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  1. Diamine Espresso (150th Anniversary II) The ink maker from Liverpool is one of the staple brands in ink-land. They consistently produce solid inks for a very reasonable price. In 2017, Diamine released their second ink series to commemorate their 150th Anniversary. I obtained my set shortly thereafter, but more or less forgot about them when my attention drifted to Japanese inks. About time to do the reviews. Fortunately, these anniversary inks are still easily obtainable, so if you like what you see you can still get them. The ink’s name was well chosen – Diamine Espresso is a fairly dark cool brown, definitely not a latté. Espresso can handle all types of papers and all nib sizes equally well. Good flow and lubrication – in that respect a typical Diamine ink. Being a dark brown, the ink shows good contrast even with the extra-fine nibs. It also looks quite serious and businesslike, which makes it a perfect choice for use at the office. Nothing exceptional, but more of an all-round workhorse that you can depend on. The ink itself is on the wet side: combine it with wet pens, and you get a deeply saturated line of very dark – almost black - brown. With dry pens, lighter brown tones appear, and you also get that subtle shading that gives some extra punch to your writing. Personally, I prefer this Espresso in combination with a dry pen – it just looks better. Espresso can handle all types of paper, even the lower quality ones. That’s a good thing for use at the office, where you usually need to cope with that lower-quality copy & printing paper. To illustrate the colour span of this Diamine ink, I did a swab on 52 gsm Tomoe River paper, where I really saturated portions of the paper with ink. Espresso has a fairly small colour span, with low contrast between the light and darker parts. This translates to soft shading when writing with dry pens. With wet pens, the increased saturation means that you lose most of the shading – there is just not enough distinction left between light & dark parts on the strokes. On the smudge test – rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab – the ink behaved well. There is smearing, but the text itself remains crips and clear. Water resistance is only so-so: most of the dyes disappear, but a faint-brown ghost image of your original writing remains, which is still readable with some effort. I’ve tested the ink on a wide variety of paper – from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On each scrap 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 Lamy Safari M-nib Source of the quote, written with a wet Gazing Far tm2 pen with M-nib Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Safari) The multi-paper writing test shows that Diamine Espresso interacts well with all paper types. It’s surprisingly good with crappy paper – like Moleskine – with only minimal feathering, and just a tiny amount of bleed-through. Use it with a fine-nib EDC pen (like a Kaweco), and you’ve got a great office ink. Drying times are mostly in the 10-15 second range, with some increases to 25 seconds on very hard-surfaced paper (like the Tomoe River and Kobeha GRAPHILO). Because scans don't always capture an ink's colour and contrast with good precision, I also add a photo to give you an alternative look on this Diamine ink. In this case, both scan & photo capture the ink well. The photo seems to give the best colour indication. Writing with different nib sizes The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing (written on Rhodia N°16 80 gsm paper). All samples were written with a Lamy Safari. I also added a couple of visiting pens: a TWSBI Micarta v2 with F-nib, and a Pelikan M800 with F-nib. As you can see: not much shading going on. It’s mostly with the calligraphy nibs that the whole saturation spectrum is used, ranging from light to dark brown, with some expressive shading as the result. Related inks To compare Diamine Espresso 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. Espresso manages to look different from my other browns of the same style. It sits somewhere between iroshizuku yama-guru (more gray) and Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz (more yellow). Inkxperiment – a Day at the Races As a personal challenge, I try to create interesting drawings using only the ink I’m reviewing. For me, that’s where the fun starts: I really like playing and experimenting with my inks in a more creative context. These little one-ink drawings are always a great way to push my creativity. I love doing them! A major news event this week was the passing away of Queen Elizabeth of England. During her life, she got to experience the rapid technological progress of the past century. Which, if you think about it, has been truly amazing. Elizabeth also loved her horses, and especially the Royal Ascot Races. A horse race drawing would have been awesome, but that’s beyond my capabilities. But cars I can draw, so that’s what you’ll get. I started with an A4 piece of 300 gsm watercoulor paper. I penciled in the outlines of the drawing, and used water diluted ink for the background. I then used Q-tips and multiple water-ink ratios to draw the grandstand, and added the audience with my fountain pen. Finally I used a piece of cardboard dipped in pure Espresso to draw the checkered flag pattern. Final touches to the drawing were done with my B-nib Lamy Safari. Espresso worked better than expected in this more artistic context. I had not expected that much variation in contrast, but with some water added you can coax a lot of brown tones from this Diamine ink. Inkxpired – computational art I love experimenting with pen/ink/paper, and have added 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. Starting from the car race inkxperiment, I cropped the drawing to a square form, and applied a filter that adds some green/red tones to the drawing. The resulting colours work well for this racing theme, and the result is a bit more expressive than the original inkxperiment. Conclusion Diamine Espresso is a saturated cool & dark brown, that works well with all nib sizes and with all types of papers. Not a very expressive writing ink (my opinion), but a good all-round workhorse that is a very fine choice for an EDC pen that sits in your pocket. In a more artistic context, it worked much better than expected. With some water dilution, you can coax a wide range of brown tones from Espresso, that combine really well together. Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib Backside of writing samples on different paper types
  2. essayfaire

