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  1. TAG Kyoto – kyo-iro Stone Road of Gion TAG is a stationery 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 the center stage is taken by Stone Road of Gion. The cool grey-brown colour of this ink is a reference to the stone-paved streets of Kyoto’s Gion district, where it’s still possible to glimpse a traditional geisha-san with her apprentice. This ink’s colour ranges from a soft almost sepia-brown to a a much darker grey-brown. A cool-toned brown that I like best in its most saturated grey-brown incarnation – wet pens are your friend here. Personally, I would have preferred that the ink would be a tad darker-looking, with more of that lovely grey-brown at the lighter side of the spectrum. This ink is a heavy shader, with quite some contrast between light and darker parts. Shading looks best with drier pens, where contrast is more subtle. With wet pens the shading looks harsher, due to the increased contrast between the sepia-brown light parts and the much darker grey-brown. For optimal results, you need to hunt a bit for the right pen/nib combination. In my case, the ink looks great with my Pelikan M405 Tortoise Brown with a F cursive italic nib. This combination delivered the right combination to get both good saturation and not-too-harsh shading. Be aware that Stone Road of Gion is a very dry ink. It’s not a pleasant experience when using dry-writing pens or EF nibs – it feels like you’re fighting the paper. Stick to wet pens with this one! 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 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. Stone Road of Gion has a fairly wide colour span, which translates to strong shading that can sometimes be a bit harsh. I personally prefer my shading to be soft & delicate, so with this ink I had to hunt for the right pen/nib combination. The ink’s chromatography clearly shows the grey undertones in the ink, with hints of pink and orange in the mix. It’s also clear that most colour dissipates with water – this is not a water-resistant ink, which is confirmed by the water test at the end of the review. 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 Platinum 3776 Century with B-nib Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Safari) The ink looks good on all papers, but is really at its best on off-white paper (not yet creamy, but moving in that direction). I noticed a tiny amount of feathering on lower-quality papers (mostly Moleskine and the printing paper in my test set). Also a small amount of bleed-through on the lower quality paper. Overall, a nice-looking cool brown, but personally I would have preferred an even darker brown colour. Since scans alone are not always enough to give you a complete picture of the ink, I also provide you with a few photos for an alternative look at Stone Road of Gion. In this case, the photos work best to represent the ink – in the scans, the contrast in the ink’s shading is too exaggerated. Writing with different nib sizes The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. Stone Road of Gion writes with good contrast in all nib sizes, but feels very dry in the EF/F nibs (with the Lamy Safari). Writing quality improves substantially with wet pens. With wet-writing pens, the ink gets more saturated and moves to much darker grey-brown tones. In my opinion, that’s the sweet spot for this ink. Combine it with an off-white paper, and it just looks great. Related inks To compare this kyo-iro brown 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. My personal preference would be an ink that looks like iroshizuku yama-guri at the low saturation point, and Stone Road of Gion at high saturation. Inkxperiment – walking home I love to experiment with my inks in an artistic context. With these inkxperiments, I limit myself to the single ink I’m reviewing, allowing me to explore all of its colour range nuances. I love this part of the review: experimenting with different techniques, and trying to coax many different shades of colour from the single bottle. For this drawing, I used an A4-sized piece of HP photo paper. I wanted to do a landscape with a dark sky, but the clouds turned out to be way too dark and weird-shaped. Instead of starting over, I tried to salvage the drawing, turning the clouds into trees, and adding the town on the horizon line. I finally added the walking people as a foreground subject. The trees lacked life, so I sprinkled bleach on top of them to add some sparkle (a bit too much, to be honest – at the right side the bleach burned away too much of the ink). Nevertheless, the end result is not too bad for a salvage operation – I’m quite satisfied with it. The picture definitely gives you an idea of the many colour tones you can extract from this kyo-iro ink. Conclusion TAG Kyoto kyo-iro Stone Road of Gion is a cool-toned grey-brown with a wide contrast range. A heavy shader that looks best in wet pens and on off-white paper. The ink is really dry, and you need to hunt for the right pen/nib combination with this one. A nice enough ink, but not one that really wow-ed me. 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. Ink Shoot-Out : Rohrer & Klingner Isatis Tinctoria vs kyo-iro Soft Snow of Ohara I ‘m a big fan of muted and soft-toned inks, and fortunately there are lots of inks out there that fit my taste perfectly. Kyo-iro Soft Snow of Ohara is one of the great ones among them. Recently, fellow member @JulieParadise graciously provided me with a large sample of the Rohrer & Klingner 2021 Limited Edition ink Isatis Tinctoria – a newcomer that joins the ranks of soft & elegant inks. Another great one, and Julie wondered if it could hold its ground against the Soft Snow. This smells like a challenge to a reigning champion. Time to 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 world-class champions engage in fierce battle to determine who is the winner. Today’s fighters are martial artists that excel in elegant moves to bring down their opponents. In the left corner, from the city of Leipzig in Germany, our challenger: the Kung-Fu master Isatis Tinctoria. In the right corner, from the city of Kyoto in Japan, comes the renowned Tai-Chi fighter Soft Snow of Ohara. Both champions take their place in the ring under thunderous applause from the crowd. The gong signals the start of the first round. Let the fight begin and may the best ink win… Round 1 – First Impressions The fighters start circling each other in an almost dance-like choreography… soft & elegant moves and countermoves. A weave of energy with some exploratory attacks & feints … a lashing foot-kick that glides off the opponents defense, a lightning-fast arm-strike that is absorbed as by water. This battle ballet is a true feast for the eye. Both champions make a great first impression. These inks are greyed-down blue-purples, with a vintage-style faded look that is tranquil and elegant. They are well-saturated, even in finer nibs, and provide excellent contrast with the paper. Shading is just perfect, without too much contrast between light and darker parts, which adds to the aesthetics of the inks. These truly are worthy champions, but there are some obvious differences: Soft Snow of Ohara is more of a muted indigo-violet, while the Rohrer & Klingner ink is a blue with some purple-leaning undertones. This is most obvious in swabs, but also in writing when both inks are put side-by-side. Both inks share the faded toned-down look, and elegant vintage vibe. Wonderful stuff… Isatis Tinctoria is the drier ink. Not annoyingly so, but with finer nibs you definitely get more feedback from the paper. Soft Snow of Ohara seems a very wet ink in comparison. The kyo-iro ink looks more saturated, especially in broader nibs. Isatis Tinctoria seems to more readily maintain its muted character across the nib range. Both inks make a great first impression. My personal preference leans towards Isatis Tinctoria: I really like its muted character with the hint of purple shining through. But talk to me later, and I may have changed my mind 😉 Both inks are great ones, worthy opponents that showed their mastery during this initial round. The chromatography of both inks looks eerily similar. You would expect much more similarity in the ink’s colours, but with Soft Snow of Ohara you clearly get a more purple-leaning look. From the bottom part of the chroma you can already see that not much ink remains when water is added. 