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  1. I saw 50ml bottles of this ink going on clearance dirt-cheap, with no free shipping on offer but a fixed charge per order irrespective of its contents, so I took a big leap of faith and ordered eight bottles at once on a whim, hoping I'll like the ink. My initial reaction upon seeing it on paper up close was one of disappointment; my writing with it (produced with a very fine nib, of course) looked blue-grey without any violet or purple, and so I hadn't been much inclined to fill any of my pens with it. I've since tried it in nibs I don't really like writing with: Aurora Stub and Oblique (Medium?) nibs, and an 18K gold BB nib I bought also on a whim for a Pelikan M815 Metal-Striped pen I don't enjoy using. It turned out that this ink is quite nuanced, and the violet colour is there but subtle (yet not as subtle as, say, the purple undertone in Sailor Shikiori Chushu). With narrower lines it's difficult to see, but if you look closely enough, it's there, especially when viewed at a slight angle. Alas, my scanner is quite hopeless at picking up the true colour. On to the review: Colour: The scans of splats done on the Arttec Como Sketch Pad 210gsm and Canson Drawing 220 Pad 220gsm papers present the colour much better than the scans of the writing samples. I've marked out, in the 300dpi scanned image fragment above, two squares that best represent the complexity of what I see across most of the actual writing. For some reason on which I cannot yet zone in, on the odd occasion (say, 1% of the time at a wet-finger-in-the-air estimate), the ink marks will come out just blue-grey without any hint of violet, but that is rare. Flow and lubrication: Somewhat wet as in watery, coupled with long dry time; not slick at all and provides little lubrication. Feathering: Not observed on Rhodia DotPad 80g/m² paper, in spite of the ink feeling watery. Show-through: Negligible on Rhodia DotPad 80g/m² paper when written with a Fine nib; mild when written with a BB nib. Bleed-through: Short of doing triple passes over the same spot, there was no bleed-through on Rhodia DotPad 80g/m² paper. However, I did observe that on the Canson 220gsm paper, where the ink pooled there is significant bleed-through; but similarly big splats and heavy drops of ink on the Arttec Como 210gsm paper showed no bleed-through. That there are thin, faint blue haloes around the shapes on the Canson paper, while the perimeters dried to a slightly raised and faintly glossy crust on the Arttec paper, suggests that the Canson paper is rather more absorbent. Composition: From chromatography of the ink, it appears there are two main component dyes, and the turquoise component is keen to leave the pink-magenta component behind entirely if given the opportunity. I think that's why there is that faint blue (or turquoise) halo on the Canson paper, and in fact you'll see a little bit of that where I've done 10 ‘parallel’ vertical lines within a 5mm square area on Rhodia DotPad paper. Where I've inadvertently allowed two or three adjacent lines to touch each other, and gave room for the watery ink to pool across lines, you can see that little bit of blue stand out from the grey. Shading: Abundant where the ink marks are not too wet, apparent even when written with a Fine nib, and the transitions from lighter to darker shades are relatively smooth as opposed to demarcated. I've written a page of consecutive lines with deliberately shifting wetness, to show the range of the ink. (Unfortunately, as mentioned before, my scanner is hopeless at picking up the violet colour from that page of writing samples.) Sheen: None observed. I wouldn't call the raised perimeters (or rim, or crust) of dried excess ink on the Arttec paper sheen, even though they do reflect light in a colour that is different from either violet or blue-grey. If you rub those perimeters hard with the pad of your finger, they'll smear slightly. Water resistance: You'd still be able to read what was written if the page got wet and you patted it dry quickly; but after being under (a drop, streak, or bath, of) water for 4–5 minutes, the ink marks will be obliterated.
  2. L'Artisan Pastellier Callifolio - Byzance 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 Byzance, one of the many blue inks of the series. Callifolio blues are typically named after bodies of water, but in this case the naming seems to refer to the old Greek city at the banks of the Bosphore river. It should come as no surprise that both Callifolio inks (Byzance and Bosphore) are quite similar. Byzance is a quite nice blue-grey ink, that shifts character with the light. In some conditions it looks bluish, with different lighting you see almost a true dark grey. Myself - I don't consider blue-blacks boring at all, and I truly appreciate this ink's appearance. You could almost consider it as a blue-black that has faded with time. The ink is nicely saturated and works well with all nib sizes. Even with finer nibs, there is good contrast with the paper. There is some subtle shading present, which requires broader nibs to become clearly visible. I like the narrow shading range, resulting in not too much of a contrast between the light and dark parts in the line. The result is aesthetically pleasing. On the smudge test - rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab - Byzance exhibits some smearing, but without impact on the readability of the text. Water resistance is quite low though - all the colour quickly dissipates, leaving only a faint greyish ghost image. The good thing is that this ghost image remains just readable, so you will be able to reconstruct your writing. Overall though, this is NOT a water-resistant ink by any definition. I have tested the ink on a wide variety of paper - from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. For the Callifolio reviews, I'm using a new format to show you the ink's appearance and behaviour on the different paper types. On every small band of paper I show you:An ink swab, made with a cotton Q-tip1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturationAn ink scribble made with an M-nib fountain penThe name of the paper used, written with a B-nibA small text sample, written with an M-nibDrying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib)Callifolio Byzance behaved perfectly on all the paper types I used, with a very consistent look across the different paper samples. Drying times are also quite short at about the 10 second range on most papers, even on smooth paper like Tomoe River.At the end of the review, I also show the back-side of the different paper types, in the same order. The ink behaved superbly on all paper types. Only with Moleskine did I notice a tiny bit of bleed-through. Conclusion Callifolio Byzance from L'Artisan Pastellier is a really nice blue-grey ink, that behaves exceptionally well on all paper types. A pity about the poor water resistance - this would otherwise be a great ink for use at the office. Byzance has a bit of a faded look, resulting in a vintage feel. The ink looks like a blue-black that has faded with time. If you like blue-blacks (or in this case blue-greys), this ink will be right up your alley. Try it ... I’m sure you'll like it. Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib Backside of writing samples on different paper types





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