    Ink and plant pairings

    The very first orchid I ever received, which I have managed to rebloom a few times, is having a banner year. I am so happy that I wanted to pair it with a sample of Diamine Shimmering Frosted Orchid, as I think that is almost spot on one of the colors in the blooms, but there was too little remaining in my sample bottle. I came up with this Vinta instead:
  3. Peter_H

    Extreme shading?

    I’ve just read a note from my wife, written using Diamine Monboddo’s Hat. It looked black to me, so we had a discussion and she is still only using Monboddo to ink that pen. Further investigation showed this: (The contrast has been heavily reduced to show the effect on-camera, but the original is merely a more intense version of this) Horizontal lines come out as purple-ish, but the vertical ones - and cursive writing - show as totally black. Is this merely an example of extreme shading? The pen is a Jinhao clone (with Arrow clip) of the Parker Sonnet Silver Fougere, with bi-tone coated steel Jinhao F nib.
  4. From the album: Odds and ends

    150 opened bottles of inks now have no place in my (wife's work-from-home) desk's main storage space, which is absolutely chockers, so most of these now live inside clear, stackable Daiso plastic storage boxes under the spare bed in the same room. Then there are also the 25 Diamine Inkvent Red Edition inks, although technically I can squeeze this into one of the desk's shallow drawers:

