L'Artisan Pastellier Callifolio - Sepia
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 center stage is taken by Sepia, one of the ochre-type inks of the series. This one is an earth-toned pastel-type sepia-brown, that is great for drawing, but - in my opinion - too undersaturated for writing in many of my pens. In finer nibs with dry pens, the ink lacks character for writing. Only with wet pens does the ink obtain decent saturation and starts to look good on paper.
I found the ink to be a bit on the dry side in my Lamy Safari test pens, with lubrication being somewhat subpar. A wet pen solves this problem. The ink shows little shading with fine nibs or wet pens. With broader nibs in dry pens (like the Lamy Safari) Sepia becomes a strong shader, even a bit too harsh for my personal tastes. As a writing ink, this one does not really convince me.
To show you the impact of saturation on the ink's look & feel on paper, I made some scribbles on Tomoe River 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 fairly wide colour span ranging from a very light pastel-like sepia to a reasonably dark brown. This explains the harsh shading you get with broad nibs in dry pens. With wet pens, you get the darker version (right part of the saturation swab), with very little shading.
On the smudge test - rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab - Sepia behaved very good. There is limited smearing, and the text remains very sharp and readable. Water resistance is quite good for a non-waterproof ink. An easily readable brownish residue remains even after longer exposures to water. This is also apparent from the lower part of the chromatography.
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 Lamy Safari
- The name of the paper used, written with a Lamy Safari (B-nib)
- A small text sample, written with an M-nib (also Lamy Safari)
- The source of the quote, written with a wet Pelikan (F-nib)
- Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Safari)
Sepia behaved fairly well on most paper types, but did show some light feathering on papers where I didn't expect it (like the 100 gsm Optiimage printing paper, which usually works really well with fountain pen inks). Drying times are around the 10-second mark with the M-nibbed Lamy Safari. The ink looks best on pure white paper, and looks fairly underwhelming on more yellowish paper.
At the end of the review, I show you the back-side of the different paper types, in the same order. With the low-end Moleskine there is prominent show-through and a bit of bleed-through. The GvFC paper also suffers from some show-through - a characteristic I have seen with several inks, and which you wouldn't associate with 100 gsm premium paper. With the other papers, Sepia's behaviour is impeccable. Overall, the ink copes 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 M101N Bright Red with a fine nib. With this wet nib, the ink writes much more pleasantly. It also shows a substantially more saturated line. Personally I prefer the ink's more saturated look with the wet Pelikan pen.
To compare Sepia with related inks, I use my 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 have only a limited number of browns in my ink collection, and no close match to this ink. This Callifolio ink is the most pastel-tinted brown that I own.
Inkxperiment - a day at the farm
As a personal challenge, I try to create interesting drawings using only the ink I'm reviewing. For me, this really brings extra fun to the hobby, and these single-ink drawings are great for stretching my drawing skills. 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, the earth-toned colour of the ink triggered memories of childhood holidays at my grandparents farmhouse. I started off with 300 gsm watercolour paper, on which I painted a background with water-diluted Sepia. The fields in the foreground were drawn with Q-tips, and multiple water/ink ratios. I then added the farmhouse and tree on the horizon line with a B-nibbed fountain pen. Finally I painted in the wheat stalks, and added some texture to the fields with my M-nibbed Lamy Safari filled with Sepia. The resulting picture gives you an idea of the colour range you can expect when using Sepia as a drawing ink.
Callifolio Sepia is a pastel-toned sepia-brown ink, that is at its best in wetter pens where it produces a dark and saturated line, and where it doesn't suffer from the subpar lubrication present wih dry pens like the Lamy Safari. Sepia fails to impress me as a writing ink, but shows some promise for use in pastel-toned drawings.
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, 19 November 2019 - 18:21.