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. Isatis Tinctoria feels a bit drier than its counterpart, and writes a bit less saturated. Nevertheless, both inks can easily cope with the complete nib range, writing beautifully even with the EF-nib. With broader nibs, Isatis Tinctoria seems to provide a more consistent look – in contrast Soft Snow of Ohara gets more saturated when using broader nibs. Both inks are elegant shaders, even with the finer nibs. It’s not often that you encounter inks that manage to exhibit shading in an EF nib. Both Isatis Tinctoria and Soft Snow of Ohara can pull off this nifty feat. The shading remains aesthetically pleasing as you move to broader nibs. Due to the low contrast in the saturation range of these inks, there is no harsh difference between light and darker parts. Shading thus remains soft and elevates the looks of your writing. Really well executed! For this round, the focus is on writing, and here both inks look equally well on the page. Only minor slip-ups… Isatis Tinctoria feels a bit drier, Soft Snow of Ohara shows less consistency across nib sizes. As such this round ends in a draw – not because the champions were weak… not at all. They both delivered a fine spectacle, showing they are really masters of their martial art. The crowd is loving it! Round 3 – Pen on Paper This round allows the battling inks to show how they behave on a range of fine writing papers. From top to bottom, we have : FantasticPaper, Life Noble, Tomoe River, Original Crown Mill cotton paper and Yamamoto Bank paper. All scribbling and writing was done with a Lamy Safari B-nib. Both champions did 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 ? These inks can handle both white and more yellow paper with ease, looking good on either type of paper. Soft Snow of Ohara is a bit stronger in its shading, with more contrast between the light and darker parts. In the scan, both inks look really similar, with just a bit more purple in the kyo-iro ink. This is most obvious with the naked eye and in swabs. In normal writing both inks can look really similar, with the purple dominance of Soft Snow of Ohara only becoming readily apparent when you put the writing samples side by side. But overall there is just one word for these beauties: WOW! In this round the martial art battle is a feast for the eye. Elegant positions that seem to defy gravity, and that give rise to powerful attacks, gracefully deflected by the opponent. A crane position explodes into a powerful leg-kick… the opponent flows like water, absorbing the energy, deflecting it and throwing that energy back in an equally powerful mantis strike. And on and on it goes… The crowd roars its approval and is loving every minute of it. Finally the gong rings, signaling the end of this round. Again, no definite winner emerges… these fighters are really well matched! Round 4 – Ink Properties Being the drier ink, you’d expect Isatis Tinctoria to be the faster drying ink but that is not the case. Both inks exhibit similar drying times in the 10 to 15 second range. Both inks also smudge a little when rubbed with a moist Q-tip cotton swab, with the text itself remaining crisp and clear. Neither ink shows any water resistance. Drip water on your writing, and all the colour dissipates leaving nothing readable on the page. Here both inks are equally weak, and neither of them can impress the public. For this round, neither ink did much to impress the crowd. The champions seem to be saving their strength for the final round, simply circling each other without much enthousiasm. As such this round ends with a draw. The crowd is now getting a bit restless, and is eagerly anticipating the final round. 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. The drawing was done on HP photo paper, that typically brings out the best from inks. Both inks do exceptionally well, and allow for some nice effects. They both have a fairly medium colour span, that results in subtle colour differences between areas of lower and higher saturation. The contrast is never harsh, which translates to a soft-toned image that looks pleasing to the eye. I really enjoyed using them. From the picture you can see that Soft Snow of Ohara has a deeper saturation point – compare the trees with the underlying rock. With Isatis Tinctoria, you get a more even look, with less differentiation between areas of high and low saturation. In the picture, I used heavily diluted ink (20:1 water to ink ratio) to draw in the background. The rocks were painted in with a Q-tip dipped in ink. For the trees and the sitting champion I used my fountain pen and pure ink. Both champions show their best moves: lightning-fast strikes and intercepts, an elegant choreography of dancing warriors. This is martial arts at its best! The stadium shakes with the applause of the crowd. A truly awesome fight! Both inks work superbly as drawing inks. It’s really a question of personal preference: do you prefer the more purple tones of the Soft Snow of Ohara, or the bluer looks of Isatis Tinctoria ? I have no real preference myself: today I would probably choose Isatis Tinctoria, but tomorrow I might be more drawn to the looks of the kyo-iro ink. It’s difficult to choose between two masterfully executed inks. And the judge follows my lead… both champions did equally well, and showed their immense potential. The Verdict Both inks are muted, soft & elegant beauties, that work well on either pure white or more yellow paper. They are well-saturated, and look great in all nib-sizes. These inks even show shading in EF-nibs! During the fight, the inks showed differing styles (blue vs purple leaning), but equally well executed. Both Isatis Tinctoria and Soft Snow of Ohara truly belong to the great ones! It’s not often that a shoot-out concludes without a winner, but in this case both inks rightfully deserve the crown.
  3. TAG Kyoto – kyo-iro – Flaming Red of Fushimi 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 the center stage is taken by Flaming Red of Fushimi. The vermillion red colour of this ink is a reference to the vibrant torii gates of the Fushimi Inari shrine, that is home to the revered Inari god of abundant harvests, thriving businesses, safe homes & family. This ink’s colour ranges from a soft rose-red in dry pens to more of a crimson red in wet pens. Use it in a Lamy Safari and you get the soft rose-red look, with subdued shading and a very delicate feel. In a wet pen (like a Pelikan), Flaming Red of Fushimi transforms to a heavily saturated red that loses most of the shading. Personally, I much prefer this kyo-iro ink’s character in the dry pen: soft, subdued, delicate writing that simply looks lovely! And yes, like other TAG Kyoto inks, it feels fairly dry – but if that’s the price to pay for delicate beauty, then I can live with it. Flaming Red of Fushimi works well with all nib sizes, with enough saturation in even the finest nibs. Be aware that it does feel very dry in EF/F nibs combined with dry pens. On the plus side, this ink looks good on both white and cream paper. 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 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. Flaming Red of Fushimi has a moderate colour span. This should translate to soft shading, but this only happens in dry pens. With a wet pen, the ink becomes really saturated and drowns out the shading. The ink’s chromatography shows uniform & monochromatic red tones. From the bottom part of the chroma you can already derive that this is not a water-resistant ink. Most of the colour dissipates with 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 an Edison Collier with M nib Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Safari) The ink looks great on all papers – both the white and creamy ones in my test set. Show-through and bleed-through are no problem at all – just a tiny bit of bleed-through on the horrible Moleskine paper. Drying times are in the 5 to 10 second range with the Lamy Safari M-nib. I didn’t find the ink “flaming” at all – the heat remains smoldering beneath the surface. This makes it a non-obtrusive red that is well-suited for marking up papers & articles. Since scans alone are not always enough to give you a complete picture of the ink, I also provide you with a few photos for an alternative look at Flaming Red of Fushimi. In this case, both the scans and photos seem to capture the ink equally well. Writing with different nib sizes The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. Flaming Red of Fushimi writes with good contrast in all nib sizes, but feels very dry in the EF/F nibs. Writing