    © A Smug Dill

  5. Ink Shoot-Out : Diamine Safari vs Super5 Dublin Green In 2014, Diamine surprised us with a series of six inks to commemorate their 150th Anniversary. Within this set, Safari is one of my favourites. Some two years ago, I discovered the Super5 inks from papierlabor.de which are waterproof inks. One of them – Dublin Green – looks very similar to Safari in written text. That of course piqued my interest … time do a detailed comparison and find out which of these inks I like the most. Enter... the Ink Shoot-Out. A brutal fight spanning five rounds, where two inks engage in all-out battle to determine who is the winner. Today the billboard announces the exciting fight between two middle-weight female fighters. In the left corner – from Liverpool, England – the reigning champion Denise “the Dancer”. In the right corner the challenger from Darmstadt, Germany: Hildegarde “the Hook”. Both champions are evenly matched, so this promises to be an exciting fight! Tension in the boxing hall is building up... when the fighters enter the arena, they are welcomed to a thunderous applause. The bell rings, signaling the start of the first round. May the best ink win… Round 1 – First Impressions Both inks make a great first impression on me: murky, dirty greyish greens with a touch of yellow. Really nice-looking on all kinds of paper. This is the type of colour that appeals to me. Even though these are muted inks, they provide excellent contrast with the paper even in the finest nibs, leaving a well-saturated line on the Rhodia N°16 notepad paper. Both inks exhibit strong and elegant shading, without too much contrast between the light and darker parts. This immediately elevates the aesthetics of your writing. The inks look nearly identical in writing, but there are some differences: Safari has a broader colour span, and shows more elegant moves. They don’t call her “the Dancer” for nothing. This is clearly illustrated in the saturation sample. Both inks shade nicely, but Dublin Green is a lot more subtle. Due to its narrower colour range, the shading is more subdued, and looks a bit more elegant to me. Dublin Green is a bit greyer, with no yellow in its dye composition. Both inks make a superb first impression – a choreography of dancing moves, circling their opponent and exchanging probing flurries of strikes and counter-strikes. And the public agrees – encouraging their champions with roaring approval and deafening applause. At the end of this first round, it really shows that these fighters are evenly matched. No clear winner emerges, and this round ends with a draw. Round 2 – Writing Sample The writing sample was done on Rhodia N°16 Notepad with 80 gsm paper. Both inks behaved flawlessly, with no feathering and no show-through or bleed-through. With the EF nib, Safari shows its strength, and looks much more saturated. Dublin Green feels less lubricated and leaves a less saturated line with the EF nib. With broader nibs, the Super5 ink no longer has lubrication issues, and both inks write equally well. Colourwise both inks look similar in writing, although there is definitely more of a grey undertone in the Dublin Green ink. Both inks also shade nicely, without too much contrast between light and dark parts. This aesthetically pleasing shading gives more character to your writing, and shows up even with the finer nibs. For this round, the focus is on writing, and here both inks are strong performers. At the beginning of the round, the Dancer from Liverpool broke through the defences of the German ink, delivering a powerful punch. But the Super5 ink recovered nicely, and for the rest of the round both champions were evenly matched. Almost a draw, but that initial punch counts, and so this round goes to Safari on points. Round 3 – Pen on Paper This round allows the batlling inks to show how they behave on a range of fine writing papers. From top to bottom, we have : Midori notebook paper, Paperblanks 120 gsm paper, Tomoe River 52 gsm, Fantasticpaper, Original Crown Mill cotton paper and Clairefontaine Triomphe 90 gsm. All scribbling and writing was done with a Lamy Safari M-nib. Both champions did really well, with no show-through nor bleed-through. But this round is not about technicalities, it is about aesthetics and beauty. Are the fighters able to make the paper shine ? One thing is immediately apparent: these inks are at home on a wide range of papers, both white and off-white ones. On white paper, Dublin Green clearly shows its greyer nature – on cream paper, both inks look more or less the same. The Diamine ink is a bit more expressive and complex-looking in the swabs. Dublin Green, on the other hand, looks more subtle in the shading. Overall, really strong inks with only minimal differences in style. Both inks are on par with each other, with neither of the champions giving any ground. Both fighters gave their all, providing quite a spectacle. The crowd is loving it! But in the end, neither ink could score a solid hit, and as such the third round ends with a draw. The tension in the hall is now going up by the minute. Are both fighters really each other’s equal ? Will one of them show some weakness ? Let’s continue the fight to find out. Round 4 – Ink Properties With the ring of the bell that announces the fourth round, Safari immediately dances to her opponent ready to bring more action to the fight. But wait… what’s happening? The German ink breaks through the defenses with a solid left hook… wham! Oh my god! Safari goes down and hits the canvas! The crowd is shocked into silence, then roars its approval! 