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L'artisan Pastellier Callifolio - Bleu Azur

lartisan pastellier callifolio bleu azur royal blue blue

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#1 namrehsnoom



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Posted 18 April 2019 - 19:23

L'Artisan Pastellier Callifolio - Bleu Azur
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 the spotlight is on Bleu Azur, one of the many blue inks of the series. The blue Callifolio inks are named after rivers, lakes and oceans – in this case I think of the azure blue colour of a tropical lagoon. This is more or less a traditional royal blue ink, with a bit of a purple undertone. I'm not myself a fan of this ink style, so this one didn't exactly wow me.
I found the ink to be on the dry side in my Lamy Safari test pens, with lubrication being somewhat subpar. I also find the shading a bit too pronounced to my liking. In fine nibs, the ink shows a rather bland appearance. It's only with broader or italic nibs that I start to appreciate what I see.
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. As you can see, this ink has a broad colour span ranging from a light purple-blue to a really dark royal blue. On heavily saturated parts, you get a reddish sheen. I like the ink most in the middle tones, where the purple comes to the foreground.
On the smudge test - rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab - Bleu Azur shows a lot of smearing. The text remains legible though. Water resistance however is almost non-existent. The droplet test leaves only unrecognisable blue smudges. The test with running tap water washes away almost all the colour - only faint traces remain. If you need some measure of water resistance in your ink, look elsewhere. When using a water-brush with doodling & drawing, you get a nice light-blue shading effect. Like all Callifolio inks, Bleu Azur is an excellent choice for inky drawings.
I've tested the ink on a wide variety of paper - from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. With this review, I have added Viking Vektor paper to my test set - Catherine from Sakura generously gifted me a pad of this paper to try out. 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)
Bleu Azur behaved perfectly on all the paper types, with no apparent feathering even on the lower quality papers in my test set (with the exception of Moleskine, which is a nightmare for fountain pen writing). Drying times are mostly around the 5 to 10 second mark. The ink looks best on white paper. In my opinion, it's not a good ink for yellowish paper, where it looks underwhelming. My advice: stick to white paper with this colour.
At the end of the review, I also show the back-side of the different paper types, in the same order.  With the low-end Moleskine there is prominent show-through and a little bleed-through. With the other papers, Bleu Azur'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 wet-writing Pelikan M120 with a fine nib. With this wet nib, the ink writes much more pleasantly, but also shows much harsher shading, which I personally dislike. 
Related inks
To compare Bleu Azur with related inks, I use a nine-grid format with the currently reviewed ink at the center. This 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 useful. It's a bit more work, but in my opinion worth the effort for the extra information you gain.
Inkxperiment – reach for the sky
As a personal challenge, I try to create interesting drawings using only the ink I'm reviewing. For me, this brings extra fun to the hobby, and these single-ink drawings are great for stretching my creativity. With these small pictures, I try to give you an idea of what the ink is capable of in a more artistic setting. For this drawing I started off with HP Premium photo paper and a Scotch Brite dishwashing sponge.  I used the soft side of the sponge with water-diluted ink to draw in the background. The rough side with less diluted ink was used to sponge in the foreground. I cut out a round section of sponge, and used this to stamp in the flower halos. Next I used a brush with pure Blue Azur to paint in the flower stems. I quite like the end result - and the dishwashing sponge has been added to my drawing toolset. This mini-picture gives you a good idea of what can be achieved with Callifolio Bleu Azur as a drawing ink. 
Bleu Azur is a  royal-blue style ink that looks best on pure white paper. The ink works well with all nib sizes, but is on the dry side. You need wet pens to make for a pleasing writing experience. Unfortunately, with wet pens you get contrast-rich harsh shading, with I personally dislike.  Like most Callifolio inks, water resistance is almost non-existent .  All in all, not an ink that I would recommend.
Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib
Back-side of writing samples on different paper types

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#2 inkstainedruth


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Posted 18 April 2019 - 19:35

This reminds me quite a lot of Lamy Blue, and is similarly, well, insipid looking.

Thanks for the comprehensive review, as always, though -- seeing inks I *don't* want is often more useful than ones I *do* want (and way better for my budget...).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#3 visvamitra


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Posted 18 April 2019 - 19:51

An excellent review.

#4 Karmachanic



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Posted 18 April 2019 - 21:34

Always a joy to behold your reviews.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

#5 SenZen



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Posted 19 April 2019 - 01:01

Thank you, great review; it's an interesting ink, perhaps too close to myosotis / purplish for me, but I'm into calm inks lately.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

B. Russell

#6 amberleadavis


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Posted 19 April 2019 - 02:42

Another wonderful review!

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#7 Lgsoltek


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Posted 19 April 2019 - 07:22

Gorgeous artwork, as always! You make even those pale (and boring to my eyes) inks look great and attractive!

Edited by Lgsoltek, 19 April 2019 - 07:47.

#8 Intensity



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Posted 19 April 2019 - 16:44

Beautiful review as always!  Not my kind of ink, but really enjoyed looking through the post.

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#9 5Cavaliers


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Posted 19 April 2019 - 17:13

Excellent review!  While I understand your conclusions, I find that I like the ink on Tomoe River paper. TR paper seems to bring this color to life.  I do use this ink frequently.  But it is light in color and sometimes I will add just a tiny drop of Bleu Ultramarine to enhance the color a bit.  And I would agree that it needs a wet pen and it does a good job of taming a "gusher".    I find, however, this to be true of many of the Callifolio inks. 

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours.  When it is gone, it is gone.  Be wise, but enjoy!  - anonymous today




#10 sansenri



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Posted 19 April 2019 - 22:38

great review and informative pics, thanks!

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: lartisan pastellier, callifolio, bleu azur, royal blue, blue

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