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  1. namrehsnoom

    TACCIA Ukiyo-e Syaraku koiame

    ink review : TACCIA Ukiyo-e - Syaraku - koiame TACCIA is a Japanese stationery company, that - as far as I know - is now part of the Nakabayashi group. They offer high-quality fountain pens, inks, pen-rolls, notebooks, etc. More specifically, TACCIA produce a line of inks, inspired by the unique look of Ukiyo-e paintings from Japan’s Edo period (17th century). Ukiyo-e prints are woodblock prints where the work of an artist is carved into wood by woodworkers, and pressed onto paper by printers. This allows the production of multiple prints of an artwork with some different colours as well. In this review, the spotlight shines on koiame, a dusty reddish orange ink that is inspired by the work of Syaraku (Sharaku), an artist that is best known for his iconic portraits of kabuki actors. Inspiration for this colour comes from the portrait of Ichikawa Ebizo IV, playing as Takemura Sadanoshin. In June 1794 at the Kawarazaki Theater, this Kabuki actor portrayed a father who commits suicide after being disgraced by his daughter who has had a child out of wedlock. The intense expression of the mouth and eyes demonstrates the conventional pose used by actors to show heightened emotion. Koiame’s burnt-orange is modelled after the colour of the actor’s kimono. Koiame is a beautiful deep burnt orange, that writes a wet & saturated line. This ink works well with all nib sizes, even the finest ones. It is a strong-shading ink, even in the EF nib, but with a smooth gradient that is easy on the eye and aesthetically very pleasing. The expression you get on the page is simply wonderful – the shading on this ink really is exceptionally well done. Bravo! I also like the dustiness of this orange, which makes for a tranquil look on the page. The ink comes in a 40 ml bottle, that is packaged in a beautiful box showing the corresponding Ukiyo-e painting. Lovely packaging for an excellent 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 a strip of 52 gsm Tomoe River paper with ink. This gives you a good idea of what the ink is capable of in terms of colour range. Koiame has a medium dynamic range, without too much contrast between the light and darker parts. This translates to excellent shading qualities: a strong-shading ink with a smooth gradient from light to darker parts. Shading is most obvious in wider nibs, but you already get some with the EF nib, which is quite impressive. The aesthetics are superb, and add tons of character to your writing. The ink’s chromatography shows an amazing complexity, with grey, brown, orange, yellow and even some rose-purple in the mix. Not at all what I expected from this orange colour. These complex undertones also surface in the writing. It’s clearly a dusty burnt-orange, but in saturated writing those hints of rose-purple do shine through. This phenomenon is lost in the scans, but clearly visible when looking at the writing in person. This koiame ink is really well put together – congrats to TACCIA’s ink makers Hiroshi Ishiguro and Hanse Matsumoto for their craftsmanship. 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, written with a Pelikan M600 F-nib Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Safari) Koiame looks good on all types of paper, but I personally like it best on the more cream-coloured variety. No feathering in general, just a teeny tiny bit on Moleskine. The ink lays down a wet line, and dries very slowly. With the M-nib Safari even up to 20-25 seconds on hard-surfaced paper. With more absorbent paper, drying times were very reasonable (5-10 second range). With low-quality paper, expect to see quite some show-through and even a bit of bleed-through. I’ve also added a few photos to give you another view on the ink. Scanned images and photos often capture different aspects of the ink’s colour & contrast. That’s why I present them both. In this case, scan & photo are very close-matched. Writing with different nib sizes The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. The EF-nib already shows the shading that the ink is capable of. But it’s with the broader nibs that koiame’s gorgeous shading really comes to play. This aesthetically very pleasing shading undoubtedly is this ink’s strong point. With wetter pens/nibs, the ink’s rose-purple undertones come to the surface (an effect that is lost in the scans), resulting in a more red-leaning orange colour. Related inks To compare koiame 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. Koiame reminds me of Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin, but a bit more dusty of character and certainly not as dry as the Edelstein ink. Inkxperiment – stargazer With every review, I try to create an inkxperiment using only the ink I am reviewing. These one-ink drawings are excellent pieces for showing the colour-range nuances that can be achieved with the ink. And it’s always great fun to experiment with inks in a more artsy context – for me it’s one of the more enjoyable moments during the making of a review. Inspiration for this inkxperiment comes from the James Webb Space Telescope, that is undergoing calibration right now, and will become fully operational in the coming months. Really exciting stuff for science nerds like myself. I’m looking forward to the first real pictures from this wonderful instrument. The array in the bottom-left corner of the drawing is taken from the actual mirror configuration of the telescope – 18 hexagonal segments that combine to create a gigantic 6.5 meter primary mirror. For this drawing, I started with a piece of 300 gsm watercolour paper, on which I painted the background: some squares and rectangles drawn in with Q-tips using multiple water/ink ratios. I used my B-nib Safari