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  1. Ink Shoot-Out : Diamine Prussian Blue vs kyo-no-oto aonibi I have been playing around with some blue inks the past couple of weeks. Two of them are real beauties that definitely fit my taste: Diamine Prussian Blue and TAG Kyoto kyo-no-oto aonibi. Both are muted, toned-down blues that look really, really nice. They are definitely of the same family, but also totally different in character. This piqued my interest… time for a detailed comparison to find out which ink 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. And tonight’s fight is really special: two world-class champions with diametrically opposed fighting styles. In the left corner, from the United Kingdom, the bulldog from Liverpool, grandmaster of free-style boxing … Diamine Prussian Blue. In the right corner, from the temple of Kyoto, the slender kung-fu master kyo-no-oto aonibi. Both champions enter the ring. The crowds go wild for what promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime fight. The bell rings, signaling the start of the first round. May the best ink win … Round 1 – First Impressions Both inks make a stellar first impression. Wonderful soft muted blues, that look great on paper – both in written text and in swabs. These inks have a definite vintage vibe, giving a certain “chic” to your writing. These champions have style! Both inks exhibit elegant and aesthetic shading, without too much contrast between the light and darker parts. Great looking stuff! In this first round, both champions give their best, and both throw serious punches at their opponent: Prussian Blue is definitely the better writing ink. It writes wet and well-lubricated. The Japanese ink also lays down a fairly wet line, but suffers from sub-par lubrication resulting in a scratchy feel of pen-on-paper. Kyo-no-oto aonibi shows a more delicate colour that soothes the senses. Prussian Blue also looks great but has more of a dirty purple-grey undertone… nothing delicate about it. Aonibi’s lines look sharper and more defined on the page. In comparison, Prussian Blue’s lines are spread wider. Both inks make a great first impression. Prussian Blue is a delight to write with, but aonibi manages to look seriously better on the paper – it just has that delicate softness that is missing from the Diamine ink. A fair fight with punches in both directions, but overall the supple moves of aonibi win the day. As such, the first round goes to the fighter-priest of Kyoto. 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, aonibi felt really scratchy, with barely tolerable lubrication. This improved when using broader nibs, but overall the ink keeps suffering from sub-par lubrication. In contrast, Prussian Blue glides effortlessly across the page even with the EF nib. With a lightning-fast left-right, the English champion delivers a solid strike that punches through it’s opponents defenses. The crowd jumps to its feet, roaring its approval. Aonibi recovers by showing a much crisper line on the page: your writing looks sharper and more defined. And the kung-fu master’s moves are a delight, even when they fail to connect. Colourwise, aonibi just looks better! But this round is about the writing act, and here the bulldog from Liverpool certainly has the upper hand. As such, this round goes to Prussian Blue on points. The crowd cheers on the champions. A great show with superlative fighters that are closely matched! 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 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 their best on pure white paper. Muted blues are no good match for creamy paper… they just don’t look right. Diamine Prussian Blue has definite purple grey undertones that are fairly obvious. Aonibi is a much purer and richer blue, which shows more depth and has a more delicate nature. It just looks more refined next to Prussian Blue, showing superior soul and character. In my opinion, there is no competition: aonibi rules the fight. The English champion tries to hit its opponent, but the kung-fu master just glides away with supple gestures. And suddenly… aonibi hits its opponent with a flurry of four thumping strikes, stopping short of the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart blow. Prussian Blue simply crumbles to the floor. For a moment the boxing hall falls to a complete silence. Then the audience explodes and roars its approval. What a fight! Round 4 – Ink Properties Both inks have drying times in the 15-20 second range with the M-nib in my Lamy Safari. The Japanese ink dries just a tad faster than Prussian Blue. To test their smudge resistance, I rubbed the text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab. Here, both inks show definite smudging, 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 champions can survive watery accidents. Some colour disappears, but there’s enough ink left on the page to easily read what is left. Kyo-no-oto aonibi leaves more smudges on the page though. A slight advantage for the Diamine ink. Not a great round. The champions keep circling one another, without much initiative from either side. As such this round 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. And for this round, both inks are simply amazing. I did the drawing on HP Advanced Photo paper. The background uses heavily water-diluted ink. For the field I added a bit more ink, and next used a brush to paint in the lines that add texture. The trees and clouds where painted in with pure ink. Diamine Prussian Blue clearly shows its dirty grey-purple undertones. Aonibi retains its delicate muted blue nature – even when diluted with water. As far as colour goes, I definitely like the Japanese ink more. But Prussian Blue surprised me by the way the ink dries… you get a strong haloing effect that gives the drawing a cartoony feel. Really special. Both inks are great looking when used in a more artistic setting. I enjoyed using them both. For this round, both champions recovered completely, and gave their best. Lightning fast punches , elegant and graceful moves, solid kicks. A stunning display of exploding energy… The crowd can’t get enough of it. This truly is the fight of the century! Round 5 is the crown jewel of this fight, but in the end both champions are equally good, and no clear winner emerges. As such, this round ends in a draw. The Verdict Both inks are great-looking soft and muted blues, that simply look fantastic on pure white paper. They have quite different characters… and I love them both. These champions deserve their place among the greatest. But the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart move cannot be ignored, and wins the day. As such, the Belgian judge declares kyo-no-oto aonibi the winner of this exciting shoot-out.
  2. Today I'm reviewing Diamine Prussian Blue A blue-grey or blue-black ink from the standard range, Diamine Prussian Blue is a nicely saturated colour with a vintage look to it. It’s darker, less green leaning and more saturated than Indigo, and it flows better and feels more lubricated when writing across the page. Prussian Blue was the first modern synthetic pigment. It’s a dark blue pigment also known as Berlin Blue or, in painting, Parisian or Paris Blue. It’s prepared as a very fine colloidal dispersion because the compound is not soluble in water. Prussian Blue is also the traditional “blue” in “blueprints” and as the basis for “laundry blueing.” (Source - Wikipedia) I filled my Lamy Safari and my Lamy NexxM converters with it. Then left them on my table for a few days. When I went back to the pens, they both started writing straight away. No hard starts. They didn't skip once. It exhibited excellent shading and it didn’t feather or spread on any of the papers I used it with. It didn’t show through on the HP paper either. Although it showed through slightly on some the papers listed, it didn’t show through as much as the scans suggest, and you can easily write on the reverse of all of the papers I used it with. It's not sold as a waterproof ink but showed some water resistance. Flow Rate: Good - neither particularly wet nor dryLubrication: Good - felt smooth across the pageNib Dry-out: Not noticed.Start-up: Immediate.Saturation: SaturatedShading Potential: Shading seen especially with F nib.Sheen: None noticed, though I’ve seen sheen in some pictures.Show-Through:Clairefontaine CrokbookField NotesHobonichi Techo paper.Tomoe River 52gsm paper (not very much)Spread / Feathering / Woolly Line: Not seen on any paper even Field NotesNib Creep / “Crud”: Not seen, even after over 1 week in the penStaining (pen): Not seen after several days - very easy clean-upStaining (hands): Very easy clean-up off of skin.Clogging: Not seen.Water resistance: Not sold as waterproof, but shows good water resistance.Availability: Available in 80ml and 30ml bottles plus cartridges from Diamine Inks web-site and many other outlets.

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