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  1. Ink Shoot-Out : Diamine Meadow vs TAG Kyoto kyo-no-oto moegiiro Not so long ago I did a review of kyo-no-oto moegiiro – a yellow-green ink from TAG Kyoto stationery shop. I enjoyed the ink a lot – I just love this shade of green. While preparing the review, I noticed that Diamine Meadow looks really similar. This could be a doppelgänger ink! 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 look-alike inks do battle to determine who is the winner. This time around, the battle is between lightweight boxers from different continents. In the left corner – from Liverpool, England – the well-established but relatively unknown champion Diamine Meadow. In the right corner, from the Japanese city of Kyoto, the challenger: kyo-no-oto moegiiro. Both champions make their way to the ring, while the crowd fills the arena with its thunderous cheers. Let the fight begin and may the best ink win… Round 1 – First Impressions The bell rings and the fighters start circling each other. A flurry of strikes and counterstrikes follows, with the champions looking for weaknesses in the other’s defenses. Great moves, feints and blocked-off strikes. This fight looks lively, and both inks make a great first impression. These inks have a lovely yellow-green colour, that looks on the light side but is sufficiently saturated to make for easy reading. Contrast with the page is definitely ok. Shading is fairly heavy, even in finer nibs. Not too harsh though, but really elegant. These inks are almost doppelgängers, but there are some differences: Diamine Meadow looks a tiny bit more yellow, with a somewhat lighter presence on the page. A bit less saturated, but contrast with the paper remains good. Kyo-no-oto moegiiro is a bit more saturated at the darker end of its colour range. It lays down a line that is a bit darker than that of Diamine Meadow. Both inks are great shaders, but with moegiiro the contrast between the light and darker areas looks a bit more interesting with better aesthetics. There is more depth to the shading, which adds character. Both champions make a great first impression. Colourwise, there is little to differentiate these inks. But the slightly darker saturation point of moegiiro adds extra depth to this ink, makes for a more pronounced presence on the page, and provides more aesthetically pleasing shading effects. Both fighters did really well, but it’s the elegant moves from moegiiro that you’ll remember. The Japanese ink clearly dominated this round. No solid hits and no knock-outs, but for this judge, the ink from Kyoto wins this round on points. The chromatography clearly shows that both inks have lots in common. They have a really similar composition, with only a touch more yellow in Diamine Meadow’s mix of dyes. The biggest difference appears to be in the degree of water solubility of the dyes. 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 inks look good in all nib sizes, even the EF-nib. Shading is also prominently present, just a hint with the EF-nib, but really pronounced with M nibs and above. Shading with the Japanese moegiiro looks a bit nicer though, with more depth of character. Beware that the scan exaggerates the shading in the broader nibs – in real-life it looks much less harsh. So, below you'll find a photo that provides an alternative look: The writing sample also clearly shows the more saturated nature of moegiiro. Diamine Meadow is a bit lighter on the page, probably because it has more yellow in its mix of dyes. Overall, I feel that moegiiro shows a bit more character, and looks better in written text. I also noticed that Diamine Meadow writes a bit more scratchy, appears less lubricated than the Japanese ink. But this could also be an artifact of the nibs in my test-pens. The Safari pens used for Meadow had the black Lamy nibs – and I’ve read that these write drier than the corresponding plain steel nibs. For this round, the focus is on writing, and here the advantage clearly belongs to the fighter from Kyoto. The Japanese champion breaks several times through the defenses of Diamine Meadow, delivering solid strikes. Better saturation and with it a superior presence on paper… bam! More character in the shading… bam! No knock-outs, but these punches definitely hurt! This round is a solid win for kyo-no-oto moegiiro. 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, Original Crown Mill cotton paper, and Midori notebook 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 are lovely yellow-green inks that look good on both white and cream paper, but really show their best on pure white paper. On their own, both the English and Japanese ink look beautiful. But it’s when you put them next to each other that the richness of moegiiro becomes fully evident. A bit less yellow, a bit more saturated… these small differences have a significant effect on the end result. Diamine Meadow tries its best, but it cannot reach the depths and elegance that moegiiro has to offer. Again, the scan exaggerates the contrast in the writing, so below is a photo of the same information: The Japanese champion shows much better footwork, moves more fluently. With his superior technique, he continuously puts his adversary on the offensive. Still no knock-out, but moegiiro clearly dominates the play. And the public agrees… they’re now chanting for the fighter from Kyoto who’s stealing the show. This round is definitely a win for the Japanese ink. Round 4 – Ink Properties These inks are not fast-drying, requiring about 15 seconds to dry. Diamine Meadow even takes a little bit longer. Both inks are reasonably smudge-resistant. Some colour rubs off when using a moist Q-tip cotton swab, but the text itself remains 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. Both inks show their weakness in this respect. With Diamine Meadow, nothing remains on the paper (from the bottom part of the chroma, I had expected better). And kyo-no-oto moegiiro just leaves some unreadable smudges. Neither ink likes to come into contact with water. For this round, the fighters just keep circling one another. Neither makes an attempt to please the crowd. The public is now boo-ing. This is not what they paid for… The bell rings, signaling the end of this disappointing round. Round four thus ends with a draw. 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. Yellow-green inks are usually fun to play with, and these two are no exception. Both inks do well, and are great for creating some artwork. The colour range you get is just perfect, with light and darker areas complementing each other nicely. I really enjoyed using them. In the picture, I used different water/ink ratios to draw in the background. The horizontal tree bark was painted in with a piece of cardboard and pure ink. The trees and decorative elements were added in with a B-nib Lamy Safari and pure ink. Both inks work well as drawing inks. Personally, I prefer moegiiro a bit more, mostly because the range between light and dark parts can be a bit wider, and because it’s easier to get a darker saturated green. But either ink is just excellent to draw with. A big thumbs-up for both champions, that really did their utmost to please the public in this final round. No real winner, only a real spectacle that is greatly appreciated by the crowd. As such, round five ends with a draw. The Verdict Both inks are joyful yellow-greens that are great for journaling and drawing. Diamine Meadow and kyo-no-oto moegiiro look quite similar… real doppelgängers. But in the end, the Japanese ink has a bit more depth and character to it, which makes it the nicer one of the two. No knock-out in this fight, but a solid win on points.
  2. namrehsnoom