quality improves substantially with wet pens. Nevertheless, I prefer to use this ink with a dry pen (like the Lamy Safari), where you get the delicate soft-rose look. A medium-wet pen like the Edison Collier provides a good middle ground: the colour still looks soft & subdued, with the added advantage that the dryness of the ink mostly disappears. Related inks To compare this kyo-iro red 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. Robert Oster Fire Engine Red and Pelikan Edelstein Garnet are very similar looking reds. Inkxperiment – Fiery Flowers 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. I always enjoy this part of the review: experimenting with different techniques, and trying to coax many different shades of colour from the single bottle. The fiery flowers are a direct reference to the ink’s name: Flaming Red. For this drawing, I used an A4-sized piece of HP photo paper. I drew in the background by covering it with a paper towel, and painting water-diluted ink on it. The wooden grid pattern was drawn in with a piece of cardboard and pure ink. I next used a brush to paint in the flowers, and added texture using the Lamy Safari M/B fountain pens. And I totally forgot to make my usual drawing-construction photos… As is often the case with red inks, this one is difficult to draw with. Reds saturate quickly, which means that it’s difficult to control the contrast (as is evident with the flowers). Not the nicest drawing, but you do get an idea what Flaming Red of Fushimi is capable of in a more artistic context. Conclusion TAG kyo-iro Flaming Red of Fushimi ranges from a soft rose-red to a more vibrant vermillion red, depending on the dryness/wetness of your pen. I definitely prefer this ink in dry pens, where you get a soft & delicate rose-red with subdued shading. In wet pens, I find the ink a bit overwhelming. This is not the type of red I prefer – I like my reds much darker (think MB Shakespeare Velvet Red), but I can see myself using it for marking up papers/articles. A good ink, but not one that I get overly enthusiastic about. Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib Back-side of writing samples on different paper types
  4. Ink Shoot-Out : kyo-iro Stone Road of Gion vs Mont Blanc Swan Illusion Plume In 2018, Mont Blanc presented us with the Swan Illusion Plume ink, that accompanies the Patron of Arts Ludwig II limited edition pen. A great grey-brown ink that I highly recommend. Fellow member JulieParadise suggested Stone Road of Gion as a near equal to this ink - "but a tad darker on paper". That of course peaked my interest... time to 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 fierce battle to determine who is the winner. In the left corner, the martial arts champion of Japan, the man with the lightning fist - kyo-iro Stone Road of Gion. In the right corner, the iron man from Germany, tough as nails - Mont Blanc Swan Illusion Plume. Both champions enter the ring. The tension in the boxing hall goes through the roof. Crowds are cheering! 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. The inks have a greyish brown dusty appearance that looks elegant and sophisticated. As such, they immediately enhance your writing. For me, the colour totally works - I like it a lot. Even though these are muted inks, they still provide excellent contrast to the page when used with my Lamy Safari M-nib on Rhodia N°16 notepad paper. Both inks also exhibit subtle shading, without too much contrast between the light and darker parts. This gives your writing an aesthetically pleasing look. The inks look nearly identical, but there are some differences:Swan Illusion leans more towards the grey end of the spectrum, which is especially notable in swatches, less so in the written text.Stone Road of Gion is a wetter ink, and produces a more saturated line. In contrast, Swan illusion feels less lubricated and a bit undersaturated. This is especially noticeable in finer nibs.With broader nibs - e.g. with the scribbles made with a 1.5 mm calligraphy nib - Stone Road of Gion shows a bit more character, with a more pleasing appearance.Both inks make a great first impression. Stone Road of Gion works better with the pen - it feels wetter and produces a bit more of a saturated line. On the other hand, I personally prefer the slightly greyer brown of Swan Illusion. These inks are well 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, the slightly darker colour and better saturation of Stone Road of Gion come into play, resulting in more contrast-rich writing. With broader nibs, Swan Illusion no longer feels undersaturated and dry, and lays down a beautifully muted grey-brown line. With Stone Road of Gion, you get much more saturation in broader nibs, and a stronger presence on the paper. You could say that Swan Illusion is more of an introverted ink, while Stone Road of Gion has more of an extravert character. Colourwise both inks look similar in writing, although there is definitely more of a grey undertone in the Mont Blanc 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. Stone Road of Gion works better in EF/F nibs, producing a more saturated line. On the other hand, Swan Illusion looks more aesthetically pleasing, especially in broader nibs (or wetter pens). Damn... these fighters are good. They really are on par with each other. Again this round ends in a draw. 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 : FantasticPaper, Life Noble, Tomoe River and Original Crown Mill cotton paper. All scribbling and writing was done with a Lamy Safari M-nib. Both champions did 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 more absorbent paper like Fantasticpaper (top), the inks look really similar. With Tomoe River - definitely a non-absorbent paper - Swan Illusion shows a bit more character. But on Life Noble, the roles are reversed, with Stone Road of Gion being the more beautiful ink. Both inks are on par with each other, with neither of the champions giving any ground. As such, round 3 also finishes 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 Aha... now we get some differences! Stone Road of Gion - being a wetter ink - takes a bit more time to dry: 15-20 seconds with the M-nib versus 10-15 seconds for the Swan Illusion ink. To test their smudge resistance, I rubbed the text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab. Here Swan Illusion shows its dominance - the ink is almost immune to smudging. Stone Road of Gion smudges a lot in comparison, but still leaves a very readable line that is still crisp and clear. To test water resistance, I dripped water on the grid and let it sit there for 15 minutes, after which I removed the water with a paper towel. Here Swan Illusion totally dominates - this ink is strongly water resistant, while Stone Road of Gion loses all the ink on the paper. If you look for an ink to use at the office, Swan Illusion is your friend. In this round, the Japanese champion caves. Swan Illusion delivered an uppercut that floored its opponent. The public roars... the applause is deafening... What a spectacle. There is no doubt whatsoever. This round is a solid win for Mont Blanc. 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 broad colour spectrum, ranging from very light ochre-brown to a really dark brown-grey. I really enjoyed using them. Personally I prefer the slightly greyer looks of Swan Illusion. This ink also feels a bit more complex, hinting at orangy undertones. This is confirmed when looking at the chromatography of these inks. Here you can clearly see the inherent complexity of the dyes that make up Swan Illusion. In my opinion, this gives the Swan Illusion side of the drawing a more vibrant look. For this round, both champions are again well matched. But for this judge, Swan Illusion showed the best moves, and wins this round on points. Mind... this is a relative comparison. Standing on its own, Stone Road of Gion is still a terrific ink to play around with. But side by side, I definitely prefer the Mont Blanc ink. The Verdict Both inks are real jewels, that work on all types of paper. And it took a while to notice some differences. But in the end, round 4 is the decisive one : Swan Illusion clearly dominates when water resistance comes into play. You might not care about this slip-up of the Japanese ink. In that case, round 5 still gives a slight edge to Swan Illusion as being the more interesting ink. For this judge, the conclusion is clear: Mont Blanc Swan Illusion is the winner of this exciting fight.
  5. visvamitra

