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  1. namrehsnoom

    TAG Kyoto - kyo-no-oto ginkaisyoku

    TAG Kyoto – kyo-no-oto – ginkaisyoku 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 online info, the manufacturing process of these 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 ginkaisyoku, a limited edition subtle blue-grey verdigris-type ink with a silvery-blue shimmer. Yes… this is another ink with glitter, which seems to become increasingly popular with ink makers. If you don’t care about that, just don’t shake the bottle and the glimmer particles won’t bother you. The ink’s name reflects the colour of thin clouds, as referred to in the waka poem that Genji composed, mourning the passing of Fujitsubo: “Being overwhelmed with grief, I’m wondering whether the colour of the thin cloud over the ridges, which is covered by the rays of the setting sun, copied the colour of the sleeves of my mourning dress” (from the 19th chapter of the Tale of Genji). The blue-grey wispy colour of this kyo-no-oto ink is stunningly beautiful, and I was totally in love with it from the moment I laid eyes on it. Unfortunately – as we shall see – that relation quickly turned into a love-hate affair. The ink looks stunning, but has so many technical issues that it’s painful to use with many paper-pen-nib combinations. This is the first kyo-no-oto ink that I found frustrating – I love its appearance, I hate writing with it. The ink writes really dry, unsaturated and with very harsh shading in my usual Safari test pens – not pleasant at all. I had to use much wetter pens for this review to get an acceptable writing experience from this blue-grey ginkaisyoku. Be aware that it takes serious effort to find the right pen for this ink – in my case, I finally found a great match with my Pelikan M205 Demonstrator with a gold Pelikan M cursive-italic nib. With this particular combination, the ink can express itself in all its beauty. 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 a strip of 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. As you can see, ginkaisyoku has a really wide colour span. The ink moves from a wispy blue-grey to a much darker verdigris-type colour. The contrast between light & dark parts is fairly extreme. This translates to very harsh shading with many pen/nib combinations. You need a really wet pen that writes a very saturated line in order to tame that shading and get a more balanced appearance. The ink’s chromatography shows a wonderful complexity with different hues of grey, blue and even a bit of yellow in the mix. These all combine to create a verdigris-style colour – a blue-grey with hints of green in the undertones. Just lovely. The bottom part of the chromatography indicates that the dyes easily detach from the paper – this is not a water-resistant ink. 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 Pelikan M205 Demonstrator with M ci nib A small text sample, written with a Pelikan M405 Silver White with F-nib Source of the quote, with a B-nib Lamy Safari Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Safari) I used wetter pens for these writing samples. With my normal Lamy Safari test pens, the ink just feels ugly … scratchy writing, too light in appearance, extremely harsh shading. Even with wet pens, ginkaisyoku remains a heavy shader – so much so that scans of the writing samples just didn’t work. With the scanner, the contrast was blown out of proportion, as you can see below. I therefore use photos to show you the looks of this TAG Kyoto ink on the different paper types. Ginkaisyoku works best on the more absorbent papers without a hard surface. The hard-surface paper tends to result in harsher shading with this ink. Also, not a good ink for use on creamy paper. The yellowish character of the paper will shine through the wispy blue, resulting in a green tinge that detracts from its blue-grey beauty. Ginkaisyoku looks at its best on pure white paper. There is no visible feathering with this ink – it behaves well in this respect even on crappy paper. But with the