10… 9… 8… 7… Oh no… this is a disaster… Safari is groaning, and struggles to right itself … 6… 5… finally Denise “the Dancer” scrambles to her feet, groggily shaking her head. But the round is lost! The referee rightfully grants this round to the German fighter. In this round, the biggest difference between Safari and Dublin Green emerges. The Super5 ink is designed to be water-resistant, and it shows: no smudging, and the ink effortlessly survives a 15-minute soak in water. For the smudge test, I let both inks dry for 30 seconds, and then rubbed a moist Q-tip cotton swab over the text. For the droplet test, I dripped water on the grid and let it sit there for 15 minutes. The difference is clear: Super5 Dublin Green definitely is very water-resistant, making it a good ink for use at the office. Round 5 – The Fun Factor Welcome to the final round. Here I give you a purely personal impression of both inks, where I judge which of them I like most when doing some fun stuff like doodling and drawing. Both inks do well, and show off a lovely colour spectrum, ranging from very light grey- and yellow-green to a really dark and saturated green. I really enjoyed using them. The drawing was done on a piece of 10x15cm HP photo paper. Personally I prefer the slightly greyer looks of Dublin Green. This ink also feels a bit more complex, with more character in the drawing. Safari looks soft and restrained – an ink with a joyous appearance but not too wild. Dublin Green on the other hand is more of a bad girl showing more temparement. In my opinion, the Super5 ink definitely looks better in this drawing. For this round, both champions are again well matched. But for this judge, Dublin Green showed the best moves, and wins this round on points. Mind… this is a relative comparison. Standing on its own, Diamine Safari is still a terrific ink to play around with. But side by side, I definitely prefer the Dublin Green from Super5. The Verdict Both inks are real jewels, that work on all types of paper. These are real champions, that both deserve a place in your ink collection. But counting the points, it’s clear that the challenger from Germany proved to be stronger. Even if you ignore the whopping win in round 4 (i.e. you don’t care about water resistance), Dublin Green still manages to be the slightly better ink. So for this judge, the conclusion is clear: Super5 Dublin Green is the winner of this exciting fight.
  6. I've recently purchased a bottle of Diamine Dark Forest, which I was hoping would be more of a fir-tree green, but is, in fact, close to olive. What blue ink (presumably Diamine) should I blend with it to create a more beautiful, less olive, color? Thanks! Gary
  7. Diamine Purple Dream (150th Anniversary II) The ink maker from Liverpool is one of the staple brands in ink-land. They consistently produce solid inks for a very reasonable price. In 2017, Diamine released their second ink series to commemorate their 150th Anniversary. I obtained my set shortly thereafter, but more or less forgot about them when my attention drifted to Japanese inks. About time to do the reviews. Fortunately, these anniversary inks are still easily obtainable, so if you like what you see you can still get them. Purple Dream is a nicely saturated purple that looks quite lovely. This is what I consider a “standard” purple – not too blue, not too red – but just bang in the middle. It’s a colour that works great for daily journaling, but is a bit too colourful for me to use at work. As we are used to from Diamine, the ink performs well and writes a saturated line in all nib sizes. Shading is present with F nibs and above, but fairly unobtrusive – there is not a lot of contrast between the light and darker parts. The ink itself is on the wet side: combine it with wet pens, and you get a deeply saturated purple line that almost – but not totally – drowns out the shading. With dry pens shading is more prominently visible, and can look quite stunning. Purple Dream works well with both white and cream paper. With low-quality paper, there is a tiny bit of feathering, and you can expect a fair amount of show-through and bleed-through. This Purple Dream is one of three purple colours in the 150 Anniversary II Series. Its siblings are Lilac Night and Burgundy Royale. Lilac Night is a beautiful muted blue-grey-purple that I really enjoy. Burgundy Royale is a reddish purple that has an old-rose quality to it – usually not my type of colour, but for some reason I find this Diamine implementation really attractive. I’m definitely going to explore this one in the near future. To illustrate the colour span of Purple Dream, I did a swab on 52 gsm Tomoe River paper, where I really saturated portions of the paper with ink. This Purple Dream has a fairly narrow colour span, with not much contrast between the light and darker parts. This translates to unobtrusive shading when writing. Shading is definitely there (starting with F nibs and above) but remains fairly low. Just enough to accentuate that you’re writing with a fountain pen. On the smudge test – rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab – the ink showed lots of smearing, but the text itself remains crips and clear. Water resistance is totally absent – most colour disappears from the page, leaving only some purple smudges. From the chroma, I expected a bit more water resistance, but that is not the case. I’ve tested the ink on a wide variety of paper – from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On each scrap 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 Lamy Safari M-nib Source of the quote, written with an F-nib Pelikan M600 Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Safari) The multi-paper writing test shows that Purple Dream can handle most papers well, looking good on both white and cream paper. There is a small amount of feathering on low-quality paper, but nothing really extreme. With cheap paper, you do get a lot of see-through and some bleed-through, making it nigh impossible to use the backside of the paper. Drying times were mostly around the 10 second mark with the Lamy Safari M-nib. 