    Stone Road Of Gion - Kyo-Iro

    To be honest I don't know much about the company. Some time ago Algester posted topic about Tag Kyoto branch inks. The bottles and colors presented on their site looked nice so I've decided to try some of these inks. I've managed to buy two on Rakuten and I'll review them. The inks are made by or for Takeda Jimuki company and are available in two lines: Kyo No Oto and Kyo-Iro. Kyo no Oto inks are said to be traditional japanese colors that has been used since heian era (roughly 1000 years ago),and expressing a tinges that have been nurtured in long history and profound culture for long time. Anyway second of the inks I've ordered is Stone Road of Gion. The packaging and bottle are elegant and very nice. Gion is the name of japanese city. The color of the ink is subtle brown I enjoy quite a lot. The ink is well behaved (no bleedthrough, no feathering), saturation is average (depending on the nib) and flow good. Drops of ink on kitchen towel Software ID Tomoe River, Kaweco Classic Sport, B Leuchtturm 1917, Kaweco Classic Sport, B Invoice from Rakuten, Pilot Custom Heritage 92, M Water resistance Mini - comparison
  6. 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
  7. TAG Kyoto - kyo-iro - Cherry Blossom of Keage 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 the spotlight is on Cherry Blossom of Keage. This is a soft and delicate red-leaning rose ink, whose colour is inspired by the sight of cherry blossoms arching over the train tracks at Kyoto's Keage Incline in the spring. I don't usually write with pink/rose inks, but that doesn't mean I can't like them. And this ink does look beautiful - it's a quiet and toned-down rose, that captures quite well the delicacy of the cherry blossom. Cherry Blossom of Keage is a nicely saturated and relatively wet-writing ink. It provides a sufficient but not too harsh contrast with the paper, making it easy to read in all nib sizes from EF to 1.9 stub. It lays down a substantially darker rose line with wet pens like my Pelikan M101N Red Tortoise. The ink looks great on both white and yellow paper. In fact, this is one of the few inks that I like better on yellow paper, where it looks softer and more delicate. 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, Cherry Blossom of Keage moves from medium to relatively high saturation, without resulting in extreme contrast between the light and darker parts. This translates to elegant & subtle shading over a wide range of nib sizes. The shading is mostly absent with my Lamy EF nib, but is present in F and above. Due to the restrained contrast, shading looks both elegant and subtle. Wetter pens - like my Pelikan - lay down a much darker and more saturated line, and the subtle shading almost drowns in the saturation. I definitely prefer this ink in drier pens. The ink's chromatography shows pink, red and purple-grey tones, that combine to the rose-red colour of this Cherry Blossom. The purple-grey - I've found no better way to describe it - removes any vibrancy from the ink, and is probably responsible for the ink's toned down appearance. The result is simply lovely. The lower part of the chroma seems to indicate that the purple-grey remains attached to the paper. In reality though, this ink is absolutely not water-resistant. Some colour remains on the paper, but it's only smudges and nothing really legible remains. 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 M101N with F nib Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Safari) Cherry Blossom of Keage behaves really well on my test papers, with no noticeable feathering, not even on the notoriously bad Moleskine paper. See-through and bleed-through are also absent. Only with the Moleskine paper did I get visible bleed-through when using broad nibs or wet pens. Drying times are mostly in the 10 second range with the Lamy Safari M-nib. The ink looks great on all papers, but - as I already mentioned - I like it better on the more yellowish paper. Writing with different nib sizes The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. Kyo-iro Cherry Blossom of Keage can handle all nib sizes without a problem. With the EF nib, you still get a nicely saturated line. Shading is present in nib sizes of F and above when using dry pens. With wet pens, the shading tends to disapper, buried under a much darker-rose saturated line. This is one ink whose looks I prefer in dry nibs/pens! Related inks To compare Cherry Blossom of Keage 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. Diamine Amaranth comes close in colour, but lacks the delicate and soft-toned nature of this kyo-iro ink. Inkxperiment - Spring is in the Air With every review, I try to create an interesting drawing using only the ink I'm working on. These inkxperiments show what the ink is capable of in terms of colour range. They are without any doubt my favourite part of doing an ink review: playing with the ink, experimenting with drawing techniqes and just having lots of fun. For this drawing, the topic derives from the ink's name: cherry blossom. No need to brainstorm another theme for this inkxperiment! I started with a piece of HP photo paper. This has become my favourite medium for ink drawings. The photo paper really enhances any ink's colour, making it look much more vibrant. I first created the background, experimenting with some drawing materials like kitchen paper and a plastic sheet with holes in it. This translates to a nicely textured background for the cherry blossom. The resulting drawing shows what can be achieved when using this kyo-iro ink for artistic purposes. Conclusion TAG kyo-iro Cherry Blossom of Keage is a soft rose-red ink - quiet, elegant, delicate... An ink with lots of character, that works on all papers and in all nib sizes. This is also one of the few inks that I prefer on more yellow paper, which essentially enhances Cherry Blossom's delicate character. The ink also works quite well for artistic purposes. I really enjoyed using this TAB Kyoto ink - if you are on the lookout for this type of colour, Cherry Blossom is certainly worth a try. Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib Back-side of writing samples on different paper types