lower-quality paper you do get quite some see-through and bleed-through. Drying times are mostly around the 5-10 second mark with the Lamy Safari M-nib. Writing with different nib sizes The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. Kyo-no-oto ginkaisyoku does not work well with my dry-writing Lamy Safari test pens… scratchy writing, extremely harsh shading… not pleasant at all. The writing experience improves significantly when using wetter pens and broader nibs. Increased saturation of the ink gives two benefits: the ink writes much more smoothly (lubrication improves), and the contrast range becomes less extreme, resulting in much more tolerable shading. Mind you… ginkaisyoku remains a strong-shading ink, even with wet pens. Related inks To compare this grey-blue ginkaisyoku 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 looks like no other in my collection, which is cool. It reminds me a bit of a faded version of J. Herbin Vert de Gris. A really nice colour! Inkxperiment – mountain cabin For my ink reviews, I always add a drawing using only the ink I’m working on. This inkxperiment is a great way to illustrate all the colour-range nuances that are present in the ink. The broad contrast range of ginkaisyoku makes it an excellent drawing ink, that can cover a very wide tonal range. And that verdigris-type faded-looking colour is simply beautiful. As always, this colour type makes me think of snowy landscapes. So the subject for this drawing was easy to find… a winter scene with a man and his dog walking through a snow-covered landscape to the mountain cabin, where the warmth of the burning wood in the fireplace is waiting for them. The concept for this drawing started with a quick outline sketch in my journal. I then used an A5 piece of 300 gsm rough watercolour paper, on which I drew a background with water diluted ginkaisyoku. Using paper cut-outs, I drew in the mountains with cotton pads. I then used my Pelikan fountain pen to draw in the mountain cabin, and the man and his dog. Finally, I used a brush with pure ginkaisyoku to paint in the treeline. I finished the drawing by adding some accents to the treeline using my fountain pen. The resulting drawing shows quite well the broad colour range you can extract from this single ink – really impressive. Kyo-no-oto ginkaisyoku truly is a great ink for more artistic purposes. Conclusion TAG Kyoto kyo-no-oto ginkaisyoku is a great-looking ink: the blue-grey colour with its green undertones is stunning! I simply love it. As such, it pains me that the ink behaves so badly with many paper-pen-nib combinations. You really have to hunt for that one combination that works, and that results in a glorious look on the page. Mostly though, you will rip out your hair in despair 😉 But use this ink for drawing, and all these negative thoughts disappear… ginkaisyoku can produce truly beautiful variations in colour. Overall – I have a love/hate relationship with this ink. I totally love the colour and its application in drawings, but cannot recommend this one for normal writing. Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Pelikan M405 F-nib Back-side of writing samples on different paper types
  2. Bluebells, forget-me-nots & periwinkles? I must admit I have never really used blue ink - if I'm going to spend this much money on the stuff I'd rather stand out a bit (nothing ostentatious mind, all, hopefully, in good taste!), but it's really been creeping into my palette this Spring. I rather like this "dappled woodland" look! For me though, there aren't many blues that make a mark used individually, but in combinations like this you can start to see the nuances? Here's a version with the words alongside: "Soft Snow" = of Australia = Robert Oster Summer Storm (works for me as a Winter ink!) The numbers are Kobe's Full Birmingham titles: Allegheny Courthouse Justice Blue Allegheny Observatory Celestial Blue (here in a super extra-fine nib - actually a dark blue a la "Sherlock Holmes"?) Rachael Carson Silent Spring (but I prefer "Rachel's Silence"!)
  3. senzen