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 this Diamine ink. To my eye, the scans show the ink a bit too light, the photos a bit too dark – reality is a bit in between. Writing with different nib sizes The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing (written on Rhodia N°16 80 gsm paper). All samples were written with a Lamy Safari. I also added a couple of visiting pens: a Pelikan M605 with F-nib, and an Edison Collier with M-nib. Purple Dream looks good in all pens, but shading is most visible with the dry-writing Lamy pen. Related inks To compare Diamine Purple Dream 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 Purple Dream seems to occupy the central space between more blue- and red-leaning purples. Perfectly mixed, and a pleasure to the eye! Inkxperiment – event horizon As a personal challenge, I try to create interesting drawings using only the ink I’m reviewing. I find this to be a fun extension of the hobby, and these single-ink drawings are great for exploring the colour-range nuances that are present in the ink. I love doing them! Inspiration for this drawing comes from the Sagitarius A* black-hole picture, released to the world on May 12, 2022. Astronomers, using the Event Horizon Telescope, released the first image of the accretion disk around the event horizon of Sagitarius A*, the supermassive black hole sitting at the center of our own galaxy. I used the concept of an “event horizon” as central theme in the inkxperiment drawing. I started with an A5 piece of 300 gsm watercolour paper. I wetted two circular rings surrounding the top-left and bottom-right corners of the paper, and applied some pure ink using a brush. These circular areas constitute the event horizon. I then used cotton Q-tips to draw in the houses within the horizon – these are elongated and being drawn into the singularity present in the corners of the page. Between the two singularities, a distorted starry background appears, drawn with Q-tips and different water-ink ratios. The stars were added with a B-nibbed fountain pen. I finally did a final pass over the drawing, adding some finishing touches. Purple Dream turns out to be a really nice ink to draw with. It’s easy and fun to use, and the resulting drawing gives you a good idea of what can be achieved with this Diamine 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. Starting from the “event horizon” drawing, I applied some filters to the drawing (using the Oilist app on iPad), and then stitched two mirrored copies of the result together. What you get is a picture of a Yoda statue, sitting in its Jedi Shrine. Cool! Conclusion Diamine Purple Dream is a lovely-looking purple, that for me embodies the concept of a “standard” purple. The ink works well with both white and cream paper, and writes fairly wet and well-saturated in all nib sizes. I enjoyed experimenting with it – both for writing and drawing - and can definitely recommend it if you enjoy purple inks. Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib Backside of writing samples on different paper types
  8. I recently got a couple of inks from PurePens, Noodler's Red-Black and J. Herbin Vert de Gris. Also a random ink sample which turned out to be Dominant Industry Royal Azalea (cute pink on it's lighter shades, a bit too much for me on the darker ones). One of the main reasons I had for getting Red-Black was my liking for Oxblood, but wishing it didn't get destroyed by any water droplets (as it already did a few times on my work notes). Here's a slightly not scientific comparison between the two. I'm still experimenting on which types of nibs I like Red-Black the best, but I love it already. The bottles: Comparison sheet (Rhodia 80 g/m²): Red black shows some good resistance to water and bleach since it's at least partially bulletproof. The dry times are long, but that might be because of the nibs I used. The Ahab is very wet even when not flexing, and the Kaweco Sport used is a broad nib. I've seen reviews with lower drying times, so I'll keep an eye out for that as I use this ink more. Both inks look great, but Red-Black has more tone variation and shading, while Oxblood is more homogeneous. Chromatographies: Both inks seem to be formulated in a similar way, having a darker component, a red component, and a yellow. Noodler's red black also has a pink-ish side that shows up along with the red component. When I first inked up a pen with Red-Black, it came out as a bright red, since I had not shaken the bottle and I assume the dark and yellow tones had separated.
  9. Earlier in 2020, Diamine released the 25 ink colours that it produced and included in its Inkvent (2019 advent calendar) product as separate retail products in four-legged 50ml Blue Edition bottles. The inks in the series are categorised as standard, sheening, and shimmering — and each is priced accordingly. Seasons Greetings is one of the sheening inks. Base colour: Dark teal Flow: Moderate Feathering: Not observed on Rhodia Dotpad 80g/m² paper, looking closely at the thinnest hatching lines, and words/glyphs ‘reverse-written’ with the nib upside-down (i.e. the bottom of the feed facing up) Show-through: Low to nil Bleed-through: Not observed Drying time: A smidgen over 20 seconds Smudging after fully dry: A small amount; this ink is slightly susceptible to being re-wetted by the moisture on one's fingertips. I rubbed my dry thumb over the stippling dots (just after the scan shown above was done), and that caused some very minor streaking that took a loupe to spot. However, just now when I was handling the ink review sheet over 48 hours later, I managed to smudge some of smaller Japanese characters Water resistance: So apparently poor that I don't think I need to soak some part of the sheet for an hour or so Shading: Negligible. In spite of the apparent shading in the image above, the darker parts are actually manifestations of sheen; see image below. (I confirmed it by checking the ink review sheet under a loupe and a bright LED lamp.) Sheen: Plenty of pink sheen, evident in almost every ink mark on the page, other than the thinnest and driest of the hatching lines I did by ‘reverse-writing’ (with nib upside-down and the bottom of the feed facing up) which apparently this pen-and-ink combination, or maybe just the pen, doesn't support Shimmer: None My thoughts: Now that I have detected a bit more susceptibility to smudging with this ink, I might have to rethink whether I feel comfortable using it to write in my journals and notebooks of which the content I intend to revisit. Nevertheless, the degree of smudging doesn't seem to be quite as severe as with some other Diamine (ultra-)sheening inks such as Iridescink Herbert or November Rain.
  10. essayfaire