  8. TAG Kyoto - kyo-iro - Soft Snow of Ohara 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 the spotlight is on Soft Snow of Ohara. This ink is best described as a muted grey-violet-blue, an intriguingly complex colour that is named after winter scenery found in the village of Ohara near Kyoto. During ice-cold winter mornings the snowy landscape can take on a violet-blue tinge... that's the colour captured by this kyo-iro ink. I really like this subtle and delicate soft grey-purple, that seems to shift from violet to blue depending on the quality of the light. Soft Snow of Ohara is also nicely saturated and relatively wet-writing compared to other TAG Kyoto inks. Shading is simply gorgeous - not too much contrast between the light and darker parts, which makes for an aesthetically pleasing effect. And this beautiful shading even shows up in finer nibs, which is a feat that not too many inks can pull off. The ink looks great on both white and yellow paper: delicate, understated, elegant simplicity. 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, Soft Snow of Ohara moves from very low to relatively high saturation, without resulting in extreme contrast between the light and darker parts. This translates to elegant & subtle shading over a wide range of nib sizes. The ink's chromatography looks rather monochromatic at first sight, but a closer look shows a range of undertones in the ink - grey, blue, purple, red. Subtle complexity that translates to a beautiful writing ink. In swabs the ink appears like a greyed-down violet, while in writing it's more of an indigo-blue. As is apparent from the lower part of the chroma, the ink has very low water resistance. This is confirmed in my tests: water quickly obliterates your writing, leaving only unreadable smudges on the paper. 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 M120 with F nib Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Safari) Soft Snow of Ohara behaves well on my test papers, with only a tiny (almost invisible) amount of feathering on the more absorbent papers. On lower quality paper there is quite some see-through and bleed-through. Drying times were mostly in the 5 to 10 second range with the Lamy Safari M-nib. The ink looks great on both white and more yellow paper, and lays down a well-saturated line on the page. Writing with different nib sizes The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. Kyo-iro Soft Snow of Ohara can handle all nib sizes without problem. With the EF nib, you still get a nicely saturated line. Shading is present in all nib sizes. As usual, broader nibs accentuate the ink's shading capabilities, which never gets too harsh but always remains subtle and elegant. I like the greyed down character of this ink, that adds a layer of sophistication to what would otherwise be a simple indigo-blue. Plus points for character! Related inks To compare Soft Snow of Ohara 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. Of special note is the comparison with kyo-no-oto sakuranezumi, which I also like a lot. When you see them side by side, Soft Snow of Ohara is obviously more blue-leaning, while the purple dominates in sakuranezumi. Robert Oster Purple Rock comes close, but is a touch more purple. Inkxperiment - moment of zen With every review, I try to create an interesting drawing using only the ink I'm working on. These inkxperiments show what the ink is capable of in terms of colour range. They are my favourite part of doing an ink review: simply playing around with the ink, and having lots of fun. Inspiration for this drawing comes from the Dreamworks film company logo with the fishing boy sitting on the moon. From here it shifted to a scene with a boy fishing at a lake within a cave. I started with a piece of HP photo paper. This has become one of my favourites for ink drawings: inks really look much more vibrant on this medium. To create the background I covered the photo paper with a wet piece of kitchen towel, and then applied strongly water-diluted ink with a brush. The ink filters through the kitchen towel onto the photo paper, creating a nicely textured background. Next I used a brush with 1:1 water water-diluted ink to paint in the cave contours. The final scene was drawn in with my Safari fountain pens and pure Soft Snow of Ohara. The end result gives you a good idea what can be achieved with this kyo-iro as a drawing ink. Conclusion TAG kyo-iro Soft Snow of Ohara is a beautiful greyed down indigo-blue that is a real pleasure to write with: nicely saturated, relatively wet-writing, looks great on all paper types. The muted tone of this ink provides an extra dimension of elegance and simplicity, and gives extra character to what would otherwise be another indigo-blue. Really well executed! Soft Snow of Ohara is also a fine drawing ink, that I enjoyed a lot. Another great ink from TAG Kyoto. Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib Back-side of writing samples on different paper types
  9. visvamitra

