Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin
In 2011 Pelikan introduced the Edelstein series of high-end inks, available in a variety of colours. The theme of the Edelstein concept is the gemstone - each ink corresponds to the beautiful colour of a gem. The Edelstein line of inks is presented in 50 ml high-value bottles, that are truly beautiful, and worthy of a place on your desk.
In this review I take a closer look at Mandarin, one of the standard inks in the Edelstein line-up. Mandarin is a very nice orange. It's a vibrant colour, but by no means exuberantly so... and it happens to be a superb shading ink! This ink is on the dry side, even for an Edelstein - a characteristic that I have noticed more often than not with inks of the yellow/orange complexion. As such, I preferred using this ink with a wet Pelikan. It's an ideal match for my M600 Vibrant Orange!
Mandarin leans heavily towards the yellow at the unsaturated end of its spectrum. In my opinion, much of the ink's shading appeal is due to the combination of yellow & orange that shows on the page. The chromatography clearly shows the yellow & orange components of this ink. From the bottom part of the chroma you can also see that there is zero water resistance... all the colour migrates away with the water.
This orange Mandarin works really well as a writing ink that can handle all nib ranges without a problem. Even with fine nibs the saturation is ok, but keep in minds that it feels very dry with these nibs. With my Safari test pens, the writing experience was not nice when using the EF/F nib, but improved when moving to M and above territory. In all honesty, you should do yourself a favour and pair Mandarin with a wet pen. Much more joy! Shading is simply great, especially with broader nibs. I really like what I see, a pity about the dryness of this ink.
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 Tomoe River paper with ink. This gives you a good idea of what the ink is capable of in terms of colour range. Mandarin moves from a faint yellow-orange to a dark almost red orange. A beautiful colour span, and one that shows great promise for drawing.
Technically, the ink has its shortcomings: very dry, feels a bit unlubricated and has absolutely no water resistance. Drying times are quite short in the 5 to 10 second range with the Lamy Safari M-nib. Mandarin looks good with both white and more yellowish paper, but I personally prefer the way it looks on pure white paper. With the lesser-quality papers in my test set (Moleskine and printing paper), the ink showed some minor feathering and quite some show-through/bleed-through. The ink thus works best with wet pens and good quality paper. I love the way it looks in my Paperblanks journal.
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 a Lamy Safari M-nib fountain pen
- The name of the paper used, written with a Lamy Safari B-nib
- A small text sample, written with the Safari M-nib
- Origin of the Terry Pratchett quote with my Pelikan M600 F-nib
- Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Safari)
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 - my wet Pelikan M600 Vibrant Orange with an F-nib. My M600 was made for this ink - they make a great couple.
To show off related inks, I use my standard nine-grid format, with the currently reviewed ink at the center. It 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. The grid makes it easy to compare the ink with its eight direct neighbours, which I hope will be useful to you.
Inkxperiment – city sunset
With every review, I try to produce an interesting drawing using only the ink I'm working on. I simply love this part of the review, where I can experiment with the ink in a more artistic setting. Some inkxperiments are only so-so and others work great, but all of them were fun to do. From the saturation sample with its broad tonal range stretching from yellow- to red-orange, it was already clear that Mandarin would be a great drawing ink. I started with a 18x13 cm page of HP photo paper, and applied a wet paper towel with ink to create the textured background. Next I used a Q-tip and brush to paint in the city buildings, accentuating them with pure Mandarin applied with a glass dip pen. I finally added the setting sun, and some people on the streets. I quite like the end result... the yellow and red in this orange ink make for a very interesting mix of colour tones.
Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin is an ink with technical shortcomings, most obviously its dryness. But with wet pens and/or broader nibs these shortcoming quickly disappear, and you get a nice writing ink with really beautiful shading. I liked using the ink for personal journaling, and simply loved it for drawing.
Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib
Back-side of writing samples on different paper types
From Idea to Drawing
This inkxperiment practically drew itself. It started with a very minimal concept drawing as the main idea. Next I decided to try a new technique for creating the painting's background. I took a sheet of HP photo paper, and covered it with a paper kitchen towel. I then wetted the towel, and painted some ink on top of it with a brush. The ink migrated through the towel to the underlying photo paper, creating some very interesting-looking textures. This is a technique that I will surely use in future inkxperiments!
I then used Mandarin with a few water/ink ratios, and drew in the city block with a Q-tip and brush, adding the accents with a glass pen dipped in the ink bottle. The sun and the people in the street were painted in with a brush, using ever more saturated ink. I was really impressed with this Edelstein ink... the colour range that Mandarin is capable of is really impressive. It moves effortlessly from a yellow to an almost red dark orange. Fantastic!