to draw the mirror segment outlines, filling them using a felt-tip pen dipped in water-diluted ink. Next, I used a glass dip pen to draw in the stargazer stick figures, and stamped in the circles with the bottom of a jar, dipped in ink. Final details were added with the glass pen dipped in pure ink. Koiame is a great drawing ink with a good range of colour tones – I liked using it. The final picture gives you an idea of what can be achieved with this TACCIA ink in a more artsy context. Inkxpired – computational art I love experimenting with pen/ink/paper, and am now adding another layer as part of the hobby. I’m exploring computational art, inspired by the ink drawings I do during ink reviews. Another fun offshoot of the hobby… and all that starting with a few drops of dye-coloured water on paper. Conclusion TACCIA Ukiyo-e Syaraku koiame is a gorgeous-looking burnt-orange. But the real strong point of this ink is its amazing shading capacity – very well done! The one downside of koiame are the long drying times, especially on hard-surfaced paper. But this I can tolerate for the beauty I get in return. Another nice ink from TACCIA, and one well worth exploring. Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib Back-side of writing samples on different paper types
  2. TAG Kyoto – kyo-iro – Moonlight of Higashiyama TAG is a stationary shop in Kyoto (Japan) that produces some interesting soft watercolour-style inks. With the kyo-iro series they produce a line of inks that that are inspired by the city’s many beautiful and historic sights. Each of these inks is dedicated to a specific town in the Kyoto area. 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 Moonlight of Higashiyama. This ink’s colour is a warm burnt-orange, that is inspired by the traditional wooden Machiya houses in Kyoto’s historic Higashiyama district. Like many TAG Kyoto inks, this one looks subdued and delicate, with tons of shading. And the shading is really well executed: very present, but never too harsh. My first impression: a seducing beauty, that is ideally suited for wintertime journaling. There is big but though… this ink is really dry (about on par with kyo-no-oto hisoku), which will probably be a show-stopper for some. Adding a bit of flow-aid solves the lubrication problem, but also results in increased saturation which completely destroys the delicate nature of the ink’s colour. So I hunted for a workable pen/nib/ink combination, which I found with my new treasure: a Pelikan M600 Tortoiseshell Red with M-nib. Here the ink writes with quite tolerable lubrication; still dry but no longer uncomfortable. Moonlight of Higashiyama is a soft ink with moderate saturation. Still, it produces a very readable line on paper, even with the finer nibs. Bear in mind: with EF/F nibs writing is a scratchy affair due to the ink’s dryness and writing is definitely not a pleasant affair. The ink works well with both white and more yellow paper. Personally I prefer this ink on the more yellow paper – the yellow/orange combination enhances the softness of the 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. Moonlight of Higashiyama has a limited colour span, which translates to soft shading. Very elegant and eye-pleasing – I like this ink’s shading a lot. The ink’s chromatography shows yellow, orange and red tones. It also indicates that the ink’s dyes are only loosely attached to the paper. This is clear from the bottom part of the chroma: almost all colour dissipates with water. This already indicates that Moonlight of Higashiyama has no water-resistance to speak of. 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 M600 with M nib Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Safari) The ink looks great on all papers, but – as I already mentioned – I prefer its looks on the more yellowish paper. See-through and bleed-through are not a problem. Only with the Moleskine paper did I get visible bleed-through. Drying times are in the 5 second range with the Lamy Safari M-nib. The ink has a tendency to feather a bit on some papers in my test set. Unexpectedly, I also noticed some feathering on the Paperblanks paper, which is usually very fountain-pen friendly. Because scans don't always capture an ink's colour and contrast with good precision, I also add a few photos to give you an alternative look on the ink. Writing with different nib sizes The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. Moonlight of Higashiyama writes with good contrast in all nib sizes, but feels horribly dry in the EF/F nibs. I like it best in a wet Pelikan M600 with M-nib – here is still looks subtle and elegant and with beautiful shading, while also loosing enough of its dryness to make for pleasant writing (word of warning: I have a high tolerance for dryness, so what I consider pleasant may not fit your definition). Related inks To compare Moonlight of Higashiyama 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. Callifolio Anahuac comes close in colour, but shows harsher shading. Inkxperiment – Kindergarten I love to experiment with my inks in an artistic context. With my inkxperiments, I limit myself to the single ink I’m reviewing, allowing me to explore all of its colour range nuances. This is the part where I play with the ink, experiment with drawing techniques, and just have loads of fun. For this review, inspiration comes from the drawing of a lion that the youngest member in the family brought home from Kindergarten. “Kindergarten” … the word triggered an association: a child’s drawing in a garden setting. Et voilà, this inkxperiment was born. I started with a piece of A4-sized HP photo paper. This has become one of my favourite media for ink drawings. The photo paper really enhances any ink’s colour, making it look that much more vibrant. I created