    Frosting Of Arashiyama - Kyo-Iro

    To be honest I don't know much about the company. Some time ago Algester posted topic about Tag Kyoto branch inks. The bottles and colors presented on their site looked nice so I've decided to try some of these inks. I've managed to buy two on Rakuten and I'll review them. The inks are made by or for Takeda Jimuki company and are available in two lines: Kyo No Oto and Kyo-Iro. Kyo no Oto inks are said to be traditional japanese colors that has been used since heian era (roughly 1000 years ago),and expressing a tinges that have been nurtured in long history and profound culture for long time. Kyonooto inks are: Aonibi Azukiiro (new ink) Imayouiro Kokeiro Nurebairo Yamabukiiro Kyo-iro inks are: Cherry Blossom of Keage Flaming Red of Fushimi Frosting of Arashiyama (new ink) Moonlight of Higashiyama Soft Snow of Ohara Stone Road of Gion As soon as I discovered that two new inks were produced I ordered them. Sadly the package went missing. When I lost hope that I would ever receive it, it appeared suddenly and from nowhere after almost three months of delay. Crazy. Anyway as some of you may know I've become huge fan of these two line opf inks. The colors aren't generic. We've seen most of them elsewhere but they offer some unexpected twist I enjoy a lot. I even like their black ink - Nurebairo (it's one of three black inks I have at home, the other two being Octopus Schwarz and J. Herbin Perle Noire). I was really curious about new colors. I hope that some of you were interested in them as well because there'll be plenty of photos. Frosting of Arashiyama can be described as rusty orange, although a lot depends on the pen you use (check writing samples on Rhodia). Arashiyama (Storm Mountain) is a district on the western outskirts of Kyoto, Japan. In wet pens this ink is a joy to use, in drier ones it doesn't feel prarticularly thrilling Drying time is reasonable and I haven't observed any feathering or bleedthrough. In dry Platinum Plaisir 0.5 mm nib the line is dry and lacks lubrication, in Kaweco Sport turned to eyedropper it becomes wet orange-brown ink that flows smoothly and looks very nice. It has no water resistance. Drops of ink on kitchen towel Software ID Color range Tomoe River, Kaweco Classic Sport, broad nib Leuchtturm 1917, Kaweco Classic Sport, B Rhodia, Kaweco Classic Sport broad nib and Platinum Plaisir 0.5 mm nib. CIAK, Kaweco Classic Sport broad nib + Platinum Plaisir 0.5 mm
  10. Ink Shoot-Out : Robert Oster Purple Rock vs kyo-iro Soft Snow of Ohara I recently did a review of kyo-iro Soft Snow of Ohara, and noticed that Robert Oster Purple Rock has a similar colour in writing. Both inks are really nice soft & elegant grey-blurples that look great on paper. Time to 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 our champions engage in a formidable battle to determine who is the winner. Today's fighters are Tai Chi masters that excel in elegant moves to bring down their opponents. In the left corner, from Australia, the well-known master Robert Oster Purple Rock. In the right corner, from the city of Kyoto in Japan, comes the relatively unknown fighter Soft Snow of Ohara. Both champions take their places in the ring under a thunderous applause from the crowd. The gong signals the start of the first round. Let the fight begin and may the best ink win… Round 1 – First Impressions The fighters start circling each other, showing soft & elegant moves and countermoves. Some exploratory attacks & feints to seek out weaknesses in their opponent's defences. Both champions make a great first impression. These inks are greyed-down blue-purples, with a faded look that is both tranquil and elegant. They are well-saturated, even in finer nibs, and provide excellent contrast with the paper. Shading is just perfect, without too much contrast between light and darker parts, which adds to the aesthetics of the inks. Both are worthy champions, but there are some differences: Soft Snow of Ohara is more of a muted indigo-violet, while the Robert Oster ink has more of a purple look. This is most obvious in swabs, but also in writing when both inks are put side-by-side. Purple Rock is definitely the drier ink. It writes with sub-par lubrication in my Lamy Safari test pen. Soft Snow of Ohara seems a very wet ink in comparison. Both inks make a great first impression. Personally I find the grey-blue-violet of Soft Snow of Ohara a more pleasing colour. Both inks look great though. Worthy opponents that showed their skill during this round. A pity that the Robert Oster ink made a false move at the start... its dryness is not something that you will easily forget. A minor failure, but enough to grant this round to the Japanese ink from the TAG Kyoto stable. The chromatography clearly shows that the kyo-iro ink has more blue in its composition, whereas the Robert Oster ink is built from a more purple base. From the bottom part of the chroma you can already see that not much ink remains when water is added. 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. The Robert Oster ink is really dry, and feels very scratchy when writing. But this is not reflected on the page - the ink still lays down a well-saturated crisp line with the EF nib. With broader nibs, the dryness disappears and both inks glide fluently across the paper. Both inks are excellent shaders, even with the finer nibs. It's not often that you encounter inks that manage to exhibit shading in an EF nib. Both Purple Rock and Soft Snow of Ohara can pull off this nifty feat. The shading remains aesthetically pleasing as you move to broader nibs. Due to the low contrast in the saturation range of these inks, there is no harsh difference between light and darker parts. Shading thus remains soft and elevates the elegance of your writing. Really well executed! For this round, the focus is on writing, and here both inks look equally well on the page. As such this round ends in a draw - not because the champions were weak... not at all. They both entertained the public showing off excellent punches and counter-punches, executed with great style. The crowd is loving it! 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: FantasticPaper, Life Noble, Tomoe River and Original Crown Mill cotton paper. All scribbling and writing was done with a Lamy Safari M-nib. Both champions did 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 ? Both inks can handle both white and more yellow papers with ease, looking good on both types of paper. The kyo-iro looks the more beautiful of the two - to me it seems to have more depth to it, and the grey-violet looks a bit more pleasing to the eye. Purple Rock shows a definite weakness on the Tomoe River paper. Look closely at the scribbles below the text, and you'll notice that the ink has lost its purple character, and even takes on a bit of a green undertone. There is something in the composition of Purple Rock that can clash with chemicals in the paper. Below is a much more extreme example on Moleskine paper: here all the purple in Purple Rock is lost and replaced by a sickly green undertone. When the chemistry doesn't undermine Purple Rock's looks, both inks look great, although I prefer the bluer tones of Soft Snow of Ohara. But when the chemistry goes wrong, Purple Rock completely caves, and loses all of its appeal. Gone is the elegance and beauty... the champion now becomes a stumbling wreck. The crowd hasn't failed to notice this, and neither has the judge. The advantage in this round goes to the kyo-iro ink. A deserved win! Round 4 – Ink Properties Being dry and scratchy, you'd expect Purple Rock to be a fast-drying ink. But that is not the case. On the Rhodia paper it took over 15 seconds to dry (using a Lamy Safari with M-nib). And although Soft Snow of Ohara feels much wetter, it is still a fast-drying ink at around 5-10 seconds. The Japanese champion scores a solid hit on its opponent in this area. Both inks smudge when rubbed with a moist Q-tip cotton swab, but the text itself remains crisp and clear. The smudging is a bit more pronounced with Purple Rock. Neither ink shows any water resistance. Drip water on your writing, and all that is left is an unreadable mess. Here both inks are weak, and neither of them can impress the public. For this round, neither ink did much to impress the crowd. But at the start of the round, the Japanese ink managed a surprise attack that really hurt its opponent. Soft Snow of Ohara is surprisingly fast-drying for a wet-feeling ink. Not exactly a knock-out, but a definite win on points. The stadium roars its approval for the TAG Kyoto champion. 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. The drawing was done on HP photo paper, that typically brings out the best from inks. Both inks do well, and allow for some nice effects. They both have a fairly medium colour span, that results in subtle colour differences between areas of lower and higher saturation. The contrast is never harsh, which translates to a soft-toned image that looks pleasing to the eye. I really enjoyed using them. In the picture, I used different water/ink ratios to draw in the background. The trees were drawn in with my fountain pen and pure ink. I also used the fountain pen to add some texture to the mountainside. Both champions show their best moves: lightning-fast strikes and intercepts, an elegant dance of warriors. The stadium shakes with the applause of the crowd. What a fight! Both inks work superbly as drawing inks. It's really a question of personal preference: do you prefer the more purple tones of the Robert Oster ink, or the bluer violet of Soft Snow of Ohara? Myself, I liked Purple Rock just a tiny bit more. It's easier to bring out some of its undertones: if you look closely, you can see some red in the mountainside, and a subtle hint of green in the air. But objectively speaking, both champions did equally well, and showed off their immense potential. As such, this round ends with a draw. The Verdict Both inks are muted, soft & elegant beauties, that work well on both pure white and more yellow paper. They are sell-saturated, and look great in all nib-sizes. These inks even show shading in EF-nibs! Purple Rock has a big weakness though: with some paper types, the chemistry clashes and the ink is reduced to an ugly green-grey mess. If you can avoid these circumstances, Purple Rock definitely is a beautiful writing ink, although a dry & scratchy one. Counting the points, the outcome is obvious: Soft Snow of Ohara is clearly the winner of this exciting fight!
  11. visvamitra

