I have 2 black inks that I like a lot. Aurora Black and Pilot Iroshizuku Take Sumi.
I've decided to compare them and figure out which one is my favorite, because I rarely use black ink and technically just want one. As a result of the comparison, I'm more confused than before I started. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. The posted samples below are limited to very fine nibs for writing and sketching. Take-Sumi shows more obvious shading with broader cursive italic nibs.
Aurora is highly lubricated but has more conservative flow vs velvety but free-flowing Take Sumi. It's easier to control line width with Aurora.
Take-Sumi washes off more easily with water / water brush, smearing off a heavier amount of loose dye. The remaining dark line is more smeary looking and also feathery with Take Sumi, whereas Aurora Black keeps a neat black line under the smeared dye.
Take-Sumi can be a deeper black in the dark areas, but it's slightly blue-tealy tinted, and also there's a beautiful gentle shading gradient visible even with Extra Fine Japanese nibs! Aurora Black is pretty much just a flat black, almost no shading, looks a bit like black laser printer ink. I'm describing this qualitatively, because it's difficult to tell from the scans, but Take-Sumi definitely has a more watercolor look with deeper dark areas, where Aurora is either straight black or a grayish solid color depending on amount in a line.
Take-Sumi is more difficult to wash out of a pen: takes longer, quite a few flushes.
Take-Sumi sheens readily, whereas Aurora generally doesn't show sheen unless in large amounts.
For writing: I love Take-Sumi
For drawing and Calligraphy: Aurora might have the edge. I like that it's a bit more neutral and much easier to control with a water brush for gradients, where Take Sumi just smears off more heavily with a water brush.
Aurora Black - Pilot Vanishing Point EF
Take-Sumi - Sailor Pro Gear Slim EF
On Fabriano Bioprima, lightly textured uncoated paper:
Tomoe River 52g in a Hobonichi Techo Cousin planner:
Edited by Intensity, 26 June 2020 - 05:28.