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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