    IMG_1544.JPG

    From the album: Essay Faire's images

  11. Diamine Dark Forest (150th Anniversary II) The ink maker from Liverpool is one of the staple brands in ink-land. They consistently produce solid inks for a very reasonable price. In 2017, Diamine released their second ink series to commemorate their 150th Anniversary. I obtained my set shortly thereafter, but more or less forgot about them when my attention drifted to Japanese inks. About time to do the reviews. Fortunately, these anniversary inks are still easily obtainable, so if you like what you see you can still get them. Diamine Dark Forest is another lovely ink in this Anniversary series. A dark & saturated green with strong blue undertones. My first reaction when seeing the ink was “definitely a dark green”. And then I got like “hmm… maybe a dark teal… lots of blue in there”. And after preparing the review material, I got to “well… not a teal yet, but going there.” I love it when inks leave the well-trodden path, and meander between the colour lines. More often then not they gain in complexity and beauty. Dark Forest is no exception – I find it to be a very interesting ink with lots of depth. This Diamine ink is very saturated and lays down a dark blue-green line when writing. With a wet-writing pen, the colour can almost turn black. Where the ink gets overly saturated, you can often glimpse a reddish sheen. I like it that the ink looks totally different, depending on the wetness of the nib/pen combination. Teal-leaning in drier pens, and going dark green to green-black in wetter pens. To illustrate the colour span of this Diamine ink, I did a swab on 52 gsm Tomoe River paper, where I really saturated portions of the paper with ink. Dark Forest has a broad colour span, with a substantial difference between the light and darker parts. This translates to strong (even harsh) shading when writing. Shading is present in all nib sizes, even the finer ones. Personally, my preferences go to soft & muted inks, and this Dark Forest is quite the opposite. But still, I like the complexity of its character. On the smudge test – rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab – the ink behaved badly. Tons of smudges, although the text itself remains very readable. Water resistance is almost zero in practice – from the bottom part of the chromatography, I had expected a better result. But no, this ink is very prone to watery accidents. This makes it - for me at least - unsuited for use in the workplace. I’ve tested the ink on a wide variety of paper – from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On each scrap 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 Lamy Safari M-nib Source of the quote, written with my Yard-o-Led Viceroy Standard with F-nib Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Safari) The multi-paper writing test shows that Dark Forest can cope with a wide range of papers. With the lower-quality papers (Moleskine, copy paper) there is just a tiny bit of feathering, and a small amount of bleed-through. Drying times are in the 10-15 second range on harder paper, and around 5 seconds on the more absorbent low-quality papers (with the Lamy Safari M-nib). This dark blue-leaning green works well with both white and creamy paper. 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 this Diamine ink. In this case, the real colour seems to sit a bit between the two. Writing with different nib sizes The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing (written on Rhodia N°16 80 gsm paper). All samples were written with a Lamy Safari. I also added a couple of visiting pens: a wet-writing Yard-o-Led Viceroy Standard Victorian, and a Pelikan M120 (which writes quite dry for a Pelikan). As you can see, the ink can look quite different depending on nib/pen combination – almost a teal in the 1.9 calligraphy nib, almost black in the Yard-o-Led. But in all cases quite saturated and with heavy shading. Related inks To compare Diamine Dark Forest 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. The ink that comes closest in comparison is the 2017 LE ink Lamy Petrol, which has just a touch more blue. With Lamy Petrol being unobtanium these days, this Dark Forest could be the replacement you were looking for. Inkxperiment – excalibur With each review, I try to create an interesting drawing using only the ink I’m reviewing. This is often quite challenging, but it has the advantage of showing the ink’s colour range in a more artistic setting. I enjoy doing these little drawings immensely – it’s quite a fun extension of the ink hobby. Always good for a fun couple of hours. For this inkxperiment, I had zero inspiration. So I started with word associations to get me going: English ink, dark forest… medieval woods… runes and druids… Avalon… King Arthur… Excalibur. OK - good enough to get the drawing started... I used an A4 piece of HP photo paper, that I covered with a paper towel on which I dripped water-diluted ink to create the textured background. Next I used pure Dark Forest to paint in some darker patches for the stone & sword, and as a background for the runes. With the side of a piece of cardboard dipped in ink, I added the branches of the medieval forest. Finally, I used cotton Q-tips with bleach to draw in the runes and Excalibur. The result is not a masterpiece, but it gives you an idea of what can be achieved with this Diamine ink in a more artistic context. Conclusion Diamine Dark Forest is a saturated blue-leaning dark green that can look substantially different depending on your nib/pen combination – it can span the whole range from green-leaning teal to dark green black. A heavy shader that shows a bit of a reddish sheen in heavily saturated areas. For me personally, this Dark Forest is a bit too dark & harsh, but it’s certainly a complex and interesting ink. I enjoyed playing around with it. Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib Backside of writing samples on different paper types
  12. So, at one point of another... we have all said.. "Wow, I wish I could get THAT ink".. but is discontinue/expensive/unobtanium .. etc So, here is the place where you should come and check if "THAT" ink has a Doppelgänger (look-alike, double, one who nearly or completely resembles another).. I will start... I will remind you, that even the same ink looks different depending on nib/flow/paper .. so these are examples inks with the same/similar hue.. that depending on your nib/flow/paper it might look identical.. Have you heard of Sailor Tanna Japonensis (Evening Cicada).. what about Sailor Shin Zan (Deep in the Forest).. well if you can't get those, you can grab a bottle of Safari.. is cheaper, not exclusive, and easy to find. photo below... (in real person they look almost identical) Knowing how famous scanners and pictures are for not completely represent what your eyes perceived, you get both... and take my word for it.. With the right pen you can get the exact look. C.
  13. Is anyone here planning on getting this year's Diamine Inkvent (Red edition) calendar? Instead of twenty-four 7ml bottles of ink, this time it comes with twenty-four 12ml bottles. The twenty-fifth bottle is still 30ml. Both Cult Pens and La Couronne du Comte have already added the product to their catalogues and taking pre-orders, and LCdC covered it in its newsletter sent out yesterday. Cult Pens says, ”Expected September”; whereas LCdC says “Available October 2021”. Given past performance, I know which retailer I'd go with, given their track records of delivery, if I wanted a jump on everyone else to review the inks on social media. Except I won't be ordering it at all. May as well sit back, wait for others to do the reviews, and then only buy specific colours in large bottles as standalone products, when they're released in several months' time.
  14. I'm looking to buy about 5-10 30ml Diamines bottles quite soon (Monday, but can be throughout the week) and was wondering which inks you all like and would recommend, colorwise. Inks that make you happy, left you pleasantly surprised, or you felt lived up to their good rep. I'm not particular about wetness, drying time, or feathering. Colorwise, I love blues, purples, yellow greens, maroons, deep greens, deep oranges, nickel azo types, and muted grayish colors. I tend to ignore oranges unless they shade, and my one yellow is enough for me. In terms of Diamine ink, I've got the overseas exclusives, Poppy red (which is enough for me in terms of vibrant non red-violet reds.) Magestic Blue, Oxford Blue, Sargasso Sea, Chocolate Brown. I'm already getting - Bilberry - Flamingo Pink - Oxblood - Tobacco Sunburst - Ancient Copper (considering) - Kung te Chung (considering) If you've got something you'd absolutely recommend, please tell me ASAP!
  15. A Smug Dill