    Tag Kyoto - Kyo-No-Oto - Moegiiro

    TAG Kyoto – kyo-no-oto – moegiiro TAG is a stationary shop in Kyoto (Japan) that produces some interesting soft watercolour-style inks. With the kyo-no-oto series they produce a line of inks that replicates traditional Japanese dye colours. According to available only info, the manufacturing process of the kyo-no-oto inks follows traditional dying techniques dating back to the Heian era between the years 794 and 1185. 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 moegiiro. This is a great-looking yellow-green ink, beautiful colour and shading, well-saturated in all nib sizes and on top of that... a happy colour that makes you almost smell the fresh sprouting leaves on spring trees. I guess you can already feel that I'm smitten with this ink ;-) Inspiration for this ink's colour comes from fresh green sprouts in early spring: the Japanese word moegiiro derives from the words "moe" (to sprout) and "negi" (onion). During the Heian era, this fresh yellow-green colour was particularly fashionable as the colour of youngsters. In the tales of Heike, the famous kyudo (Japanese archery) master Nasuno Yoichi wears armour painted in the moegiiro colour as a symbol for the young warrior. The ink writes with good lubrication in my Safari test pens, not at all dry like some other kyo-no-oto inks. The colour is simply wonderful ... I personally like yellow-greens a lot: fresh looking, spring feeling, happy, feel-good. This moegiiro ticks all my boxes, and I immediately took a liking to it. A prime candidate for my 2020 top 3 of inks. I've tried a number of TAG Kyoto inks to date, and love them all. These inks totally fit my tastes. I'm so glad I tried them. The ink feels at home with a broad spectrum of pens, nibs and paper. It writes with good lubrication, even with dry pens like my Safari. The line it produces is nicely saturated, even with fine nibs. Shading is great, without too much contrast between the light and darker parts - just as I like it. And this elegant shading is even present in finer nibs! 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, moegiiro has a medium colour range. The ink moves from a light yellow-green to a much darker light-green, without a sharp contrast between these extremes. In writing, this translates to subtle shading which is aesthetically very pleasing. The ink's chromatography shows a wonderful complexity with light-blue, yellow and the resulting light-green in the mix. The light-blue dyes fix more readily to the paper, while the yellow dyes are much less water-resistant. The bottom part of the chromatography seems to indicate a small measure of water-resistance. In practice, a very faint light-blue ghost of your writing remains when the ink comes into contact with water. It can still be read when you put some effort to it, but this is definitely not a water-resistant ink. I have 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) Moegiiro looks great on all my test papers, with no visible feathering. With the lower-quality papers there is some bleed-through present. Drying times were mostly just above the 5 second mark with the Lamy Safari M-nib. The ink looks great on both white and more yellow paper, and behaves well across all my test papers. Writing with different nib sizes The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. Kyo-no-oto moegiiro can handle all nib sizes without a problem. With the EF nib, you still get a nicely saturated line with even a touch of just-visible shading. Shading is elegantly present starting with the F-nib, and looks beautiful in broader nibs. Because of moegiiro's medium colour span, shading is never harsh and looks very eye-pleasing. Related inks To compare the yellow-green moegiiro 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 kyo-no-oto ink is different from my other light greens, although Diamine Kelly Green and Meadow come close (the Diamine inks have a touch more yellow in them than this TAG Kyoto ink). Inkxperiment - the Ellcrys With every review, I try to create an inkxperiment using only the ink I'm working on. Such a one-ink drawing is a great way to show off the colour-range nuances that are present in the ink. These inkxperiments are the favourite part of my reviews: always great fun and a good way to stretch my creativity and drawing skills. The yellow-green freshness of moegiiro is reflected by the springtime leaves on the trees outside my window. This inspired me to use a tree as the subject of this inkxperiment. I love the Shannara fantasy novels of Terry Brooks. In the "Elfstones of Shanarra" the Elven princess Amberle Elessedil melts with the Elcryss - the magic sapient tree that protects the border with the Forbidding where the demons reside. I started with a quick outline sketch of the drawing I wanted to make. I then used a piece of 300 gsm rough watercolour paper, on which I drew a background with Q-tips using water-diluted ink in a number of different ratios. Next I drew in the Ellcrys tree with my Safari M-nib fountain pen. The three circles represent the three incarnations of the Ellcrys. The first Ellcrys was born of Aleia Omarosian, the second Ellcrys arose with Amberle Elessedil, and the third incarnation appears in the NexFlix Shannara Chronicles when Arlingfant Elessedil merges with it. The foliage of the tree was stamped in with a piece of dishwashing sponge and different water/ink ratios. Final highlights were added with a brush and pure moegiiro. The resulting picture shows quite well the colour-range nuances that can be achieved with kyo-no-oto moegiiro as a drawing ink. Conclusion TAG kyo-no-oto moegiiro is an awesome yellow-green! A fresh happy colour that is a pleasure to write and draw with. This ink works great with any combination of pen/nib/paper: lovely fresh colour, great shading, good saturation. I really enjoyed using it. If you like yellow-greens, you owe it yourself to get a bottle of this! Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib Back-side of writing samples on different paper types

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