    Flaming Red Of Fushimi - Kyo-Iro

    To be honest I don’t know much about the company. Some time ago Algester posted topic about Tag Kyoto branch inks. The bottles and colors presented on their site looked nice so I’ve decided to try some of these inks. The inks are made by or for Takeda Jimuki company and are available in two lines: Kyo No Oto and Kyo-Iro. Kyo no Oto inks are said to be traditional japanese colors that has been used since heian era (roughly 1000 years ago),and expressing a tinges that have been nurtured in long history and profound culture for long time. Kyonooto inks are: Aonibi Imayouiro Kokeiro Nurebairo YamabukiiroKyo-iro inks are: Cherry Blossom of Keage Flaming Red of Fushimi Moonlight of Higashiyama Soft Snow of Ohara Stone Road of GionFlaming Red of Fushimi has really nice name, the color though isn't as saturated as you might imagine picturing flames. I think it can be described as red but, truth be told, it leans toward carmine. The ink isn't most saturated color in the line, I would say the saturation is medium. It can look really well on some papers if you use really wet pen. In drier nibs the color will lokk rather flat. While I enjoyed the effect seen on absorbent papers I dislike what I see on Lyreco. The flow is good, not as good as in Waterman inks but still the ink flows well in all pens I've filled with it (four to be more specific). As for other specs: no feathering, no bleedthrough, no water resistance. The ink is dedicated / named after Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社?) - the head shrine of Inari, located in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Japan. The shrine sits at the base of a mountain also named Inari which is 233 metres above sea level, and includes trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines which span 4 kilometers and takes approximately 2 hours to walk up. Since early Japan, Inari was seen as the patron of business, and merchants and manufacturers have traditionally worshipped Inari. Each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha is donated by a Japanese business. First and foremost, though, Inari is the god of rice. Bottle As all Kyonooto and kyo-ro inks this one comes in elegant box (most aesthetically pleasant boxes in the market IMO and glass bottle) Ink splash Drops of ink on kitchen towel Software ID Tomoe River, Kaweco Classic Sport, B Leuchtturm 1917, Kaweco Classic Sport, B Lyreco Budget, Lamy Al-Star, medium nib CIAK, Lamy Al-Star, medium nib No-name paper with invoiice, FPR Dilhi, Medium nib
  12. visvamitra

    Moonlight Of Higashiyama - Kyo-Iro

    To be honest I don’t know much about the company. Some time ago Algester posted topic about Tag Kyoto branch inks. The bottles and colors presented on their site looked nice so I’ve decided to try some of these inks. The inks are made by or for Takeda Jimuki company and are available in two lines: Kyo No Oto and Kyo-Iro. Kyo no Oto inks are said to be traditional japanese colors that has been used since heian era (roughly 1000 years ago),and expressing a tinges that have been nurtured in long history and profound culture for long time. Kyonooto inks are: Aonibi Imayouiro Kokeiro Nurebairo Yamabukiiro Kyo-iro inks are: Cherry Blossom of Keage Flaming Red of Fushimi Moonlight of Higashiyama Soft Snow of Ohara Stone Road of Gion Moonlight of Higashiyama is medium saturated light Terra Cotta ink. It's not the wettest one in the series, I believe this one is driest but you can still use it. I would say it's slightly wetter than Pelikan 4001 inks. The color looks OK in broader nibs but in drier ones it looks flat. One thing that bothers me about it is the fact it tends to dry out in the nib if you leave the pen uncapped for, say, a minute. All in all it's decent ink but if you enjoy such colors, I would go for Franklin-Christoph Terra Firma or Diamine Terracota if you enjoy saturated inks or some L'Artisan Pastellier sepias if you prefer subtler colors. They're not necessarily better (it's subjective unless we create and have time to really examine inks in standarised way) but are easier and cheaper to get in Europe and Americas. As for other specs: no feathering, no bleedthrough, no water resistance. The ink is dedicated / named after Higashiyama (東山区 Higashiyama-ku, meaning "east mountain") - one of the eleven wards in the city of Kyoto, in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. Bottle As all Kyonooto and kyo-ro inks this one comes in elegant box (most aesthetically pleasant boxes in the market IMO and glass bottle) Ink splash Drops of ink on kitchen towel Software ID Tomoe River, Kaweco Classic Sport, B Leuchtturm 1917, Kaweco Classic Sport, B Lyreco Budget, Lamy Al-Star, medium nib CIAK, Lamy Al-Star, medium nib
  13. visvamitra