    Diamine Gruntled Guava ink review sheet

    From the album: Ink review

    I did this mainly just to test certain aspects of the two named pens; otherwise, I wouldn't have bothered using two different writing instruments that are both not dip pens, just the purpose of reviewing an ink.

    © A Smug Dill

  16. A Smug Dill

    Diamine Gruntled Guava ink - shading

    From the album: Ink review

    © A Smug Dill

  17. A Smug Dill

    Diamine Gruntled Guava ink

    From the album: Ink review

    Photographed to better represent the colour, as the scans by both my Brother MFC-L2710DW and my CanonScan LiDE 300 came out pretty much pink with very little orange.

    © A Smug Dill

  18. A Smug Dill

    Diamine Bashful Blueberry ink review sheet

    From the album: Ink review

    © A Smug Dill

  19. A Smug Dill

    Diamine Bashful Blueberry – shading

    From the album: Ink review

    © A Smug Dill

  20. Diamine Lilac Night (150th Anniversary II) The ink maker from Liverpool is one of the staple brands in ink-land. They consistently produce solid inks for a very reasonable price. In 2017, Diamine released a second ink series to commemorate their 150th Anniversary. I obtained my set shortly thereafter, but more or less forgot about it when my attention drifted to Japanese inks. So, it's about time to do the reviews. Fortunately, these anniversary inks are still easily obtainable, so if you like what you see you can still get them. My first reaction when seeing the ink was loudly cursing Diamine… the colour shown on the box suggests a rather boring purple, which has nothing to do with the actual ink that sits within. What comes out of the bottle is a beautiful dusty grey-purple that simply looks wonderful. Curse them threefold! This treasure has been sitting in my cabinet for over 3 years, hidden away behind that bland box picture. Lilac Night has a lovely colour, reminiscent of the summer night sky some time after sunset. Dusty grey-purple with strong blue undertones. Lilacs are often delicate and playful inks, but in this case the grey tones create an aura of seriousness that makes Lilac Night very suitable for the workplace – a good replacement for more traditional blue-blacks. As can be expected from Diamine, the ink performs well, and writes a saturated line in all nib sizes. Lilac Night also exhibits fairly strong and aesthetically pleasing shading The ink itself is on the wet side: combine it with wet pens, and you get a deeply saturated line of very dark grey-purple. With dry pens the blue-lilac comes more to the front. Lilac Night prefers good quality paper. On print/copy paper it has a tendency to feather, and exhibits a fair amount of show-through and bleed-through. To illustrate the colour span of this Diamine ink, I did a swab on 52 gsm Tomoe River paper, where I really saturated portions of the paper with ink. Lilac Night has a medium colour span, with moderate contrast between the light and darker parts. This translates to soft shading when writing. Shading is prominently there, starting with F nibs and above. Really nice! On the smudge test – rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab – the ink behaved well. There is smearing, but the text itself remains crips and clear. Water resistance is only so-so: most of the dyes disappear, but a faint-puple ghost image of your original writing remains, which is still more or less readable. I’ve tested the ink on a wide variety of paper – from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On each scrap 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 Lamy Safari M-nib Source of the quote, written with an Esterbrook Estie with jounaler nib Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Safari) The multi-paper writing test shows Lilac Night’s preference for good quality paper. With cheaper copy/print paper there is visible feathering, and you also get lots of see-through and bleed-through. It’s best to use this ink with high quality hard-surface paper – that’s the paper eco-system that it prefers. Drying times for this ink are mostly in the 5-10 second range with a Lamy Safari M-nib. 