    Verdigris Comparison

    I loved Verdigris since I got it, but haven't used it as much because its Sonnet always evaporating quickly and it came a lot darker. It finally dawned on me to use it with my new m205. Row 1 of other colours: Ama Iro, Kon Peki, Équinoxe 6, Souten, Tsuyu Kusa, Asa Gao, Myosotis, Ajisai. Row 2: Chiku Rin, Vert Empire, Verde Muschiato, Ina Ho, Inti, Lie de Thé, Yama Guri, Perle Noire. Row 3: Mandarin, Fuyu Gaki, Orange Indien, Ancient Copper, Rouge Hematite, Poppy Red, Perle Noire. I never thought I'd like a grey ink but there you have it, part of the switch to the m205 came about as I realized it's one of my favorites, and I have to confess I don't really care for Myosotis in its regular pale self, but with that pen it's inevitable it will get darker, which I actually quite like.
  4. senzen

    A Tale Of Two Sonnets

    So I got a new nib and feed for an old Sonnet from Dutchpen, it wasn't exactly smooth and skipped, but I thought "hey it might be a used nib, can't expect much" but after writing more with it, it's become much smoother and has almost no skipping. Moral of the story: don't give up on a nib. The other nib I got from Forecast pens is the smoothest I've ever tried, apart from my Sailor Pro gear Standard with a 21k nib. These Sonnets can be very enjoyable! The one on the right is using Yama Guri, which I think finally found a good home. That Fabriano Taccia paper is quite nice too.
  5. These two inks are fairly similar. Both are dark saturated blue-blacks with a hint of green. Verdigris definitely is a bit greener than Denim but it is hard to be seen for finer nibs. An interesting feature of Verdigris is its color change when drying. There is much more green in the wet ink which mostly disappears when it dries. Let's show some comparative images. Unfortunately, my scanner seems to be unable to catch the subtle color differences. This is on Rhodia paper: http://s8.postimg.org/k5xskpgs1/denim_verdigris_rhodia.jpg And this is on my workhorse paper (cheap Spoko College Block): http://s18.postimg.org/w5p0dz3np/denim_verdigris_spoko.jpg I did not observe significant differences in behavior of these inks. Denim may be a bit drier and has less tendency to bleedthrough. Verdigris is not horrible in this aspect but you can see some bleedthrough of it on the reverse of Spoko paper: http://s21.postimg.org/je6byp4k3/denim_verdigris_spoko_rear.jpg Here are photographs (not scans) of details on the Spoko paper. I believe the subtle color difference is more visible here: http://s22.postimg.org/pwpcee9l9/denim_verdigris_detail_2.jpg http://s22.postimg.org/xl8ekw5xp/denim_verdigris_detail_1.jpg Which one do I like better? Hard to say. The differences seem to be minor to me so I would call it a draw. If you like blue-black inks, both deserve your attention.
  6. One if the inks I used to like a few years ago was Diamine Teal. It was a nice alternative to my usual blue inks, especially for informal notes. When I got my bottle of Akkerman Diep-duinwaterblauw I decided to abandon Teal. The difference was not big enough to justify having both. Diep-duinwaterblauw was more on the blue side (my preferences are obvious) and it was moreover waterproof (not that I care much about this but it's good to have at least an ink that's waterproof, e.g. for writing on envelopes). For a green ink I already had and kept Diamine Green-Black, a nice enough colour in a medium nib (I have little use for fine ones with my clumsy writing). So I had a stable collection of inks, until one day in Tilburg, in a well-known specialist shop, I decided to get not just the bottle of Diamine Salamander I'd come for but also one of Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris just because I remembered I'd liked the colour in online reviews. I wasn't disappointed. It's a nice ink with decent behaviour. In the following pictures you can see a hastily written note (apologies for the poor handwriting) in Verdigris and Diep-duinwaterblauw, as well as Green-Black and Salamander for comparison purposes, a pairwise scribble comparison and the ubiquitous cotton bud traces on paper. Any conclusions? Firstly, that Salamander may seem a bit odd in the wrong company. It's one of those colours that depend on context. Secondly, that Verdigris is slightly lighter than Diep-duinwaterblauw but otherwise quite similar (except for water resistance). Am I going to keep Verdigris in addition to Diep-duinwaterblauw? I don't know yet but even if I stick with the Akkerman ink (it's a local product, just a tram trip away, after all), I can certainly recommend Verdigris as a first-rate ink. PS In addition to the apologies for the poor, hasty handwriting, I should add that in reality all inks seem slightly darker than the scans as I see them on my screen.
  7. jasonchickerson

    Rohrer & Klingner — Verdigris

    http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/_FUJ0621.jpg http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/_FUJ0623-3.jpg Verdigris (unadulterated) and Zebra "G" nib on Original Crown Mill Pure Cotton paper http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac209/jasonchickerson/01626_PhthaloBlueGreenShd-l.jpg Old Holland Pthalo Blue, Green Shade acrylic color swatch (DickBlick) Verdigris was one of my early favorites when I became interested in inks. I quickly got over it, though, when I realized just how unresistant to water it is. Still, it's an interesting ink and looks good diluted, too. Care was taken to ensure color accuracy.

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