dries super fast. The ink looks at its best on pure white paper. In my opinion, teal inks don't work well with more creamy / yellow paper - if you like your paper that way, Ohlanga might not be a good choice.
At the end of this review, I also show the back-side of the different paper types, in the same order. With the low-end Moleskine there is some show-through and bleed-through. With the other papers, Ohlanga's behaviour is impeccable. The ink copes really well with a wide variety of paper types.
Writing with different nib sizes
The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. All samples were written with a Lamy Safari, which is typically a dry pen. I also added a visiting pen - a Kaweco Steel Sport with BB-nib. This pen shows a much more saturated line, with more pronounced shading.
I have recently changed my format for presenting related inks to a nine-grid format, with the currently reviewed ink at the center. The new format shows the name of related inks, a saturation sample, a 1-2-3 swab and a water resistance test - all in a very compact format. I hope that you'll find this way of presenting related inks more useful. It's a bit more work, but in my opinion worth the effort for the extra information you gain.
Inkxperiment - urban industry
As a personal experiment, I try to produce interesting drawings using only the ink I'm reviewing. I find this to be a fun extension of the hobby, and think of these single-ink drawings as a nice challenge to stretch my drawing skills. For this sketch I chose 300 gsm rough watercolour paper. For the lighter parts of the drawing I used water-diluted Ohlanga. The heavy industrial buildings were drawn in with a cotton Q-tip using pure ink. For the gritty industry dirt, I used a rough dishwashing sponge to apply the ink. The brick details were penciled in with my Lamy Safari test pen with M-nib. Overall I'm satisfied with the result, which gives you a good idea of the colour span that Ohlanga is capable of in a more artistic setting.
Ohlange from L'Artisan Pastellier is a rather standard green-blue ink, that looks at its best on pure white paper. Technically, this is a good ink: it writes well on all paper types (even those of lower quality), dries fast and is quite water resistant. But overall, the ink failed to convince me. Teals are difficult to get right, and this one didn't totally nail it. Not a bad ink, but in my opinion definitely not an ink that is at the top of its class.
Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib
Backside of writing samples on different paper types