the background using a piece of kitchen sponge. Next I drew in the lion’s mane, and added flower stems. As a final step I used my fountain pen and a glass dip pen to add structure to the lion’s mane of the three flowers and to draw in the lions faces. The end result is my Kindergarten, which shows what can be accomplished with Moonlight of Higashiyama as a drawing ink. In my opinion: an ink with lots of potential for artistic purposes. Conclusion TAG kyo-iro Moonlight of Higashiyama has a beautiful burnt-orange colour. A soft-looking and elegant ink, warm and glowing, and ideal for winter-time journaling. But also: annoyingly dry and with a slight tendency to feather. Hunting for the right pen/nib/paper combination is a must with this ink. But still… I personally like the looks of this kyo-iro ink a lot, and really appreciate its potential in more artistic settings. Not an ink for everyone, but for me Moonlight of Higashiyama totally works. Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib Back-side of writing samples on different paper types
  3. The M805 Ocean Swirl is a stunning yet controversial 2017 Special Edition from Pelikan. While my initial view was ambivalent, in actual use, the pen has moved into the same vaunted category as the understated, equally variable, City Series San Francisco. I was fortunate enough to see seven copies among the local DC/MD stores and two additional copies from Pen friends; 9 in total. Particular thanks goes to Pen Boutique for helping me land mine. Pattern and Color Distribution: Some posts seem to hint that some pen copies may have "nearly" 100% blue-green and others verging on total black. Not what I saw and may be due to range in perception. All 9 copies had clear bands of fluorescent blue-green swirls alternating with darker bands of shimmering deep blue-black occurring in approximate quarters as a constant. None of them were nearly one color, and certainly not pitch black (see a true black pen comparison side-by-side below). Granted, as a matter of degree, two copies leaned toward the darker side a tad more, but most were ~50/50 distribution, or close. The fluorescent bands are striking when light hits them and depending on the warmth there is a bit of green peaking through, but to me its a blue-leaning teal or brilliant turquoise in most instances (Yama Dori calls!). Pattern Alignment: Much has been made of the alignment or the lack there of between the fluorescent and darker bands in some copies. This is true. Not all the pens had aligned-patterns, but most seemed to have at least one vibrant band that aligned upon choosing the right cap-thread. I am sure there are some cap/body combos out there that do not align at all, along any thread. If this is important, seeing pens in person, or getting pics may help, but unaligned patterns look quite nice to my eye when in actual use. My copy does align, but when misaligned purposefully, the darker cap still looks elegant to me (pic below). YMMV. Work-appropriateness: almost black, but not quite My Ocean swirl saw more use simply because it was not a pen that immediately attracted attention, but still had a subdued elegance about it. In conservative settings, pulling out even a marginally showy pen, may go without comment but not without notice. This pen is work appropriate. In comparison, the Burnt Orange frequently invites comment (lovely nonetheless). Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Two's Company: Here's the Ocean Swirl next to the somewhat showy Burnt Orange Nib: I chose a Fine nib. Luckily, it turned out to be a true fine, not "Pelikan- Fine". My take on it: The color pattern is truly beautiful and unique. The pattern alignment issue can't be helped unless there is a way to nail down each body to a specific cap all the way through the supply chain and retail counters: fairly a tall order once it leaves the Pelikan factory given the number of hands that may handle them. Also when misaligned, the black cap contrast actually looks ok to me in actual use, YMMV. There are scores of pens out there that cover the whole pen with a single mosaic pattern from countless manufacturers including Pelikan (M620 Chicago anyone?). What's novel in that? This is more of a brave choice from Pelikan that is fairly subtle and renders a different look from one lighted room to another. Yet I doubt they will ever try this again. Cheers!
  4. Hi guys, I am trying to select my next Pelikan. I have reduced down my choices to three: 1-M800 Burnt Orange and M800/M805 Blue Striped. Burnt Orange has a very attractive warm color which I really like. 2-M800 Blue Striped with Gold Trim 3-M805 Blue Striped with Rhodium Trim Which one would you choose and why? Thanks
  5. We have received a small amount of the lovely Pelikan Special Edition M800 Burnt Orange fountain pens. We offer these for € 440.- (including the German VAT) or € 369,75 without the German VAT. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact us at service@fritz-schimpf.de.
  6. Fritz Schimpf

    Pelikan 800 Special Edition Burnt Orange

    Pelikan will release the Pelikan Special Edition Souverän 800 Burnt Orange fountain pen and ballpoint pen in October 2015. We offer a 20% discount on both pens.Pre-orders can now be placed. If you wish to pre-order please choose "Vorauskasse" (payment in advance) as payment option. This way you will be notified once we know the exact delivery date and then you can transfer the money). More information is available here: http://www.fritz-schimpf.de/Schreibgeraete/Fuellhalter/Pelikan-Souveraen-Special-Edition-M800-Burnt-Orange-Kolbenfuellhalter.html Please note that the prices in our webshop include the German VAT of 19% which is not applicable to shipments outside the European Union.





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