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Here's a little game! Only one is the named color but which one is it? Choose from (in alphabetical order!): Chu Shu - Sailor Jentle Keshimurasaki - Kyo no Oto Sakuranezumi - Kyo No Oto Scabiosa - Rohrer & Klingner Summer Storm - Robert Oster Sydney Lavender - Robert Oster Challenge question: Which is your favorite?!
TAG Kyoto - kyo-no-oto - sakuranezumi TAG is a stationary shop in Kyoto (Japan) that produces some interesting soft watercolour-style inks. With the kyo-no-oto series they produce a line of inks that replicates traditional Japanese dye colours. According to available only info, the manufacturing process of the kyo-no-oto inks follows traditional dying techniques dating back to the Heian era between the years 794 and 1185. The inks come in 40 ml bottles, packaged in luxurious thick paper with a texture that feels like heavy watercolour paper. In this review I take a closer look at sakuranezumi. The ink's name derives from a type of pigment (iron-holding Magnesium-Aluminum-Silicate) that is traditionally used in Japanese painting techniques. The name literally translates to "Cherry Blossom Mouse" and refers to the purple and grey character of the colour. Sakuranezumi is a dusty grey-purple that fits an ancient Japanese setting. Understated and elegant, with an inherent complexity that is very appealing. I immediately took a liking to this ink. It's still early in the year, but this one will probably end up in my top 3 of 2020. The ink feels a bit on the dry side in my fine Safari nibs. But not so dry as to be unusable. The line is still nicely saturated, even with fine nibs - you just get a bit of feedback when writing. With medium Safari nibs and with wetter pens, the ink just feels perfect and writes smoothly. Shading is great, without too much contrast between the light and darker parts - just as I like it. In writing, this purple ink leans heavily towards the grey, which just looks great on paper - classic, vintage, elegant, aristocratic... I love it! 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. As you can see, sakuranezumi has a medium colour span. This ink moves from a light to a dark grey-purple, without a sharp contrast between these extremes. In writing, this translates to subtle shading which is aesthetically very pleasing. The ink's chromatography shows a wonderfully complex mix of muted pastel-like dyes. Cherry blossom and mouse-grey/blue tones are clearly present. The resulting mix is definitely a purple, but with a strong grey undertone that clearly shows in writing. In swabs and when used as a drawing ink, the purple dominates. The bottom part of the chroma seems to indicate that there is some measure of water-resistance, but alas... in practice the ink shows zero water resistance (both with still and running water). 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 B-nib Lamy Safari A small text sample, written with the M-nib Safari Source of the quote, with a Pelikan M400 with F cursive-italic nib Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Safari) Sakuranezumi behaves well on all my test papers, with no visible feathering. It even worked reasonably well on the horrible Moleskine paper, without feathering and with only minimal bleed-through. Drying times were mostly just above the 5 second mark with the Lamy Safari M-nib. The ink looks great on both white and more yellow paper, and behaves well across all my test papers. Writing with different nib sizes The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. Sakuranezumi can handle all nib sizes without problem. With the EF nib, you still get a nicely saturated line albeit without shading. Shading starts to appear with the F-nib, and is strongly present in broader nibs. Because of sakuranezumi's medium colour span, shading is never harsh and looks very eye-pleasing. And the strong grey undertones in this ink really add a layer of sophistication and elegance to this dusty purple. Related inks To compare sakuranezumi 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. This kyo-no-oto ink is different from my other dusty purples, although Diamine Damson comes close (Damson has just a touch more purple). Inkxperiment – men's best friend With every review, I try to create an interesting drawing using only the ink I'm working on. Such a one-ink drawing is a great way to show off the colour-range nuances the ink is capable of. These inkxperiments are my favourite part of the review: often challenging, but always great fun. The elegance and complexity of sakuranezumi already implied that this would be a great drawing ink - I just had to verify this with the inkxperiment. I wanted to use watercolour paper for this drawing, but mistakenly grabbed a piece of cardboard paper (a Fellowes binding cover) - I only realized this when the drawing was finished. Inspiration comes from the apocalyptic zombie movie "I Am Legend" starring Will Smith and his dog. The city setting and dog kept lingering in my mind, and form the concept for this drawing. I painted in the background with a Q-tip and 4:1 water-diluted ink. Next I painted in the dog and the people with a fountain pen and brush using pure sakuranezumi. The city backdrop was added with a Q-tip, and building accents were penciled in with the fountain pen. I personally like the end result. It shows quite well what can be achieved with sakuranezumi as a drawing ink. Conclusion TAG kyo-no-oto sakuranezumi is a winner! A very sophisticated dusty grey-purple that is a beauty in writing: nice contrast with all nib sizes, works well with all paper types, looks great on both white and off-white paper. It is also a superb drawing ink, that I really enjoyed. In my book, this is a must-have ink. I can almost guarantee that you will enjoy it! Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib Back-side of writing samples on different paper types