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 this Diamine ink. In this case, the scans do a better job – in the photos the ink appears too blue. Writing with different nib sizes The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing (written on Rhodia N°16 80 gsm paper). All samples were written with a Lamy Safari. I also added a couple of visiting pens: a TWSBI VAC Mini with M-nib, and an Esterbrook Estie with a journaler nib. I especially like the way Lilac Night looks with the Esterbrook: a dark grey-purple line with really nice low-contrast shading. Add the stubby nature of that nib, and you get some true eye-candy! Related inks To compare Diamine Lilac Night 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. I have no other ink like it. The closest I have is TACCIA aomurasaki, which is a darker grey-purple with less blue in the mix. Inkxperiment – shattered As a personal challenge, I try to create interesting drawings using only the ink I’m reviewing. I find this to be a fun extension of the hobby, and these single-ink drawings always push my creativity. These inkxperiments are great for exploring the colour-range nuances that are present in the ink. I love doing them! Inspiration for this drawing comes from the COVID19 pandemic that has been defining our lives for way too long. At work, I have colleagues that have been screen images in video calls for almost 2 years now, instead of human beings of flesh and blood. And looking around at our society, I can’t help but notice that we are rapidly losing empathy for our neighbours. The lack of direct contact shatters and distorts our view of the world – we get irritated way too quickly, blow out of proportion the smallest mistakes or differences of opinion… I am convinced that we absolutely need to make a conscious effort to interact more positively with each other. So start today… and look behind the shattered glass. I tried to capture this feeling in my inkxperiment. I started with an A4 piece of HP photo paper. I dripped some ink in different water/ink ratios on the paper, and spread it out using a piece of cardboard. This produced the patterned background. Next I drew in the people figures with a brush and slightly diluted Lilac Night. I finally used my B-nibbed Safari to add the shattered glass foreground. Using Lilac Night in this artsy context was pure pleasure. The ink looks great in drawings, and the HP photo paper definitely enhanced the soft lilac tones. Conclusion Diamine Lilac Night is a dusty grey-purple that not only looks beautiful, but also writes well with good saturation and pleasing shading. And if you enjoy drawing with your inks, you’re in for a treat – this Lilac Night can produce stunning tones in inky paintings. I really enjoyed this one, and I can definitely recommend you to try it. Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib Backside of writing samples on different paper types
  21. Asteris

    Lubricated ink for sailor

    I am thinking about using lubricating ink on a 14k M nib 1911s model and Diamine inks is in my budget. What's your opinion? What about the shimmering inks Diamine offers?
  22. I've just got this ink and I love it so much that I'd like to share with you, although I know there've been a lot of reviews of this ink already. I used a Lamy Vista 1.9 nib on Rhodia paper for this simple review. The colour is a bright ocean/cerulean blue well worth its name. The shading is amazing (plus this nib tends to bring out the shading of an ink), from a bright clear blue to a deep ocean blue. It runs very wet on this nib, so the drying time is not accurate. The water-resistency is basically none, as can be seen from the drip test and the smear test, in which I ran a wet finger through it twice. This is my first ink in the turquoise/blue range and I love it. The photo doesn't do it much justice, because it's more vibrant and less green than it's shown in the photo. In fact I had wanted to go for Iroshizuku Kon-peki, but the price made me hesitate. After reading a post here where a FPN member compared these two inks and I was not able to distinguish one from the other, I ordered this, and I don't regret this choice! I have been eyeing Noodler's Navajo Turquoise or Turquoise Eel as well. I wonder how they compare with Mediterranean Blue.
  23. Audrey T

    Light, bright greens

    Robert Oster's Fizzy Lime vs. Diamine's Neon Lime:
  24. feham17_

    Happy New Year Everyone!

    Happy New Year everyone! Let's hope that '22 will be much better than the past two years! 🖋️➡️ Pilot Kakuno 📜➡️ Rhodia Bloc N°16 🔏➡️ Diamine Enchanted Ocean 🌊 Have a great day/night!🏳️‍🌈
  25. Fishynik6

    5 Best Diamine Inks

    If you had to choose 5 diamine inks to represent the brand what would you choose? Im currently looking to buy a twsbi eco with some diamine inks and alt goldgrun and am having a hard time deciding. This should help! The inks I have chosen so far are: Autumn Oak Oxblood Maybe sherwood green One of the turquoise colors





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