    Kyo-Iro Line Comparison

    To be honest I don’t know much about the company. Some time ago Algester posted topic about Tag Kyoto branch inks. The bottles and colors presented on their site looked nice so I’ve decided to try some of these inks. The inks are made by or for Takeda Jimuki company and are available in two lines: Kyo No Oto and Kyo-Iro. Kyo no Oto inks are said to be traditional japanese colors that has been used since heian era (roughly 1000 years ago), and expressing a tinges that have been nurtured in long history and profound culture for long time. I was able to get and try all the inks in the series and review them. Basically I share my thougts about each ink in review, so here I'll just post some scans of all the inks together. Kyo-iro inks are: Cherry Blossom of Keage Flaming Red of Fushimi Moonlight of Higashiyama Soft Snow of Ohara Stone Road of Gion All together Leuchtturm 1917, Kaweco Classic, broad nib Clairefontaine, Kaweco Classic Sport, broad nib Linen paper, Kaweco Classic Sport, broad nib Oxford, Hero 5028, stub 1,9 CIAK, Sheaffer Balance, EF nib Water resistance Packaging I find Kyonooto inks packaging very elegant and aesthetically pleasing. The bottles are nice and practical although not really good looking. The boxes on the other hand are stunning. Minimalistic yet elegant and well thought. I always throw away boxed but in this case I'm going to keep them. Price and availability These inks are well priced if you happen to live in Japan. Sadly shiopping costs and additional fees (taxes) make Kyonooto inks quite pricey for westerners. I've bought all the bottles from Rakuten so price per bottle was around 20-24 $. You can het them an Amazon for 30 $ / bottle. Expensive, I know. Are they worth it? Well, objectively speaking this inks are nice but are in no way technologically advanced inks. Choice is yours to make Colors Kyo-iro inks are medium saturated, subtle inks and the colors are rather subdued. To really enjoy them it's advised to use wet and broad nib. To be honest I'm not crazy on any of these colors. Stone Road of Gion is interesting, Cherry Blossom of Keage is not generic pink but rather dirty mauve. Soft Snow of Ohara is pleasing but basically these inks have no panache. Inks behaviour Kyo-iro inks like fountain pens and papers and it's mutual friendship. None of them will cause feathering or bleedthrough. Sadly none of them is water resistant so if you need / want water resistance look for other inks. Drying times are reasonable. As for fading - time will tell. I'll put samples on Clairefontaine near the window and update this post in a month or two.
  14. white_lotus

    Kyo-Iro Higashiyama Moonlight

    Another of the inks from the Kyoto TAG company, now also carried by Vanness in the US. I'd call this ink an earth orange color, and a number of existing reviews say the ink is "dry". I didn't find that to be the case. I don't know if there have been formulation changes or simply a different pen. Pen: Edison Premiere (M-steel) Papers: MvL=Mohawk via Linen, TR=Tomoe River, Hij=Hammermill 28 lb inkjet, Rhodia=Rhodia 90g ivory. Camera: iPhone 7 The shading on Tomoe River was especially nice.
  15. visvamitra

    Imayouiro - Kyo-Iro

    To be honest I don’t know much about the company. Some time ago Algester posted topic about Tag Kyoto branch inks. The bottles and colors presented on their site looked nice so I’ve decided to try some of these inks. The inks are made by or for Takeda Jimuki company and are available in two lines: Kyo No Oto and Kyo-Iro. Kyo no Oto inks are said to be traditional japanese colors that has been used since heian era (roughly 1000 years ago),and expressing a tinges that have been nurtured in long history and profound culture for long time. Kyonooto inks are: Aonibi Imayouiro Kokeiro Nurebairo YamabukiiroKyo-iro inks are: Cherry Blossom of Keage Flaming Red of Fushimi Moonlight of Higashiyama Soft Snow of Ohara Stone Road of GionImayou-iro is fairly saturated pink ink. When you enter japanese characters 今様色 (imayou-iro) to google you receive such results. The ink is rather wet. As for the color – not my cup of tea. As for other specs: no feathering, no bleedthrough, no water resistance. Drops of ink on kitchen towel Software ID Tomoe River, Kaweco Classic Sport, B Leuchtturm 1917, Kaweco Classic Sport, B Oxford, Hero 5028, stub 1,9 Clairefontaine, Sheaffer Balance, EF nib Comparison
  16. visvamitra

    Soft Snow Of Ohara - Kyo-Iro

    o be honest I don’t know much about the company. Some time ago Algester posted topic about Tag Kyoto branch inks. The bottles and colors presented on their site looked nice so I’ve decided to try some of these inks. The inks are made by or for Takeda Jimuki company and are available in two lines: Kyo No Oto and Kyo-Iro. Kyo no Oto inks are said to be traditional japanese colors that has been used since heian era (roughly 1000 years ago),and expressing a tinges that have been nurtured in long history and profound culture for long time. Kyonooto inks are: Aonibi Imayouiro Kokeiro Nurebairo YamabukiiroKyo-iro inks are: Cherry Blossom of Keage Flaming Red of Fushimi Moonlight of Higashiyama Soft Snow of Ohara Stone Road of GionThe ink comes in nice, practical bottle Soft Snow of Ohara has cool name and rather subtle grayish-blue-purplish color. I like this ink but I'm not crazy about it. It behaves well on variety of papers and won't cause any unpleasant surprise to your pens. Drops of ink on kitchen towel Software ID Tomoe River, Kaweco Classic Sport, B Leuchtturm 1917, Kaweco Classic Sport, B Oxford, Hero 5028, stub 1,9 Clairefontaine, Sheaffer Balance, EF nib Comparison
  17. Sakura FP Gallery

    About Kyo-Iro Inks

    About the Kyo-iro inks. They are made by the Dye technic organization which has a 300 year experience making vegetable based inks called "Kusakisome" for textiles like kimono's. The Kyo Iro inks are not vegetable based inks. But they tried to reproduce the look and feel of the Kusakisome. So the experience of ink making is definately there ! One of the "Masters" helped to develop the Kyo-Iro inks. As everything in Japan all products are of a high quality ! So these inks are not known yet but I'm sure you'll find them very particular.
  18. Sakura FP Gallery

    Kyo-Iro Inks In Our Boutique !

    Kyo-Iro inks in Belgium ! Kyo-Iro fountain pen inks are made in Kyoto Japan. They are crafted according traditional Japanese dyeing techniques. Stone road of Gion, Soft snow of Ohara, Moonlight of Higashiyama, Flaming red of Fushumi, Cherry blossom of Keage, Nurebairo, Imayouiro, Kokeiro, Yamabukiiro and Aonibi are inspired by famous and fascinating places in Kyoto which are the expression of its rich history and profound culture for a long time. Now available in the Sakura FP Gallery ! Enjoy ! Catherine http://www.sakurafountainpengallery.com/en/boutique/kyo-iro-inkt-amp-vullingen





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