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L'artisan Pastellier Callifolio - Botany Bay


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L'Artisan Pastellier Califolio - Botany Bay


L’Artisan Pastellier is a small company in southern France that specialises in natural pigments, and offers customers authentic and reliable products in beautiful colours based on mineral or vegetable pigments. In a collaboration with Loic Rainouard from Styloplume.net, the chemist Didier Boinnard from L’Artisan Pastellier created the line of Callifolio fountain pen inks. These pastel-colored inks are traditionally crafted, and can be freely mixed and matched. Overall these inks are only moderately saturated, and have low water-resistance. The inks were specifically designed to work well with all types of paper, and all types of fountain pens.


Being pastel-tinted, these inks have a watercolor-like appearance, and are not only fine inks for journaling, but are also really excellent inks for doodling & drawing. I only recently discovered them, and they are already the inks I gravitate towards for personal journaling.




In this review the spotlight is on Botany Bay, one of the many blue inks of the series. The blue Callifolio inks are named after rivers, lakes and oceans – this blue-black liquid gets its name from the famous Australian bay. Visvamitra did an excellent review, but is not a fan: “the color is supposed to be deep blue/black. It isn’t. It’s a washed out greyish thing. Not really exciting.” Well… de gustibus non est disputandum. Me, I like the ink a lot lot lot ! Right up my alley. I love blue-blacks, I love greys, I love a vintage feel. This ink ticks all the right boxes for me. A vintage-y dark blue-grey. Yummie!


Technically, the ink behaves rather poorly. It’s rather dry, and dries too quick on the nib. When left uncapped, I experienced hard starts after a minute or two. Not so good. Botany Bay exhibits prominent shading in the broader nibs. It is much more restrained in finer nibs, which I find more aesthetically pleasing. And since I typically use the finer nibs… lucky me ;-)




On the smudge test – rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab – Botany Bay behaved acceptably. Water resistance however is almost non-existent. All that lovely colour disappears very very quickly. A real shame. When using a water-brush with doodling & drawing, you get a nice blue-grey shading effect. Like all Callifolio inks, Botany Bay is a very fine choice for inky drawings.




I’ve tested the ink on a wide variety of paper – from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. For the Callifolio reviews, I’m using a new format to show you the ink’s appearance and behaviour on the different paper types. 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 fountain pen
  • The name of the paper used, written with a B-nib
  • A small text sample, written with an M-nib
  • Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib)

Botany Bay behaved perfectly on all the paper types, with no apparent feathering even on the lower quality papers in my test set. Drying times are mostly around the 15 second mark, with a low of 5 seconds on the more absorbent paper. The ink is equally at home with both white and off-white creamy paper. When writing, the ink lays a dark blue/black line, that dries to a lovely blue/grey colour – a really nice and interesting effect.


I also show the back-side of the different paper types, in the same order. With the low-end Moleskine there is very prominent show-through and bleed-through. With the other papers, Botany Bay’s behaviour is impeccable. The ink copes really well with a wide variety of paper types.










Botany Bay is not your average blue-black. This ink should be taken at face value – it’s a lovely dark blue-grey with a vintage feel. The ink works well with all nib sizes, with really prominent shading in the broader nibs. Technically, this is not a good ink : it feels dry and is susceptible to hard starts when left uncapped for short periods of time. The ink also has zero water resistance. But me… I’m in love with the colour, and don’t mind these shortcomings.




Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib






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That's fantastic drawing :) The ink looks surprisingly well on Paperblanks paper. As you've mentioned I'm not a fan :) Still you've done great job to show many faces of Botany Bay.

Whichever ink comes next, I'll be happy to read your review. If however Heure Doree or Gris de Payne or Itzamna or Yalumba comes next I'll be even more happy :)

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Brilliant review of an ink that suits me perfectly. I'm all about the "vintage" look at the moment.


Thank you.


The comparisons are so helpful too :)

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I've to say that I may like it. A blue-grey that looks rather uncommon but still work appropriate. Nice shading and extremely legible despite the colour may suggest otherwise. Great review!

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